Summit Group Knowledge Base

Click Here to submit a new inquiry for consideration! New User? Click here to watch a Summit Inquiry video tutorial

Latest Inquiry: Summit Inquiry 63

Instructions: Below is a list of past inquiries submitted to the Summit Group. To access the answers, click on the question, and to view the answers in a printer-friendly format, click “Permalink”. 

Agency Structure | Assistive Technology | Blind and Visually Impaired | Case File Reviews | Caseload Management | Client Surveys 

Cost for Services | Customer as Stakeholder | Data Management | Deaf and Hard of Hearing | Employee Development

 Employer Relations | Forms or Online Forms | Health Care | Job Development and Placement Services | Memos of Understanding

Networking Opportunities | Policies | Return on Investment | RSA 911 | Self-Employment | Social Media | Supported Employment

Technology | Transition Services | Trial Work | Vocational Evaluation | Vendor Evaluation | Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act


Agency Structure

— (07/15/2013) The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Program is in the process of re-organizing the program and creating an organizational chart to more efficiently serve our clients. As part of this process, we are developing a program evaluation section. We are considering including program policy, quality assurance and training in this section. We would like to know how other program evaluation units are set up and would also be interested in organizational charts for other state vocational rehabilitation programs. Any and all shared information would be greatly appreciated. This knowledge will help us in determining the most efficient placement of personnel for program evaluation activities to improve services to individuals with disabilities.

From Janet Cool, Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission:

Ohio VR has had VR policy as part of the Program Integrity and Evaluation (PIE) unit, but has parsed this out due to the need for VR administration to “own” the policies and procedures to which they hold their program staff accountable. PIE staff then evaluate case work and program compliance upon those principles which creates a clearer distinction between policy and compliance with policy. PIE is frequently utilized in development and planning of training programs for field staff based on emerging patterns and trends, although again, the VR training program is house under the VR program so trianing topics are primarly driven based on VR field needs.

File attached: Ohio’s Table of Organization in relation to the PEQA functions

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

Utah’s Program Evaluation Unit consists of one person at this time with some assistance from an office specialist. We do have a separate training unit that does statewide training. One of the trainers is specifically over basic counselor orientation and training that staff goes through directly after they are hired and the other is working developing supervisory training.


Assistive Technology

— (12/26/2014) What is your hourly rate for Adaptive Technology Training and your rate for Rehab Engineering? We want to look at the average rate nationally as we evaluate our current policies for update.

From Kellie Scott, KY OVR:

$30-$35 & $75. See attached. We are a general VR agency.

Attachments: 1

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

Itinerant Rate 1: $75/hour base rate for trainers who are teaching any of the assistive technology devices in service groups 1-6 identified below and are competent in and training core application software (Windows, WORD processing, Email, Internet).

1) Screenreaders (JAWS, Window-Eyes, Supernova, System Access, NVDA, Apple VoiceOver/Zoom).
2) Screen magnification software (Zoomtext, MAGic).
3) Scanning software and devices (Kurzweil K1000, Open Book, DocuScan Plus, KNFB Reader ).
4) Digital talking book players and digital recorders (Victor Reader Stream, Book Sense, Book Port Plus, Plextor Pocket, Olympus).
5) Note-takers (Braillenote, PacMate, Braille Sense).
6) iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

Itinerant Rate 2: $65/hour base rate for trainers who are teaching any of the assistive technology devices identified in service groups 3-6 above and are competent in and training these devices as stand-alone products not interacting with a computer and where competency in core application software is not required.

Itinerant Rate 3: $75/hour base rate for trainers who are teaching any of the assistive technology devices in service groups 1-6 identified below and are competent in and training core application software (WORD processing, Email, Internet) for the Apple Macintosh.

1) Screenreaders (JAWS, Window-Eyes, Supernova, System Access, NVDA, Apple VoiceOver/Zoom).
2) Screen magnification software (Zoomtext, MAGic).
3) Scanning software and devices (Kurzweil K1000, Open Book, DocuScan Plus, KNFB Reader ).
4) Digital talking book players and digital recorders (Victor Reader Stream, Book Sense, Book Port Plus, Plextor Pocket, Olympus).
5) Note-takers (Braillenote, PacMate, Braille Sense).
6) iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

Itinerant Rate 4: Rate will be adjusted to $85 where: the instructor is competent in both Windows core software and Apple Macintosh core software; and where the instructor is competent in either Windows core software or Apple Macintosh core software and any two or more of groups 1-6.

Rates will be negotiated for other software or devices, taking into account need, complexity, whether the instructor has the personal capacity to interpret the spoken or written instructions to a student, and customer satisfaction. In all cases of rehabilitation technology rate-setting, rates may be adjusted as necessary to assure that quality services are available to customers statewide.

Methodology: Rate determined by analysis of Minnesota market rates and benchmarking with other state rehabilitation agencies. Rates are reviewed periodically.

SSB also pays $25.00 per hour travel time and mileage at the federal IRS mileage rate.

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabiliation:

At the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, we at the primary funding source for the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT). This center provides adaptive technology training and rehab engineering. UCAT funds come directly out of the agency budget, so there is not an hourly rate for services that we pay because UCAT employees are agency employees.

From David Bergmann, State of CT Dept of Rehabilitation Services Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind:

$0. We provide our services at no charge to consumers of our Bureau.

From Arlene Lugo, Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services:

For general VR we have a contract of $100 per hour for both Assistive Technology evaluation and training. We do not differentiate between Adaptive technology evaluation/training and rehab engineering — it all falls under our Assistive Technology services. For the CT BR for the blind, (BESB), I have sent the survey to someone there for their response.

From Curtis Glisson, Blind and Deaf Division Alabama VR:

We have our own Rehab Engineers and AT staff. We also have a CRP that is under contract that specializes in serving Blind consumers including AT services. We rarely purchase these services by the hour.

From Robyn Throlson, ND-DVR:

We don’t currently have set hourly rates.

From Ed Tos, Delaware DVR:

$90 and $90 per hour for AT assessment and training.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa general VR does not have a set rate for either of these. Most of the training would either be done by our AT person in house or be part of the purchased product from the vendor. As for engineering we would be getting bids on the product depending on the amount of the product. Other than that we have no set standards for rates outside of the medicaid rates.

From James Gears, Opportunities for Ohians with Disabilities:

We have two rates for services:
Low Vision Services is $8.70 UOS ($87.00/Hour)
Rehabilitation Technology is $9.50 UOS ($95.00/Hour)

If you would like more information on how we define services our VR Provider Manual which includes service descriptions and rates is online at: Thank you.


Blind and Visually Impaired

— (05/03/2013) Florida Blind Services is trying to find out what the other blind agencies provide to college bound clients. What services do you provide to your visually impaired and blind college students? Do you provide any or all of the following: Tuition, Books, Supplies, Transportation, Incidentals, Housing, Meals, Maintenance, Other?

From Kara Lang, Nevada Rehabilitation Division:

We provide tuition, books, supplies, transportation, housing, meals, assistive technology, and maintenance. Meal and housing maintenance is only provided if the program is not offered at an in-state public institution within commuting distance, or if a school not within commuting distance was chosen because it met unique disability needs. A portion of the participants SSI/SSDI is expected to be used toward this maintenance before VR funds.

From James Gears, Ohio Rehabilitation Commission:

We provide tuition, books, supplies, transportation, housing, and meals.

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

We provide tuition, books, supplies, transportation, housing, and meals. Additionally, Utah’s program offers a six-week summer transition to college training program at its center.

From Janell Turner, Kentucky Office for the Blind:

We provide tuition, books, transportation, housing, and meals.


Case File Reviews

— (06/17/2015) Nevada is interested in how other states conduct case reviews for counselor performance evaluations. In your state, who reviews the cases – the counselor’s supervisor, QA staff, or both? How many cases for each counselor are reviewed – is it a fixed number, or a percentage of the counselor’s caseload? Quality work provided by counselors leads to better quality services for our customers, and we thank you for your input.

From Robyn Throlson, ND DVR:

The case reviews for counselor performance are conducted by their regional supervisor. If there are specific concerns or due to various other factors, the supervisor may request assistance from the QA staff as well. They are required to review at least 10% of the cases for veteran counselors and up to 100% for new counselors who are on probation or for those who are on a PIP.

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

The supervisor reviews one case from each counselor each month (except January). We vary the topic each month based on the status, expenditure, etc. I will email the list we use but keep in mind it may change with the new WIOA common measures and performance indicators. Attachments: 12

From Jennifer Geuther, SD Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Reviewers consist of the assistant director, QA staff person, district supervisors, and some of our counselors (counselors and supervisors do not review cases from their own districts). A fixed number of cases are chosen from each caseload.

From Teresa Pitt, Idaho VR:

I am new to Idaho VR, I previously worked in Alaska VR for 22 years. We struggle with this issue, both in Idaho and in Alaska. We are evaluating our current case review process and trying to figure out how to balance reviewing counselor work for performance evaluations. I can tell you that prior to me arriving, managers were reviewing 100% of successful closed cases using a 100 question (appx) instrument, as well as reviewing a number of unsuccessful closures. ID is conducting regional reviews on a 3 year cycle. I want to change all of this and in fact have started to do that. But I don’t want a rebellion, so I’m doing it slowly. I would love to talk with you about this very issue – (208) 287-6466. I do have a plan, kind of.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

VR Supervisors are responsible for completing case reviews for the purpose of performance evaluation. Monitoring and Compliance Unit staff complete a statistically significant sampling of cases for the purposes of program evaluation. Attachments: 12

From Craig Akin, Alabama Dept. Of Rehabilitation:

1.Both 2.Fixed number

From Mina Roller, Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

In Florida, various case reviews are conducted by Unit Supervisors, Area (regional) Supervisors, and myself (state HQ office). For the purpose of counselor performance evaluations, case reviews are completed by their direct supervisors (which would be the Unit Supervisors). I will email an attachment with more details.

From Curtis Glisson, AL Dept. of Rehab. Services:

We have 2 staff members from the main office that par 4 cases per VR Counselor per year and provide feedback to the local supervisor. The local supervisors par 24 cases per Counselor per year. 10 of those are randomly selected to use as part of their annual rating.

From Stephanie Jensen, Wyoming Vocational Rehabilitation:

Wyoming is a small population state. Both the counselor’s supervisor (who is the area manager) and the QA staff member review the cases. The supervisor and the QA staff member look at different things. For the QA staff, two files are reviewed per counselor per quarter, three quarters a year. The QA reviews may or may not figure into the performance evaluations.

From Mariah Krueger, Alaska Division of Voc. Rehab.:

Please see the information attached. Attachments: 12

From Andrew Clemons, Washington DVR:

Washington DVR does not include the results of case reviews in counselor performance evaluations. However, DVR does conduct two tiers of case reviews.

The first tier is conducted by VR Supervisors with their counselors. These supervisor reviews happen monthly and are intended to provide ongoing oversight, relationship building, and coaching opportunities. DVR supervisors use these case reviews to help determine staff training needs and performance challenges. Many supervisors will utilize case review findings to evaluate staff performance, through there is no specific requirement to do so.

The second tier of case reviews is conducted at the statewide level for quality assurance purposes. For the statewide reviews, one closed-rehabilitated and one closed-other-after-plan case is randomly selected from each counselor’s caseload and reviewed using a standard tool. These findings are disseminated and used to inform DVR’s improvement priorities. However, like the supervisors’ reviews, there is no direct link between these findings and individual counselors’ performance evaluations.

Upon reviewing your inquiry, I do believe that case review findings could be very valuable as part of performance reviews. DVR would be interested in learning more about Nevada’s process and any improvements made as a result of this inquiry; please share, as you are able.

From Cecilia Hockett, GVRA:

The Counselor supervisor conducts quarterly reviews and the policy/QA unit conducts annual reviews from a sampling of the reviews done by the supervisors. Usually two cases per counselor are reviewed each quarter. Additional reviews are conducted as requested by VR management.

From Victoria Drake, Depart of Rehab Services Oklahoma:

In Oklahoma, the Field Coordinators, and Program Managers conduct their own reviews of the counselors case files. I think they only do 2-5 per counselor. Whereas QA Unit of which I belong does a stratified random pull of 35% each month, and there are 2 full time QA’s that audit those closed cases for compliance. We either audit 10% up to 15% of that pull. I feel that we do a better job of auditing because they do not know which cases we are going to audit, where the others tell their counselors what cases to get ready for the audits. Which I think does not give a good picture of counselor performance as evidenced by our results.

From Tracy Brigham, OK DRS:

In Oklahoma we have a Quality Assurance unit who reviews closed cases by random selection and they specifically review for RSA guideline compliance. The Field Coordinators and Programs Managers review open cases by random selection for content in regard to the client/counselor relationship.

From Verline Davis, Arkansas Rehab Services:

Arkansas Rehab QA Team conduct case reviews for counselor, the counselor’s supervisors also conduct peer reviews. The QA Team reviews 5 cases per counselor for the previous year in status 18. A report is compiled from the findings to develop training needs, identify compliance issues and to improve the quality of service deliverance.

From Douglas Morton, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Illinois VR conducts case reviews for quality assurance purposes through its QA unit. Feedback from the QA reviews are provided to office supervisors for purpose of improving staff performance, although not specifically for purposes of staff performance evaluations. Office supervisors also conduct case reviews each month (typically one or two per counselor) and utilize that information as part of an interactive process with counselors. The extent to which office supervisors utilize case review information in counselor performance reviews is not standardized.

From Elizabeth White, Bureau of Services for Blind Persons:

Our regional managers do case file reviews, at minimum quarterly, as we also meet weekly with staff on cases. We also have a Central office staff who also does annual reviews of random cases for each office. We try to review a mixed portion, but to hopefully actually look at 30-50% of a caseload, between the 5 formal reviews, a year. We have also done group reviews with different counselors and managers together looking at cases that aren’t their own with written feedback.

From Scott Fraley, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services:

In VA the 2 of us (QA) look at 6 closed rehab and 4 open cases per counselor. we then meet w/the counselor and manager.

From Tim Gravier, Missouri DVR:

A combination of QA staff and periodic peer reviewers which are facilitated by QA – generally about 10 other staff made up of counselors, supervisors, central office staff reviewing targeted topics to review. QA reviews district office cases/counselors new and experienced. Results of all reviews regularly update a report I created which directly relates to areas on a counselor’s yearly performance appraisal. If you would like to discuss this further, feel free to call me at 314-587-4855. We are hoping to present at the QA Summit in September.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

In Iowa we review 10 files from each staff as a QA team. The supervisor does not do the QA review. We do this yearly. The QA team consist of the Chief, Assitant Chief and 3 resource managers.

From Lynn Ritter, Florida Division of Blind Services:

For performance evaluations Supervisors perform 2 case reviews per caseload per month. We have a review form that rates each question. We enter the scores into a spreadsheet that calculates the overall rating for the case. We require a minimum 90% compliance rate.


Caseload Management

— (12/26/2014) I am working on a project to discover policies, practices, processes and procedures of state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies that has led to a reduction or management of caseload sizes. What have you tried or are you trying to help reduce caseload sizes? Even if you have not needed to look at this issue, what would you suggest that we try? Thank you, in advance for any ideas you share.We anticipate that reduced caseload sizes will lead to improved services for Vocational Rehabilitation clients. It should help to increase the amount of face to face time that Rehabilitation Counselors can provide in working with applicants and clients. Also, it should reduce Rehabilitation Counselor burnout and turnover. We know this is a thorny issue for more than one state Vocational Rehabilitation agency so any ideas you can provide are greatly appreciated.

From Viviana Torres Davila, Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Puerto Rico:

1. Orientations: In 2014 the Quality Control Office (QCO) staff visit regional offices, were rehabilitation counselors (case managers) are, and mentioned to them the need to take action with those cases that have been in certain status so long and how that may help to reduce their caseloads. We also mentioned the importance of work plans to do that and also comply with performance standards.

2. Reports: We have some reports that are generated from our computerized case management system (CRIS) and I will talk to the programmer to create another to help in this matter. Counseling Supervisors have access to those reports and do follow up to their counselors in order to take action with those who have being in certain status longer than the expected period of time. The report that we will expect to develop soon will include, by counselor, days in other status although not necessary there’s a specific minimum or maximum amount of time to be in that status. That will help us (the Quality Control Office and the Counseling Supervisors) to evaluate if the caseload is high because it has cases that requires action (follow up or closure).

3. Reports Sharing: The QCO sent to Regional Directors an Counseling Supervisors, performance reports on a monthly basis. That Includes compliance with federal performance standards and other performance and/or action taken criteria. That helps Supervisors to do follow up and support Counselors with their compliance and other case management issues.

4. Pre-orientation: When a person visits a regional office or satellite office the Counseling Technicians (counselor’s aides) provide orientation about VR Services and requirement, and may schedule a later meeting with the Rehabilitation Counselor to start the application process. That, as Teresa from Alaska said, helps to identify if the person “is in the right place, ready to actively participate” before completing an application.

When caseloads increase regardless of the strategies mentioned above, I agree with what Victoria Drake said about the importance to review the tasks of case managers and their support team. Which tasks can be done by other people to help counselors have more time for clients.

From Teresa Pitt, Alaska DVR:

Alaska doesn’t currently have large caseloads, anywhere from 45-100, 65 on average. At one time we did have caseloads exceeding 100. Most offices conduct group orientations and then a counselor quickly meets with a potential applicant for appx 15-20 minutes to determine if the individual is in the right place, ready to actively participate. We have found that this brief meeting before the individual makes application has reduced some applications or delayed application until the client is really ready to engage. It has helped potential applicants truly understand the scope of our services. Our acceptance rate is much higher now than before we started this practice.

This is not a policy but a business practice. We still do some individual orientations and always do individual intake interviews.

I hope this is helpful.

From David Higginbotham, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

This past year the agency reduced caseload size from and average of 210+ to approximately 120 consumers by essentially having a “Closed Other” campaign. An attempt to contact each consumer in a dormant case was made, and if the consumer did not repsond the case was closed. Some conusmers requested case closure and in some instances the case was reactivated. We probably will not be able to assess the effect on counselors and consumers until the end of 2015.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

We have had this issue as well. One of the ways we have tried to handle this is through a workforce planning model. We have built levels of staff to support our clients. We have three levels of rehabilitation staff; Counselor, Rehabilitation Associates and Rehabilitation Assistance. Since we have funding concerns we had to find ways to bring on more staff without increasing our cost. As we had counselors leave we started replacing them with the other classifications. We found that for about two counselors we could hire two associates and one assistant. The counselors are still the only ones that can determine eligibility and develop plans but the associates would then be more of a case manager for those clients that need less support such as college students. The assistance would assist with intakes, getting medical records, filling out job applications and so on. The counselors, associates and assistants would work as a team with their support staff to meet with the clients regularly and coordinate services. Through this process we are able to serve a larger caseload without reducing quality of services. Just for your information Counselors are master level, Associates are Bachelors level and assistants are usually at the bachelors level or lower based on experience as they would be doing some clerical work as well.

From Victoria Drake, Department of Rehab Okla/Case file Auditor:

As an auditor, my recommendation would not necessarly be to reduce case size, but to find alternatives. Such as how much time is spent in front of a “computer” doing “data entry duties” that could be assigned to a “secretarial” position. Think Dictation is a must. Lots of technology out there to assist in dictation duties. Federal Regulations only specify that a QVRC do 4 “things” on a case file, Eligibility determination, IPE/Plan signature/Annual reviews/closures. Other case management duties could be assigned to a “Case Manager/Rehab Tech. Review who is doing what, and is it necessary for that QVRC to do those duties. It could possibly free up time for them to actually due face to face working with applicants/clients. Is Job Placement personal doing to assist? Evaluators? The total team effort would need to be assessed, when it needs to be addressed, and by whom and what duties it entails. Just a suggestion. Thank you.


Client Surveys

— (06/12/2014) Choosing Good or Sound Evaluation Questions: We all know that evaluation can go far off track if the evaluation questions from the beginning are confusing, unclear, irrelevant, unrealistic or not sound. How do you or others in your organizations go about selecting good or sound evaluation questions? I know this includes judgment and a decision making process. I am very interested in how this judgment is made. Do you/your organization have examples of the judgment/decision-making process?

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

The process will vary depending on the project. For an Adjustment to Blindness Customer Satisfaction Survey we started with the existing evaluation. Our state department did research with our vendors, customers, and staff to find out what was really important to them. We involved our council committee and council in the process for their input. The new questions were used in a trial run with our customers to test them out before going live.

From David Higginbotham, LA Rehabilitation Services:

We have three QA staff at this time. Each of the evaluation questions is reviewed on an ongoing basis or at least annually to assure that the item actually measures the standard for which it is intended. The text of the question must be approved by the three QA staff and the Assistant Director of LRS.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

In Iowa one of the ways we have grown in selecting questions for the evaluation is by bringing in a team of field staff to build the questions. This team would consist of the staff that are exceeding in the areas of the QA process. We present them with the information from the regulations and ask for feedback on how this would be handled in the field. Based on their responses we build the questions and how we would expect to see it in the case files. Then we take the questions out to the field to train the field staff on the process and questions that have been developed so that they understand what we are looking for and how it will be scored. From there we ask for feedback and tweak it as needed or further educate if the staff are just not understanding the questions. I will attach a copy of one of the forms we have built to review the quality of work with Transition. In this form you will see the questions we would ask in bold and examples of things we would look for in the file to determine if it occured or not. Not all of the examples would be required in each case but some of those activities should be occurring.

Attachments: 1


— (10/10/2014) Has your state contracted with an outside research firm for the completion of your consumer satisfaction surveys? If so, will you share your experience and your RFP? Your answer would assist us with moving forward with the decision to contract with an outside firm and hopefully improve the results that we receive for our consumer satisfaction surveys.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

No. Ohio VR completes consumer surveys with internal staff.

From Steve Collins, Florida Division of Vocatinal Rehabilitation – General:

Florida General is in the process of finalizing a contract based on the ITN below. You can access the ITN by clicking on the link at A summary of the deliverables begins on page 21 of the ITN, called – Attachment ‘1’ – RESPONDENT’S PRICE REPLY

From Susan Wells, VT Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We have for many years contracted with Market Decisions in Maine. I will send the RFP and a sample of their report. They are excellent.

Attachments: 12

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

MN SSB has developed it’s own survey but contracts with an outside agency to do the calling and contacting clients. The raw data from the contractor is sent to our state department for coding and then it’s sent to SSB.

From Barbara Boese, Delaware VR:

No RFP for satisfaction surveys but a statewide RFP for verifying employment of consumers served by Dept of Labour, Employment & Training, Unemployment Insurance, Family Court and VR. Any state agency that needs to verify employment of clients.

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

At this time, Utah’s Vocational Rehabilitation agency sends out the consumer satisfaction survey. We have not contracted out the ongoing consumer satisfaction survey before.


— (03/29/2016) Customer Satisfaction Surveys: At ORS (RI), we would like to get an idea of how other state agencies tackle their customer satisfaction surveys in the following ways: 1) How often do you send them out (monthly, quarterly, etc)? 2) What method do you use to send them (email, letter, survey monkey, etc)? 3) Do you track the data internally or through a hired contractor? (advantages/disadvantages to either way?) 4) Do you track return rates (i.e. number of surveys sent out, number of surveys not returned, etc)? 5) Aside from successful closures, do you send them out to ALL unsuccessful closure, or just the cases closed unsuccessfully after they are put into training status? This knowledge will help us in data tracking as well as customer feedback which we can use for continuous quality improvement measures. It will also help us going forward with our comprehensive needs assessment and state plan.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

I will send Ohio’s survey policy, procedure and forms for your review that will answer your questions (above).

Attachments: 1

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

We have office-level surveys which are provided to customers when meeting with a counselor. 1.However, our biggest, more-comprehensive survey is performed on an annual basis. 2&3.We contract with a local university to call a validated random sample of closed customers. Con – $35,000/year to survey 1,000 consumers. Pro – consumers speak very freely to the surveyors and they are very good at reaching them. 4. They call the consumer at least 3 times and are very good at tracking down and reaching the consumer. 5. All closed cases from the previous year are considered for the random sampling.

Please contact me if you want to see the report (

From Becky Oberrecht, Alaska DVR:

1. Surveys are sent monthly, late in the month, for the previous month. (March 23rd for February).
2. Email, using Survey Monkey. Over 80% of our participants have an email account.
3. Data is tracked internally. Survey Monkey does sufficient analysis for our needs.
4. Yes we track return rates. When we changed to all electronic, we had to justify the change to our Statewide Vocational Rehabilitation Council. We used cost savings and the increased response rate (11%) to justify and they approved the change.
5. We send to all closures from plan, regardless of outcome.

I’ve attached a copy of our current questionnaire. Originally it was 28 questions and we cut it substantially. We thought that might help the return rate a bit, which it did. In general, this doesn’t provide us with much useful information.

Just as an aside, we have cut the number of surveys going out for our CSNA this year. We are surveying transition students (required), staff and CRPs. We are not doing providers, our clients or employers. We have a fair amount of data available from other sources (American Community Surveys) and we know where our weaknesses are. We use the information to build our strategic plan and goals, but with all the new WIOA requirements, we have had to focus on getting those changes incorporated into our goals for this year and next.

Attachments: 1

From Curtis Mildner, Market Decisions Research:

You are in luck, a couple years ago MDR collected this information and presented it at the Summit is Louisvile. Please let me know if you’d like a copy (free) or 207-767-6440 x105.

From Mike Hermanson, Montana VR:

1. We send them out the month after closure.
2. We send a letter. We are exploring sending an email with a survey monkey link.
3. We track internally at the state office.
4. We do track return rates.
5. We do all successful and unsuccessful closures.


— (6/22/2017) Who conducts your Client Satisfaction Surveys? Do you do it in house or contract it out? Also, who manages and monitors the survey process? We are revamping our survey process and are looking for best practices to help us capture the voice of the individuals we serve.

From Robyn Throlson, ND DVR:

We are currently contracting with Market Decisions to conduct our Client Satisfaction Surveys. Our Data Information Specialist sends them a list of the clients who qualify for the survey each quarter. I am the Quality Assurance Administrator and review the results of the survey and oversee the contract.

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

From Jeff Haight, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) does our consumer satisfaction survey (CSS) internally. IVRS uses the CSS created by the 4th Summit Reading Group headed by Darlene Groomes. We have made some minor changes to certain questions from the original but still kept the same meaning of the questions. The questions use a ‘skip logic’ method so when the Job Candidate answer the main question favorably they skip the follow up questions. If the answer in unfavorable the sub-questions are presented.
On a monthly basis using Survey Monkey or mail we send to all successful and unsuccessful closures who received services. If the Job Candidate has an email we use Survey Monkey and if the email is rejected we send out by mail. The Job Candidates without email available we send by mail. The surveys are returned and entered into a spreadsheet calculating the results for the SRC quarterly meetings.
The SRC subcommittee, Darlene Groomes, Quality Assurance, and Administrator reviews the results of the CSS and questions items that are not reported as favorable. The CSS is posted on the IVRS Internet site for all to access. The IVRS Quality Assurance staff and a team will identify and implement the training needs of staff.

From Becky Oberrecht, Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We send our client satisfaction surveys in an email via Survey Monkey. Approximately 78% of our clientele has email and we expect that number to increase. We are also a pilot project for SARA which is software that will text clients instead of sending letters. We will be making a more concerted effort to get either a cell phone number for texting or an email. I have a staff person who creates a list from closures the previous month (we just sent out March), and monitors the responses. Those responses are tabulated in Survey Monkey and the data is combined quarterly to report out to our Statewide Committee and also combined annually for the annual statewide report. We are a small agency and the process is easily handled by one staff spending a couple of hours each month.

From Janell Turner, Kentucky Office for the Blind:

Our agency contracts with the University of Kentucky to conduct our Satisfaction Surveys. They have an individual who is responsible for getting the data from Office for the Blind and distributing it to the call center. That individual is then required to write a report and present the information to our State Rehabilitation Council. If you would like more specific information feel free to contact me at, and I can help you.


— (03/25/2013) I work for KY OVR and we are a VR-general agency. We are currently searching for a more time- and cost-efficient way of conducting six and twelve-month Positive Employment Outcome follow-ups. We average about 3500+ PEO outcomes per year, which equates to 7000+ surveys. I have been challenged to find a more cost-effective way of conducting these follow-up surveys without any additional time on field staff. We have traditionally done mail-out surveys but due to cost of postage and employee time, we were actually looking at better ways to perform this task using current technology and resources (and hopefully a better response rate). Please let me know generally how your state VR agency conducts these follow-up surveys.

From Lori Ann Jenkins, Program Analyst at the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Currently we survey our customers six months after a successful closure (employment) and then again 12 months after a successful closure.  The survey is sent via US mail.  The surveys are printed at our Hiram G. Andrews Center, a training center for people with disabilities who want to become employed.   In 2011, OVR purchase an industrial size printer for the primary purpose of the survey.  The printer is also being used to train students at the HGAC as a trade for future employment and as an income stream.  The surveys are scanned by the PA Dept of Revenue for $.26 per survey, and the results tabulated by our contractor Deloitte (who works with our interagency customer database – CWDS).  We send out on an average 7000 surveys a quarter, and receive a 10% return rate.  Currently we are reconsidering placing the survey online and other methods of gaining the necessary information.

From Janet Cool, MSSA, Manager at the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission:

I have attached the consumer survey policy and associated forms we are utilizing in Ohio to garner consumer feedback.  With AWARE as our case management system, consumer surveys can be generated as letter attachments.  We worked with IT to coordinate survey links which allow consumers to reply online.  For those without email addresses listed, we have an internal support staff who conducts phone calls, and as the third step there is a mailing that is sent to encourage feedback and the same support staff enters the feedback into AWARE.

Attachments: 1,2,3,4

From Don Kay, Assistant Director at DSHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Washington State:

At Washington DVR, we send our surveys similar to the way you do it. We have assigned one staffer who each month mails hardcopies and tabulates returns. If you find anyone who does it more efficiently, please pass it on. Thanks!

From Mike Hermanson, MS, CRC, VR Program Manager at Montana Vocational Rehabilitation:

Actually, just this morning I was tossing around an idea with our database person.  They indicated that we now have the email of consumers in our data base and I am considering perhaps sending out emails for the surveys, at least for those we have a working email for.  We haven’t done it yet, but it is an idea.  For two years, consumers have been able to do the survey on line, but we haven’t had a great deal of interest in that.  That is probably because the url for the site questionnaire comes with the hard copy survey and prepaid postage envelope to send in and they just do the hard copy rather than type in a rather long url.  Anyway, with the email they could just poke the link to the survey web site and that may go over better, again in early idea stages and haven’t implemented yet.


Cost for Services

— (01/24/2013) When paying for interpreting services for consumers, is a “minimum rate” paid for the service in the event that the consumer does not keep the appointment, or if the appointment last for a shorter time than originally scheduled? What rate is paid for interpreting services in your state?

From the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We pay for interpreter services for appointments that are missed unless the appointment is cancelled more than 24 hours in advance.

From Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

If consumer does not keep the appointment, or the appointment is shorter than expected, full payment is still expected for interpreting services. Rate depends on agency that is being used from the state of Minnesota master contract, but tends to range between $35-$75 an hour plus referral fee and two hour minimum for onsite interpreting.

From the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission:

Rate: $4.70 / Unit of Service
UOS (Unit of Service) = 6 minutes
2 hour minimum (which equates to $47 for each of the first two
hours); any time over 2 hours is billed by UOS
No differential rates for emergency, evening, or weekend appointments
No differential rates for geographic region
Does not include travel time; includes appointment time only

Mileage: Up to 45-cents per mile

Missed Appointment / No Show Fee: 2 hour maximum

From the Washington DC Rehabilitation Services Administration:

The standard practice in the Washington, DC area is that if a consumer doesnot keep an appointment, interpreters are not paid a “minimum rate” but rather the entire amount for the agreed upon time. The interpreter is alsopaid the entire amount if a meeting lasts less than the time originally scheduled. Interpreters are also paid in full if an appointment is canceled with less than a 72 hour notice.

DC RSA does not establish the rate of pay for interpreters. The pay rate is established by the interpreting companies that sign a contract with the agency. Currently DC RSA has two contractors/companies who assign interpreters on an ad-hoc basis depending on need. One company charges a one hour and a half minimum. The other company charges a two hour minimum.Rates are different for both companies. Rates for both companies also vary depending on length of assignment, when the request was made, number of interpreters needed, specialty, and last minute requests. Last minute requests are usually at a premium.

From the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services:

We pay a minimum of 2-hours. This is paid if “no show” or appointment is cancelled less than 24 business hours notice. And this is paid if the appointment last shorter than 2 hours.

We follow the rates established by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They have a multi-agencies contract for state agencies, which we are part of this. This prevent state agencies from competing with each other with hourly rates. I have attached the contract for your review. The actual rates are on page 15.



From the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

IL-DRS Response: Illinois pays a 2 hour minimum. Assignments over 2 hours require 2 interpreters. Two interpreters are hired when working with individuals who are deafblind regardless of the length of the assignment. The interpreter is paid the number of hours they were hired to work when the customer does not keep the appointment and does not cancel at least 2 days prior to the assignment date. When the appointment ends earlier than the originally scheduled end time, the interpreter is paid for the scheduled hours. Illinois VR pays the following rates:

Rates for sign language interpreters

License Hourly Fee
 Sign Language Interpreter  Master $45.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Advanced $40.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Intermediate $35.00
 Sign Language Interpreter – Provisional $20.50


Rates for sign language interpreter services for individuals who are deafblind

License Hourly Fee
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind – Master $50.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind  – Advanced $45.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind  – Intermediate $40.00


Rates for sign language interpreter services occurring between the hours of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM:

License Hourly Fee
 Sign Language Interpreter – Master 6:00PM to 6:00AM $52.00
 Sign Language Interpreter – Advanced 6:00PM to 6:00AM $47.00
 Sign Language Interpreter – Intermediate 6:00PM to 6:00AM $42.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind – Master 6:00PM to 6:00AM $57.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind  – Advanced 6:00PM to 6:00AM $52.00
 Sign Language Interpreter Deafblind  – Intermediate  6:00PM to 6:00AM $47.00
 Certified Deaf Interpreter 6:00PM to 6:00AM $52.00
 Certified Deaf Interpreter Deafblind 6:00PM to 6:00AM $57.00

From State of Oregon DHS-Vocational Rehabilitation:

This depends on whether the interpreter was coordinated through our sister program, Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS), or through a private, for profit interpreter coordination program. I will attach the most recent matrices I have from ODHHS; if the job was coordinated by a private company, we follow their cancellation/no-show policy. I am attaching two matrices I recently received from ODHHS’ Coordinator, Jeff Brownson. I do not have similar information from the private coordinators, but can tell you generally their hourly rate is $75-80.



From the Minnesota State Services for the Blind:

The State of MN has contracts for Interpreting services. Currently, we have two agencies on contract. DeafBlind interpreting costs more. $62.50/hour with a two hour minimum for the first agency. The second agency charges $72.50/hour with a two hour minimum. There is a minimum rate paid for the service when a cancellation occurs with short/no notice (less than 48 hours).


Customer as Stakeholder

— (04/28/2014) I am looking for counselor training resources: outreach/orientation, eligibility, vocational assessment and IPE development. The knowledge from your responses will be used as resources to train VR professionals working with Native Americans with Disabilities under the AIVRS/121 Programs. There is significant turn over in the professional ranks and many lack formal training in VR. Training materials need to be adapted to ensure their cultural relevancy to the population.

From David Vandergoot, WorkLife Resources:

We have developed online training materials in some of the areas you mentioned, including assessment and planning to some degree. Other courses focus on placement, job development and working with employers. These were initially designed for providing vocational rehabilitation services to SSDI beneficiaries but have also been adapted for general VR populations. They have not been adapted for cultural relevancy for Native Americans.

From Veronica A. De Leon-Dowd, NM Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Karen Provine, NMDVR Staff Development Unit;

From Susie Calhoun, CTUIR:

We are sending our Job Developer to CANAR Mid Year for the New Case Manager Track and hope that Lou will be coming to Oregon to work with the 5 Tribes and their staff in the near future.


Data Management

— (04/30/2015) We would like to know if your agency has worked with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Workforce Data Quality Initiatives (WDQI) that might be in your state and, if so, what has been the nature of the collaboration.Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has had four rounds of Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants in numerous states to develop state workforce longitudinal databases – a joint undertaking with U.S. Department of Education (ED)- that will build on the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) initiative that ED has underway to encourage the development of state education and workforce longitudinal administrative databases. Collecting these and other data sources longitudinally will provide a comprehensive picture of workers’ earnings throughout their careers. Through analysis, these data will demonstrate the relationship between education and training programs, as well as the additional contribution of the provision of other employment services.Each WDQI grantee is expected to fully develop (or expand in the case where states have a database underway) their workforce longitudinal database in addition to using that database to conduct analysis of state workforce and education systems. Additionally, WQDI grantees are expected to use this data analysis to create materials on state workforce performance to share with workforce system stakeholders and the public.

From Don Kay, WA-DVR:

Washington State DVR has not participated in any WDQI activities. I don’t even know if our state has ever received a WDQI grant from DOL.

From Kathleen Enders, WI VR:

No collaboration has been done

From Kirsten Rowe, Va. Dept. for Aging and Rehab. Services:

Yes, Virginia has had two WDQI grants, and DARS (the general VR agency in Virginia) has participated as a member of various interagency working groups implementing WDQI projects. We will be sharing de-identified VR participant data with the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) for the first time this year, and expect to receive WDQI funds to support an initial data quality analysis to learn more about the strengths and gaps in VLDS data and its data linking capabilities that may affect our ability to use VLDS for research and policy analysis, as well as routine performance monitoring and reporting.

