Greater Boston Disability Task Force Meeting
The Greater Boston Disability Task Force (DTF) meeting of January 30, 2020 focused on addressing the mental health needs of individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Kathy Sanders, the Deputy Director and State Medical Director of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) provided a presentation highlighting the ways DMH is partnering with the Department of Developmental services (DDS) to provide services to individuals with mental illness and autism, and also discussed meeting the needs of individuals with other developmental disabilities.
Dr. Sanders emphasized that as a result of the Autism Omnibus Law of 2014, adults can now be dually eligible for services from both DDS and DMH. The agencies developed a consent form that can be signed to allow sharing of information between the two agencies. Not all individuals with autism who have a mental illness will be eligible for DMH services. DDS and DMH are working together to provide specialized risk assessment and treatment planning consultation, including a dangerousness risk assessment for individuals with autism who have a mental illness. DDD and DMH are increasing coordination at the state and local level, and are gathering information to address gaps in services for this population. All parties agree that it is critically important to advocate for necessary services.
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