STATE REHABILITATION COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
June 6, 2017
Sherri Clark (phone 10:30-10:55 a.m., rejoined by phone 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.),
Nicole Cleveland (by phone), Jill Crosser, Randy Davis (arrived at 11:15 a.m.), Kim Drew, Page Eastin, Pam Fitzsimmons, Lori Moore (until 2:15 p.m.), Rosie Thierer, Scott Turczynski, Alex Watters,
David Mitchell (ex officio, non-voting);
IVRS Support Staff: Jeff Haight, Kenda Jochimsen, Brandy McOmber (by phone), Kelley Rice, Lee Ann Russo, Kathy Slater; Other: Olmstead Task Force lunch speakers Caitlyn Owens and Kay Marcel
Gary McDermott, James Smith
CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Rosie Thierer called the June 6, 2017, State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meeting to order at 10:45 a.m., with introductions.
Established a quorum with 10 voting members present.
Jill motioned to approve the agenda, Pam seconded. Approved unanimously by voice vote.
MARCH 14, 2017 MEETING MINUTES APPROVAL
Alex motioned to approve the meeting minutes. Page seconded the motion. Minutes approved unanimously by voice vote.
No public comment.
VOTE TO ELECT OFFICERS – Rosie Thierer
The Nominating Committee (Pam Fitzsimmons, Page Eastin, Jill Crosser and Rosie Thierer) presented their slate of candidates to the council for the 2017-2018 officers: They nominate Jill Crosser as Chair and Alex Watters as Vice Chair. Chairperson Thierer asked if there were any other nominations from the floor – there were none. Page made the motion to vote, Pam seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously for Jill Crosser to serve as Chairperson and Alex Watters as Vice-Chair for SFY18.
DISCUSSION TO AMEND BYLAWS
As noted at the March meeting, with the departure of CFO Matt Coulter, there was discussion about whether to continue the Finance Standing committee or merge those tasks to become a part of the larger SRC responsibilities. There are currently only two people on the finance committee.
- The consensus is to amend the Bylaws so that all SRC members are involved. No members suggested changes to the proposed verbiage to amend the bylaws.
- Sherri Clark and Pam Fitzsimmons have transferred from the Finance committee to other committees.
There will be a vote to amend the SRC Bylaws at the September 2017 meeting. Kelley Rice will send revisions to the Bylaws no later than 30 days before the September 19 meeting.
ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT – David Mitchell
Administrator Mitchell provided highlights of his activities since the last meeting. Third Party Contracts are an important piece of IVRS’ service delivery effort. Staff monitor these contracts for fiscal and program compliance. One of these contracts involves the Boone School District iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates), collaborating with businesses in the Boone-Ogden corridor and working with students with an IEP and/or 504 plan for a work-based learning STEM initiative.
Another example of a contract is with Easter Seals. They will provide a person in each of the Des Moines high schools, including Ruby Van Meter, Smouse and alternative schools for TEAM (Transitioning to Employment and Advocating for Myself). This project should begin in fall 2017, with a five-year contract and impact 750 – 1000 students. This is directly linked to VR Pre-Employment Transition monies.
Training Specialist April Stotz now works in the Des Moines office, effective this month. She is working on the Microsoft training academy to help students seeking credentialing in Microsoft products. She is also involved in staff training in the area of Section 511.
The Iowa Employment First team is focusing on the Southwest Behavioral Health Region in the Ottumwa-Pella-Oskaloosa area. They will work with a base of 15-20 individuals with the most significant disabilities and partner together with business on employment services. A business team concept as a region will culminate in some interaction with IWD and Indian Hills Community College.
David traveled to Montana to participate in a National Governor’s Association Work-Based Learning conference. National statistics show 80% of students are spending the majority of the day with no awareness of career training connections. VR’s role is to be an effective link to better connect student interests and abilities to careers for which there is a demand.
The State Workforce Development Board has formed a statewide Disability Access Committee, of which David is the chair. They recently completed a video to help gain communication momentum with the developing regional disability access committees. Their goal is that One Stop Centers are physically accessible and are accessible to the degree they need.
Recognition for staff is occurring throughout this spring, summer and fall with Years of Service Awards. David will be traveling throughout the state and noted that fourteen IVRS individuals are celebrating their 20, 30, 35 and 45-year benchmarks.
Iowa has a new grant initiative with Nebraska, with a focus on the Sioux City/Council Bluffs corridor. Iowa VR helped them to write a grant that garnered RSA funding. They will look at closed cases of clients in these areas: health care, engineering, transportation and logistics, and advanced manufacturing. The plan is VR creates a pathway to fill with new job candidates and provides advanced credentialing to further career advancement. IVRS will receive reimbursement for expenses. This will improve efforts to engage job candidates post-employment to see from a longitudinal standpoint how many remain employed. There will be a dedicated staff person to recruit people into the program. The grant ends September 2020.