From Steve Collins, Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Florida VR has only peripheral interactions with this system right now. It is more geared to education and workforce data, than a tie to VR caseload data and outcomes. The DOL report is at and the Florida FETPIP webpage is at

From Ronald Barcikowski, Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation:


From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa has not that I am aware of.


— (05/18/2015) The Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS) of the US Department of Labor facilitates the exchange of wage data among participating states for the purpose of assessing and reporting on state and local employment and training program performance, evaluating training provider performance, and for other purposes allowed under the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement. The exchange permits state workforce program performance agencies to secure wage data of individuals who have participated in workforce investment programs in one state, then subsequently secured employment in another.By participating in WRIS, states have a more robust picture of the effectiveness of their workforce investment programs, and are able to report more comprehensive outcomes against their performance measures. We would like to know what states are already involved with this system and, if so, what your experience has been. Thank you.

From Mike Hermanson, Disability Employment and Transitions, Montana:

Montana does not participate.

From Don Kay, WA-DVR:

Washington DVR does not participate directly in WRIS, but we do get employment verification data from our state Employment Security Department that provides us with out of state data.

From David Ritacco, Oregon VR:

We do not.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

In Iowa all we are currently doing is collecting wage data from our DOL office. We are in talks with the other agencies at this time to build a shared data based were we can have better access to shared information among partners.

From David Higginbotham, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

We use a national tracking system and this has benefitted in locating consumers who have received VR serv ices in LA and obtained employment out of state.


— (05/13/2016) Data visualization software, such as Tableau, is a tool that is being used by many state vocational rehabilitation agencies. However, questions have been raised about accessibility and 508-compliance. To what extent is such software accessible? What, if any, difficulties have users found with it regarding accessibility and compliance?

From Steven Tribbie, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

We have a relatively small number of staff that would require accessibility features and to date these staff have not used Tableau directly. Outputs from Tableau are generated in an accessible format, such as Crosstab (Excel), which are then distributed for staff use.

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

MN State Services for the Blind does not use Tableau software.

From Darcy Fleming, Alliance Enterprises, Inc.:

I work with Alliance Enterprises, Inc. the software provider of Aware and reseller of Tableau Software. We have done extensive accessibility testing of Tableau because we are reselling the product. I have also had discussions directly with Tableau on their position regarding 508 compliance. At Alliance we decided to offer equal data analytics products in addition to Tableau because of accessibility limitations. These equivalent products are Microsoft based.

If you are interested we would be happy to share our findings with you and discuss the products we offer in addition to Tableau to meet accessibility. I also have 508-compliance level documentation from Tableau I can share, including their VPAT. Let me know if you are interested. (


Deaf and Hard of Hearing

— (01/23/2013) Louisiana utilizes an Order of Selection. For consumers who are Deaf, or Hard of Hearing, upon determining eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services in your state, is severity of disability ranked based on dB loss or loss of speech discrimination, or is severity of disability ranked solely based on functional limitations?

From the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services:

Severity is based on functional limitations. RSA told us years ago that we could not use dB loss or speech discrimination as part of the eligibility determination. We generally use the concept of… is there a hearing loss? If yes, then we look at functional limitations.

From the Minnesota State Services for the Blind:

SSB does not utilize an Order of Selection.  For our Deafblind customers, eligibility is based on vision.  SSB does have a system of classifying individuals as DeafBlind by taking into account diagnosis, prognosis, and dB loss.

From the State of Oregon DHS-Vocational Rehabilitation:

In Oregon VR, we use functional loss to determine severity of disability in D/HOH consumers, as we do with all other disability groups. A couple of years ago, our RCDs worked with me to create the attached Functional Loss Indicators document. We use it as a training tool as well as a reference for field staff. The guide could apply to nearly any disability group–it’s based on the foundations of Rehabilitation, after all–but we have noticed an increase in accurate and effective determination of functional loss by ALL VRCs, not just the RCDs, since we implemented its use. Because we only have 13 RCDs statewide, some Deaf and many HOH clients are served by general VRCs in their local offices; this document has helped those staff immeasurably.



From the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

The severity of disability is determined by the individual’s functional limitations.

From the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission:

Ohio is also an Order of Selection state. Severity of disability is based solely on functional limitations.

From Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Severity of Disability is ranked on functional limitations.



From the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We use an Order of Selection. We do not use the dB loss as the determination of SD or MSD. We use functional limitations and the requirement that the person need multiple significant services lasting 6 months or longer.

From Montana Vocational Rehabilitation:

Montana has never been under OOS, but anticipates that we will be within the next two years. Currently the disability ranking is based solely on functional limitations.


— (01/23/2013) Regarding rehabilitation counselors for the deaf and hard of hearing, does your state have a minimum sign language proficiency requirement for the position with additional higher levels required for promotional opportunities?

From the Minnesota State Services for the Blind:

SSB does not have a minimum sign language proficiency requirements for its counselors serving our Deaf Blind individuals, though having experience using ASL is a preferred qualification on job postings.

From State of Oregon DHS-Vocational Rehabilitation:

At this time, no minimum proficiency (based on objective data) is required, but as a part of the Oregon Department of Human Services, VR will move to requiring language proficiency for staff who receive the “bilingual” pay differential for spoken languages or ASL; for ASL proficiency, the expectation will be that staff score at least a 3 on the ASLPI instrument. The only promotional opportunities related to D/HOH services we have within Oregon VR are one “lead” RCD position and the State Coordinator for D/HOH Services (which is a portion of the duties of the person in my present position). We do not, at present, require “higher levels” of ASL proficiency for those two positions.

From the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

RCD must obtain a rating of advance on the SLPI.   Rehabilitation Case Coordinators must obtain an intermediate on the SLPI.    Ratings above advanced are not required for promotional opportunities.

From the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission: 

For an RCD at RSC, we require a minimum of Novice Plus on the SLPI and a level 2 on the ASLPI.

From Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

No, positions are just advertised as “signing skills required”, SCPI (Sign Communication Proficiency Interview) can be used to assess skills.

From the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We do not have written proficiency requirements for the RCD position. Our RCDs meet with staff proficient in sign language as part of the interview process.  When I was hired as an RCD back in 1988, I met one-on-one with the SCD. (I am now the SCD… and the program evaluation person… Delaware is a small state!)  We have only two RCDs; one was hired in 1987 and the other in 1995, both before I was SCD.

From the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services:

No. Signing skills are assessed during the interview process (no formal testing, etc).  No additional higher levels for promotion.


Employee Development

— (04/10/2014) Florida DVR is implementing a Learning Management System (LMS) and is interested in knowing how you handle course naming conventions (which of course reflect how your curriculum tracks are conceptualized). Any examples or policies you could provide would be appreciated. Your responses will enable us to take advantage of the experience of our peers to build our LMS faster. In turn, that will enable us to get critical training to our staff so that they can more effectively serve individuals with disabilities.

From Don Kay, WA-DVR:

The State of Washington Department of Social & Health Services uses an LMS system for all employees, including DVR. Contact Dona Fuerst, DVR Training Manager, for examples and details. Email

From David Higginbotham, LA Rehabilitation Services:

LRS does not have a LMS. I would appreciate information regarding this also. Oregon has an extensive web based training library.

From Warren Grantor, North Dakota Voc Rehab:

North Dakota VR used a LMS to create online classes for the new case management system. The naming convention was simliar to a college catalog, such as:

300C  Basic Navigation
310C  Finding Particiants
320V  Application
320B  Application
330V  Eligibility
560C  Reports


Where C = Combined; V = VR Staff; B = Vision Specialists

The numbering scheme made it easier to designate which courses had pre-requisites.

From Kathleen Enders, WI VR:

In WI DVR, we use a state/department system called Cornerstone to track training. We do not track this ourselves but use that system.


Employer Relations

— (04/02/2015) I would like to hear from anyone who has developed a process to elicit data from employers of VR consumers, regarding, but not limited to: their needs; the ability of VR consumers to satisfy their needs; their communications with VR; and their satisfaction with VR. This will help improve placement in employment of VR consumers.

From Jennifer Geuther, SD Division of Rehabilitation Services:

South Dakota is in the process of completing an employer questionnaire that will be distributed to employers and employer organizations in order to obtain workforce and/or technical needs within the realm of disability related information. An employer survey is also being developed to distribute to employers following contacts or meetings with them. The results of the questionnaire and the survey will be used for determining outreach needs.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

In Iowa we have a position designed to communicate with Businesses throughout the state and through that position we get a lot of feedback. We also hold Community Conversations where we go to the communities and have an open forum to gain further information. Through these conversations we learn of gaps and then try to bring in team members such as businesses to build plans on how to better meet their needs. These have been very effective.

From Teresa Pitt, Idaho VR:

Sorry Steve, we have not created this survey, however it would be helpful if you could share whatever is shared with you. This will be even more important with WIOA.

From Barbara Boese, DE VR:

No available data.

From Don Kay, Washington State DVR:

Hi Steve, attached is an Employer Survey that we conducted in 2009. While it’s not recent, I believe the general info is still fairly relevant.

The first attachment is a 2009 Employer Survey that we conducted, and the second attachment is a 2013 Employer Survey conducted by our State Workforce Board; it is not VR-specific but has good info about employer hiring priorities and needs.

Attachments: 12

From HarrietAnn Litwin, Delaware DVR (DE general):

We use a consumer satisfaction survey. I assume that is what you mean. I will attach the most recent version. It is “short and sweet.” We mail it with the closure letter to both successfully rehabilitated (aka 26) and a slightly different one to those not rehabilitated (aka 28). A postage paid business return envelop is also attached.

Attachments: 12


— (08/11/2015) The Disability Statistics Research and Training Center at the University of New Hampshire is interested in identifying VR agencies that actively collect employer services data as part of their management information systems. Please let us know if your agency has a mechanism in place for doing this.

From Ralph Roach, PA OVR:

PA OVR is in the process of developing a comprehensive Employer/Business data base and business customer satisfaction survey. We have explored a few commercially available products and are working with our in-house IT team to discuss how to better utilize our current 911 data on each 26 closure and the businesses data we collect from our hired PA OVR consumer customers, both those who achieved a 26 closure and those employers who did not retain our their VR hire. We hope our completed comprehensive will include data fields organized around the following core elements.

PA OVR Business Services and Outreach Division-BSOD in our mission to focus on the development of an Agency Business/Employer data management and business customer services plan will include systems–strategies organized around the following key data elements as offered by EDP Pro: (WEBSITE: )

1. CONTACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to store all OVR employer information & Business Engagement efforts.

2. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to store and leverage information and knowledge to expedite employment opportunities and better job matches
a. Worksite Analysis
b. Job Analysis
a. Workplace culture
b. Expectations & Preferences-skills/attributes
c. performance, training, etc.

a. Job Contacts
b. History of all activities/services provided to OVR customers

a. Career Plans/Discovery Information
b. Career Goals and Other Plans (IEP, IPE, etc.)
c. Career Exploration /Job Search Activities & Progress
d. Employment Information-Employer, schedule, pay, hours, benefits, progress notes, length of employment, and more.

a. Track and create reports on placements and performance with options to filter by employer, location, staff person, etc.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa does not have a system in place to track this as of now.

From Jon Hackathorn, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:



Forms or Online Forms

Health Care

— (02/14/2014) How are states responding to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the impact on VR services and clients? WYDVR is interested in any new policies and/or procedures that are being utilized. WY DVR is interested in how other states are responding to this and what, if any, impacts states foresee on services to clients. WY DVR is trying to determine if additional policies, procedures or guidelines need to be put into place to address the potential impacts.

From John Stem, MD Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Maryland DORS has not made any specific changes to policy resulting from the ACA and does not anticipate formally making changes. Individuals who indicate they have insurance through the ACA will be coded as having “Private Insurance through Other Means” (RP 41) in the RSA 911.

From Feona Barnett, Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind:

We have a meeting on this very subject Thursday, February 6th. This will be our first meeting to discuss this issue. I am interested in hearing what you find out from other states. Thanks!

From John Halliday, ICI:

The web site has two webinars on this issue with considerable material to consider.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

Ohio is providing training to counselors regarding the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to increase their knowledge about comparable benefits. The BVR Deputy Director does not otherwise foresee any changes in policies or procedures related to the Affordable Care Act, at least at this point. However, the ACA should allow more people to access health insurance and therefore have new or increased comparable benefits available to them that could be utilized in lieu of VR funding. Existing policies and procedures already indicate that these resources are utilized first.


