Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#Work4LifeIN: Campaign for Vocational Rehabilitation

Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation presents #Work4LifeIN, a campaign to bring awareness about the importance of employment for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Employment experiences are a key factor in the future success and independence of young people as they prepare to leave high school. However, youth with disabilities often face significant challenges when seeking employment opportunities. Youth with disabilities need employers and other adults in their community who will guide them to see what work they can do for their life and give them opportunities that will help them reach their full employment potential. Please join us in spreading the word that Hoosiers with disabilities are ready and able to work!
Follow @IndianaVR and join the #Work4LifeIN campaign
Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation is teaming up with the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, The Arc of Indiana, Indiana Institute of Disability and Community, INAPSE, INARF, INSOURCE, Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, HANDS in Autism, Outside the Box, Autism Society of Indiana, Adult and Child, schools, and many other key partners to drive a social media campaign, #Work4LifeIN. This campaign is an opportunity for young people with disabilities to tell Indiana why working is important to them and how it improves the quality of their life. Everyone wants to be a part of their community by giving back through their talents.
There are no better voices than those of individuals with disabilities who are working or are interested in work.  It’s easy to be part of #Work4LifeIN!
Download and print the #Work4LifeIN card below, take a photo or video with the card in front of you and then post it with the #Work4LifeIN hashtag to Twitter. The goal is to send a strong message about what work means for young people with disabilities, and to let others know that that young people with disabilities are ready to work, are good workers, and are great for businesses and other employers.
The process is simple:
  1. Download and print the #Work4LifeIN card: #Work4LifeIN (11x 8.5) or#Work4LifeIN (14x8.5)
  2. Dress for success!
  3. Finish the sentence to include something specific to you: “I work 4 _______”.
  4. Get your camera or cell phone ready.
  5. HOLD your #Work4Life sign in front of you (inside the picture frame of your cell phone or camera).
  6. Smile.
  7. Take a photo.
  8. OR create a video, Here are some suggestions for video talking points:Hello my name is __________________
    I work 4 _________________________
    Please join us by posting your #Work4LifeIN video with the reason you work.
  9. Post your photo or video with your #Work4LifeIN sign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #Work4LifeIN,
  10. Share your post with friends and family.

If you have a disability and need help going to work, you may find information aboutIndiana Vocational Rehabilitation on our website www.in.gov/vrs and Twitter @IndianaVR.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alert: Section 8 #Housing to Open Waiting List in #Marion Cty 10.20

While not directly tied to our services, we often get questions about low income housing options for families and individuals with disabilities. In that vein, we share this announcement:

From The Indianapolis Recorder:

The Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) will be opening the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list – commonly known as the Section 8 waiting list – for the first time since 2004, agency officials said.
Section 8, administered by IHA, is a federal voucher program that currently helps more than 8,000 qualified low-income families in Marion County find safe and affordable housing in the private rental market. As long as their housing choice meets reasonable rent requirements, voucher holders pay no more than 30% of their monthly income toward rent and utilities. The Section 8 program subsidizes the rent balance to the property owner.
Due to the limited funding available for the program, there is a waiting list to receive a Section 8 voucher. Space on the current waiting list is limited to 6,000 new applicants, and not all applicants will make the list. As such, spots on the waiting list will be determined by a random lottery to ensure that the process is fair and equitable.
Following is information about the process:
  • The application period will OPEN: Oct. 20, 12 p.m. EST.
  • The application period will CLOSE: Oct. 23, 12 a.m. EST.
  • Beginning Oct. 20, applications can be found online at section8indy2014.org
For those who don’t have access to Internet, IHA will notify and work with library branches, community centers and other locations with public computers to prepare them for the potential of increased traffic.
When the waiting list was last open in 2004, IHA received about 27,000 applications. The number of applications is expected to be even larger this year due to the increase in demand for affordable housing and the ease of the online application process.
“The Housing Choice Voucher is a valuable tool to help provide access to safe, affordable housing for thousands of local families,” said IHA executive director Bud Myers. “We look forward to working with our community partners to help bring this essential service to as many families as we can.
More info about Section 8 can be found here: http://www.in.gov/ihcda/2333.htm

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CMS kicks off effort to help #ACA Marketplace enrollees stay covered

Consumers should come back to HealthCare.gov, reach out to the call center, or visit with an in-person assister to make sure they choose the plan that best meets their needs starting November 15.

