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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Minutes

Department of Rehabilitation Services
3535 NW 58th Street • 2nd Floor Conference Room
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112
May 21, 2009 • 9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
Full Council Regular Meeting

Members Present: Milissa Gofourth, Sterling Krysler, Marilyn Burr, Anita Eccard, Glenda Farnum, Cindy Gallup, Tammie Jones, Kathleen Kennedy, Doug MacMillan, Jr., Hailey Mathis, Jon Ringlero, Amy Salmon, Sue Williams, Nancy Garner

Members Absent: Mike O’Brien, Tim Parrish, Katrina Shaklee, Sabrina Ware

Others Present: Jane Nelson, DRS VS Administrator; Melinda Fruendt, DRS Project Coordinator; Kim Osmani, DRS Transition Coordinator; David Couch, DRS Chief of Staff; Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Representative; Lori Estep, DRS Field Services Coordinator.

Council Support: Theresa Hamrick, Program Manager 
Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs, OSU Seretean Wellness Center

Interpreters Present: Dar Stallings, Dan Martin

Call to Order and Roll Call: 9:35 am, roll called, quorum established


Call to Order/Roll Call

A Quorum was established –12 voting members were present.

          Milissa Gofourth, Chair

Consumer Comments:

          No consumer comments at this time

Action Items

Approval of February 19, 2009 minutes – Haley approves, Cindy seconds

Approval of April 3, 2009 minutes – Sterling approves, Glenda seconds


Executive Committee Report – Milissa Gofourth, Chair  :

  • Milissa reviewed the written chair report
  • Priority Group 3 was opened on May 18th
  • The Strategic Plan meeting on April 3rd was very productive. The emphasis was trying to improve customer service and to get feedback from consumers that have gone through the program.
  • The Executive Committee met with Jane Nelson and Syedah Islam on April 3rd prior to the Strategic Plan meeting:
    • The webinar system is not accessible to the deaf. A closed-captioning option is available and ORC will pay for it for the next training.
    • The tribes were invited to the Social Security webinar and will be invited to upcoming training.
  • Item #7 of the Chair report: the meeting with Director O’Brien was on April 16th not March 16th
  • Customer Satisfaction survey:
    • Reviewed with Mike O’Brien survey questions that had lower than 70% satisfaction rating
  • Communicating via e-mail
    • Jane stated that we might want to push communication with our clients/consumers via e-mail
      • Train staff on how to respond to e-mails
        • Discuss what is part of the contractual record
        • Add to Academy possibly
        • What has to be excluded by e-mail


Policy and Legislative Committee – Glenda Farnum, Chair

Members: Marilyn Burr, Doug MacMillan, Hailey Mathis, Tim Parrish, Jon Ringlero

  • Glenda reviewed the written committee report.
  • DRS Director Mike O’Brien did a great job of articulating how we were going to use the stimulus money and was quite impressive during the Congressional visits during CSAVR.

Program and Planning Committee – Marilyn Burr, Chair

  • Marilyn reviewed the written committee report.
  • It has been a very busy quarter for the P&P Committee based on the work of the State Plan and the development of the comprehensive needs assessment.

Department of Rehabilitation Services Update – David Couch, Chief of Staff

Director O’Brien had planned to meet with all DRS staff and stakeholders in his first 90 days, but he didn’t quite meet that goal, until recently. He met with more than 850 employees in group settings. He met with over 200 individuals and over 75 vendors and providers.

Legislative session

  • No budget cuts
  • Some bills didn’t survive
    • Would have added more commission members to DRS
    • Would have changed standards for interpreters to the deaf
    • Would have created a new statewide transition council
  • Received new money for:
    • School technology
    • Vehicle funding for schools
    • Auditorium at the School for the Deaf
  • Did not get funding for the gymnasium at the School for the Blind
  • DRS did receive stimulus money
    • All three priority groups now being served

Reviewed notes from the DRS Statewide ARRA Stimulus Meeting that took place on May 7, 2009.