Job Development and Placement Services

— (10/01/2013) We’re interested in finding out how other states are handling contracts for services with Community Rehab Providers (CRPs). This includes contracting with vendors to provide services for programs such as VR and IL. We’d like to see some models, policies, procedures and contract templates if possible. And, if states are not contracting out but providing these services through in-house staff, that would be helpful to know as well. We’re also interested in learning if there’s anyone contracting on a fee for service basis for supported employment services. If so, it would be great if they were willing to share the model, policies, procedures on that. Additionally, if someone has a particularly successful Supported Employment program we’d love to see their model (fee for service or otherwise). Information will be used to formulate policy that will our agency increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided through Community Rehabilitation Programs. Thank you!

From Karon Grandon, Arizona RSA:

Yes, we contract with CRPs for many services for both VR and IL.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

Ohio established Fee Schedule for VR services as part of our administrative code: OAC 3304-2-52 (Appendix) that outline rates and service delivery requirements. Please find attached the portion of our VR Manual that addresses these areas. We are also attaching a copy of our current Provider Agreement form. We are currently in the process of reviewing this administrative rule and making changes. OOD does not purchase Supported Employment as a separate service, however, any VR service can be provided to weave a fabric of services to ensure the Consumer’s needs are met.

Attachment: 12

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

Utah’s Vocational Rehabilitation program uses a milestone program to pay CRPs for providing supported employment. As this inquiry lends itself to wanting to view policy I am attaching chapter 22 of our case service manual for the details in how we work with clients that receive supported employment.

Attachment: 1


— (05/13/2014) What practices do states use for quality assurance of CRP services? I am particularly interested in examples of consumer satisfaction surveys specifically related to CRP services. This information will help to provide information for assessing the strengthens and weaknesses of the CRPs providing services. In particular, it will assist in getting the consumer perspective on CRP services.

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

MN Services for the Blind (SSB) has a vendor monitoring system that monitors CRPs a minimum of every three years. Additionally, SSB conducts customer satisfaction surveys specific to CRPs providing adjustment to blindness training services.


— (05/27/2014) IDVR is evaluating a Milestones(outcome-based) payment system for CRPs. I would like feedback from other VR programs who use or have evaluated a Milestones payment system in order to better understand potential issues, concerns, and benefits. The purpose of evaluating and possibly changing our payment system is to improve service delivery, job placement, and retention of VR clients.

From Douglas Morton, from the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Illinois VR has used a milestone payment system with CRP agencies for the last six years. We pay providers 25% of the total amount when an individual achieves 15 days of employment, another 25% at 45 days of employment, and the final 50% when the individual achieves employment stability after 90 days of employment. Milestone contracts account for about a third of our CRP contracts. We also continue to have contracts that pay a lump sum payment when an individual achieves employment stability after 90 days of employment. These types of performance-based contracts have reduced our spending on unsuccessful closures, compared to service-based contracts used in the past. While there was some initial resistance the milestone contracts have proven to be popular with providers. We believe that the interests of the VR agency, the customer and the provider are aligned in this system.

From LuAnn Summers, from WVDRS:

WVDRS implemented Milestone payments in 2008 when we closed our Rehabilitation Center and worked on moving CRP services back into the communities that clients reside. Below is feedback regarding benefits, potential issues and concerns. If you have additional questions please feel free to contact me.


• Ability to pay the CRP throughout the rehabilitation process

• Ensures follow up of services from the CRP

• Provides regular on-going updates to the counselor as the CRP must send in required paperwork with the invoice during the process

• Reimburses the CRP for services provided and does not punish them if through no fault of theirs if the client is not successful

• Better promotes the counselor being a part of the rehabilitation process making decisions along the way

Potential issues:

• During implementation there was initial confusion regarding making payments for services provided if the client was not successful

• Must ensure that time lines are reasonable for the CRP and the client to ensure that follow up is being done in a timely manner for the client and enables the CRP to provide the services within reasonable time frame

• Having the ability to train all new and existing staff prior to implementation/utilization of services and update on regular basis

• This milestone system does require the counselor to be on top of the case to be a part of the decision making throughout the rehabilitation process


We really did not have any major concerns. We researched how other states were implementing services along with fees for those services and utilized those aspects that would work well in WV. After implementation we reviewed utilization reports and met with each district to discuss utilization and determine why certain services were utilized more than other and made some tweaking along the way. We had one service, community based assessment, that we had made milestone that just did not seem to work well for milestone payment so we did go back and change it to an hourly rate. You will have to follow the process after implementation to ensure it is providing your clients and counselors with the type of outcomes you are hoping to obtain.

Attachments: 1

From Tim Gravier, Missouri VR:

The benefit is that it’s “outcome based” and as an agency, you can define the outcome parameters. The issue faced is a third party verification of the outcome or a very reliable source of verification.

From Don Kay, WA-DVR:

WA-DVR has used an outcome-based CRP contract for a number of years. Here is a link to the current contract that is on our website:

Let me know if youhave any questions.

From David Higginbotham, Louisiana Rehab Services:

For each Milestone: 1) Clearly define the parameters (e.g. related activities, time frame); 2) Specify the quality indicators for each Milestone (e.g. standards for service delivery, doucmentation of services; and 3) Specify the standard(s) that must be met for the CRP to recieve payment for services.


— (07/28/2014) Are any states using a milestones payment system for PARTNERSHIP PLUS instead of cost reimbursement? Partnership Plus is an agreement between VR agencies and Employment Networks to provide ongoing job support services for Ticket-to-Work customers. After a VR customer’s case is successfully closed, a designated EN is able to provide various job retention and support services directly to customers. The various allowable services directly assist the customer in maintaining employment and increasing earnings.

From James Gears, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

No, Ohio VR only accepts Cost Reimbursement cases. We have in the past taken Tickets as an Employment Network (EN) but found that there was a significant risk and loss of revenue due to cases being mis-labelled or Consumers going on to work above SGA after initially reporting an interest in part time work.

From Shanti Aaron, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA):

No, Georgia does not have a PP agreement that involves milestone payments.

From Linda Lingen, Organization: MN State Services for the Blind:

We do not at this time use any milestone payments – only cost reimbursement payments.

From Nelva Sneed, DARS-Division for Rehabilitation Services (Texas):

The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-Division for Rehabilitation Services uses the cost reimbursement system only.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa used to do the milestones but went away from it a couple of years ago.  We now just do the cost reimbursement.

From Gina Haupt, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Wisconsin is Cost Reimbursement only. We have one agreement that we use and we currently have an agreement with 8 different EN’s. We are hoping to expand and get more agreements. All Partnership Plus agreements are with vendors of VR so we know they are quality providers.

From Veronica A. De Leon-Dowd, NM DVR:

NM does not do this.

From David Leon, DARS (VA):

I am the ticket to work coordinator for the Virginia Department for Aging and rehabilitative services. The nature of Partnership Plus implies that the VR agency has chosen cost reimbursement for that case. As a state VR agency that at times also acts as an Employment Network, we occasionally choose to assign a clients ticket rather than place it in use SVR. In these cases, we do have a revenue sharing agreement in place for the ticket revenue, but in Virginia, we view this as an administrative EN agreement, not Partnership Plus.


— (03/29/2016) Are any states incorporating Customized Employment as a paid service into their job placement contracts? Any information will give NYSCB a better sense of how to help our consumers & agencies obtain work opportunities.

From Mark Peterson, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services:

Virginia VR is in the process of operationalizing CE throughout the State. CE is occurring in certain areas, but we are interested in creating teams made up of VR and Partners to have available for our most severe consumers.

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

We incorporated customized employment into our Supported Employment Service Fee memo last year. Although we are a general agency the blind agency is able to use our Service Fees. I will send that attachment.

Attachments: 1

From Mike Hermanson, Montana VR:

Montana for the most part pays for CRP services on an hourly basis and any customized employment services are paid on the regular hourly basis.


— (02/04/2013) In Montana, when an assessment is done related providing guidance on issues such as whether there is a need for supported employment or if the person could benefit from VR services we usually get the assessment from the same provider that is expected to provide placement and/or support services in the future. We recently became concerned about conflict of interest issues related to this approach. I would like to know if there are states that focus on having assessments from entities distinct from the agency that will provide services? Are there states that have providers that primarily do assessment only? If there is separation but usually an assessment is done by a provider that also provides an array of others services are there specific guidelines on when the assessment agency can or cannot provide the other services?

From William T. Downey, PhD:

A partial answer is that if those doing the assessment are certified/licensed (eg, Certified voc evaluator, CRC, psychologist, etc), their ethics and standards of practice would prevent them professionally from engaging in conflict behavior.  In other situations, maybe not.

From the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired:

At Virginia Blind, the VRC determines the need for SE services and then purchases SE and follow-along as needed.

From the Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind:

I am currently working with a team to develop specific evaluation/training for Supported Employment clients.  This training will consist of evaluations, soft skills, conflict resolution skills, coping skills, activities of daily living skills, and grooming.  All of this will preclude the place then train model of SE.  This is a three piece team consisting of Division of Services for the Blind, World Services for the Blind, and Lighthouse for the Blind.  We determine eligible and develop the plan, WSB provides the pre-employment training, and we have a vendor who will provide the placement service, training, and the eventual employment.

From DE Blind:

At DE Blind, the VRC determines the need for SE services and then purchases SE and follow-along as needed.


At Va DARS, the counselor basically makes the  decision whether the client needs SE the refers to the appropriate vendor.  The decision is usually made based on the available diagnostic info, counseling sessions and a voc eval, if needed.

From the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development:

In MN, the counselor makes the determination and often in consultation with a community provider which may also provide the services.  No specific guidelines on working with a community provider.  We don’t have any providers who only do assessments.  In our rural areas we are often lucky to have one community provider willing to provide supported employment services.

From Wisconsin DVR:

In Wisconsin, the decision to utilize SE services is made in a SE Consultation meeting (usually prior to IPE development) with members of a team that includes the consumer, parents/guardians, DVR Counselor, Service Provider, Long Term funding source, teachers or anyone else the consumer wishes. The Consultation meeting requires the team to address a long list of questions and provide resources for a SE assessment if SE services I.e. assessment continue. The consumer can select a SE provider from an established service provider listing that includes consumer satisfaction, statistics, results, description of provider etc. In many places there isn’t more than one choice. (We are working on that.) We have established a detailed description of all SE services and reporting elements. All of our SE providers are expected to comply with those requirements.

In the past, we have found issues with providers that would like to recommend continuation or establishment of an individual in a congregate setting. DVR in WI will no longer accept those recommendations for payment. Each provider must describe in detail what level and types of support an individual will need to be placed in an integrated and competitive setting. Those details are shared with the SE team and taken into account for the process to continue.

From the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Alaska VR receives the majority of our SE referrals from those CRP’s that also provide the long term supports.  Typically the CPR’s are the agencies that receive the long term funding.  If that is not the situation our counselors determine if the individual requires SE services that level of support through various assessments.

From the SC Commission for the Blind:

For South Carolina Blind, the VR Counselor is required to staff any potential SE cases with upper level VR Management prior to making a determination for the need for SE services.   Once the need for SE services has been assessed and agreed upon, the VR Counselor proceeds with the purchase and/or coordination of SE services and conducts follow-along as needed.

From the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) counselors assess the rehabilitation, career, and employment needs for eligible customers.  Counselors will provide the opportunity for customers to choose from available DVR providers for Supported Employment.

From Nebraska General:

Nebraska General has agreements with any provider that provides SE services in Nebraska. We use a milestone payment schedule that the provider agrees to when signing our agreement. We have VR staff who are liaisons with each of the providers. VR and provider staff staff potential referrals to determine appropriateness. Contact with the provider throughout the process is part of our milestone payment schedule along with written reports at certain points. We don’t have any SE providers that provide an assessment only service.

Nebraska General has evaluation staff and placement staff so we are not purchasing these services. The only exception is SE – job placement is part of our SE agreement with providers.

From the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency:

The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Program utilizes several different types of assessments that could provide guidance regarding the need for supported employment.  These include a comprehensive vocational evaluation, Vocational Profile or Work Evaluation. We do have contracts with providers who do just the vocational evaluation or work evaluations and some are providers for all three as well as supported employment.

We have contracts with community rehabilitation programs that provide a variety of services that may or may not include SE.  The guidelines we have in place has more to do with not being able to bill for services that are generally included under the umbrella of SE, such as job coaching, personal-social adjustment training&  job readiness training that are typically addressed on the job.

We do have a specific policy regarding what constitutes eligibility for supported employment, which the counselor must document. The written reports we receive from providers must give the specific information that allows the counselor to do this; however, in reality it is common for providers who provide SE, recommend that service, when the justification is not evident. We have addressed this in regularly scheduled communication meetings with the providers or on an individual basis.


— (04/02/2013) I am looking to find out which states are using pay for performance, performance based contract or milestone payments for their job development and job placement services? I also would love to have names of persons who I could contact to get more information on what their state is doing. Thanks!

