Thursday, September 18, 2014

English language training targeted to help families of children with special medical needs

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis center and a local community organization are co-recipients of a Community Health Engagement Program grant of nearly $23,000 to apply academic research to solve a community health issue.
In the pilot project, "Targeted Language Instruction for Limited English Proficiency Latino Families of Infants with Special Needs," the International Center for Intercultural Communication at IUPUI and Family Voices Indiana will develop a program to teach health-related English to Spanish-speaking parents of infants with special medical needs. The International Center for Intercultural Communication, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, provides educational expertise in English for Specific Purposes. Family Voices Indiana serves families of children with special health care needs.
As project partners, ICIC and Family Voices Indiana will collaborate to develop and facilitate a targeted English-language curriculum for families with children admitted to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
"This targeted language instruction is different from the general English language classes typically offered to immigrant populations," said Ulla Connor, director of ICIC, Chancellor’s Professor of English, and the Barbara E. and Karl R. Zimmer Chair in Intercultural Communication. "ESP identifies and provides highly specialized language skills needed for communication in particular scenarios to specific communities of learners with similar goals and proficiency levels. ESP courses generally revolve around role-playing, targeted vocabulary and limited time periods in which to achieve language objectives."
Dr. Diane Lorant, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, has been instrumental in identifying the need for and participating in the development of this project.
"This type of program was successfully implemented with parents in a local school to help with their children’s education; however it has not previously been offered to help parents with their children’s medical needs," Lorant said. "The skills parents need include not only instruction on how to communicate with their children's health care providers, but also how to read prescription bottle labels, arrange doctor's appointments and read bus schedules so they can travel to these appointments."
The ICIC/Family Voices Indiana project was one of four selected from the 15 proposals submitted for the 2014-15 awards from Community Health Engagement Program, part of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
"This project has the potential to serve as a nationwide model giving non-English-speaking parents the tools they need to successfully participate in the medical care and treatment of their children," said Rylin Rodgers, director of Family Voices Indiana.
 About the International Center for Intercultural Communication
 The International Center for Intercultural Communication is an internationally recognized leader in English for Special Purposes education and research. ICIC developed the first workforce ESP program in Indiana and also designed a workplace English-language curriculum for the state's "English Works" initiative. The center also offers ESP education for medical professionals in the schools of medicine and dentistry on the IUPUI campus.
 About Family Voices Indiana
Family Voices Indiana is the Family-to-Family Health Information Center for Indiana. Funded by Health Research and Services Administration, Family-to-Family Health centers are nonprofit, family-staffed organizations that help families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them. Family Voices Indiana staff are uniquely qualified to help target families because they are parents of children and youths with special health care needs.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Legislation Reauthorizing Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Passes Senate #EMSC

 EMSC Has Helped Meet the Unique Needs of Pediatric Patients for 30 Years
Nearly 26 Million Children and Adolescents Require Emergency Care Annually

Washington, DC- Today U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that their bill to reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program has passed the Senate. The legislation has made great strides to make sure that the entire spectrum of emergency medical services (EMS) can be provided to children and adolescents no matter where they live, attend school, or travel. The program is in its 30th year and is the only Federal program dedicated to improving emergency medical care for children.

“Children present unique medical challenges and require specialized care, and the EMSC program continues to give medical personnel many of the tools they need to treat some of our country’s most vulnerable patients,” Senator Hatch said. “I’ve been proud to support the EMSC program over the past 30 years and work with Sen. Casey and others to make it the widespread success it is today.”

“When it comes to medical treatment, children are not small adults, and the EMSC program recognizes the special care and attention they deserve,” said Senator Casey. “This low-cost program has saved the lives of countless children and adolescents in the past 30 years, and I urge the House to take up the Senate bill and pass it.”
Pediatric patients have important physical, developmental, and mental differences from adults.  From smaller-sized medical equipment to different dosage requirements for medicine, the EMSC program helps medical professionals meet the unique needs of pediatric patients and provide state of the art emergency medical care for ill and injured children and adolescents.  Since the program was created in 1984, pediatric injury-related death rates have been reduced by more than 40 percent. 

