InTouch Newsletter May 2008 by mercy2beans109


									                               VDDHH InTouch
JANUARY 11, 2010                                                                            VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1

    “To leave the old with a

    burst of song,             Back by Popular Demand!
                               VDDHH has received many requests to re-start the VDDHH newsletter. As you
    To recall the right and    know, we stopped printing the newsletter in recent years due to budget
                               constraints. InTouch OnLine has been developed to make sure that information
    forgive the wrong;
                               about VDDHH activities is available to a wide range of interested individuals. We
    To forget the thing that   will publish InTouch OnLine every four months (quarterly) or more often if
                               there is a need.
    blinds you fast
                               InTouch OnLine will focus on recent and upcoming activities at VDDHH. It is not
    To the vain regrets of     intended to replace the valuable information you may be receiving from VDDHH
                               Outreach Specialists, such as the DHHSC Bits that Betti Thompson sends out or
    the year that's past.”     the NVRC News from Cheryl Heppner, who maintain listservs to share

  - Robert B. Beattie, A       InTouch OnLine can be printed out and shared with anyone who does not have
 Way to a Happy New Year       internet access. You can receive an e-mail notification when a new edition is
                               published online. Just send a request to

                               Recent Activities at VDDHH
                               July – December 2004
                               Office Renovations – During August and September 2004, the agency got a
                               facelift! Agency services continued without interruption, for the most part,
                               during the renovations, though the Library was closed. There are still some
                               boxes to be unpacked but things look great! We hope to schedule an Open
                               House in the next few months to show off our new look. Come on in and check
                               us out!

                               Virginia’s Leadership in CapTel Recognized – Rob Engelke, the President of
   VDDHH                       Ultratec (the largest manufacturer of TTYs in the US and the company which
   1602 Rolling Hills Dr.
   Suite 203
                               produced CapTel), offered special praise to Virginia and Maryland during his
   Richmond, VA 23229          presentation on CapTel services at the recent National Association of the Deaf
                               Conference. Mr. Engelke commended Virginia’s CapTel distribution and
   804-662-9703 (V/TTY)        awareness efforts and our program to increase awareness of Relay service calls
   800-552-7917 (V/TTY)        among 9-1-1 centers.

   Fax                         Virginia Quality Assurance Screening Update – Interpreter Programs staff
                               have been working with Information Systems staff at DRS to develop a
   E-mail                      mechanism to administer the VQAS Written Assessment on-line. We hope to be
   ddhhinfo@vddhh.virginia.    able to test the system in the next few months. This on-line Written Assessment
                               administration will make the test much more accessible to candidates across the
   We’re on the Web!           Commonwealth. VQAS registration is already available on-line. The 2005               schedule is filling up fast!
DID YOU KNOW?                 Recent Activities at VDDHH (continued)
Did you know that VDDHH       Improving Access in The Attorney General’s Office – At the request of a
has opened a Video
                              concerned consumer/advocate, VDDHH contacted the Office of the Attorney
Relay Access Room at
our office in Richmond?       General to discuss TTY access in that office. The staff there have been very
The room provides access      responsive and are working to address concerns and ensure TTY access to
to five different providers
                              consumer information lines. In addition, we have discussed scheduling training
for video relay(VRS), as
well as four different        for staff in the Attorney General’s office.
providers for IP-Relay
(Internet Protocol). A        VA Relay Update – The current restructuring at AT&T has resulted in layoffs at
user has the choice of        all of AT&T’s state relay centers including Virginia. Sue (Noblin) Graham, who
AT&T, Sprint, Hamilton
and MCI for VRS and IP-       managed the Norton center since 1997, has now returned to her home in
Relay and Sorenson is         Alabama. She will be missed by VDDHH and the Southwest Deaf community.
another choice for VRS
                              Rosemarie Riggs will become the lead manager for our center. Rose has been
only. Two complete VRS
televisions systems are       with VA Relay since its opening in 1991 and is very familiar with the
available and one             telecommunication needs of the deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind and speech
computer for IP-Relay or
                              impaired. We look forward to working with Rose and her team of dedicated CAs
VRS is available.
                              for the remainder of the current contract period (January 2007).
Hours of operation for the
VRS room are Monday           The new Customer Care Center in Norton continues to receive a positive reaction
through Friday, 9:00 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m. For more         from relay users. The Center is available to handle all feedback from relay users
information, please           as well as answer questions on relay features, equipment availability, and billing
contact Clay Bowen at
                              issues. We also contribute the recent decrease in complaints and steady increase
804-662-9704 or Matt
Myrick at 804-662-9789.       in commendations to the work of the Customer Care Center staff, Sherrill Sturgill
                              and Loretta Moore. The Center is monitored 24/7 and can be reached at 1-866-
                              246-9300 text or 1-866-894-4116 voice.