From John Stem, Staff Specialist, Maryland VR:

Maryland VR has a milestone-based (pay-for-performance) program for community rehabilitation programs who use evidenced based practices in supported employment service provision. Please see the attached Fact Sheet for details, and contact Catherine Drake, DORS Staff Specialist, CRPs at 410-554-9440 or, if you have any additional questions.

Attachments: 1

From David Norman, Program Implementation Specialist, Texas Division for Rehabilitation Services:

In response to your question above, we are doing this in Texas.  If you have questions about our process, feel free to contact Kelly Yarbrough, our Program Specialist for Community Rehabilitation Programs:  Her telephone number is 512-424-4219.

From Don Kay, Assistant Director, Washington DVR:

Washington DVR has been paying outcome fess for all CRP services for a number of years. Below is a link to our website where we have posted the CRP contract and related material that is attached by additional links. If you open the link to the contract document and scroll to the end you’ll find the outcome fee schedule for each CRP service. Let me know if you have any questions. Link:

From Mike Hermanson, MS, CRC, VR Program Manager, Montana VRBS:

Montana uses only a limited performance based approach.  We $147.90 for completion of Intake and Planning.  We pay $153 when  a successful 26 has been achieved in the case.  Actual job development and job placement are paid on an hourly rate of $59.16.

From James R. Gears, MRC, CRC, CWIC, Rehabilitation Program Specialist, Ohio VR:

I manage our VR providers for Ohio.  We currently do have a Performance Based Job Development structure based on a three tier approach.  We allow providers the option of using a Performance Based or Unit of Service (Hourly) rate.  VR Staff decide how to authorize based on what the options that the Provider has on their Fee Schedule.  Some offer just PBO, UOS, or a both POB and UOS options.

Tier I: Job Readiness, Resume, & Placement Plan: Consists of the upfront services to establish development goals, outline responsibilities that the JD and Consumer will have, outline positions to be explored within the vocational goal.  In addition, as part of this Tier the Consumer gets basic interviewing skills and resume (or in some cases a sample mock application if resume is not deemed appropriate) to prepare them for a job search.  Paid when the resume and placement plan are submitted.

Tier II: Job Development: Consists of contacts with employers.  Paid upon successful placement that has been agreed upon by the Consumer, VR Staff, and provider.

Tier III: Retention: Paid upon completion of 90 days of successful employment.  Successful employment starts after the Job Coach has significantly faded from the job site.

Our 2013 rates for Performance Based are based on a 30% – 30% – 40% total cost allocation, or $1353 for tier I & II, and $1804 for Tier III.  We do pay $0.45 mileage in addition to the Tiers.  We also pay a second placement fee is someone loses their job after Tier II has been paid, but before Tier III, and needs to go back into development.  The second placement fee is $451.00.

From Jim Hinson, Supervisor V, New Hampshire VR:

The only performance based incentive we offer to Job Developers is a Placement/Retention Bonus.  The quicker they place one of our customers into a job, the larger the bonus.


Within 2 mo: $450;  Within 4 mo: $350;  Within 6 mo: $250;  Within 9 mo: $150;  9 Plus Months: $0

To be eligible for the placement/retention bonus, the following criteria must be met:

JS/JD package was approved, based upon the referral, and all components were completed. ie: job search report, job search logs and the placement notification.
Referral is effective at the initial meeting.
Customer and counselor must agree that the job is acceptable.
The job is a permanent, not temporary, position.

*Note: VR counselor can still approve retention bonus in cases they deem appropriate.  Example: customer in hospital due to medical reasons

Upon receiving a job offer VR counselor and customer must agree that the job is acceptable.  At that time, CRP documents the placement and the placement incentive amount is determined by VR counselor.  The product of this phase shall be the Placement Notification Form Placement Notification.doc.  This report will be sent to the VR counselor by electronic submission within 24 hours of the job offer.

The retention bonus is paid to the CRP when job has been retained for 90 days.

The bonus is only paid for Non-Supported Employment customers.  If you would like to see the full Non Supported Employment Process, click on the link below.

CRP Process: Non Supported Employment Process

I would also recommend you reaching out to Vermont VR…Hugh Bradshaw.  They also offer incentives for Job Developers.

Attachment: 1

From Arizona RSA:

Arizona RSA’s contact for this project is Christopher Deere – Email at

From Pamela Brauchli, M.Ed., VR Specialist, Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehab:

The attached policy was written in 2003. We’re putting together a workgroup to revise the job coaching policy this summer. If you have questions, our supported employment specialist is Randy Loss. You can reach him at I’m sure he’d like to see the info you receive from other states.

Attachment: 1

From Kellie D. Scott, Program Evaluator, Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehab:

We provide some JP services in-house.  However, we also offer JP services through a CRP.  Please find attached our Service Fee memos for those services.  We now call them “Employment and Retention services” when accessing a CRP for the JP services.

Attachments: 1,2

From HarrietAnn Litwin, M.Ed., CRC, Delaware DVR:

Delaware is using pay for performance/milestone payments for job placement and has been doing so for MANY years. I think it was initiated, in its earliest version, back in the early 1990’s.  The best person from whom to get information on this would be Dan Madrid at

From Virginia DARS:

In Virginia, we have a fee for service payment policy for supported employment and job coach training services.  For more information you can contact

From Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, The University of Montana Rural Institute:

I thought the attached fact sheet might be of interest to you.  It discusses some research we did with state agency informants regarding rural service delivery issues and vendor based services.  It highlights some issues related to different payment arrangements.

Attachments: 1


Memos of Understanding

— (08/25/2015) Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has a question for the group concerning WIOA MOU Medicaid requirement. Do any states have an example or template of a VR – Medicaid MOU for WIOA?

From Douglas Morton, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

We do not have an MOU with our state Medicaid agency at this time, but would be most appreciative to receive copies of any that you do obtain. Thanks in advance.

From Zella Verline Davis, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services:



Networking Opportunities

— (1/31/2014) DC RSA just posted its RFP seeking Vendors for our once-every-3-years Needs Assessment. If you can suggest any vendors and/or rate your experience of vendors, I would like to hear your experience or direct the vendors to the attached link for more info: The RFP will be posted until January 31.

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

For the last two cycles (2010 and 2013) we have contracted with the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Utah. The primary investigator on these contracts is Dr. Cathy Chambless who worked previously as a Rehabilitation Counselor, has instructed courses in Rehabilitation Counseling through the Rehabilitation Counseling Program at the University of Utah and has more than 30 years experience in the field of Vocational Rehabilitation. We have been pleased with our experience of working with Cathy and her team on this and several other projects. If we had to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best I think we could rate this research group overall as an 8. Also, there is another experienced vendor that I am aware of that I can speak with you about if your interested. My phone number is (801)887-9395 and my email address is


— (06/09/2013) A colleague from Massachusetts is trying to identify networks or collaboratives of community agencies that work together to develop employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The target area is the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The colleague wishes to contact these collaboratives to discuss their interest in participating in a project to enhance their job development services and improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

From Cecelia Hockett, GA Vocational Rehabilitation Agency – VRP:

We have recently partnered with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and with Mental Health. You can contact Tangye Teague for more information at

From Susan Foley, ICI/UMass Boston:

The ICI in partnership with the VT VR has a NIDRR RRTC (VR RRTC on Demand Side Strategies) to develop a learning collaborative to adapt, implement and study the VT Progressive Employment Model in at least 5 other states.



— (03/02/2014) Our agency is attempting to ascertain what RSA considers a legitimate client signature, as there doesn’t appear to be any specific policy guidance. Currently, the VR case management software populates/types the client’s name in the signature field on the IPE and any subsequent amendments. Does this suffice as a legitimate client signature or is a hand written signature required?

From Cecelia Hockett, GVRA:

Currently the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency VR Program has clients to sign a hard copy document. We will be moving to an electronic case file in the very near future and will be very interested in viewing the responses to this inquiry.

From From Linda Deschenes, RI – Office of Rehabilitation Services:

Good question, RI also would be interested in the responses to this question. The case management system used in RI populates signatures in the same way referenced in your question. As we have not gotten our signature pads operational, RI continues to use the signature page of the “paper” IPE which is then scanned into the electronic case file.

From Terry Sands, MN Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

We have the same question.

From Feona Barnett, Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind:

Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind plans to go-live with the AWARE Software Program April 1, 2014. AWARE will allow us to use electronic signatures on IPE’s and amendments. Eligible individuals and counselors will be able to sign their names on an electronic key pad which will transfer to the signature fields on the IPE Signature Cover Page. Agency policy requires the individual and counselor sign the IPE and amendments.

From David Higginbotham, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

LRS requires the consumer’s original signature (i.e. faxed or scanned copy is not acceptable) for the IPE.

From Christopher Deere, Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration:

The population in the system in and of itself does not suffice. We require either a hard copy (scanned into System 7) signature as evidence or have set up other methods to receive quasi signatures via email. We also are integrating scan pads into our system at which time a signature received in the form via these pads will suffice.

From HarrietAnn Litwin, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

No. We require actual, hand-written signatures on the IPE and on any amendments with substantial services, change of services, etc.

From Kathy Marchione, CT- BRS (general):

We require a written consumer signature on all documents.

From Jennifer Geuther, South Dakota Division of Rehabilitation Services:

In South Dakota a hand written signature is required and we have this requirement written into our counselor manual.

From Andrew Reese, DC Rehabilitation Services Administration – Department on Disability Services:

We require a hand written signature. Our system also populates the signature field with the client’s, counselor’s and any other required person’s names. However, in federal audits, we have had problems when we did not have hand written signatures. Two caveats – we are in the process of moving to an electronic case record, so the signature will be electronic – but we use signature pads and require the client to sign, the same as we do for a printed application.

In our monitoring visit, RSA claimed that our printed referral was so thorough that it qualified as an application – even though the regulations require applications to be signed, and there was no signature line on our referral form.

From David Ritacco, Oregon General:

I don’t believe that a field that could be filled in by a person other than the participant is sufficient. However, if the participant is assigned a password that only they know to enter their signature electronically, I think this is sufficient.


— (11/23/2015) With the advent of quarterly RSA-911 reporting, our agency is trying to set new backdating guidelines. We are proposing no more than 30 days backdate for ANY dated change. This is causing an outcry and I wanted to see what other programs had for a backdating policy.I believe that setting tighter guidelines for “altering” documentation may force counselors to be a little more proactive in their contacts with participants.

From Mike Hermanson, MT Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services:

Montana info: 60 days is what we have set for an IPE. Most other forms cannot be backdated at all (this includes DLOs, certification of eligibility, closures). I am not sure about the financial.

From David Ritacco, Oregon VR:

The only backdating we allow is for employment to accurately reflect employment date.

From David Higginbotham, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

LRS does not have any guidelines regarding the backdating of case notes. A case that is pulled for review may have a total of 6 months of service following the implementation of the IPE. The case appears to document the provision of vocational guidance and counseling during service delivery (i.e. three contacts with the consumer); however, the notes were entered on the Closure date. The most discouraging aspect is that these case notes are most likely fiction. A case note entered on 08/31/15 cannot accurately reflect the guidance and counseling provided on 02/28/15. This also tells me that all the agency did for this person was to provide case management services (i.e. make a referral; pay the bills). The case did not document that the agency provided any service coordination (i.e. no contact with vendors and follow-up with the person) or actually provided a vocational guidance and counseling. WIOA downgraded the position of Rehabilitation Counselor to Case Manager. If we do not provide a professional level of vocational guidance and counseling and document provision of the service in a timely manner, than we are intentionally pursuing provision of an inferior product and the downgrade in status of the Counselor was warranted.

From Lynn Ritter, Florida Blind Services:

We do not backdate.

From Warren Granfor, ND VR:

We allow backdates up to 7 days for application, trial work, eligibility, and plans. We allow backdates up to 90 days for employment. We allow 0 (zero) days for backdating a closure. We do not allow any of these dates to be backdated prior to Oct. 1. Therefore, on Sept. 30 everyone better have their cases up to date and their ducks in a row! (As the system admin, I do have the ability to override any of these rules.) It remains to be seen if any of our rules will change once we start quarterly 911 reporting.

From Jill Warzecha, CT Blind:

CT Blind allows VR Counselors to back date status changes for 30 days within a reporting quarter. We only allow for back dating 10 days into a previous fiscal quarter once the quarter is over. These restrictions are controlled by settings within our case management system. Only allowing the counselors to backdate 10 days into a previous fiscal quarter allows us to keep a handle on changes that will impact the reporting on the RSA-113. We send an email to all counselors during the third month of the fiscal quarter reminding them to check their caseload list and ensure that all clients are in the appropriate status for their VR program. Then an additional reminder is sent on the last day of the fiscal quarter to notify them that they have 10 days to verify that their client statuses are current so that the RSA113 can be run and submitted.

