DEAFBLIND COMMITTEE OF THE by q439LF

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									                DEAFBLIND COMMITTEE OF THE
         STATE REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
                     FEBRUARY 11, 2009


The meeting of the DeafBlind Committee began at 4:30 PM on
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 2200 University Avenue West,
St. Paul, MN. Members in attendance were: Joani Anderson,
Lynette Boyer – Chairperson of the committee, Ade Haugen,
Michael O’Reilly and Kimberly Williams. SSB staff in attendance
was: Lindsey Baker, Pam Brown and Linda Lingen. Visitors
attending this meeting were: Lee Clark, Sharon Clark, Bruce
Hodek, Barry Segal and Jamie Taylor.

Approval of Minutes

Ade Haugen moved and Michael O’Reilly seconded approval of
the January minutes as written. The minutes were approved
unanimously.

Report from SSB on the DeafBlind Technology Expo

In past years, SSB has joined with other agencies to put on the
DeafBlind Expo or the DeafBlind Technology Expo. Due to state
budget concerns, many of the agencies who normally sponsor
this event are unsure if they will have money to put into the
DeafBlind Expo. Therefore The DeafBlind Technology Expo will be
postponed until at least 2010. It was noted that there will be two
events in Minnesota in 2009 that will highlight some resources
and services for people who are deaf. These events are:

   DeafNation on March 28, 2009 and
   Deaf Expo in the fall.

Presentation: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) – Bruce
Hodek

Bruce provided a lot of information on the services and grants
available through DHHS which include 23 contracts in the amount
of $2.3 million. Of this amount, $900,000 is for DeafBlind


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services. Bruce provided a handout that gave information about
the grants, and a spirited discussion ensued related to the
following programs:

   DeafBlind Consumer Directed Services Program: This
    program receives a yearly grant which is provided to
    DeafBlind consumers to help them establish or maintain
    their independence, integrate into their community and/or
    family, develop language and communication skills. Case
    manager support is provided by DHHS staff.

   Hearing and Vision loss Outreach Program and Intervenor
    Services in Northeastern Minnesota: The Duluth Lighthouse
    for the Blind receives a grant to conduct outreach activities
    to identify Minnesotans with a combined hearing and vision
    loss and assist them in getting needed resources to
    maintain independence and provide intervenor and support
    services to adults.

   Intervenor Services for Children who are DeafBlind and
    their families (Statewide) and Support Service Provider
    (SSP) Services for Adults (Metro and limited Statewide):
    DeafBlind Services Minnesota (DBSM) receives a grant to
    provide children and their families with intervenor,
    education and other support services to enhance their
    communication skills and develop experiential knowledge
    of their environment and community. The dollars also
    provide SSP and other support services to DeafBlind adults
    to achieve and maintain independence.

   Training for counties and senior service providers on
    DeafBlindness: Vision Loss Resources (VLR) has received a
    grant to develop and provide training to counties and to the
    network of senior citizen service providers about the needs
    of individuals who are DeafBlind. As part of this grant, VLR
    has developed a vision and hearing loss forum on the
    internet. This web site is a reference and a support for
    family, friends, care providers and individuals with vision
    and hearing loss. You can join this forum by going to:



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     http://vision-hearingloss.com/forums/ and follow the
     steps provided.

Bruce talked more about the training of county social workers.
The main focus of this training is to assist social workers in
asking the right questions when consumers are applying for
waiver programs such as CADI, Elderly waiver, Medical
Assistance, etc. In this way it is hoped that more DeafBlind
consumers will qualify for these services.

Presentation: DHHS – Lee Clark, DeafBlind Specialist

Lee Clark supervises the DeafBlind Consumer Directed Program
at DHHS. Lee stated that Minnesota is the only state that offers
this kind of funding for DeafBlind consumers. Grant dollars come
from the state legislature, and can be used for goods and
services for families with a DeafBlind child all the way to seniors.
Goods refers to items such as closed circuit television systems
(CCTV’s), alarm systems, computer systems, etc. Services refer
to SSP’s, intervenors, training related to DeafBlind issues, etc.
Currently, 26 people in Minnesota receive a grant through this
program to use to purchase goods and/or services.