                              VA Relay is also conducting a Text Messaging Trial (VTRM) through the end of
                              October. VTRM enables wireless device users to communicate with the VA Relay
                              to send and receive text messages. Unlike AOL or other internet-based TTY
                              messaging services, VTRM will work with any wireless device and does not require
                              additional monthly charges. If you are interested in becoming part of the trial,
                              contact the VTRM trial coordinator, Betti Thompson, at .

                              VDDHH and VA Relay continue to monitor concerns over internet relay fraud.
                              Fraudulent internet relay calls peaked in the Spring of 2004 as Nigerian-based
                              callers accessed relay centers across the country using their computers. Posing
                              as deaf individuals, the callers would use bogus credit cards to order large
                              quantities of merchandise for shipment to international addresses. Since that
                              time, AT&T, Sprint and MCI have taken steps to block internet protocol addresses
                              from foreign countries who try to access on-line domestic relay services. The
                              Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission continue
                              to investigate these fraudulent relay calls. As previously reported, the
                              Commonwealth’s current relay contract does not allow internet-based calls to be
                              processed in the Norton relay center.

                              Fredericksburg Newspaper Publishes Feature Story on CapTel Relay
                              Service – Jim Hall of the Fredericksburg Freelance Star interviewed Clay Bowen
                              on November 19th regarding the new and extremely popular CapTel (captioned
                              telephone) relay service. While most of the interview was to obtain background
                              information on the service and cost of the equipment, Clay learned Hall had
                              already interviewed three CapTel users in the Fredericksburg area. The users
                              include the VDDHH contracted outreach specialist for the region, an eighty-year
                              old late-deafened adult, and a seven-year old student who is currently the
                              youngest CapTel recipient in the state. The article appeared in the November 28,

New E-Mail Addresses
2004 edition of the newspaper.

VDDHH Outreach Update – The past few months have brought several changes
to the VDDHH Outreach Program. We are pleased to welcome Michelle Campbell
as the Outreach Specialist for the Central Virginia area. An RID Certified
Interpreter, Michelle is well-known in the local Deaf community and is very
knowledgeable of the service and communication needs of the deaf and hard of
hearing. Maggie Wendell has left the New River Valley area to accept a position in
the North Carolina educational system. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Center of Roanoke is current recruiting for this position. On a sad note, Phyllis
Manning, our contracted Outreach Specialist in the far Southwest, was killed in a
car accident in early September. She will be missed by everyone who had met
and worked with this dedicated individual. The Junction Center for Independent
Living in Wise has recently announced that Sue Graham, former manager at
Virginia Relay, has been hired to provide Outreach Services in the area.

All of the VDDHH Outreach team members are currently working with the 134
local Public Safety Answering Points (9-1-1 Centers) in the state to review
procedures for responding to TTY calls. VDDHH staff also participated in the
statewide 9-1-1 Dispatcher conference held earlier this year. We continue to
encourage deaf and hard of hearing individuals to contact their local emergency
personnel directly. You can contact your local Outreach Specialist to arrange test
calls to the emergency number(s) in your area.

VDDHH has received funding from the Virginia Department of Aging to provide
training to VDDHH Outreach Providers. The training will focus on insurance
counseling, including Medicare information, for older Virginians. Outreach
Providers who receive the training will be part of a network of trained counselors
in the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program.