REHABILITATION SERVICES REPORT – RSB Bureau Chief Kenda Jochimsen
Brandy is an IVRS Resource Manager who works with Kenda on agency policy. She ensures IVRS policy is compliant with federal regulations and that staff understand policy as well. Brandy has spent some time reviewing regulations. The IVRS management team also met with RSA to discuss IVRS policies and seek their guidance. She conveyed that she appreciates and welcomes any SRC feedback, noting that part of those requirements includes VR regularly consulting with SRC, and part of SRC’s role is to review those policies and offer comment.
Prior to this meeting discussion, SRC members received handouts May 22 (via email) of SRC policy regarding Supported Employment, Rehabilitation Technology, and Potentially Eligible/Referral for Services and Status 02-0 for their review. Members also received a comments handout June 2 (via email) from CAP representative Page Eastin, which included questions and comments about these three policies.
After discussing the policies at length, with Brandy responding to comments, the following items of action are noted:
Supported Employment Services
RE: B. (6) Requirement for Transitioning to Extended Services
- Question regarding who helps the job candidate determine who will provide their services, per 361.52 Informed Choice.
- VR Response: This is not a case manual policy issue, but is instead a training issue.
- Alex indicated that hyperlinks could be included in the policy regarding informed choice. Page would like job candidates to be able to have something they could
look at that notes all choices available.
- ACTION: Brandy believes there is a document available that could hyperlink to this policy so a job candidate could see all of the options available. She and Kenda will also talk to the agency training specialist to survey IVRS staff regarding their training needs to help job candidates make informed choices.
Brandy noted this policy was in need of updates due to further clarification from RSA regarding where to include the purchase of eyeglasses and other items or services.
RE: C. Agency Expectations
- C.(4) Comment that Deaf should always be capitalized. (IVRS does not have special services available to provide captioned films or DVDs, etc. for deaf individuals…)
- ACTION: This is a grammar error. IVRS will correct and ensure capitalization of the word “Deaf” consistently occurs.
- C.(7) Comment that 361.48 states rehabilitation technology is exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits.
- VR Response: This was actually a recommendation from RSA’s Gerri Harris when IVRS had regional offices. She informed IVRS that it is not required to do a comparable service and benefit search, but when a service is known to VR, it is altogether appropriate to look into it as an option – which is why it is included in this section.
- ACTION: Based on this comment, IVRS will change:
C. (9)(j) Agency Expectations Specific to Vehicle Modifications from “A search for comparable services and benefits is required in all cases” to read: “Whenever another source is already known to assist with purchases of rehabilitation technology, staff should contact that source. A comparable benefit search of unknown sources is not required.”
- C. (8) RSA provided guidance that rehab technology includes the purchase of eyeglasses, prosthetics and hearing aids.
- C.(9) Agency Expectations specific to Vehicle Modifications
- C.(9)(b) in response to a question about whether IVRS pays for the cost of a physician’s visit and a driving evaluation –
- VR Response: Staff are aware the agency pays for this, as it is not new policy information that assessments are not the responsibility of the job candidate. It states this in various sections of the RSB manual. Because it does not reflect a change to policy, we will not cover in this SRC discussion.
- C.(9)(d) in response to inconsistent term usage of “Employment Plan” vs. “Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).”
- ACTION: to avoid confusion, IVRS will change any reference in policy from Employment Plan to Individualized Employment Plan (IPE).
RE: F. Exceptions
- F.(9) regarding the statement “Exception to any provision in this policy,” and whether it is redundant.
- VR Response: Since it is impossible to write a specific exception to every single situation that may arise, this statement allows IVRS to consider additional issues within this section of policy. It allows IVRS to assist the job candidates if unique situations occur that may require an exception that is within the agency’s ability to provide.
- ACTION: IVRS will re-word to “Exceptions to meet the individual disability or vocational goal needs of the job candidate may be considered if it falls outside of this policy.”
Page noted that policies are not just for staff, but also for job candidates and their family members. Brandy agreed and noted that while policies cannot cover every situation, IVRS wants to keep policy that allows exceptions for individualized needs.
Because the policy discussion was running longer than anticipated, the lunch guest speakers offered their presentation.
Olmstead Task Force – Caitlin Owens (U of I Center for Disabilities and Development – taskforce support staff) and Kay Marcel (taskforce member and parent of a person with disabilities)
Caitlyn Owens offered background info on the Olmstead decision, a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that unwarranted separation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination. The decision laid out a good vision of what life could be like for those with disabilities – social functioning, ability to work, etc. and helped to dispel the belief that people who are isolated are incapable of the same things others desire. The ruling was not just about a physical setting, but also about the ability of persons with disabilities to interact with people.
She also shared information about the Iowa Olmstead Task Force, which originally convened in 2001. In 2003, it was place into perpetuity by executive order. The group’s purpose is to monitor the state’s progress in shifting its focus and resources from institutions to home and community-based settings. They meet six times a year and have 21 members, with at least 51% being persons with disabilities or family members of those with disabilities. They engage with state agency partners in a two-way exchange of information. Committees include an Executive Committee, Medicaid Committee, and a Community Access Committee (focusing on transportation, employment and housing).
Kay Marcel shared her personal experience of having a child (now adult) with disabilities. Highlights of her presentation include her suggestion that parents begin early, have an employment vision, and do not accept segregated activities/employment. Barriers to employment include funding – not only for family services, but also for those who staff the agencies. Sometimes, families are barriers to finding employment – perhaps not enough information, fear of losing benefits, the need for incentives through Social Security Administration – these are all things of which VR can provide assistance.
Kay encouraged getting involved in advocacy and disability organizations and getting involved with other people with disabilities and/or their family members to learn how they achieved employment successes. Community involvement is critical to become connected and stay connected and learn about best practices – and avoid the tendency to distance or isolate from others. A resource Kay mentioned is Disability is Natural, by Kathie Snow, who authored the article, The Power of Imagination – regarding concepts to the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Some SRC members expressed concerns regarding access to quality, home health services for those with disabilities and/or an aging population in rural areas or smaller urban areas, because their options are very limited.
REHABILITATION SERVICES REPORT – continuation of policy discussion
RE: A. Description
- A.(1) Potentially Eligible “There are no entitlement provisions for individuals who are potentially eligible and as such an individual who fails to proceed to apply for services must still go through the eligibility process before receiving individualized intensive services under an IPE.” There was a comment received regarding why it states an individual who fails to apply for services would go through eligibility and plan development.
- VR Response: This is actually a direct quote from RSA in their interpretation and training on regulations so felt it pertinent to add it here. In order for students and families to make an informed choice, they need to know the ramifications. IVRS will not know if a person is eligible until they have gone through the whole process.
- ACTION: For clarity, IVRS will change this to read, “There are no entitlement provisions for individuals who are potentially eligible and as such an individual who fails to proceed to apply for services must still have a discussion on the eligibility process with IVRS staff before receiving individualized intensive services under an IPE.”
- A. (1) Referrals “Any individual with a disability can self-refer or be referred to IVRS. At the time of application, through technical assistance and consultation with the entity with whom the referred individual is interacting, it may be determined that the individual requires more intensive services that are not the legal responsibility of that entity. The referring entity would then complete and submit the Referral for Services form to IVRS.”
- VR Response: IVRS received a comment regarding this section. While the majority of people are referred for that purpose, IVRS has experienced many who are referred seeking rental and other services that are not related to finding employment. The comment also included a desire for SRC to review pre-intake data at each meeting following the implementation of a new referral policy. This is aggregate data (i.e. how many individuals from whom IVRS took applications). Regarding the referral comment, IVRS has told staff that if the person wants competitive integrated employment, the agency considers that individual an applicant, regardless of what paperwork is completed. IVRS trains on this and will continue to do so.
- A.(1) Referrals “If an individual refuses to sign, it is important they understand the following before proceeding:” There was a comment received regarding this section not matching the IVRS Rights and Responsibilities form.
- VR Response: The feedback received from staff while drafting this policy, was there is a segment of the disability population that refuses to sign the form. It is a government form, which may create mistrust. VR wants individuals to understand that whether or not they sign this document, these things are still required. VR wants to make sure they explain the purpose, since individuals do not understand these areas. IVRS proceeds with them regardless of whether they sign. We convey this information as part of the orientation.
- There was also a comment that item #6 of this section did not make sense: All available and accessible services are full partners in the rehabilitation process and must be accessed prior to IVRS expenditure of funds.” We agree and will reword.
- ACTION: The above-reference #6 will be revised to state: “All available and accessible services must be accessed prior to IVRS expenditure of funds.”
RE: C. Scope of Services
- C. (1) “... 2. All referred individuals must participate in an assessment for eligibility and required services.”
- ACTION: C.(2) IVRS will re-word for clarity to “All individuals who apply must participate in an assessment for eligibility and required services.”
RE: D. Agency Expectations
- 2.(e) “Timeframes Extension for Eligibility: …completed by the 45th day after the Rights and Responsibilities section of the IPE-1 form was signed, with a specific date noted by when the decision will be determined, the reason for the extension and approval of the job candidate.”
- VR Response: In response to the question regarding whether the extension for eligibility requires the guardian’s signature in situations where the job candidate has a guardian – the IVRS response is “yes.” IVRS has never stated this is not required, as it has always required the parent and/or legal guardian’s signature.
- ACTION: IVRS will add to 2.(e): “…completed by the 45th day after the Rights and Responsibilities section of the IPE-1 form was signed, with a specific date noted by when the decision will be determined, the reason for the extension and approval of the job candidate and parent/legal guardian when appropriate.”
FINANCIAL OVERVIEW – David Mitchell
With 15% of funding set aside for services to students under an IEP or Section 504 plan, IVRS is focused on Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). Some of our Third Party Contracts, such as Making the Grade, Intermediary Networks and iJAG – all help IVRS utilize Pre-ETS funds. Last year, IVRS was short on efforts, we are not sure if we will expend the required dollars in fiscal 2017. IVRS is still spending 2016 dollars. The goal for FFY2018 is to spend more, including the carry forward dollars. The existence and expansion of the contracts will not only meet the need, but also expand service capacity.
The governor’s 2018-2019 budget added $106,705 dollars to the IVRS allocation. This will allow us to avoid Maintenance of Effort penalties. VR is required to draw down the same or more in federal dollars as the previous year. These State dollars help VR to maximize federal funds and avoid the penalty. There was still an overall decrease, but this addition will be of great benefit.
IVRS is working with Workforce partners to discuss/negotiate the shared financial responsibility for One Stop centers. IVRS believes we can get credit for our lease agreements with IWD.
The State’s budget shortfall is far greater than was forecasted; today’s newspaper is discussing the possibility of across the board cuts in state government. It does not appear at this time that this will happen as the governor has indicated the state will dip again into cash reserves. The state has a two-year budget cycle, this year; IVRS will make our request for the 2019 budget.
Graphs in Financial Update:
- The Waiting List graph reflects a small increase in numbers since the March 2017 SRC meeting. Gradual growth is expected.
- IVRS has six unfilled positions in the Administrative Services Bureau (ASB) and three in Rehabilitation Service Bureau (RSB) positions. Randy asked if these are field positions that work directly with job candidates, and David responded this is not the case for the ASB positions.
- The money not spent on these unfilled positions will go back into case service dollars.
- IVRS Sustainability – Cash flow indicates the agency will be OK until midway through 2018 – this is only a projection. The Sustainability Chart reflects the need for IVRS to shrink the agency gradually, as new revenues are not expected.
- Successful Closures graph indicates IVRS is slightly ahead of last year at this time, despite the reductions in funding and staff – so this is good news to share.
IL AND PARTNER CONTRACTS UPDATE – IVRS Resource Manager Lee Ann Russo
The six Independent Living (IL) Centers are required to have self-advocacy, self-determination and peer mentoring services. Page updated information provided at the previous SRC meeting regarding how to provide meaningful information about these services. The Department of Human Rights provided some curriculum and will purchase from the state of Washington curriculum that will have all of the tools and modules needed to work with the intended population. Two of six ILs are providing employment services. This began in March for CICL – their location moved to Park Fair Mall – and Access to Independence began in January 2017. The IL Centers will be getting a slight decrease from VR – about $500 per center in SFY18, with a status quo budget for SILC. This is due to the decreased state appropriation.
Onsite training is occurring to IVRS staff and community partners about roles, expectations, service provision and best practice. IVRS Business Consultant Michelle Krefft discusses how to establish business relations and WIOA compliance provisions; Lee Ann discusses with CRPs about roles, expectations, and service provision and best practices. April provides an overview of Section 511 of WIOA. This effort is to ensure that expectations are well defined so all partners are on the same page and can be consistent with what to expect when authorizing employment services. Training has been well-received, with positive feedback.
IVRS plans to mirror DHS service rates and will submit CRP annual reports sometime this summer. CRP contracts will be rewritten this fall as well.
There are currently 37 IVRS staff trained to provide benefits planning services. Based on staff surveys, there will be a rollout of additional training for staff, which April Stotz is developing. Complex benefit issues will continue to be referred to WIPA-like providers.
LEGAL UPDATE/DD COUNCIL UPDATE – IVRS Staff Attorney Kelley Rice
The most significant change in this session is HF544 regarding personal degradation, in which legislation addressed the Glenwood issue. Any bill that was still alive this year will be alive next year, as this is a biennial legislature.
