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

State Rehabilitation Council Meeting Minutes

December 11, 2010

Call to Order of the State Rehabilitation Council Meeting
After a 5 minute break following the Commission for the Blind meeting, Chair Beth Butler opened the State Rehabilitation Council meeting. 

Present in the Conference Room were:  Eddie Weaver, Cynthia Speight, Joann Wood, July Kagy, Graham Watt, and Carla Parker.

Connected by Conference Call:  Beth Butler, Tommy Jenkins, Allen Casey, Kathy Brack, Kim Lambert, Terri Meyers, Brenda Montforti, and Brenda Savage.

Approval of Minutes
As we did not have a quorum at the September meeting, minutes for the June 12 and September 11, 2010 meeting needed to be approved.  Motion was made by Julie Kagy, seconded by Graham Watt, and carried to approve both sets of minutes with one correction.  In the minutes the date of September 10, 2010 should have been September 11, 2010. 

Committee Reports:

Policy and Procedures Committee—Cynthia Speight
Some temporary changes had to be made in service provision to reduce VR Program spending due to the cash flow problems and budget issues in the state.  These changes were implemented on October 19th and are in effect through December 31st.  We would like for a few of the temporary changes noted below to be considered and voted upon to become permanent. 

The changes pertain to cataract surgery, glaucoma filtering, SLT procedures, transportation for students who live off campus and receive monthly maintenance payments and reader service.

Cataract Surgery will be provided for individuals with corrected vision of less than 20/50in the better eye.  Cataract surgery will be provided for one eye only, which will usually be the eye with less vision.  Very rare exceptions may be approved by the State Consulting Ophthalmologist.  Exceptions will require documentation of medical necessity for vocational purposes (e.g. failed eye exam for CDL).  Posterior subcapsular cataract surgery will need to be approved by the State Consulting Ophthalmologist.

For example:
(a) An individual has corrected vision of 20/50 OD and 20/70 OS and decreased vision OS is due to a cataract.  DSB VR Services would provide assistance for the left eye only, which will frequently result in the individual having up to 20/20 vision in that eye.
(b) An individual has corrected vision of 20/30 OD and 20/70 OS with decreased vision due to cataracts.  This individual would not be eligible for DSB VR assistance at this time. 

All glaucoma filtering and SLT procedures must be approved through Dr. Chamblee.   These procedures will only be approved after use of the maximum tolerable use of medications.

If an individual is choosing to live off campus and DSB is providing monthly maintenance payments, transportation to and from campus will not be paid.

Reader Service will be provided for no more than 25 hours per month for students taking full-time load of coursework (at least 12 hours per semester).

A motion was made by Graham Watt, seconded by Allen Casey and carried that the temporary changes that were implemented October 19 and goes through December 31 for medical services and training services be made permanent. 

The following are additional temporary changes that were put in place in October and are effective until the end of the year. 

All YAG procedures must be staffed and approved by the Area Supervisors.  If they have any question, they can be staffed with Dr. Chamblee. 

Elective or cosmetically necessary surgery (only done now due to vocational necessity) will not be done at this time.  Examples are strabismus surgery to correct appearance only, ptosis or pterygium corrective surgery unless the individual’s vision is seriously impaired.

Procedures that are not directly related to vision or eye structures, such as tests for arthritis, dental treatment, etc., will not be done at this time.

Procedures that are unusual or have questionable results in improving or stabilizing vision will not be done at this time.

All assistive technology purchases and books and supplies purchases made for any individual are to be coded for payment with ARRA funds.

Also regarding policy, there was a minor revision made to the eligibility policy to add the following residency requirement. 

To be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services, an individual must be legally eligible to work in the United States, living the State of North Carolina and have the right to apply for vocational rehabilitation services.

Eddie Weaver reported on a Code of Conduct that was implemented.  This was drafted from the VR agencies.  DSB felt these measures should be in place to insure our staff and consumers are safe and assure that consumers know what is expected of them.  After reading the Code of Conduct the consumer signs it.  The Code will be available in alternate formats.  Mr. Weaver read a draft of the Code of Conduct to the Council.  

A separate Code of Conduct was implemented for the Rehabilitation Center students.  Additional training will be provided to staff within the next 3 months.

State Plan Committee—Joann Wood
DSB is under a Program Improvement Plan set by RSA.  As the federal fiscal year began in October, Mrs. Wood discussed each priority and goal contained in the State Plan and gave the Council a status update for each goal. 

Consumer Information Committee—Julie Kagy
This will be discussed along with the Annual Report.

Old Business:

New Business:
Annual Report—The Annual was emailed to each Council member prior to today’s meeting for their review.  Mr. Watt made a motion to approve the 2010 Division of Services for the Blind Annual, Kathy Brack seconded, and the motion was carried. 

Eddie Weaver reported to the Council that RSA has recommended DSB to be under a Program for Improvement Plan.  Our plan has been developed and approved by RSA.  DSB is taking measures to improve wages, services, outreach, the number of successful closures, etc.

DSB must submit a quarterly report to RSA which is due by the end of December. 

DSB did receive approval for training grants in 2 areas:  Basic In-Service training grant and Quality training Grant.  The Quality Grant will be used for specialized staff training in district offices.  DSB has asked for feedback from supervisors and counselors to determine the areas where we would like to offer specialized training.   

Mr. Weaver congratulated Kathy Brack on her retirement and thanked her for all of her service to the Commission for the Blind.  Mr. Weaver also thanked all of the former members that are still with us as we are waiting on the new members to be appointed.

The State Rehabilitation Council adjourned at 11:50.

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