SILC will benefit from the stimulus money as well

Senior days at both the OSD and OSB

  • A group from almost all the divisions showed up and met with all of the seniors individually and talked with them about their plans.

DDD was ranked 4th in the nation for accuracy and processing time

Need to increase enrollment at the School for the Blind

  • Hired a marketing director (Berwyn Holder) for the school in an effort to increase enrollment
  • Need to get the word out to the communities about School for the Blind

Visual Services Update – Jane Nelson, DVS Administrator

DRS is working on productive ways to spend the stimulus money to put people to work.

  • Good at providing equipment but we are bad at providing training for the equipment
    • Train consumers who are good with the equipment to train other consumers to use equipment/software
    • Trained consumers will be paid $75 per hour for face-to-face training
  • New transition program for OSB
    • 5th year program
      • Students who have graduated but are not ready to go out into the world
        • Mornings will consist of reading, writing, math, etc.
        • Afternoons will consist of learning job skills
          • A Transition Liaison, which will be housed on campus, will conduct most of the afternoon classes. They will ensure that the kids go to work, will monitor the contracts, and will ensure that every student’s IEP is attended by a home counselor.

This summer the goal is that every student who graduates under the transition program at OSD and OSB will have a job when they complete the program. We will use stimulus money to do this through OJT contracts. We hope to partner with Work Force to get them to be the first line of payment on the OJT contracts and then we will come in behind those to pay the next round of employment for them. That should account for about six months of employment. We hope that by the end of six months the consumer will be such a valued employee that the employer will retain them.

  • College Prep Program – begins in June
    • Students who are college bound will attend a two week session at USAO.
      • Will participate fully in activities on campus
      • Learn to utilize the library
      • Some evaluating and testing will be going on
      • They will experience dorm life
      • There will be rehab teachers that will be involved in learning to cook and learning to dress like other kids on campus and fitting in so they will be successful
      • They will complete their ACT test if they have not already done so
        • The test will be in an accessible format
      • There are six students signed up

The Brighter Futures in Transition (BFIT) program continues and will begin after College Prep. Every student will have a job when they complete the BFIT program.

New facility in Tulsa for the rehab teachers

  • All the rehab teachers will be housed at this new facility
  • Marilyn Sanders is the Program Manager
  • Included in the center will be:
    • Small apartment
    • Small technology lab
    • Small training lab
    • Recordings for the Blind for reading the newspaper will be housed there
  • They are supposed to move in June 1, 2009

OLBPH’s Digital Recording Studio has had two additional books accepted by the National Library Service (NLS). The quality of books that the NLS accepts is exceptional. This is a huge achievement for the OLBPH staff.

Amy Salmon commented that the Hadley School offers computer keyboarding and basic computer training for blind individuals at no cost to the individual.

It was suggested that a Resource List be developed for technology issues and accessibility.

VS Field Coordinator Report – Jane Nelson, DVS Administrator

We are behind in meeting our closure goal at this time. Jane has asked the counselors to successfully close 100 more cases than last year.

Year to Date:

Active VS Cases in DRS system: 2,290

          Priority Group 1 – 1,315

          Priority Group 2 – 720

          Priority Group 3 – 135

  1. 13       Applications

511    Service status

196    Closed

129    Application status

1        Trial Work Experience

          253    Certified as Eligible

          1,686 Plans written

          112    Job Ready

VS Field Coordinator - Susan Hawkins

49      Application status

1        Trial Work Experience

43      Eligible

637    Service status

12      Job Ready

56      Employed

Total open cases – 800

                   Priority Group 1 – 600

                   Priority Group 2 – 289

VS Field Services Coordinator - Mark Kinnison

  1. 0          Application Status
  2. 10       Eligible

1,049 Service status

100    Job Ready

45      Employed

Total open cases – 1,494

          Priority Group 1 – 821

          Priority Group 2 – 487

          Priority Group 3 – 109

Average length of time of each status is 6.8 months

Acceptance rate is 87%

Average months in service status is 33.2 months

VR Field Coordinator Report – Lori Estep

Year to Date:

