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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council 
August 25, 2011

Members Present: Glenda Farnum, Marilyn Burr, Milissa Gofourth, Tammie Jones, Connie Lake, Hailey Mathis, Jacki Millspaugh, Mike O’Brien, and Perry Sanders.

Members Absent: Tim Parrish, excused; Nancy Garner, excused; Cindy Gallup, excused; Sterling Krysler, excused; Doug MacMillan Jr., excused; Amy Salmon, excused; Sabrina Ware, excused; Sue Williams, excused.

Associate Members Present: Jean Jones, Kim Osmani

Associate Members Absent: Melinda Fruendt, excused

Others Present: Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator; David Ligon, DRS Chief of Staff; Bill Hayes, DVR Field Coordinator; Goli Dunkle, MSD Administrator; Sidna Madden, SILC Executive Director; Kathleen Reed, DRS Commission Assistant; Larry Bishop, DRS Grant Development Officer; Darrin McDaniel, DRS HRD Training Specialist; Darine Stallings, Interpreter; Patricia Mills, Interpreter.

Council Support: Theresa Hamrick, ORC Programs Manager; Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs; OSU Seretean Wellness Center; Sandra Huffman, DRS/ORC support.

Call to order and Roll Call: Chair, Glenda Farnum called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m. The roll was called and a quorum established.

Consumer Comments/Announcements: None 

Action Items:

May 19, 2011 ORC Quarterly Meeting Minutes: Copies were provided in the August 25, 2011

ORC meeting packet. Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes as presented.

Nomination of Officers: Sue Williams and Sabrina Ware served on the nominating committee. The Slate of Officers were provided in the August 25, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

Election of Officers: Theresa Hamrick read the Slate of Officers. The floor was opened for nominations, hearing none the floor was closed. Motion was made, seconded and passed to elect all nominated officers as presented.

Planning and Program Evaluation Committee - Marilyn Burr, Chair - Tammie Jones, Co-Chair

Policy and Legislative Committee – Tim Parrish, Chair - Hailey Mathis, Co-Chair

Transition and Employment Committee – Jacki Milllspaugh, Chair - Kim Osmani, Co-Chair

Chair, Glenda Farnum and Vice Chair, Connie Lake


Committee Reports: Copies of below committee reports were provided in the August 25, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

Executive Committee Report – Glenda Farnum, Chair

Ms. Farnum reviewed the written ORC Executive Committee Report.

Transition & Employment (T&E) – Theresa Hamrick 

Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written ORC T&E Committee Report.

Policy & Legislative Committee (P&L) – Theresa Hamrick

Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written ORC Policy & Legislative Committee Report

Planning & Program Committee (P&P) – Milissa Gofourth, Committee Chair

Ms. Gofourth reviewed the written ORC Planning & Program Committee Report.

Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Update – Dr. Mike O’Brien, Director

  • Priority Group 3 was temporarily closed on August 15, 2011. They will review every 90 days and take a certain number of people off so there will be continuous movement in that group.
  • They have the largest total case service in almost a decade, they are over 20K clients. On any given day they have 18, 000 or 19,000 active clients. In 2008 they were running between 11,000 and 12, 000 active clients. Average caseloads are 160, the appropriate caseload size is 130.
  • There are about 580,000 people with disabilities in the State of Oklahoma and the agency can afford to serve between 17,500 and 19,000 active cases at any given time depending on what it costs to close a case. Currently case closure costs are back up over $9K which means they have to keep their active cases around 18, 000 .
  • Medical costs are now the number one client service cost. Before making any decisions they are going to review those and will probably stop doing some medical and dental procedures.
  • Between $6M and $12M is allocated but not actually spent. A practice has been instituted for program managers to regularly go through and release dollars. The more dollars released the more people they can transition off priority group 3.
  • DRS is going to buy 100 or 200 computers and put together a computer warehouse instead of doing bids on each item. Computer costs range from $600.00 to almost $5K for essentially the same kind of computer and software just depending on which vendor they bid it from. When a computer is needed it will be packaged and sent out in 48 hours saving time and dollars.
  • All Division Administrator, Superintendent, and Field Coordinator position are filled in every division except one (1).
  • David Ligon is the new Chief of Staff, he works well with the executive team and things are running smoothly. When Dr. O’Brien isn’t around Mr. Ligon is in charge and has the authority to make things happen and keep paperwork moving.
  • Oklahoma is one (1) of five (5) states selected to be part of a national AgrAbility project that will expand how they work with ranchers and farmers across the state.
  • They have a joint project with the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). A counselor IV has been assigned full time at COJAC juvenile facility. The counselor will serve as an advisor on all four (4) of their regional boards and in the strategic planning role with all regions of OJA.
  • The cabinets of Health and Human Services have been combined into a single cabinet. They really don’t have authority over DRS which still operate as an independent department, but they do have authority over all things related to salary and hiring.
  • Regarding federal legislation house and senate bills that are part of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) have both been put on hold. The budget issue is concerning but the cuts they are asking for are in discretionary funds. Although DRS is not discretionary, almost all programs that support DRS are discretionary. Director O’Brien is involved on a national committee negotiating with RSA about what those might be. They did not have any grants this year for education for the master degree programs, they have been notified that the national leadership program is on its final year unless agencies can find a way to pay for it, and migrant farmworkers and projects with industry end September 30th unless they have carryover funds.
  • The workforce legislation requires the public VR program to begin work with transition at age 14, and requires an increase in transition services. If it goes through as it is written Dr. O’Brien’s calculations are that within three (3) years they would be serving exclusively people between the ages of 14 and 24 years of age. Assistant Secretary of Special Education Posny is trying to put together a national taskforce to deal with this issue. Two (2) of the early appointments will be Kim Osmani and Dr. O’Brien.
  • Director O’Brien will be part of a group that will meet with staffers from the Ways and Means Committee sometime in October or November to take a look at the ticket regulation.
  • The Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) is only doing one (1) book this year instead of two (2). This year’s topic is health care and how does it affect people with disabilities. Jason Price from DRS and Michelle Wilson from the Chickasaw Nation are the authors, and Dr. O’Brien is the national chair and editor of the book. The first public presentation and edits will happen in November and the book will be due out in March or April of 2012.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Report – Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator

  • In Tulsa counselors in David White’s unit are averaging about 115 applications and about 109 in Belen Burkhalter’s unit. One (1) counselor in Belen’s unit has over 200 applications In the Muskogee area counselors in Terry Goodson’s unit are averaging about 87 applications. The Tulsa area is still down in terms of closure production but Mr. Kinnison believes next year the Tulsa units will be probably among the higher producing closure areas.
  • Muskogee averages 71 plans per counselor. Jana Woodward’s unit in Oklahoma City is averaging 53 plans, and South Oklahoma City/Norman area counselors are averaging 51 plans.
  • Terry Goodson’s unit is averaging 27 closures per counselor, Sarah Tebow’s unit is averaging 24 closures per counselor, and Lisa Gameson’s unit is averaging 23 closures per counselor. They are faced with is a lot of clients coming through the doors and writing a lot of plans.
  • Kinnison said they are fortunate to have a real good Carl Albert Program and they are in the process of hiring two (2) of Ray Turner’s recommendations for Carl Albert’s. The drawback is that they really don’t have anyone interested in the outlying areas and he thinks they just need to market that a little better, but the program has been very effective for them.
  • At the present time VS has a lending lab, and Terri Williams is working with ABLE Tech to develop one for VR, they hope to start that new partnership in December.
  • They went to Wisconsin in an effort to gain insight on what Wisconsin is doing in terms of AgrAbility and farmers & ranchers cases. Currently DRS serves about 23 or 24 cases and VR staff have been a little cautious on the cost of some cases. A lot of the equipment is expensive but in Wisconsin they have about 100 percent success rate. The objective is to figure out how we can promote this program and get more farmers in the system and help them maintain their employment or improve their employment outcome.
  • The Hispanic unit has been working with the migrant seasonal farmworker program in an effort to increase the referral base and do some outreach. The progress has been slow but they will continue to work on doing a better job of serving the Hispanic population.
  • Staff recently participated in a case review with the Creek Nation Tribal VR Program and received good feedback. They are looking at sending about 25 people to the Oklahoma Tribal VR Conference coming up in September.
  • Mark Kinnison met with the USDA Program out of Stillwater and they were going to give DRS a priority process on many of the jobs they were looking to fill. They had a position in Enid or Stillwater, VR gave a couple of referrals and those referred were not selected. One (1) of our clients was selected for a job with the USDA in Woodward.
  • Clients and counselors attended a Job Club meeting last week in Anadarko. They are looking to fill about 90 federal jobs with salaries starting at $20.00 to $25.00 per hour. They were told veterans would be given first preference and our clients would have preference after that. Five (5) clients have already been offered positions and it looks very promising.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit is about to be fully staffed for the first time in three (3) years. A counselor is transferring to a position there next week, and a tech position has been announced.
  • DVR recently hired one (1) new PM and is in the process of hiring three (3) more.
  • VR continues to work on servant leadership and all VR/VS staff will attend a two (2) day training.
  • They continue to work on the online application, they have hit a stall because of the house bill that may affect the IT department and they are waiting for Alliance to come out.
  • Social Security Reimbursement Unit has topped $1.2M in reimbursements this year, and that is the second time that has happened in 15 years so that is quite an accomplishment. Employees that really do a really good job with these get an incentive. Each time they have a successful closure the counselor receives $400.00 and the tech receives $100.00.
  • This year the Cold Case Unit received 353 referrals and are currently working on 368 cases. They actually located 229 individuals this year, 41 of those have been employed, and 60 were closed due to not being able to locate them. They have had outcomes on about 330 cases and Mr. Kinnison would like to have more referrals sent to the cold case unit this year.

Division of Visual Services Report – Dr. Mike O’Brien, Director

  • Dr. Jones is at the RSA financial meeting. He has been with the agency about 30 days and has been on the road most of that time. He has been sent to new director training, servant leadership training, he’s been working on BEP matters and is now in Washington D.C.

Combined VR/VS Field Coordinator Report – Bill Hayes, DVR Field Coordinator

The DVR and DVS Field Coordinator Reports are both available as is a combined DVR/DVS Field Coordinator Report in the August 25, 2011 ORC meeting packet. Mr. Hayes reviewed the reports.

Legislative Report – Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Officer

  • The Workforce Investment Act reauthorization which includes the rehab act seems to be stalled. Some of the revisions that are in both the house bill which is an actual bill and the senate draft bill which has not really been introduced yet. The senate bill does include additional emphasis on business and employment and working with particularly younger people with disabilities in a much more intensive way with regard to developing employability, career decisions and that sort of thing. If anything happens in the fall with either one of these bills we will least need to be prepared, know what their content is, and what provisions we would want to comment on.
  • Another big reauthorization which may or may not happen is what is often called a Surface Transportation Act. There is a proposal out by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that could have an impact on transportation for people with disabilities. One of the provisions is to take a look at consolidating a number of duplicative transportation programs and it’s possible could impact some of the relatively small programs that affect people with disabilities. The approach the majority of membership of the Transportation Committee in the house is taking is to look at ways to cut, streamline, and consolidate to reduce the expenditures made in the areas of transportation.
  • There are a couple of other bills, one in the house and one in the senate which before have been introduced in previous congresses called Safe and Complete Streets Act. A lot of the disability organizations nationally are especially interested in those two pieces of legislation. A couple of days ago the Oklahoma City area received the distinction of being the 22nd most unsafe large city in the nation for pedestrians. One of the recommendations from the entity that did the study was looking at this particular legislation, Safe and Complete Streets Act

Larry Bishop – Grant Proposal

  • The federal grant recently submitted is a systems change grant offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through their Administration for Children & Families and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) and it requires collaboration between certain mandatory partners. With any systems change grant it is a little more difficult than just applying for money to increase a service area, provide a service or to buy something.
  • The grant was submitted by the National Center for Disability Education and Training at the University of Oklahoma (NCDET) and the money will all go to them to then do the implementation piece of it. The NCDET is able to perform a neutral administrative role and can pull diverse partners together.
  • The purpose of the grant is over a period of five (5) years to access the states systems in order to enhance competitive integrated employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities. The ADD wants to reroute the encouragement of that population from sheltered employment to more competitive and integrated employment.
  • Most of the money from the grant will not go to direct client services, although there is quite a bit of money that will be going for parents and consumer education, and improved teacher education.
  • The grant is only funding six (6) proposals in the country; they understood that at least 30 states indicated their intent to submit a proposal so it will be a highly competitive competition.
  • The hope is that some of the funding would pay for increased participation in things like the Transition Institute, transition training, and to bring more parents and consumers into that process so even though DRS does not receive directly a portion of the funds for consumer services, the benefit is a better prepared consumer when they enter our system that will be more on board with vocational outcomes, and perhaps better exposure to career options and career opportunities.
  • This is a population that requires a fairly expensive type of cost related to their services because in addition to skills training, many of these consumers require other types of job supports.

Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Report – Perry Sanders, SILC Representative

  • Vikki Walls gave a presentation on Emergency Disaster Preparedness, and she attended a symposium in Shawnee.
  • Sidna Madden and Stephen Strickland attended the NCIO. Stephen Strickland will serve on a subcommittee in relationship to transportation technology.
  • Bob Utley talked about Part-B allocations that by the next meeting perhaps will be disseminated to the various centers.
  • Dr. Michael Jones, DVS Administrator was introduced to the SILC.
  • Marilyn Burr gave a report, talked about the consumer needs survey, and the success of the golf tournament. She also talked about CAP participating in rewriting the procedures information, and pulling it more in line with rehabilitation laws.
  • Marilyn and Theresa presented at Langston University, Marilyn on CAP and advocacy and Theresa on the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC).
  • Funding was passed in the amount of $5K to assist with the Advocacy Conference scheduled for September 9, 2011, and $1K for Langston’s Social Justice Symposium on October 7, 2011.

Program Manager Report - Theresa Hamrick:

Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written Program Manager’s report provided in the August 25, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

Other Business 

  • Glenda Farnum announced that the ORC will have some council member appointments coming up upon notification from the Governor’s Office. Sue Williams, Sabrina Ware, and Amy Salmon will be terming off, Ms. Farnum expressed the council’s appreciation for their service to the ORC.
  • Theresa will send out an email to ORC members asking what committee each member would like to serve on in 2012.
  • Later in November you will receive the dates for FY 2012 ORC Quarterly Meetings.

New Business:  None

Closing Announcements:

The next ORC Quarterly Meeting will be Thursday, November 10, 2011.

After lunch the P&P Committee will be meeting.

Adjournment:  11:53 AM