WWBT-12 (NBC) in Richmond Adds Real-Time Captioning – Staff from
WWBT-12 in Richmond participated in the VDDHH workgroup on Emergency
Captioning last year. In November, the station announced that it is adding real-
time captioning to its news broadcasts at 4:00, 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. VDDHH
commends Channel 12 for this effort and encourages others to follow their

                   VDDHH Legislative Updates

The General Assembly opened today, January 12th, for the 2005 “short” session.
As we have in the past, VDDHH will provide regular e-mail updates on legislative
activity affecting this agency or consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing. In
addition, VDDHH will send out “Request for Comments” alerts when we need
consumer and organizations to comment on bills the agency is analyzing. If you
would like to receive these updates and alerts, please send an e-mail to You may also track legislative activity on your
own. For more information, visit the Virginia General Assembly Web Site at

Already, VDDHH is tracking several bills:
House Bill 1625 (D. Marshall) – This bill would prohibit the issuance of driver's
licenses and learner's permits to persons incapable of communicating using the
English language. The prohibition extends to both original issues and to renewals.
Language in the bill notes that persons who are deaf or hard of hearing could not
be barred from receiving a license solely on the basis of their hearing impairment.
This bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation.

House Bill 1740 (Cosgrove) – This bill would require insurance companies to
provide coverage for hearing aids and related services for children from birth to
age 18 when a licensed audiologist prescribes such hearing aids and related
services. The coverage shall include one hearing aid per hearing-impaired ear, up
to a cost of $1,500, every 24 months. The bill is in the Committee on Commerce
and Labor.

House Bill 1803 (Landes) – This bill would consolidate the Department of
Rehabilitative Services, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired and the
Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing into a single agency called the
Department of Rehabilitative and Disability Services. The bill has been referred to
the Committee on General Laws.

House Bill 2713 (Morgan) – This bill will allow the agency to use money from the
Relay Fund to purchase equipment which consumers could use to access
equipment (TTYs, VCO phones, CapTel phones, etc.). The bill was introduced at
the request of the agency to address ongoing shortfalls in the Technology
Assistance Program (TAP) which have led to waiting lists for several years now.

Additional bills may be filed before the deadline to introduce bills on January 21st.
The session is scheduled to end on February 26th.

VDDHH Completes Report on Funding of Children’s Hearing Aids – At the
request of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, VDDHH worked with the
Department of Health, the Department of Medical Assistance Services, and the
Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority to develop a “white paper” on funding
for children’s hearing aids. The final report has been posted on the Legislative
Information System page on the Internet. The address is
- on the left side of the page, click on “Studies and Commissions.” Then click on
the middle of the page on “Reports to the General Assembly.” The report is
RD175 from 2004.

The VDDHH Advisory Board
VDDHH Advisory Board Meets with Outreach – In an effort to continue to
learn about VDDHH Outreach Services with an eye towards improving those
services, the VDDHH Advisory Board met with all VDDHH Outreach Contractors on
November 4th in Staunton. The meeting focused on service descriptions and small
group discussions on the pros and cons of moving toward an Outreach Program
with case management services. The Board had been considering such a
recommendation, however, after meeting with Outreach and discussing the issue
in detail, they seem to feel that the current system of informal problem resolution
is preferable to formal case management. The Board plans to complete its
recommendations on Outreach Services at the February 2, 2005 meeting and
move on to focus on issues of interpreter training.

Who’s Who on the VDDHH Advisory Board – The membership of the VDDHH
Advisory Board is established in the Code of Virginia to include 9 members: 4
consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing; 4 professionals in a Deafness-related
field; and one parent of a deaf or hard of hearing child. Each member is appointed
for a 4-year term. The Board elects a chairman and vice-chairman from the
membership every two years. The following individuals are currently serving on
the VDDHH Advisory Board:

Betty Cornett, Chair
Big Stone Cap, Virginia
Serving as: Professional in Deafness Related Field
Term: July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2006

Cherlyn Kern, Vice-Chair
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Serving as: Consumer who is deaf or hard of hearing
Term: July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2008

Rocco J. DeVito, Jr.
Staunton, Virginia
Serving as: Consumer who is deaf or hard of hearing
Term: July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2006

Susan K. Piercy, Ph.D.
Blacksburg, Virginia
Serving as: Professional in Deafness Related Field
Term: July 1, 2002 – June 30, 2006

Ervina Robinson
Midlothian, Virginia
Serving as: Parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
Term: July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2008

Bruce Wagner
Crozet, Virginia
Serving as: Professional in Deafness Related Field
Term: July 1, 2002 – June 30, 2006

Elizabeth Creamer
Sterling, Virginia
Serving as: Consumer who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Term: July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2007

Valerie A. Luther
Richmond, Virginia
Serving as: Consumer who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Term: July 1, 2003 – June 30, 2007

Shirley M. Hedeen
Richmond, Virginia
Serving as: Professional in Deafness Related Field
Term: July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2008

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