There are approximately 26,000,000 child and adolescent visits to the Nation’s emergency departments each year.  Approximately 90 percent of children requiring emergency care are seen in general hospitals, not in free standing children’s hospitals, with one-quarter to one-third of the patients being seen in hospitals with no separate pediatric ward.

EMSC Program Components

  • State Partnership Grants provide states with resources to conduct assessments of their EMSC capabilities; identify gaps; and establish appropriate standards, training and resources to ensure appropriate emergency care is available to meet the needs of pediatric patients.  All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have received EMSC funding under this grant program.

  • Targeted Issue Grants are awarded to eligible applicants to help address issues of national significance that extend beyond State boundaries. Typically, these grants result in new products or resources, or show the feasibility of new methods, policies, or practices.

  • The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) is a research infrastructure that facilitates the collaboration of pediatric researchers across the nation in order to perform statistically-valid pediatric emergency research with national utility and application.

  • State Partnership Regionalization of Care (SPROC) grants establish agreements and ultimately implement a regionalized healthcare delivery system to get the right resources to the right patient at the right time.

  • The National Resource Center, at Children’s National Medical Center, maintains the EMSC Program’s professional partnerships with organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and other related professional organizations.  The National Resource Center also helps to disseminate information and supports a special collaboration with the Family Advisory Network.

  • The National EMS for Children Data Analysis Resource Center (NEDARC)assists grantees in data collection, analysis and dissemination.

  • The National Pediatric Readiness Project is an initiative that measures emergency department pediatric readiness, works to build awareness of national pediatric guidelines on emergency care, and works to improve/increase pediatric competency and capacity within individual hospitals.


New Medicaid #Waiver Ombudsman

To: Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Stakeholders
From: Nicole Norvell, Director
Re: Medicaid Wavier Ombudsman
Date: September 12, 2014

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) is pleased to announce that Matt
Rodway will be fulfilling the role of the Statewide Waiver Ombudsman in accordance with
Indiana Code 12-11-13, effective September 15, 2014. Matt has been with DDRS for 12 years in
the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) having served as a Service
Coordinator, a District Manager, Field Services Director and most recently Director of Client

Prior to joining BDDS Matt worked for varying BDDS providers giving supports to Medicaid
waiver clients as well as Supported Group Living clients. Matt’s past experience and expertise
will provide invaluable support to all of the DDRS clients and families.

Matt can be reached toll free at 1-800-622-4484 or at 317-503-1217.

Please Support Family Voices Indiana

Many parents-to-be read What to Expect when You’re Expecting in the months leading up to their baby’s birth. But for some, they receive the unexpected. Their baby is born months too early, or with a cleft palate, or with cerebral palsy. These parents aren’t sure how they are going to pay the mounting bills; they aren't sure where to turn for help; they feel all alone, like no one understands….

That’s when Family Voices Indiana can help. The family to family health information center is staffed with families who have walked this path; families who have children with similar needs; families who are trained to help other families who need resources and support.

Your tax-deductible donation to Family Voices Indiana can help us reach the approximately 300,000 children with special health care needs in our state. You can make a difference in the life of a family who is embracing the unexpected and is creating the best possible life for their child.

You can learn more about Family Voices Indiana, and make an online donation here.

Also, United Way has a designated donation program, where you can direct your donation to a 501(c)3 health and human service organization.  To select Family Voices Indiana for your designated donation, here is the information you will need:

Name: Family to Family Inc.
Phone: 317 944 8982
address 445 N Pennsylvania, Suite 941
Indianapolis IN 46204
Federal ID:272226445

If you’d prefer, you can mail your donation to:

Family Voices Indiana c/o Humphrey CPA Group 
445 N Pennsylvania, Suite 941
Indianapolis IN 46204

You can also help by sharing our website and contact information ( 317 944 8982) with others who might be seeking assistance.

Thank you for your support.

Family Voices Indiana

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Direct Support Professional Recognition Week #DSP

September 9, 2014

Dear Fellow Hoosiers:

This week is Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week. I would like to recognize and 
thank all of the Direct Support Professionals who support individuals with intellectual and 
developmental disabilities throughout the State of Indiana. These Hoosiers have a heart for 
service and come alongside those with disabilities in our communities every day. Thanks to 
their dedication and commitment, people with disabilities in Indiana receive the support and 
services they so deserve.

