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The Advocare – Fall 2002


Contents

Message from the Executive Director

Since the last edition of the Advocare, WVA has continued to develop and enhance its capacity to provide quality services to our clients. Recent developments include significant investments in information technology. We are currently installing a new server that we hope will increase reliability and facilitate internet access. Staff should see an improvement in speed of access and information sharing. Clients, providers, and advocacy partners should also be able to more effectively communicate with staff at WVA.

We also acquired additional office space that should improve efficiency and staff morale. The Board also adopted a new pay plan as well as a 5 % cost of living increase for all employees. Both were long overdue. We also have restructured our Intake Advocacy Program so, once bugs are worked out, it should provide more responsive service to all WVA clients. We are currently involved in a major revision to our Case Handling and Procedures Manual that includes significantly updated sections regarding litigation activities which integrates more of what we do into a team based service delivery component.

While there is much more to do, we are striving to become more efficient and more effective everyday.

Benjamin H. vs. Ohl Updates

As many of you know, WVA is co-counsel for the Benjamin H. case that involves the Title XIX Home and Community Based Waiver waiting list. It has come to our attention that all of the Title XIX Waiver slots allotted for this fiscal year have been disbursed by the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (BHHF). According to sources at the BHHF, there are approximately 175 individuals on a Waiver waiting list awaiting a slot and service provision. According to the Orders in the case, individuals who have been found eligible to receive a slot cannot remain on a list for longer than 90 days. Further, should this occur, all parties in the case would meet and discuss possible resolutions.

The parties to the case have had several meetings to discuss issues surrounding this case, the Orders, and potential resolution. As a result of these meetings, BHHF advised that they had begun to utilize the appropriate forms to notify applicants of their ineligibility in accordance with the Orders in the case. These forms outline the specific reasons why BHHF denied eligibility. Also, the parties discussed issues surrounding timelines for the submission of additional information and requests for reconsideration of eligibility by the BHHF to be limited to three weeks prior to any previously scheduled Medicaid Fair Hearing. This means if WVA represents an individual who has exercised their procedural rights and has requested a Medicaid Fair Hearing that any additional information utilized for the reconsideration of eligibility for our clients must be submitted to the BHHF three weeks prior to any hearing. This will allow both parties ample time to review any information prior to the hearing dates. According to sources at BHHF, they have submitted a request for an additional 600 waiver slots, as part of an improvement package, for the budget request for next fiscal year. This would mean that these slots, if approved, would be available on July 1, 2003.

Lastly, the parties could not come to an agreement relative to the issues of the lack of additional waiver slots for this fiscal year or any resolution suitable to meet the needs of individuals who are eligible for Title XIX Waiver services in West Virginia. This issue may have to be resolved by Judge Chambers in Federal Court, who retains jurisdiction over the case.

WVA Files Suit to Protect Access to Shawnee Hills Records

The trustee in the Shawnee Hills bankruptcy and DHHR have proposed to the bankruptcy judge that all the records of former clients be destroyed at the end of November 2002. This being after notices are published in the Charleston and Huntington newspapers for three consecutive Sundays stating that any former client could request and receive his or her records. WVA filed an objection in the proceeding to this proposal, and Judge Pearson announced his intention to sustain the objection and to abandon the records to DHHR, subject to consideration of any new plan to handle the records. An order was entered sustaining the objection. DHHR is currently exploring other alternatives to the previous proposed.

Need Assistive Technology?

Have you heard about the West Virginia Assistive Technology Related Revolving Loan Fund for Persons with Disabilities? The Fund allows a person with a disability to borrow from $500 to $5,000 repayable in up to 4 years at 4% interest to purchase assistive technology. Virtually any item, device or service can be assistive technology. However, the assistive technology must be linked to the disability of the person. The requirements for receiving a loan are less stringent than those of lending institutions, and take into consideration financial hardships such as disability related expenses. Credit checks are performed but a lack of established credit will not hinder the approval of a loan.

A person with a disability must fill out a loan application and submit it to the loan fund board. There is a $20.00 fee for processing the application.

Any questions regarding the Revolving Loan Fund, including requests for applications, can be referred to Judy Allen or Bev Binford at the Office of Assistive Technology at the West Virginia Rehabilitation Center, 800–642–8207.

Approved Budget for Fiscal Year 2002—2003

Agency-Wide Period: 10/01/2002–09/30/2003
Item Amount
Fy 02–03 Grants (W/ 1.5% Increase) $1,177,301
Unaudited Fy 02 Carryover $695,000
Less: Reserves $(125,000)
Total Funds $1,747,301
Salaries/Fringes $1,128,094
Travel $53,082
Training $14,013
Board Of Directors $12,439
Contracts $15,000
Comp Sys Mgmt $2,000
Telephone $26,720
Postage $6,800
Office Supplies $18,545
Print/Duplicate $10,816
Publications/Newsletter $4,522
Audit $8,350
Liability Ins $10,500
Equipment $15,000
Equip Rental $14,000
Fac Rental $60,000
Litigation Exp $36,900
Dues $10,582
Total $1,447,363
Fy 02–03 Carryover $299,938

Voting Rights Legislation Passes

Congress recently passed new voting rights legislation that has tremendous opportunities for people with disabilities. Among other provisions this new legislation provides enhanced opportunities for greater access to voting for people with disabilities. On top of new access requirements Congress approved funding for P&A’s across the country to help assure that the rights of people with disabilities are fully protected and enhanced. This is an important addition to WVA’s arsenal of tools to protect voting rights of our clients.

The right to free and unobstructed access to voting is critical to participation in the right to vote. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democratic values and the freedom guaranteed under the Constitution. This is certainly a victory for all Americans, but particularly to people with disabilities. As the next election approaches, please contact WVA should you encounter any barriers while you exercise your right to vote.

Priorities and Objectives – Fiscal Year 2003

Introduction

After accepting statewide public comment, our Board of Directors recently adopted the West Virginia Advocates Priorities and Objectives for fiscal year 2003. These Priorities and Objectives will allow WVA to focus our advocacy efforts on specific areas of need and provide us with an opportunity to measure outcomes on behalf of those clients we serve. We look forward to providing quality advocacy services to individuals with disabilities across West Virginia in the upcoming year.

Should you have any questions regarding these Priorities and Objectives, please contact our agency for further clarification.