Kelley does not anticipate changes with the relationship IVRS has with the new leadership in the governor’s office. David added that initiatives in which IVRS participates, such as Work-Based Learning, Future Ready Iowa, Employment First and apprenticeships have increased the agency profile and positive perceptions of what IVRS does.
Rosie told the council to not underestimate their impact on their legislators. She attended every legislative forum and sent many emails. Family members can have a powerful impact when speaking to their legislators. There is confusion or a misperception among legislators that people have to be eligible for Medicaid in order to receive VR services. There is no connection between the two, so SRC should continue efforts to educate about IVRS.
Alex asked for talking points to help SRC better communicate the message – perhaps by the time the legislature reconvenes in early 2018. David noted that the SRC annual report would be a powerful tool to show how we collaborate across systems and show the value of agency efforts. Alex asked for a copy of the most-recent SRC annual report, which the secretary will provide.
Randy inquired about limits on SRC members reaching out to legislators, but Rosie said that as private citizens, there are no limits to their participation and advocacy. David noted the area office supervisors have an initiative to contact their legislators, utilizing data customized to each supervisor’s region. Their effort focuses on education.
CAP REPORT – Page Eastin
Page read from the National Council of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) 2011 report on how to work with VR agencies. Linda Vegoe, CAP representative with the Wisconsin SRC, provided this addendum after full WIOA implementation. Page noted Linda is well regarded in the SRC arena. She wanted to share what Linda wrote to emphasize the partnership between VR and the SRC – in lieu of her CAP report this time. Page noted that in the spring, CSAVR has a NCSRC meeting to which IVRS could send someone. David added that there is money in the SRC Resource Plan to support a member who would like to participate in an NCSRC conference.
SILC UPDATE – No report available.
STATE WORKFORCE BOARD – David Mitchell
IWD and VR are working together in a concentrated effort on the apprenticeship program, which is an important strategy in the Governor’s Future Ready Iowa initiative.
The State workforce board is undergoing a revision and will now have 33 voting members. Business reps went from four to 17, with labor organizations remaining the same at four. Historically, business reps and labor organizations were traditionally the same. David is now a voting a member. Non-voting membership decreased from 16 to 13. Earlier in the meeting, David shared an update on the Disability Access Committee.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
VR Service Delivery – Page Eastin, Committee Chair
The group chose four areas of focus: Section 511, Timeliness of Services, Training and Credential Completion Rates and Outcomes for Targeted Populations. They also looked at points from Dr. Groomes, noted on the consumer satisfaction survey. The committee hopes to arrange a conference call with her to try to obtain additional information. Alex would like to dig deeper into this information in order to develop better action steps.
Rosie was part of the original Reading Group that helped to develop the survey. The group read books on the five “Why” questions, developing the survey from that information. Iowa was one of the test groups for the development of the survey.
Rosie suggests looking at unsuccessfully closed cases for minority populations to determine how to serve them to achieve successful employment. David suggested the committee develop points from their research to share with staff. Page reported there was also discussion in committee about how to recruit those that IVRS needs to serve, or who could benefit from VR services.
Outreach – Lori Moore, Committee Chair
Jill presented on behalf of Lori Moore, who had to leave just before this report because of a family emergency. She presented the scope of the Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment (ICIE) contract services, which includes feedback on Section 511 implementation and Pre-Employment Transition Services. In addition, ICIE will coordinate with SRC and IVRS on priority areas for discussion at ICIE meetings and focus groups to gather information and feedback for development of the statewide needs assessment.
Kim discussed the ICIE Community of Practice (CoP) monthly webinars. The webinars are located on YouTube. There was a large webinar about Community Employment earlier this spring, which provided information about how community employment could look. Some attendees had concerns the information is too in-depth, but Kim noted that because it is archived, people can go back to review and further reflect on information provided. She also mentioned the diversity of the group, which includes state agencies, service providers and persons with disabilities as well as their family members.
David suggested sending the Coalition’s meeting notes out to the council, which he will do.
Jill asked that SRC members share with them any emerging issues that might help ICIE with their contract efforts. The next ICIE meeting is August 3 at IVRS – SRC members are welcome to attend.
David noted that all SRC members with expiring terms have reapplied; the governor’s office will apprise him of appointments July 1. Outgoing SRC member and IVRS Counselor James Smith was not able to renew for a second term. David acknowledged James’ service to the group.
A motion for adjournment was made by Page and seconded by Alex; all were in favor. The meeting adjourned at 2:37 p.m.
The next SRC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, 2017, in Des Moines at the Jessie Parker Building, Knudsen Room, from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with committee meetings beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Meeting minutes approved by the Council on this date:
SRC Chair – Rosie Thierer