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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind

State Rehabilitation Council Meeting Minutes

March 14, 2009

Call to Order of the State Rehabilitation Council Meeting

Following the Commission for the Blind meeting, Chair Beth Butler opened the State Rehabilitation Council meeting.  The following members were present in the conference room:  Terri Meyers, Julie Kagy, and Debbie Jackson. 

Members connected by conference call were:  Beth Butler, Allen Casey, Graham Watt, Anita Heath-Cunningham, Tommy Jenkins, Ruth Haines, Jay Williams, Kathy Brack, Richard Oliver, and Eddie Weaver  (John Miller, former chair, also joined the call).

Others Present:  Jan Fesperman, Cynthia Joos, David Arthur, Mary Flanagan, Gary Ray, and Carla Parker.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Terri Meyers and seconded by Graham Watt to approve the minutes of the December 13, 2008 meeting.

Committee Reports:

Policy and Procedures Committee—Terri Meyers and Jan Fesperman

The State Rehabilitation Policy and Procedures Committee proposed changes to the Eye Surgery and Treatment Guidelines.  Dr. Chamblee, the State’s Consulting Ophthalmologist, reviewed the policy and recommended minor language changes in approving OCT tests.  This will give the field staff more latitude in approving requests. 

A motion was made by Julie Kagy, seconded by Richard Oliver and carried to approve the minutes of the December 13, 2008, meeting.

State Plan Committee—Graham Watt, David Arthur, and Mary Flanagan

DSB is required to do a Statewide Needs Assessment this year.  A RFP has been sent to 5 different institutions.  Only 1 institution responded.  DSB will be contracting with the East Carolina University Training Program in Greenville, NC.  DSB is hoping to begin its assessment in May and conclude in October.  Surveys will be sent to a random sample of former consumers.  Interviews will be conducted by telephone and mail.  Focus groups will also be held.  

Mr. Arthur shared with the committee the ideas he had on holding public hearings/focus groups, asked for suggestions and volunteers.  Mr. Arthur will e-mail the Council members details when these meetings have been finalized. 

Suggested meeting sites for the public hearings and focus groups are:

Public Hearings—Burlington (VR Office) and Fayetteville

Focus Groups—March 28 on GMS campus in conjunction with a one-day seminar that is to be held that same day; a phone in focus group; 

The Council members offered their assistance to Mr. Arthur in holding the hearings/focus groups. 

Consumer Information Committee—Julie Kagy

No Report

Old Business


New Business

Debbie Jackson, Director, provided an update on the 2007 money that was cited in the RSA report. This money was spent on the purchase of 2 vehicles for the Rehabilitation Center, demonstration assistive technology for the district offices, and the renovation of the kitchen classroom at the Rehabilitation Center.

DHHS has requested DSB to provide feedback on how the “recovery” money will be used.  Meetings have been held to discuss the use of this money.  Ms. Jackson asked the Council for suggestions also.  If anyone has suggestions, please e-mail with details. Keep in mind that for the VR Program, the goal is employment; i.e. how many people were employed and how many jobs were saved.  DSB staff suggested: 

  • Purchase of assistive technology as well as books and supplies for consumers (this will require a rules change before any money is spent) Currently books and supplies are subject to an economic needs test. 

DSB is talking with other States to see how they are planning to use their recovery money.  Other States are offering internships to consumers. 

For the ILR Older Blind Program, DSB is also looking at purchasing assistive technology and holding mini-centers in other areas of the State. 

This money must be tracked very carefully.   Updates will be sent to the Council periodically. 

John Miller suggested that the State Rehabilitation Council catalog DSB’s partners such as CAAC, Federation, Council, Lions, Eye Clinic Research at UNC, Wake Forest, and Duke.  These are advocacy partners in case DSB needs them for legislation.


Following an adjournment motion by Graham Watt, seconded by Julie Kagy, and carried the State Rehabilitation Council meeting adjourned at approximately 12:15 p.m. 

Respectfully Submitted

Beth Butler, Chair, SRC               
Debbie Jackson, Director, DSB


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