Priorities and Objectives

  1. Abuse/NeglectPeople with disabilities are free from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
    1. Effective Investigation System:
      1. WVA will conduct at least 5 investigations of allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Investigations will be selected where there has been a death with probable cause to believe there has been abuse, where there is likelihood of death or grave harm, or where there are multiple allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation against the same facility or provider. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
      2. WVA will work collaboratively with other agencies to promote a more effective state system for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of persons with disabilities. Protection and Advocacy (P&A) staff will participate in the Interagency Meeting in an effort to identify and resolve systemic issues. (PAIR, PAIMI, PADD)
  2. Community Based Supports and ServicesAdequate community-based services and supports are available based on need, appropriate to the individual, provided by qualified agencies/individuals, consumer-controlled, and that promote independence, productivity, inclusion, and community integration.
    1. Assuring Appropriate Services: Appropriate community-based services are available to persons with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental illness.
      1. WVA staff will facilitate the training of at least 50 clients, guardians, or family members on how to utilize the Individual Program Planning (IPP) process. (PADD, PAIMI)
      2. WVA staff will obtain (or retain) an appropriate individual service plan through individual case representation for at least 20 clients concerning individual program planning (IPP) disputes and appeals involving failure to identify and/or implement behavioral issues or inclusion/integration issues, in order to improve service planning processes. During this process, WVA will develop several “template” IPPs to share with and empower consumers and families. (PADD, PAIMI)
      3. WVA staff will obtain appropriate services for at least 5 individuals who have both a developmental disability and a mental illness where neither (DD or MI) system provides adequate services nor where there is significant opportunity to impact those systems. (PADD, PAIMI)
      4. Pursuant to Hartley Court Orders, WVA staff will participate on the Committee for the Ombudsman to identify, review and resolve systemic issues for persons with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and mental illness. (PADD, PAIMI)
      5. WVA will conduct systemic and selected individual advocacy for at least 15 individuals to address failures to provide assistive technology devices and supports to people who live in their homes and communities. (PAAT)
    2. Access to Public Facilities and Services: People with disabilities will have access to individualized services and supports to enable them to live, work and have access to leisure activities in the least restrictive environment.
      1. WVA will provide selected individual advocacy for at least 15 individuals to improve access to housing under the Fair Housing Act. (PAIR,PAIMI)
      2. WVA will provide systemic and individual advocacy for at least 30 individuals to increase inclusion and improve access to facilities, programs and other establishments open to the public by removing physical and programmatic barriers. (PAIR)
      3. WVA will collaborate with the WV Human Rights Commission to conduct public access investigations. (PAIR)
    3. Access to Integrated Community Placements: Timely access to community-based services is provided to persons currently in too restrictive settings, to persons in appropriate settings but at significant risk of change of placement into overly restrictive settings, or who are not currently receiving services.
      1. Eliminate the use of arbitrary eligibility criteria for Title XIX MR/DD Waiver through representation in 15 individual cases. Cases with the potential for systems change will be targeted. (PADD)
      2. WVA staff will participate on the Consumer Oversight Commission relative to Transition to Inclusive Communities as recommended by the WV Olmstead Task Force. This Commission is charged with promoting effective systems change and has it’s own unique goals and objectives. (PAIR, PADD)
      3. WVA staff will assess the Potomac Center, Chestnut Ridge and 8_ nursing homes in an effort to determine whether residents with disabilities are inappropriately institutionalized. Assist clients with filing complaints with the Office of Civil Rights where appropriate. (PAIR, PADD, PAIMI)
      4. WVA will assist at least 20 residents of state operated mental health facilities to receive appropriate discharge planning in order to promote systemic change. (PAIMI)
      5. Represent at least 5 residents in youth detention facilities and regional jails where their rights to special education, medical treatment or mental health (including psychiatric emergency and psychotropic medications) services have been violated and where there is significant potential for changing facility policy or practice. (PAIR, PAIMI)
  3. EducationStudents with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities in their neighborhood schools and reach their planned educational goals based on individual needs.
    1. Suspension/Expulsion: Students with disabilities are not suspended, expelled, or excluded from public schools due to failure to identify special education needs or due to inadequate or inappropriate behavioral services. Students with disabilities receive timely evaluations under IDEA and Section 504 according to their individual needs.
      1. Obtain or retain appropriate individual education services, through individual case representation for at least 25 students with disabilities who have been excluded from services through suspension, expulsion, significantly shortened school day, homebound services, failure to evaluate or other mechanisms. At least 25% of these cases should be from outside Kanawha County. Cases with the potential for systems change will be targeted. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
      2. Provide individual information or facilitate group training to at least 100 consumers/families regarding rights and responsibilities under IDEA and Section 504 regarding discipline and behavioral services. (PAIR, PAIMI, PADD)
      3. Coordinate with other advocacy groups to exchange training information, to avoid training duplication, to collaborate on joint trainings, and to increase agency resources through shared resources. (PADD, PAIMI, PAIR)
    2. Auxiliary Aids and Services: Students with disabilities are provided with auxiliary aids and services that they need, including Assistive Technology devices and services.
      1. Obtain appropriate Assistive Technology for at least 15 students with disabilities where the need is clear but professional assessment has not been done, or services have not been provided in a timely manner despite recommendations in an assessment. (PAAT)
      2. Facilitate at least one training, to reach at least 50_ consumers/families, on the topic of Assistive Technology devices and related services under IDEA and Section 504, and other funding sources. (PAAT)
      3. Expand access to Assistive Technology in schools by participating in the WVATS Board of the WVUCED and State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to provide input and information regarding the need of auxiliary aids and services. (PAAT)
      4. Obtain medically necessary assistive devices for at least 5 people with disabilities. (PAAT)
    3. Effective Monitoring and Compliance of Local Districts (LEA) by the State Department of Education: The State Department of Education (SDE) will enforce the federal law and state standards through effective monitoring and follow-through to ensure Local Education Agencies’ compliance.
      1. Collaborate with LEAs and the State Department of Education (SDE) to address inappropriate suspensions, expulsions and exclusions from appropriate public education. Cases with the potential for systems change will be targeted. (PAIR, PAIMI, PADD)
      2. Take action, if necessary, against the State Department of Education for failure to enforce federal and state law and regulations concerning special education in at least 2 Local Education Agencies. Cases with the potential for systems change will be targeted. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
      3. WVA will represent at least 2 individuals, or a class of individuals, who have been placed in segregated educational settings due to their individual diagnosis. Cases with the potential for systems change will be targeted. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
  4. Employment and RehabilitationPersons with disabilities are aware of their rights to services under the Rehabilitation Act and receive vocational rehabilitation services for which they are eligible.
    1. Integrated Employment: Adults in service systems participate in independent or supported employment rather than in sheltered employment or day activity settings.
      1. Represent at least 15 WV Division of Rehabilitation Services eligible individuals who are not receiving supported employment because it is not on their IEP/IPP/IPE or their IEP/IPP/IPE is not being implemented. (CAP)
    2. Vocational Rehabilitation Eligibility and Services: Eligibility determinations by public vocational rehabilitation programs are made consistent with the provisions of the re-authorized Rehabilitation Act, without regard to unallowable factors, and maximize the number of persons served. Recipients of VR or Independent Living services receive the full array of available services required to achieve their vocational or independent living goals.
      1. Represent at least 15 individuals who have been subjected to delays in eligibility determinations or receipt of services, due to mental illness. (CAP)
      2. Attend the Workforce Development Board and State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) at the state level to meet the requirement for Client Assistance Program (CAP) participation, also to monitor systemic issues and resolution. (CAP)
      3. Obtain appropriate Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) or Independent Living Plans reflecting consumer choice for a minimum of 20 individuals who have been denied appropriate services or goals. (CAP)
      4. Represent at least 15 clients of the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) whose cases have been closed due to an arbitrary determination by their counselor. (CAP)
      5. Facilitate new student training for at least 80 individuals who are entering the Rehab Center to ensure and inform new students of their right to choices, services and supports in the LRE. (CAP)
    3. School to Work Transition: Students with disabilities have the right to plan for long term rehabilitation goals, including goals to enable them to live independently before the student leaves a school setting and to facilitate the transition to vocational rehabilitation.
      1. Increase DRS involvement in planning services for students in transition from school to work or higher education in at least one county high school where there has been a serious concern through training or the use of systemic advocacy. (PADD, PAIR, PAIMI)
    4. Return to Work: Recipients of SSI/SSDI receive appropriate training at the qualified provider of their choice, and maintain health care coverage when securing employment.
      1. Provide information and referral and technical assistance to at least _20 beneficiaries seeking vocational rehabilitation services, employment services and other support services from employment networks. (PABSS)
      2. Provide consultation to and representation on behalf of 10 _ beneficiaries with disabilities who are facing a barrier to work, to remove those barriers. (PABSS)
      3. Provide information and referral to Social Security Beneficiaries with disabilities about work incentives and employment building. Information and Referrals will include information regarding types of services and assistance that may be available to assist beneficiaries in securing or regaining gainful employment and referrals to the Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach program. (PABSS)
      4. Facilitate training to at least 70 individuals, agency representatives, beneficiaries of Social Security and/or Ticket to Work recipients when available, and community providers to inform about the availability and goals of the PABSS program. (PABSS)
      5. Collaborate with other disability organizations to break down barriers to employment services in the State. (PABSS)