 If there is any money left over in the Consumer Directed Program
at the end of the year, people on the waiting list will be able to
use the remaining dollars to purchase equipment only or training
on the use of the equipment. To receive dollars through this
program, DeafBlind people need to talk with Lee and apply
through DHHS. Lee can be contacted at: lee.clark@state.mn.us

People in the Consumer Directed Program, remain in the program
as long as they would like. There is a $7,205 lifetime limit on
funds for equipment and training. The dollars for SSP’s and
intervenors is an annual limit renewable each year with a yearly
maximum of $7,205.

 How would someone know how much has been spent on
equipment and training? Anyone on the program will receive a
report that gives the amount spent on equipment/training and



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SSP/intervenor services for one year. DeafBlind consumers are
responsible for monitoring their expenditures.

Lee is also responsible for the content of the announcements
and information found on the DeafBlind information web site.
The address for this web site is: www.dbinfo.org

He also works with Medical Assistance (particularly the waiver
programs) to help ensure that those services include more
DeafBlind people.

One of the waiver programs - The Elderly waiver - is for people
age 65+ to be able to stay in their homes. This waiver can
provide PCA services, but it does not provide transportation. It is
recommended that people first apply for waiver programs before
applying for the limited DeafBlind Consumer Directed Program
funds.

One question asked by members of the audience was: “Can
forms that need to be completed for the Consumer Directed
Services Program be simplified so that DeafBlind people can
complete them independently”? Lee suggested that people who
have suggestions for improving the forms, let him know and he
will work to make changes in the forms.

Committee Brainstorming Session:

The committee spent some time talking about other programs
and services they would like to have present information to
them. Some of the providers suggested included: the DeafBlind
Technical Assistance Project; the Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind;
the Commission Serving Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind
People; and DeafBlind Services Minnesota.



Announcements from Committee Members

Lynette shared that she had received a plaque for serving on the
State Rehabilitation Council – Blind. She stated that she will


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continue to serve on the Council until a replacement is
appointed. She also let people know that the SSB Annual Report
is available if any one wants one.

Ade announced that MDBA will be holding a workshop on March
14 related to DeafBlind Emergency Preparedness. The workshop
will be presented by DHHS. There will be two prizes awarded at
this workshop: rolling backpacks with personal emergency
items. These backpacks can be stored under the bed and
grabbed quickly if needed in an emergency.

Comments/Questions from Visitors

There was another question for Lee Clark. If a person is working
and has income, can that person be considered for the DeafBlind
Consumer Directed Services Program? Lee stated that there are
no income requirements. Anyone can apply.

If someone is on the Consumer Directed Services waiting list,
how long would that person have to wait to get a grant? There is
just one waiting list. If there are dollars remaining at the end of
the year, a person on the waiting list could get dollars to
purchase equipment or training. For SSP’s/intervenors, the
people currently on the program can remain on the program as
long as they want. People on the waiting list would be notified by
e-mail when their name reaches the top of the list for
SSP/Intervenor services.

Jamie announced that the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing
legislative day is March 4. Free training is available to learn
about the legislative process. Everyone can meet with their
legislators on that day.

There was a short discussion on having meetings earlier in the
day. Due to the work schedules of some committee members, it
was decided to keep the time of the meetings from 4:30 PM –
6:30 PM.

Pam Brown reminded committee members that anyone who is an
appointed committee member can be reimbursed for


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transportation costs to attend committee meetings. For instance
a committee member could take a taxi, pay for the ride, and then
get reimbursed by completing a non-employee expense form
available through SSB.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 PM. The next meeting of the
DeafBlind Committee will be on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 from
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM at 2200 University Avenue West. Minutes
respectfully submitted by Linda Lingen, SSB staff to the
DeafBlind Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council – Blind.




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