          13,877 Cases served

                   618    Closed rehabilitated

                   597    Competitively employed


375    Closed from Application status

                   153    Closed from Delayed status

                   1,229 Closed from Eligibility

                   925    Closed from Service

                   21      Closed from Employment

                             Total closed from other – 2,703

We are on track for Standards and Indicators except 1.1, possibly 1.2. Currently at 46% on 1.2 and we need to be at 55.8%


Active VR Cases – 10,776

          Priority Group 1 – 4,954

          Priority Group 2 – 4,386

          Priority Group 3 – 897

Stimulus dollars will be spent primarily on Priority Group 3 cases. To make the impact that we hope, we will have to achieve 513 case closures with that stimulus money by September 2010. We currently have developed a contract with Galt, a temporary service. We can refer students and clients to the Galt service.  The people we hope to employ through that service with be called Job Developers. We have the following fees established for the Job Developers:

    • No degree – $10 per hour
    • Bachelor’s degree – $13 per hour
    • Master’s degree – $16 per hour
  • We are currently working on a Deaf accessibility project.  Steven Sliger from Eastern Carolina University is a very renowned Deaf Specialist and will be coming to Oklahoma in July to provide some training for us.  
  • Looking into getting video phones for all of the offices

DRS Education Consultant - Kim Osmani

  • VR#29 will utilize stimulus money this summer. Each counselor has targeted two clients to take downtown, stay in a hotel for a few days and work intensely with them on Job Readiness. They will work on resumes, work behaviors, teach them how to use public transportation, go to local businesses, obtain and fill out applications, and shop for interview clothes. The hope is that this will lead to getting interviews and obtaining employment.
  • We are in the process of revising the “Early Alert to Parents” and “The Big Picture” brochures. We hope to have them completed before the next school year begins.
  • This summer we will have training for all of our counselors that are responsible for Transition.

Project Coordinator - Melinda Fruendt

  • In the Workforce arena, we are placing five Benefit Planners in Workforce centers across the state. The date will be June 1, 2009. Jason Price will be over them. 
  • Jean Jones and Marilyn Burr made an outstanding presentation at the Workforce Partnership Conference.

Doug MacMillan reported that Terry Watson has put together a checklist of required accessibility features and has trained the One Stops. Doug will provide this checklist to Theresa Hamrick.

Transition and Employment Report – Anita Eccard, Chair

  • Anita reviewed the written committee report.
  • Kim Osmani commented that she will be attending CSAVR and is now on
    the Transition sub-committee. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 mandated that the Summary of Performance (SOP) needs to be provided to all students on an IEP exiting high school.
  • Planning for the Transition Institute is underway and it will be held September 9-11. The location has not yet been determined.

Legislative Update – Jean Jones, Legislative Information Representative

  • Agencies that received neither cuts nor small increases are Education, Medicaid (Health Care Authority), and Transportation.
  • Transportation’s appropriations bill has gone almost all the way through. Usually there is a figure in that bill for funds to be given to the Public Transit Revolving fund and that isn’t in the bill this year.
  • The Transition Council legislation was to establish a task force related to at risk youth transitioning, which did not pass. There has been a concurrent resolution to establish this task force.
  • The agency was named as participants in a piece of legislation that establishes an aging and disability resource consortium. That is an entity that will function within the Aging Services Division of DHS. The concept is that this consortium will pull together a number of the agencies and programs that deal with both disability and aging and work to develop a single point of entry concept especially for older people with disabilities.
  • DRS may participate in another collaborative project to establish an inner agency group that deals with health information exchange. It includes information exchanged for purposes of health care planning and research as well as electronic medical records.
  • Another piece of legislation that has been signed into law expands the Insure Oklahoma Plan
    • Partially Medicaid funded
    • Help small employers provide insurance to employees
    • There is an income cap
    • Age limit – 40 and under can be covered
    • These types of plans will be exempt from State health insurance plans
  • There is no health insurance coverage for Autism but there is some movement forward in terms of training professionals/behavior analysts and certifying them to work with individuals with Autism.
  • 2-1-1 System – Human/Social Services, a resolution was passed that encourages Congress to provide funding for this system.
    • Disasters
    • Civil emergencies
    • Utility Bill help
    • Food help
  • Federal issues coming up:
    • Workforce Investment Act
    • Rehab Act
    • Health care reform – moving quickly but no known specific provisions at this time.
    • Transportation – we hope a bill can be drafted that is more favorable to public transportation and to funding it; particularly to funding it in Oklahoma.