Donated Wheelchairs

Through a generous donation from the Wheelchair Foundation, West Virginia received 240 manual wheelchairs to be distributed to individuals who need a wheelchair and have no other means of obtaining one. The wheelchairs come in two sizes for children (12“ and 14”) and three adult sizes (16“, 18” and 20″). No modifications can or will be made to these chairs. They will be given as is. If an individual doesn’t know the size of the chair he/she needs, the West Virginia Medical Equipment Suppliers Association has agreed to do free fittings.

The only eligibility requirement is that there be no other source from which the individual can obtain a wheelchair. The individual must self-certify that there are no other resources available. When possible, the individual is encouraged to assist in the arrangements of picking up the chair.

Recipients of these wheelchairs do not have to be WVDRS clients.

The distribution of these chairs is a cooperative effort with WVDRS, DHHR, Centers for Independent Living (CIL), the Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Bureau for Senior Services providing support and publicity for this effort. Applications, a flyer and additional procedural information will be sent to each WVDRS office for general informational purposes.

Wheelchairs have been shipped to the following locations for distribution: Appalachian C IL, Northern WV CIL, Mountain State CIL (Huntington and Beckley) and the Moorefield Action Center.

Funding

THE ADVOCARE is published quarterly by the West Virginia Advocates. Publication of news items and articles does not imply endorsement by the Editor, the West Virginia Advocates, the Board of Directors or its individual members. Funding for THE ADVOCARE is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Social Security Administration. Letters to the Editor and news items should be sent to WVA, Litton Building, 4th Floor, 1207 Quarrier Street, Charleston, WV 25301 or contact@wvadvocates.org.

Downloads

The Advocare – Fall 2002 (PDF)