DEED / Vocational Rehabilitation Services
VRS Community Rehabilitation Program Advisory Committee
Friday, June 9, 2017 – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
VRS Woodbury Office
VRS CRP Advisory Committee – Meeting on June 9, 2017
Key Messages for the Greater Vocational Rehabilitation Community:
Note: Key Messages are first distributed via .govdelivery and then posted on the DEED website
- VRS staff is in the process of reviewing applicationsand securing the required signatures for new Professional and Technical Services Master (P/T) Contracts effective July 1, 2017.The advisory committee provided positive feedback on the online application process.They particularly appreciated having key definitions embedded.Definitions are being matched from Policy and Guidance into the new P/T contracts to help reduce confusion and enhance consistency in service authorizations.
- VRS provided information on the new contracts as part of webinars on May 2nd and June 7th. Information from the webinars isavailable at:
- The Advisory Committee provided a recommendation to the DHS/MDE/VRS communication work group that another round of communication and training be distributed for families, providers, schools, and county case managers regarding services connected to Section 511 and youth.In particular, the committee recommends communication tools that answer common questions/points of confusion such as:
- Question: what happens for students who are finishing school and are only interested in commensurate wage work?
- Question: what is the path for students who are only interested in recreational and leisure programming?
- Amanda Jensen-Stahl, VRS, is a member of the DHS/MDE/VRS communication work group and agreed to bring the recommendation to the work group to incorporate into their work plan which is preparing information and training for this fall.Amanda agreed to be a point of contact for input into this communication work.In addition, the advisory agreed to send her examples of real life success stories of people moving into competitive, integrated employment from individuals, family members and employer perspectives’ to help communicate the positive things that are happening around the state in the midst of the system change.
- VRS Director Kim Peck provided an update on the legislative session:
- During the final hours of negotiation, a commitment was made to support the Governor’s recommendation to increase the VR appropriation by $3.5M each year of the biennium to help offset unfunded WIOA mandates.
- The increase will also help keep Category 1 open as well as support resources to provide financial education and benefits planning.VRS is working in partnership with Centers for Independent Living and the DHS Disability Linkage Line to build a better infrastructure for these critical services to help more people reduce/end SSD/SSDI participation and move into competitive, integrated employment.
- VRS is experiencing an increase in both number of applications and percentage of those found eligible for Category 1 services (~92% of applications).
- Kim thanked the advisory committee for their help in VR advocacy and in engaging support for the increased appropriation from numerous impacted entities.
- DHS Employment Planning and Resource Coordinator Ryan Merz provided an update on the legislative session:
- Three proposed new employment services passed in this legislative session.The three services are: Exploration, Development and Support.
- Exploration services are focused on helping people make informed decisions on services for competitive, integrated employment.
- Development services occur after informed choice and are designed to help an individual who would like to get a job. These services may includelearning to use transportation to get to a job, resume building, job trials,etc.
- Support services will replace SES and can be used by individuals through one to one services as well as for enclave services with one to up to six people served.
- DHS also received approvals for higher reimbursement rates to reflect the level of skills needed to deliver the new services.
- Next step having passed the legislature is for DHS to submit a waiver amendment to CMS no later than October 1.DHS will offer a public comment period on the waiver amendment language late summer/early fall.If all goes well with CMS approval processes, the amendment could become effective as early asJanuary 2018.
- The advisory committee discussed concerns about the variation in interpretation of waivers.Recognizing individual county rights to determine local utilization of county funds, they also discussed the inconsistent use of county funds for people with disabilities and the difficulties it presents to individuals, families, and providers in securing resources for employment services.
- The value of a county commitment and a clear county “liaison” was identified as a best practice for assisting with people into more competitive, integrated employment as part of a recent Lessons Learned Session for the VRS Way to Work Pilot Project Partnership.The Way to Work Pilot which included VRS, ProActInc, Dakota County and DHS is wrapping up on June 30 and has successfully placed 30 individuals to date into completive, integrated employment from center based services.
- One of the largest remaining questions involves the Medicaid ‘last dollar in’ issue which is becoming increasing important now that 92% of VR applications are eligible for Category 1 and VR capacity is being overwhelmed by the current mandates for VR eligibility determination.The Employment Practices group has begun working on policy and guidance to help resolve the questions and issues associated with the ‘last dollar in’ quandary.
- As VRS continues to understand and implement WIOA at the same time that DHS works to understand and implement the new employment services, there is an interagency commitment and expectation to work together recognizing we are part of ‘one system’.We anticipate the benefits of this interagency effort to result in greater alignment in requirements, language/definitions, competencies, reimbursement rates, CARF/245D accreditation/licensing, and resolution of the Medicaid ‘last dollar in’ issue.
- Questions?Contact your local VRS staff or d we’ll do our best to help.
* End of Key Messages