WASHINGTON, DC - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to making it as easy as possible for current Health Insurance Marketplace enrollees to renew their coverage for 2015. It is encouraging consumers to come back at the start of Open Enrollment on November 15, update their 2015 application, and compare their options to make sure they enroll in the plan that best meets their budget and health needs for next year. This week, consumers will begin to receive notices from the Federally-facilitated Marketplace in the mail and in their HealthCare.gov accounts, explaining how they can renew their coverage during Open Enrollment.
CMS is working to make sure consumers have the assistance and information they need, this communication is just the beginning of an effort to help consumers stay covered. Importantly, to help simplify the re-enrollment process, when consumers return to HealthCare.gov starting on November 15 and initiate their 2015 application, 90 percent of their online application will already be filled out or pre-populated. In-person assistance will be available to help review an applicant’s options and find a plan that best suits their needs. Also, we are staffing up an additional 1,000 call center representatives this year over last year that will be available to answer questions and walk consumers through the coverage process.
 “It’s important for people to come back to the Marketplace during Open Enrollment, because every year, insurance companies make changes to premiums, cost-sharing and benefits. And with 25 percent more issuers offering coverage in 2015, consumers have more plans to choose from and more issuers are competing to offer a better deal,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “This gives consumers the opportunity to shop and compare plans that may save them more money, offer more services or include more doctors in the network. We want consumers to have the most up-to-date information so they can make the right choice for them and their families.”  
The notices consumers will begin receiving this week explain the renewal process and how they can return to the Marketplace between November 15, 2014, and December 15, 2014, to update their application for next year, shop for the plan that best meets their budget and health needs, and determine if they are eligible for financial assistance for coverage that begins as early as January 1, 2015.
 If consumers do not return to the Marketplace to update their application, they generally will be auto-enrolled in the same plan - with the same amount of advance payment of the premium tax credit and same cost-sharing reductions – as the 2014 plan year. They can change plans during open enrollment throughFebruary 15, with coverage in their new plan starting on the first day of the next or second month depending on when they enroll.
 To help consumers better understand the renewal process, CMS is releasing today the 5 Steps to Staying Covered – to make it as simple as possible for them to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget. The consumer tested 5-step process includes:

1) Review: Plans change, people change – review your coverage and look for a letter from your plan about how your benefits and costs may change next year,
2) Update: Starting November 15, log in and update your 2015 application - make sure your
household income and other information is up-to-date for next year,
3) Compare: Compare your current plan with other plans that are available in your area,
4) Choose: Select the health plan that best fits your budget and health needs, and
5) Enroll: The marketplace opens on November 15, make sure to review, update, compare and choose by December 15 to have any changes take effect on January 1. Contact your plan after you’ve enrolled and make sure you pay your first month’s premium.
The first piece of this education material is available at Marketplace.CMS.gov. Also, CMS will continue to adapt and modify its efforts to reach existing Marketplace consumers over the next weeks and months – using a wide range of outreach strategies including directly through mail, email, digital market efforts, and calls. Serving existing Marketplace customers and keeping them covered is a top priority this open enrollment period.
To learn more about the 5 Steps to Staying Covered, visit:  http://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/5-steps-to-staying-covered.pdf 
For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace

Share Your Voice About The Needs Of #Families In #Indiana

The Maternal and Child Health Division at the Indiana State Department of Health is currently conducting their 5- Year Title V Needs Assessment. An important component of this Needs Assessment is to receive input from partners, stakeholders, and community members to assess the current needs of women, children, and families in Indiana. If you would please take the time to complete this survey and provide details on the needs in your community, it would be greatly appreciated. 

