Welcome to The Monthly Memo

 September, 2014

The Arc of New Mexico Mission

The mission of The Arc of New Mexico is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages by advocating for equal opportunities and choices in where and how they learn, live, work, play and socialize.  The Arc of New Mexico will promote self-determination, healthy families, effective community support systems and partnerships.


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Randy Costales, Executive Director

Update on Waldrop Lawsuit

On August 18-20, 2014, a federal court judge heard part of this Waldrop, et al. vs. NMHSD (the SIS case) for the first time. Disability Rights New Mexico (“DRNM”), the Arc of New Mexico, Maureen Sanders and Nancy Simmons went to court and asked a federal judge to stop the state from using the SIS until The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Human Services Department meet certain conditions. This kind of request is called a preliminary injunction. It is important to note that a preliminary injunction is hard to get because it is decided before the court hears the whole case.  However, even if the preliminary injunction is denied, the case still moves forward. 

 The argument in for preliminary injunction is that the state has been placing DD Waiver participants in SIS Groups without giving them a fair opportunity to protest the changes in their services. If the judge grants the request for a preliminary injunction, then New Mexico will not be able to use the SIS until they allow DD Waiver participants to fairly contest their SIS group assignments if they chose to do so. The plaintiffs also asked the judge to erase the SIS Group placement for any DD Waiver participant who has not received a fair chance to protest their SIS Group. Those persons would receive new SIS evaluations and an opportunity for a proper appeal once the state shows that they are in compliance with federal law.  A couple of named plaintiffs testified during the hearing, while others came to court to observe the proceedings.

 The judge will consider everything that was said and presented during the preliminary injunction hearing and will decide whether to grant the request for relief. Before that happens, both the plaintiffs and the state will submit a written statement telling the judge what she should do given the evidence that was presented at the hearing. The hope is that the judge will consider this information and rule on the request for preliminary injunction before the end of 2014. 

 After the judge decides what to do about the preliminary injunction requested, the Court will schedule a full trial concerning the complaint filed in January 2014. This trial will cover all of the issues raised in the complaint, including the need for the state to meaningfully consider input from a Medicaid participant’s treatment team before assigning them to a SIS Group.

 As a reminder, in June 2014, the Plaintiffs entered into an interim agreement to preserve services for those on the Waiver who had not yet transitioned into their new SIS group service packages.  The interim agreement is in effect until the judge rules on the preliminary injunction or December 31, 2014, whichever comes first. 


 The Arc Welcomes New Staff

The Arc of New Mexico would like to welcome the following individuals to The Arc Team:

Irene Sanchez, Finance Manager

Kay Lilley, Roswell Community Advocate

Emerald Lira, Administrative Assistant

Sarah Holguin, Community Advocate, Southern NM Office

Roger Maya, Community Advocate, Southern NM Office

Rosanna Soloperto, Guardianship Coordinator

Thank you Mary Best, CEO of Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, for providing free office space in Roswell.  We appreciate the support and partnership!

I am Waiting!


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bernalillo County

My name is Ismael and I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.    I was diagnosed with Down syndrome.   I live at home with my parents, brothers and sister.   I am close to my family and have lots of friends at school.   I love sports, fishing and horses.  

Currently, Ismael attends Rio Grande High School and will be starting his senior year.  Ismael receives very few services.  The school is understaffed so services are provided only when staff is available. Ismael’s communication skills are very limited.   The school is working with Ismael on job skills and getting to know his community.  He gets some speech therapy.   Ismael has been on the Developmental Disabilities Waiver Waiting list since 2008.  Ismael would like to be more independent.  

Ismael’s mom would like him to learn better communication skills.  She is concerned about his safety.  The Developmental Disabilities Waiver would provide the services he needs.  This includes speech therapy, community inclusion, occupational therapy, a job coach and respite for the family.   These services are necessary for him to achieve as much independence as possible. 

Ismael wants what everyone else wants from life – to be productive, independent, employed, have activities that are meaningful, have a social life with friends his own age, to be valued and be given the means to meet his full potential.  

Funding is critical now to help Ismael become more independent, improve communication and have a better quality of life. 

 Response from a Reader

I wanted to thank you for facilitating a connection to Daniel's Family Funeral Services in The Arc Monthly Memo.  I followed up on pre-planning arrangements last month with Tom Rymsza and we met last Friday to put both my own and my husband's pre-arrangements in place using the very nice discount that they were offering to people with disabilities and their families (25% and 15% respectively).  Between the two of us we saved just under $1,000 on basic cremation services.  

It was not something we could really afford right now, but there's never a right time for things like that. Tom set up a payment plan for each of us and that will help.  It's just something we didn't want to leave friends to deal with someday since we don't have children and neither of us really has any family members left to take care of things when we go and it's also respectful to do for each other.

I just wanted to let you know that there are people out there who find the Memo very valuable!

 Be an Arc Ally

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The Arc of New Mexico depends on public donations to sustain our work.  You can make a one-time gift or a recurring gift.  Make a donation now to support our mission to benefit all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in New Mexico. https://www.arcnm.org/donate-now/.

Please consider naming The Arc of New Mexico has a beneficiary in your will or living trust.  Such gifts enable you to make significant contributions that may not have been possible during your lifetime. Charitable bequests can take various forms and listed below are some examples of common language you can use to fulfill your goals:

* Unrestricted Bequest: I give to (legal name of institution, address) the sum of $______ Dollars (or _____% or fraction of my adjusted gross estate) as a charitable gift for its general purposes.

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 * Contingent Bequest: I give the residue of my estate to my spouse (or other designee) if he survives me. If he does not survive me, I give my residuary estate to (legal name of charity, city and state) for its general purposes.

A memorial gift is a beautiful and lasting tribute for a loved one or to a family as an expression of sympathy.  Family and friends can be recognized with a gift in their honor.  This might be for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, holiday, wedding, retirement, etc.


AmazonSmile Foundation

Good News!  Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to The Arc of New Mexico whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Below is the link to AmazonSmile for The Arc of New Mexico to post on social media and spread the word.


Arc of NM Turning 60 Next Year