From Victoria Drake, Department of Rehab Oklahoma:

As a case file auditor for compliance I believe that there should be tighter rules for backdating and adding information to notes/narratives prior to closure to meet the audit questions. I see this done all the time. Especially at application with SS cases. It is not as bad as it used to be, but it is still done.

From Tim Gravier, MO DVR:

Missouri VR has adopted a policy of “No backdating past the beginning of each quarter.”

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

We have had backdating policies in place for several years now and it has always been based on when the document was actually signed, so you could not go back beyond that date. With that said we have always shared that if it is more than 30 days it must go through the Chief. At first there was some complaints but it did not last very long as the counselors just adjusted to it.


— (3/13/2016) What is your reimbursement rate for hearing aids? Does any State purchase from the manufacturer directly to save on costs? Do you have any innovate procedures to ensure the receipt of a quality aid at a fair price?This inquiry will help shape Nevada’s policy on the purchase of hearing aids in order to ensure that VR funds are used to obtain quality hearing aids at a reasonable price.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa does 1500.00 for behind the ear and 1400.00 for in the ear. We purchase through the Hearing Centers here in Iowa. We do take into consideration the digital cost that are getting much higher at this time and we can do an exception to policy if a more expensive one is required based on disability and work environment.

From Warren Granfor, North Dakota Vocational Rehab:

I can answer the first part of your question. Years ago, NDVR paid the Medicaid rate for hearing aids, but that became problematic when a client needed aids that weren’t covered by Medicaid and/or the audiologist was actually losing money on the deal. Now, we pay the invoice cost of the aid, plus a dispensing/fitting fee. If the invoice cost is less than $500 (very rare!) we pay the Medicaid rate for the fitting fee. Aids over $500, we pay a fitting fee of $911 per aid. That $911 will increase each July 1 by the same percentage that Medicaid increases their rates. We use the Medicaid rate to pay for ear molds, unless that ear mold is not covered by Medicaid (such as the power ear molds), in which case, we pay the billed amount. Attached is a one page ‘Standardized Procedure’ on our hearing aid purchases.

Attachments: 1

From Heidi Henaire, State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services:

BRS will pay up to $800.00 per hearing aid for a consumer unless an exception is necessary and approved by myself (State Coordinator for the Deaf). Currently eight hearing aid manufacturers have greatly reduced their hearing aid rates for BRS purchase only. These manufacturers (Starkey, Widex, Unitron, Siemens, Oticon, Phonak, Sonic, and Resound) work directly with our audiologists, whom we purchase the hearing aids from. I will email our guidance for your review.

Attachments: 1, 2

From James Gears, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD):

OOD purchases at the State of Ohio Medicaid rate. If the aid that is necessary for the participant does not have a Medicaid rate then OOD pays the rate established by the provider. Ohio does not currently purchase aids directly from the manufacturers. OOD is moving towards this for eyeglasses and hearing aids is a potential expansion in the future. OOD would be interested in learning more from other States if they do purchase directly from manufacturers on how that would work. There was interest, possibly from Georgia, to put together a multi-State collaborative to purchase aids from manufacturers. We had some very brief discussion and it is not known if the other States were able to get this off the ground or not.

I am attaching a copy of our administrative rules that address hearing aid purchases.

Attachments: 1

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

We have purchase agreements with several manufacturers. We also only cover the first $1,000 associated with the hearing aids.

Attachments: 1

From Toni Stine, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services:

Our hearing aid rates are broken down into 3 categories according to the level of technology. Basic $1,525 each, Midrange $1,825 each, or High $2,225. We do not purchase directly from the manufacturer because we do not buy that many at a time. We purchase through the hearing aid companies. Our hearing aid providers must include the audiogram with PTA and SRT calculated, a narrative report to include testing environment as well as testing certification of testing environment. They must include 2 but no more than 4 specific hearing aid recommendations. Hearing aid recommendations over the basic level will include justification of higher technology and manufacturer’s invoice clearing defining technology level to determine what level should be selected.

From Barbara Burkett, Va Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitatiave Services:

We send all requests for hearing aids to our audiologist @ our comprehensive center (Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center). She reviews requests. Her contact information is Susan Hansborough, 540-332-7090. I believe she has a system in place to obtain discounts.


— (08/27/2016) Do you provide funding for college and other types of post-secondary training for VR customers? If so, do you have a written policy that you would share with us?2. Do you have screening tools to help determine the appropriateness of post-secondary education?3. Do you have a funding maximum?4. Do you use a separate formula for SSI/SSDI recipients?5. What sort of follow up do you conduct post-graduation?The PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is in the process of revising our policy for college and other types of post-secondary training for VR customers in order to obtain, maintain, or advance in their careers.

From Kara Lang, Nevada Rehabilition Division:

1. Yes, please see attached.
2. Please see attached. We also utilize a trial semester or trial classes if needed.
3. — Payment limited to 125% of the college’s published rate (to limit abuse from “professional students” who change majors often). However there are exceptions as spelled out in the policy and also for extenuating circumstances.
—Will pay up to in-state public rate for out of state and private training unless the training needed is not available state or a public institution, or if there is a disability need
4. No separate formula for SSI/SSDI recipients, however if we are paying maintenance for out of area/state training then a portion of their SSI/SSDI is counted as a comparable benefit for living expenses.
5. Assistance with job placement and follow up until case closure. Likely to expand this given new performance indicators.

Attachments: 1

From Becky Oberrecht, State of Alaska, Division of Vocational Rehab:

The attachment should answer most, if not all of your questions.

Attachments: 1

From Jeff Stevens, NC DHHS-DVRS:

1. Postsecondary training policy is included in the VR Policy manual. This is publicly accessible at:
2. NC DVRS currently uses a financial needs survey to determine eligibility. 3. NC DVRS has payment rates and expenditure ceilings for various types of post-secondary training programs. These can be provided as an attachment by email upon request (
4. No. The same policy and rates apply to all NC DVRS VR clients.
5. Training is provided as a transition to employment. Contact with the client continues post-graduation to placement and employment as with other types of cases.


— (5/19/2017) I was wondering if any other state VR agencies are utilizing business such as Uber or Lyft as a means of transportation for consumers. Transportation is an area of need in RI. We are exploring whether or not these companies would be a good fit for consumer transportation.

From Cecelia Hockett Walker, GVRA:

We are currently exploring Uber and Lyft as part of the solution to transportation issues for our Clients. We will be interested in seeing if any other states have experiences they can share.

From Vicki Rollo, LA Rehabilitation Services:

I have not used Uber or Lyft for consumers.

From Harold Beard, LA Rehabilitation Services:

Most of our clients use the Lake Charles city bus transportation system which is about 50 cents. We do not provide transportation for our consumers other than mileage reimbursement for college commuters! Uber has just recently started in our area a few months ago and there are several taxi cabs for competition.

From John Stem, MD Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Beginning in July 2016, DORS has used Uber services 56 times and Lyft services 2 times. These services are primarily initiated by the DORS Workforce and Technology Center (WTC) staff when consumers express a need for transportation assistance to or from WTC. So far, these services have most often been arranged and provided for individuals with cognitive impairment and for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and have been provided to a less extent for individuals who are blind or visually impaired or who have physical disabilities.

From Larry Vrooman, RSA:

We recently completed an onsite monitoring visit to ME, and they are using Uber in some aspects of their program. You should contact them for details.

From Laurie Ford, CCER/U of Washington:

Pennsylvania is doing this in some areas; Jameson Collins can give you more information at

From Verna Dixon, LA Rehab Services:

No, we do not use these modes of transportation for our consumers.

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

We do use these companies. Many of our blind customers prefer using these services versus some of the other options. It can cause problems though with authorizing and paying for these services because they can having varying rates.

From Randall Loss, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

When you have time, please give me a call to discuss what I have experienced with this area of service (

From Stacey Marbs, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

I’m not aware of these agency’s being used for transportations with our consumers. Although it may be more cost-efficient it would be dependent upon the consumers disability and functional limitation and their ability to independently enter and exit the vehicle.

From Elaine Robertson, SC Commission for the Blind:

We do not utilize either of these businesses. We have drivers employed by the agency and we also use the public bus system.

From Barbara Boese, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

In the state of Delaware where public transportation is spotty this provides a real solution. Although there is paratransit its reputation for on time and accommodating isn’t quite up to customer satisfaction standards. A pre-paid card for using Uber based upon need in the first phase of employment. That can very well determine the success of employment in public transportation dead zone like Delaware. In looking through the link I spotted Vendor Evaluations. Pre-Employment Transition Services in Delaware are dynamic and we have a case file review format that itemize the service deliverables from the contract and quantify contract compliance. Case file progress notes, pre and post-test data to add the qualitative aspect to evaluating the Pre-ETS services and service providers. We do have data handle on the impact of services with these providers. I am a one person Contract Unit and struggling to put systems into place to evaluate adult services providers beyond the raw number of clients they serve and the employment outcomes they log. As for self-employment we have a robust service delivery system with a contracted provider of services and we are in the process of drilling down the VR counselors preliminary activities to vet a client for this type of service. We are still struggling on when to call it a successful outcome. Do you have a definition to consider for our debate?


— (09/04/2013) Nevada is reviewing its policies on dental restoration services. Currently, Nevada provides dental services “only when a dental disability exists which impedes the ability to work or interferes with maintaining an occupation.” We would like to know if other States have specific policies for determining eligibility based on a dental impairment being the sole disability (no other qualifying disabilities exist). Also — what specific guidelines other States may have for providing dental restoration services, including what services are generally excluded.

From Lynn Ritter, Division of Blind Services, Florida:

We do not have a specific policy. We provide dental if the condition causes cosmetic problems severe enough to prevent an individual from obtaining a job which involves serving the public or will cause loss of job unless corrected; results in toxic poisons which cause physical symptoms in other parts of the body or aggravates an already existing disability or is an acute dental condition that interferes with employment and/or the provision of other services.

From Pamela Brauchli, OVR:

PA does not have a sole dental policy. It’s part of our physical restoration policy.

From Michael Shoemaker, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation:

Hello, Jan, Below is Utah’s Vocational Rehabilitation policy regarding dental services from Chapter 14 of our Client Services Manual.

“Dental Restoration: The VR Counselor may determine that dental restoration is appropriate if the condition of the teeth and gums contributes to, or is a result of a physical or mental impairment which, for the individual, constitutes a significant impediment to employment. The VR Counselor determines that the condition is stable and remediable within a reasonable period of time, and the client meets financial need criteria. Dental restoration is appropriate when it will enable the client to achieve the employment outcome listed in the IPE. It is not within the scope of USOR to undertake a program of general dental care. However, it does assume the responsibility for correcting dental difficulties which are impediments to employment, and those closely associated with other impairments that have resulted, or are likely to result in an impediment to employment. Dental services must These services need to be included incorporated in the IPE before they can be authorized. Dental restoration cases requiring extensive crown and bridge work, root canal procedures, expensive capping and other out-of-the-ordinary procedures will be referred to the DRRS Dental Consultant through the District Director or Field Service Director. Unusual cases i.e. TMJ, oral surgery, implants, etc, forward client record through the Field Service Director. Inter-Current Dental Problems: During the rehabilitation process, a client may contact the VR Counselor because of dental problems. Preventative and standard dental work or filling of teeth is not the responsibility of USOR unless such restoration is essential in achieving an employment outcome. In the event that a client has an acute dental problem which prevents the continuation of a rehabilitation program, the VR Counselor may authorize dental care. Exceptions: In the event that an eligible individual’s dental health is of such a nature as to be causing pain, suffering, and other health problems that threaten progress towards an employment outcome, the VR Counselor may justify providing immediate emergency dental care to stabilize the condition and relieve pain.”


Return on Investment

— (04/11/2015) What is a simplistic equation for Return on Investment? Currently I use (Difference in income from application)+ (Increased State, Federal and Social Security/Medicare Payments). Since this is requested for the 2015 CSAVR Hill visits I would like to provide the same formula as other state agencies. Keep in mind, I am a Program Evaluation Unit of less than one and cannot pay outside staff to assist me.We want to show the legislators how beneficial it is to spend $$ on VR. In the words of Stephen Wooderson, “Outcomes, Business Partnerships, and ROI will be extremely important to the New Congress and anything you can do to demonstrate that these things drive the VR Program will be extremely beneficial to the Program.”

From Kandy S. Baker, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services:

LA Rehab Services contracted with LA State University to conduct a Return on Investment analysis. I will attach the final report for your information. Our agency is interested to learn of the simplistic equations for ROI that you receive from other states. Would you share your findings?

Attached is the Louisiana Rehabilitation Services Return on Investment report completed by Louisiana State University through a contract.