The deadline to complete the survey is November 30, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Clarification of #Respite Services under Family Supports/CIH #Waivers

Family Voices has been receiving calls from families asking if it is allowable for them to be in the home when respite services are being provided. We have confirmed with the state that the family can be in the home. If a provider is telling you that you can not be there during respite, feel free to contact us and we will try to help: 317 944 8982 info@fvindiana.org
You always have the right to choose a different provider as well.

Here is information about respite from the DDRS waiver manual:

Respite Service Definition

Respite Care services means services provided to participants unable to care for themselves  that are furnished on a short-term basis in order to provide temporary relief to those unpaid persons normally providing care. Respite Care can be provided in the participant’s home or place of residence, in the respite caregiver’s home, in a camp setting, in a DDRS approved day habilitation facility, or in a non-private residential setting (such as a respite home). 

Reimbursable Activities

Assistance with toileting and feeding 
Assistance with daily living skills, including assistance with accessing the community and 
community activities 
Assistance with grooming and personal hygiene 
Meal preparation, serving and cleanup 
Administration of medications 
Individual services 
Group services (Unit rate divided by number of participants served)

Activities Not Allowed

Reimbursement for room and board 
Services provided to an participant living in a licensed facility-based setting 
The cost of registration fees or the cost of recreational activities (for example, camp) 
When the service of Structured Family Caregiving is being furnished to the participant 
Other family members (such as siblings of the participant) may not receive care or supervision from the provider while Respite care is being provided/billed for the waiver participant(s)
Respite care shall not be used as day/child care
Respite is not intended to be provided on a continuous, long-term basis as part of daily services that would enable the unpaid caregiver to go to work or to attend school 
Respite care shall not be used to provide service to a participant while the participant is attending school
Respite care may not be used to replace skilled nursing services that should be provided under the Medicaid State Plan
Respite care must not duplicate any other service being provided under the participant’s Plan of Care/Cost Comparison Budget (CCB) 
Services furnished to a minor by a parent(s), step-parent(s), or legal guardian
Services furnished to a participant by the participant’s spouse

Friday, October 3, 2014

Preparing for the #Transition to Adulthood: What Does Your Child Want to Be When He Grows Up?

by Kerry Bonney, health information specialist

A successful transition to adulthood begins early. If you have a young child with special healthcare needs, it may seem a bit preposterous to discuss transition to adulthood while he or she is so young. Regardless of the age of your child, however, it is never too early to start preparing for this transition. 

Our hope for all of our children is for them to be able to live as independently as possible and for them to have a good quality of life. To that end, there are baby steps in a few key areas that we can take along the way that can help ease our child into adulthood.

1) Education - Beginning as early as age 3, you may find yourself seated in a meeting with the school, discussing a 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child. When appropriate your child should attend these case conference meetings. In most cases, by age 10-12, a child will be able to participate and his input should be sought.

Ask questions such as “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and encourage your child to pursue hobbies or interests, which may lead to college opportunities, a job, or a fulfilling hobby.

Most colleges offer post secondary education accommodations. Encourage your child to continue his education, if possible and appropriate. Plan accordingly.

2) Self-advocacy - It is easier for us as caregivers to approach a teacher or healthcare provider, as opposed to allowing the child to voice an issue. And while modeling self-advocacy is important, allow your child to interact with others to obtain what he needs and to speak up for himself. This promotes self-advocacy skills, decision-making skills, and self-esteem. These skills are particularly important in the areas of healthcare and safety.

3) Supports - Encourage your child to participate in clubs, groups, or organizations from an early age. He will learn the value of working with others and realizing goals and discover new interests. These early connections can lead to a fulfilling job or hobby, as well as foster friendships that may be life-long.

4) Independence - Self-care skills, including healthcare needs, learning to ride the bus alone, and checking out items at the library or store can be complex for some children. Break each process that requires multiple steps into small steps for your child and concentrate on working on the skills one at a time. Praise him for his accomplishment as he masters each step.

