"InTouch Newsletter May 2008"
VDDHH InTouch JUNE 13, 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 information. - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Phone 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 804-662-9718 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 email@example.com. able to test the system in the next few months. This on-line Written Assessment gov 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 www.vddhh.org 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 example. 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 Leslie.Prince@vddhh.virginia.gov. You may also track legislative activity on your own. For more information, visit the Virginia General Assembly Web Site at http://legis.state.va.us/. 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 http://legis.state.va.us/ - 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