Milissa Gofourth commented that at the national level transition issues for the Rehabilitation Service Administration is a hot topic. It’s impressive that Oklahoma is being recognized for their efforts. At the Strategic Plan meeting the Transition and Employment committee wanted to stress how the ORC can help with the Transition Councils and the regional groups. We have put in next year’s Strategic Plan for any ORC member to participate with their local, regional transition teams. Kim Osmani will help coordinate that.

SILC Report – Glenda Farnum, SILC Representative

The SILC Council has been somewhat dysfunctional for the last couple of years. One of the issues was whether or not there is a fully constituted SILC – does it have all of its members. Thirteen new SILC members were appointed by the Governor in September of 2008. Four old members were retained to complete their terms. A new executive committee was elected in November and Randall Elston is now the chair. A dispute remains between the governor’s office and the Centers for Independent Living directors regarding the position on the SILC for a CIL director. By federal regulations, that person is to be selected by the CIL directors. The person that our CIL directors selected the governor’s office refused to appoint, and asked the CIL to submit a second name. The CIL directors refused to do that. The SILC did seek guidance from Rehab Services Administration and they suggested that the governor was not bound by the act and he can appoint whoever he wanted to and that the CIL directors should submit a second name. They chose not to do this and so that position is still vacant on the SILC at this time.

The State Plan for Independent Living – A retreat was held in the last part of April. The SILC was trained on the Rehab Act as it pertains to independent living. They were trained with regard to the roles and responsibilities of the SILC and they brought in an expert in that field. Mike O’Brien brought in someone from TACE to help work on building relationships between the CIL’s and the SILC, between DRS and the CIL’s, and DRS and the SILC.

SILC Funding - Director O’Brien has been working with the leadership of the SILC and working with the Department of Central Services and has come up with a way to get funding to the SILC.

ORC Program Manager Report – Theresa Hamrick

  • Theresa reviewed the written program manager report.
  • National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC)
    • This year’s was on customer input and how to gain it. We are creating a Best Practice tool and we hope to have that ready to roll out by the November meeting.
    • Beverly Stafford, head of the National Rehabilitation Association, has asked Marlene Malloy, from Michigan, and me to come and present to NRA on how to get along with your state.
  • Comprehensive Needs Assessment  - A letter plus two reminder cards were sent out this week to closed case clients. Dr. Cory Moore will be presenting at the August meeting on the preliminary findings.
  • Oklahoma Transition Council - The ORC supports the Oklahoma Transition Council and we will be giving some financial support for their regional meetings.

Announcement - Milissa Gofourth

At the Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol, Mike O’Brien presented Theresa Hamrick the agency’s “Advocate of the Year” award, to recognize her for all of her hard work towards advocating for individuals with disabilities.

Other Business – Milissa Gofourth, Chair

The ORC Comments to the State Plan are included in the meeting packet.  The Division Administrators and Director will review all public comments to be addressed prior the State Plan being presented to the Commission at their June meeting.

New Business:

Jane Nelson – Training has begun for staff across the agency entitled “It’s A Blind Blind World”. It is two days of intensive training, much of it the participants are under blindfold, this is to help people understand the issues that individuals with blindness deal with.

Next meeting August 20, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. in the second floor conference room.

Marilyn moves to adjourn and Kathleen seconds.