As many of you know and appreciate, Direct Support Professionals play several roles in 
supporting the individuals served by the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services. 
Direct Support Professionals are mentors, confidantes, teachers, motivators, facilitators, and 
advocates who empower individuals with disabilities to live successfully in the communities 
they choose. 

So this week and every week, we thank all of the Direct Support Professionals who do so 
much to improve the lives of our fellow Hoosiers living with intellectual and developmental 


Michael R. Pence
Governor of Indiana

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mental Health First Aid State #Policy Toolkit

In the 2013-2014 legislative session, 21 states passed or considered legislation or appropriations related to Mental Health First Aid. These included appropriations to support Mental Health First Aid activities, teacher training requirements, and more. In addition to standard legislative efforts, states and community advocates have collaborated to find creative approaches to implement Mental Health First Aid, including applying for federal and private grants and finding new partners (such as religious leaders, public safety entities, social service agencies, librarians, veteran’s organizations, and college health services).
The National Council updated the Mental Health First Aid State Policy Toolkit for 2014 to help you learn about actions you can take in your state to get the attention of policymakers and other community stakeholders. Advocates and policymakers can use the toolkit to help support state-level efforts to enact Mental Health First Aid policies.
  • Sample bill language;
  • Examples of potential executive actions to support Mental Health First Aid;
  • Talking points, fact sheets, and other informational resources;
  • Sample op-ed and other media resources; and
  • Strategies for success in planning and carrying out a Mental Health First Aid initiative in your state.
The toolkit also includes a 2013-2014 State Policy Tracking Chart to outline what bills and appropriations were successfully implemented and those that died in the legislature this past year.
Read the executive summary or download the full toolkit.
Have any questions or comments about the toolkit? Contact Tramaine Stevenson, Director of Mental Health First Aid Operations.
Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. For more information,

Monday, September 8, 2014

#Medicaid Coverage Of #Autism Treatment Services

Family Voices Policy Update 
POLICY UPDATE: Medicaid Coverage Of Autism Treatment Services 
by Lynda Honberg, Brooke Lehmann and Janis Guerney
The On July 7, 2014, the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMSC) issued an Informational Bulletin titled "Clarification of Medicaid Coverage of Services to Children with Autism," (  It is estimated that about one-third of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are covered by Medicaid or CHIP and CMSC was responding to increased questions regarding services for these children.

Medically necessary treatment required.  The Bulletin clarifies that state Medicaid programs must provide treatment services to children with ASD.  Although it does not specifically require that any particular treatment type, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) be covered, the directive could result in such coverage if the State decides to include it under its State Medicaid plan.

The agency based its clarification on the EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment) provision of the Medicaid law.  Under the EPSDT provision Medicaid-enrolled children under age 21 are entitled to all services that are medically necessary to correct or ameliorate any physical or behavioral conditions.  The state must provide any such services for which federal cost-sharing is available, whether or not the state normally covers that service in its Medicaid program.

Non-licensed practitioners.  Significantly, the Bulletin also clarifies that Medicaid may pay for the services of practitioners who are not state-licensed, as long as they are under the supervision of licensed providers and certain other conditions are met.  Many individuals who provide ABA therapy are not licensed under state laws.  In most cases, states will have to submit Medicaid State Plan Amendments to provide such coverage.

Impact on those receiving waiver services.  It is important to note that the July Bulletin may result in some children with ASD losing eligibility for services they now receive under a "waiver" program, since state waivers will no longer be available for the ASD services that are now required pursuant to the Bulletin (see page 5).  Those who may be affected are primarily children whose family incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid without a waiver.  Eligibility can be maintained if some of the services received would not be covered under EPSDT.  Such services might include respite care or other non-medical services. The Bulletin also states that "Individuals age 21 and older may continue to receive services to address ASD through the waiver if a state does not elect to provide these services to adults under its Medicaid state plan."

State advocacy needed.   States will have to figure out how to ensure required coverage of services for children with ASD, providing a good opportunity for family leaders to get involved in the process.  In fact, CMS is encouraging Medicaid Directors to reach out and involve providers, families and advocates as the states review their options and consider any changes that will impact children currently receiving autism services through waivers.

Resources: Questions: