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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Minutes

August 16, 2007

Members Present: Jack Roper, Pat Casey, Sabrina Ware, Randy Buettner, Marilyn Burr, Glenda Farnum, Cindy Gallup, Milissa Gofourth, Doug MacMillan, Kim Nickerson, Tim Parrish, DeLorna Strong, Director Linda Parker

Members Absent: B.J. Nevels, Cathy Bates, Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Ringlero, Sue Williams

Others Present: Syedah Islam, VR Administrator, Jane Nelson, VS Administrator, Melinda Fruendt, Project Coordinator, Ray Turner, Project Coordinator,  Susan Hawkins, VS Field Coordinator, Mark Kinnison, VS Field Coordinator, Wayne Pamplin, VR Field Coordinator, Marcey Tosto, Scribe, Suzanne Randal, Commission Assistant, Linda Jaco, ABLETech

Interpreters Present: Darine Stallings and David Rushton

Certificates of ORC Service presented to Randy Buettner and DeLorna Strong.

Call to Order and Roll Call: 10:00am, quorum established.

Approval of Minutes:  8-16-07 minutes approved. Marilyn Burr motion, Pat Casey second.

Committee Reports:

Policy & Legislative Committee: Milissa Gofourth, Chair

  • Met with US Congressional staffers in local district offices.  Provided resource materials.  Visits will be completed by Oct. 2007.
  • Customer Services Improvement Committee:

      Policy issues being considered that may have a direct impact on customer services include:

-          Applicants with multiple unsuccessful cases. 

-          Travel expenses for clients at 100%, 50%, or negotiated.

-          Ability to pay drivers hourly for services at minimum wage.

-          Approved to remove Core Services from policy.

-          Approved proposed policy: Integrated Settings.

-          Agreed to use estimated amount for reimbursement for books.

-          Tabled issues on purchase of Durable Medical Equipment.

-          Approved change for successful close for self employment.

-          Approved policy change – clarify self employment: start-up cost does not include assistive technology or other services required by the client to operate the business.

-          Tabled criminal background checks and screening of felons.

Program and Planning Committee: Doug MacMillan, Chair

  • Reviewed the Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Standards and Indicators, and Focus Group Evaluation of VR/VS Specialists.
  • It was recommended to DRS to send out thank you letters to consumers who completed the Consumer Satisfaction Survey and post survey findings on web.
  • The following questions were submitted to division administrators: 

Question 1:   What is the process for providing feedback to the consumer from the Consumer Satisfaction Survey?  Melinda Fruendt reported all Policy Development and Program Standards Unit survey reports and research studies are posted to the DRS electronic bulletin board for all employees to read.  We are working with the Information Services Unit and the Public Information Office to link the intranet document library to the internet for view by the general public.

Question 2:  How does RSA calculate the state average hourly wage for indicator1.5; and are salary wages used in that calculation in the Standards and Indicators?  RSA’s calculations do not match the Governor’s Council’s calculations.  Melinda Fruendt reported RSA’s formula is in the Standards and Indicators Report.  RSA uses wage and salary data published quarterly by the US Department of Labor.  Data fluctuates from quarter to quarter, so it depends on which quarter you look at.

Question 3:  Since the Standards and Indicators FY 2006 were positive, when will the agency go off corrective action? Melinda Fruendt reported Corrective action is based on 107 monitoring review, not Standards and Indicators.  DRS will be receiving a letter from RSA lifting the Corrective Action.

Question 4.  What percent of job placement services are subcontracted out to PWI, Goodwill, etc.?  Syedah Islam reported this data will have to be pulled from the database and can be made available at a later date.

Question 5 & 6. Focus Group Evaluation Report from BEST Unit 3-22-07:  What is the next step and how will this impact the role of the BEST Unit?  What is the target market for the BEST unit?  Melinda Fruendt reported the focus and role of the BEST Unit is being developed as the needs arise.  At this time they work with employers to make connections for potential placements.

Transition and Employment Committee: Kim Nickerson, Chair

  • 2nd Annual OK Transition Institute: Focus on student development and student-focused planning. 210 attended.  25 teams represented. Teams worked to develop goals for their regions around these two taxonomy areas.
  • There are 4 fall regional meetings in the planning.
  • The T& E committee will meet in September to discuss how it will implement its portion of the State Plan and Strategic Plan.

Department of Rehabilitation Services Update:

Linda Parker, Director

  • Workforce Council has much activity around occupation and the occupational areas. DRS received information about Visual Services in high school and the high tech program. Oklahoma is one of 12 states that continues to support high school and high tech programs. We need to find ways to blend information for parents and partner VR, Workforce Council, and trainings for organizations.
  • 2009 Budget:  The DRS budget request to the Governor will include an increase in state dollars in order to draw down the full federal match for Oklahoma.  DRS is going to ask for $450,000 to $500,000 for an additional state match.  The federal government provides a four to one match in federal dollars.
  •  The Ticket-to-Work regulations were issued, public comment ends in October. Most of the changes appear positive.
  • Priority Groups 2 &3: if DRS is successful with increased state appropriations request the agency will be able to consider re-opening Priority Group 2.

Jane Nelson, VS Division Administrator,

  • VS Center & VR Assistive Tech Lending Lab have an open house scheduled on Friday, August 24, 2007.  Please come.
  • VS sponsored a showing of a descriptive video entitled “The Ultimate Gift” by Jim Stovall of Tulsa. We had approximately 150 patrons and staff in attendance.
  • VS had 4 consecutive sessions of the Adult Summer Blind Learning Experience (ABLE) or Learning Evaluation at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.  37 consumers completed it. 27 were Title I cases, which means employment cases. VS is eventually planning to put a VS Equipment Center in Tulsa.
  • OLBPH is having a minor facelift of painting, tile, and carpet. Digital Recording Studio is in the process of being enlarged.

Syedah Islam, VR Division Administrator

  • In October VR will work on the second half of the State Transition Plan; the first portion of that was accomplished in May of this year.
  • VR applied for a model demonstration project through RSA to improve transition outcomes. On August 6th VR submitted the Oklahoma Youth Pathways Transition Project grant proposal, asking for $2.8 million ($575,000/yr for 5 yrs). RSA will make a decision sometime in October and VR should notify whether the grant will be funded in November.
  • The Customer Service Accountability workgroup created an initiative for Quality Customer Service.  VR will have Regina Robertson, ECU Professor, develop a Customer Services curriculum for the agency.  All staff will attend, starting with managers, then counselors and techs.

Susan Hawkins, VS Field Coordinator

  • Youth Summit was held on June 6th in Durant; with about 1,200 in attendance; some were from the Native American Tribes; and VR/VS had some transition kids attend. This may become an annual event.
  • In November VS Field Coordinators are planning a one day or two day “mini” ABLE depending on interest and participation. 

Mark Kinnison, VS Field Coordinator

  • VS has exceeded last year’s number for successful closures, but there is concern that the totals may go down due to the closure of priority groups two and three this year.
  • VS has 2 new Program Managers--Tracy Brigham, covering the northern part of the state, and Jackie Carter-Hill, covering the southern part.

Unfinished Business:  None

New Business:   

Slate for FFY08 Officers, motion made, 2nd and passed.  Kim Nickerson and Marilyn Burr were nominated to serve on Executive Committee.  Motion made, 2nd and passed.  Vacancies were due to the passing of Hugh McCrabb and resignation of Pat Casey.  Pat’s resignation was due to a promotion which did not allow her the time to commit to the ORC.

Consumer Comments:   None

Meeting adjourned.