Focus on strengths and abilities of your child at each age, keeping in mind that the goal for him is to live as independently as possible as an adult. For more tips and an age-specific guide, see this guide from Delaware Family-to-Family: Transition Timeline for Children and Adolescents with Special Healthcare Needs

We also have a youtube video about transition:

Family Voices Indiana offers numerous resources for you and your child to transition successfully. Please contact us if you would like further information regarding transition or assistance with the process. 317 944 8982 info@fvindiana.org


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Community Integration and Habilitation #Waiver Renewal

From DDRS:

From: Nicole Norvell, Director, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services 
Re: Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver Renewal 
Date: October 1, 2014

Effective October 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has approved the state of Indiana’s request to renew the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver (CIH), which is administered by the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS).

The CIH renewal also includes the first Preliminary Transition plan required by CMS to ensure that the Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) programs offered by the state follow CMS’ final rule on HCBS settings, CMS-2249 & CMS-2296, published January 16, 2014. For more information about the CIH Waiver or the CIH Waiver transition plan, please visit the DDRS website. 

Changes that were approved in the CIH Waiver renewal, IN.0378.R03.00, include: 
 Quality Improvement strategies throughout the application reflect changes required per CMS directives as well as clarifications of current practices and data sources within the State. Quality Improvement under Appendices G and I contains additional performance measures for the new sub-assurances
 The removal of references to “mental retardation” replaced with “Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (IID)” 
 Details on FSSA as the single state Medicaid Agency and the current roles and revised organizational structure of the State Medicaid Agency within the Single State Medicaid Agency. 
 DDRS posted Home and Community-Based Settings Waiver Transition Plan for public comment and the comments were summarized and incorporated within the CIH waiver renewal. 
 Level of Care no longer requires ongoing confirmation of a diagnosis after the initial enrollment into the waiver. 

- Monthly reporting requirements were changed to quarterly reporting requirements for providers
 HCBS Taxonomy of services are added to each service, as required by CMS
 Clarification was added to current roles, responsibilities and processes for incident reporting, restraints, restrictive interventions, and prohibition of seclusion, medication management and administration, and state oversight responsibilities. 
 Supplemental or Enhanced Payments - Removed

Services changes:
 The requirement for a minimum of three hours is removed from Adult Day Services
 Case Management - Added accreditation requirement and a revised requirement that case notes need to be at least monthly (no longer weekly) or more often as encounters occur.
 Community Transition Funds – now allowable with– Individual (CHIO) and Structured Family Caregiving (SFC)
 Music Therapy – added ability to render in groups and divide billing unit rate among the total number in group
 Recreational Therapy – added ability to render in groups and divide billing unit rate among the total number in group
 Residential Habilitation and Support (RHS) Level 3 – Removed
 Structured Family Caregiving - now allows legal guardian to provide the service and removed requirement that daily notes be electronic
 Wellness Coordination – change name of “Risk Mitigation Tool” to “State-approved risk assessment tool”

The Approved Services within the CIH Waiver are:
 Adult Day Services
 Behavioral Support Services 
 Case Management
 Community-Based Habilitation (Group & Individual)
 Community Transition
 Electronic Monitoring
 Environmental Modifications
 Facility Based Support 
 Facility Based Habilitation (Group & Individual)
 Family and Caregiver Training
 Intensive Behavioral Intervention
 Music Therapy
 Occupational Therapy
 Personal Emergency Response System 
 Physical Therapy
 Pre-Vocational Services
 Psychological Therapy
 Recreational Therapy
 Rent & Food for Unrelated Live-In Caregiver
 Residential Habilitation and Support
 Respite 
 Specialized Medical Equipment and Supplies
 Speech/Language Therapy
 Structured Family Caregiving
 Supported Employment Follow Along
 Transportation
 Wellness Coordination and
 Workplace Assistance