LRS is interested to learn of the simplistic equations that States use to calculate ROI. Please share your findings if possible.

Attachments: 1

From Jennifer Geuther, SD Division of Rehabilitation Services:

We use a Benefit-Cost Analysis program to determine the client payback through taxes and also what they experience in increased wages for every $1 spent on services. The program is “Benefit-Cost Analysis: A Decision Tool for Vocational Rehabilitation” by Ranjit Majumder, Steven Fullmer, and Richard Walls. I’m interested to hear what others are doing as well, as this program is dated 1992 and I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to run it. The program uses the number of successful closures, the increase in wages from application to closure, the average number of remaining years of work, and the total VR expenditures. It uses a discount rate to calculate the future value of earnings but I’m not sure what the formula is for determining this.

From David Doukas, CT Dept. of Rehabilitation Services:

I just recently prepared ROI information for CT. The methodology I used was to multiply the overall estimated effective State and Federal Tax rates to the (using RSA-911 reporting data at closure) Consumer annualized earnings. I was able to arrive at this methodology after working with a Research Analyst at the CT Department of Revenue Services (DRS). CT Effective Tax rates by Decile is published in CT Household Tax Incidence reports by CT- DRS. For federal effective Taxes I researched the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institute website. (go to In the end I will go to Capitol Hill next month with a statement that “FFY 2014 Jobseekers who were closed successfully generated an estimated $12.8M in Federal and State Taxes”.

From Ron Barcikowski, Oregon VR:

See the report that I have attached for the definition. It is our Return on Investment report that was done in conjunction with Portland State University. Our definition is probably different from that listed on the Survey Monkey survey.
Attachments: 1

From Jeff Haight, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

The attached is what Iowa uses for ROI. Iowa uses the tab “ROI Cash Rec’d State Portion” with our legislators each year. We do not use the sheet “ROI Actual Expense Fed’l & State”. The tab “Entry Required” is the data needed for the formulas to work on the remaining sheets. Each row indicates in red where the information is retrieved. The tab “Discount Rates” has two sections which will need to be calculated according to each states tax rates. The 1st is “Taxes and Revenues (Federal and State) (15% + 6.12% = 21.12%) and the 2nd is “Taxes and Revenues (State of Iowa Only)(6.12%)”. There are notes regarding each of these to the right and which cell to modify the formula.

Iowa does not yet readily available access to wage information from our unemployment department to check each client for wages after closure.

Attachments: 1


RSA 911

— (02/01/2014) RSA 911 Service Category Survey Results

The Statistics RRTC conducted an online survey to explore data quality issues related to the new RSA-911 case services report form. Specifically, we were interested in examining the variations between agencies in using VR service categories (data elements 51-190). The online survey was distributed through the VR program evaluator’s network.

A total of 43 complete responses were received from 25 states (based on 50% of the respondents who chose to identify their state) and respondents identified themselves as data managers (39%) Program evaluator (39%), decision maker (25%), agency manager (30%) and other (18.8%).

Most agencies used state-specific software for case management and reporting (42%). Approximately 35% of the agencies used Aware and another 12% were using Libera.

About 72% of the respondents indicated that they were somewhat satisfied with the quality of data reported using the new service categories of the RSA-911; 20% were highly satisfied and 8% were not satisfied.

When asked about any concerns they may have about the quality of data reported using the RSA 911 service categories, 32% of the respondents said that they had no concerns about the quality of the data, while the other 68% had some very specific concerns. The most common issues raised were related to the clarity in the new service categories, especially rehabilitation technology, training, transition, technical assistance and assessment. A few respondents raised concerns about the quality of data reported since the new definitions were implemented mid-year. Respondents pointed out that it is likely that the data quality may be compromised due to conversion of old expenditure codes and the need to estimate costs for services provided in addition to services purchased.

Some of the concerns raised by respondents are highlighted below:

–  Challenging to consistently and accurately capture no cost services such as counseling and guidance or newly created services within the agency

– “Transition” is being identified as a specific service. Transition services include a full range of allowable services including job placement, supported employment, training etc.

– Data elements are not capable of keeping up with the reality of rapidly changing and developing technologies

– Service categories are more aligned with the billing units, but do not support outcome based evaluation, like how RSA wants

– Difficult to distinguish customized employment from other job placement activity for supported employment

– The data reported is not always accurate and/or tracked in a manner that is consistent with actual job placements and providing supports in a timely manner (i.e. transportation, clothing).

– Concerns we have are all of the additional fields required concerning comparable benefits for and cost for each individual service.

– Since these are 911 elements represent services provided on closed cases, and since many of those cases will have had services provided and categorized before the revision went into effect, the data may represent ‘mixed’ categories, which could result in diminished data quality.

– There appears to be such specific guidance on how to code certain type of services that when a service that we can provide doesn’t fit into one of those categories it’s hard to know how to code it. Some of the guidance for what type of assessment services seems to be vague

– The definition of rehabilitation technology including hearing aids and wheelchairs demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of what rehabilitation technology is.

– I have concerns about the way we respond to the provider/purchaser of the services. The new provider categories/comparable benefit providers doesn’t necessarily capture the entities who help pay for services – financial aid, medical insurance.

– The data does not reflect the amount of services provided. While total dollars of purchased services allow for an aggregate examination, without comparable agency level data that is classified by type of services it is difficult to paint an accurate picture of service delivery.

– The quality of data submitted over the next 3-4 years will not be the most accurate due to conversion of the old expenditure codes.

– The Breakdown of Specifics of Training Facilities (Ex. Public, Private) has created some problems in our Case Management System.

– Questions for the new taxonomy need to be developed using a hierarchical structure and the categories should be mutually exclusive. For example, Assessment (51-55) includes psychological assessments, dental, and medical exams, which may also be categorized under Diagnosis and Treatment of Impairments (56-60). The hierarchical structure used for Training and Personal Assistance Services, each with several subcategories might be extended to other types of services, such as Diagnosis and Treatment of Impairments, Transportation, Maintenance, and Rehabilitation Technology to provide more granularity. The categories for the new taxonomy could be developed through axial coding for these dimensions.



— (03/27/2014) What is the difference between Self-Employment and Small Business, if any? We plan to redefine our policies to provide better services.

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

I understand the difference to be whether someone has employees (besides themself) or not. However, in our policies it doesn’t matter, as long as they hold 51% of the business.

From Sue-Ellen Woodlief, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:


•means the consumer solely owns, manages, and operates a business and is not considered an employee of another person, business, or organization;
•exists when the service or product is actively marketed to other potential customers; and
•includes home-based businesses and telecommuting businesses.

Self-employment allows for

•choice and control,
•the use of natural skills and talents,
•expanded work opportunities,
•accumulation of wealth, and
•independence and creative freedom.

Small Business is one that is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit, and is not dominant in its field.

You may be interested in Texas DARS Supported Self-Employment Policy. Here is a link to access it:

If you have questions or would like to discuss, please contact me.

From Sherri Simpson, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

In Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities’ self-employment policy and procedure, self-employment is defined as: an employment outcome in which the individual works for profit or fee in his or her own business, farm, shop, or office, including sharecroppers. While not defined by OOD, a small business refers to the size of the company or business rather than the individual.

From Mike Hermanson, Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services:

Montana does not differentiate between a self-employment plan and a small business plan.

From Kathy Marchione, CT BRS:

From our policy manual :

Distinguishing the Difference Between Business Ownership and Self-Employment:

Owning and operating a small business involves the selling of a product or service in the marketplace. The owner must develop and maintain a customer base in order to both achieve success and to remain successful. It generally involves an element of competition with similar businesses within the area, or in the absence of direct competition, the possibility of competition sometime in the future. In establishing the business venture, the individual must do a market analysis and develop a marketing plan (i.e., advertising). In cases where a consumer’s goal is small business ownership, a referral to the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CSBDC) will generally be required. For BRS purposes, self-employment refers to an individual employed in the capacity of an independent contractor where a steady flow of work is assured, without the foreseeable need to market oneself or one’s product and/or services. Independent contractors normally have a contractual relationship with one or more companies, nonprofit organizations or governmental entities to deliver a good or service. The contract specifies what is required in the finished product or service only. The independent contractor exercises behavioral and financial control over the manner in which the good or service is produced and/or delivered.

There may be occasions in which the employment goal is a mix of self-employment (i.e., independent contractor) and small business owner/operator. Typically this would occur when the consumer has contractual relationship(s) for a portion, but not all, of their planned venture. Counselors are encouraged to discuss these cases with their supervisor or district director to determine if a referral to the CSBDC is warranted. In these cases, as well as any other where the counselor is unsure of the distinction between business ownership and self-employment, the assistance of the Central Office Consultant assigned to small business services should be sought.

Self-Employment (Independent Contractor):

When it has been determined that the goal is self-employment, a referral to the CSBDC is not necessary. Rather, attention should be given to determining that the consumer possesses the necessary knowledge, skills, and stamina required for the job, as well as the personality attributes associated with success in self-employment. These include good time management skills, organizational skills, and the ability to work independently without supervision (i.e., self-supervision). Counselors should also make sure that the consumer is aware of federal and state tax requirements for independent contractors, including the federal self-employment tax, requirements for filing quarterly estimated payments, record keeping, and the various deductions available to filers to lessen their tax liability. Counselors should encourage consumers to seek advice from a qualified tax professional or from the Federal or State departments of revenue. A wealth of information is readily available online at and

From Don Kay, WA-DVR General:

Washington DVR treats “Self-Employment” and “Small Business” as the same. If you would like a copy of our Self-Employment procedures, let me know.

Inge Huband, DWS-Vocational Rehabilitation:

The technical definition for small business is as follows:

SBA defines a small business concern as one that is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit, and is not dominant in its field. Depending on the industry, size standard eligibility is based on the average number of employees for the preceding twelve months or on sales volume averaged over a three-year period. Examples of SBA general size standards include the following:

• Manufacturing: Maximum number of employees may range from 500 to 1500, depending on the type of product manufactured;
• Wholesaling: Maximum number of employees may range from 100 to 500 depending on the particular product being provided;
• Services: Annual receipts may not exceed $2.5 to $21.5 million, depending on the particular service being provided;
• Retailing: Annual receipts may not exceed $5.0 to $21.0 million, depending on the particular product being provided;
• General and Heavy Construction: General construction annual receipts may not exceed $13.5 to $17 million, depending on the type of construction;
• Special Trade Construction: Annual receipts may not exceed $7 million; and
• Agriculture: Annual receipts may not exceed $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product.

(SBA Website:

Therefore, any self-employed individual could be technically identified as a small business owner, but would most likely fall under the “micro business” category.

1. Official Definition – Advocate groups typically define microbusinesses as an organization with less than five employees, small enough to require little capital ($35,000 or less) to get started.
2. Unofficial Definition – Microbusiness owners are the ‘…people who refer to themselves as soloists, independents, consultants, craftsmen, artists, musicians, freelancers, free agents, and self-employed people. The majority of these companies are one-person enterprises …operate out of their homes; and many …have part-time help from a family member or friends.’ (Courtesy of Lloyd Lemons in his Microbusiness Defined article).
(SBA Website:

The difference between small business and being self-employed is simply in the numbers of employees and/or the amount of annual revenue the business is achieving within its category. (Technically speaking)

The similarities are the licensing and registration of the self-employed individual; he or she will have to follow the laws of the legal business structure he/she chooses, maintain the same paperwork trail as the “small business”, and follow the same rules.

I hope this information is useful.

From Cecelia Hockett, GA VR Agency:

Georgia VR views self employment (in a specific field/area) as an employment outcome. For example an accountant may want to set up their own accounting business or a barber may want to establish their own barber shop. Because of the limits on the financial support that VR can provide, our clients who pursue self employment have only sought to establish small businesses. In defining a small business, Georgia VR for the most part adheres to the Small Business Administration definition which indicates that a small business is one that “is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit and is not dominant in its field.” Some of our clients obtain competitive employment in a small business setting and some are assisted in establishing their own small business and become self employed. I hope this is helpful.

From Pamela Brauchli, Office of Vocational Rebabilitation:

OVR may assist a customer in establishing a small business for the purpose of self-employment, so long as it is the most viable opportunity for the individual to achieve financial independence and will enable the person to meet both ordinary living expenses and ongoing business costs. Attached is OVR’s current policy. However, we acknowledge that it’s time to update it.

Attachments: 1


Social Media

— (1/19/2018) Our state VR agency has recently implemented a Facebook page. Do other state agencies have a policy/procedure regarding Facebook and/or Social Media in General? Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

From Jeff Knight, on behalf of Rick Sizemore, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center:

My name is Jeff Knight, and I work with Rick Sizemore, Director of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, Virginia. Mr. Sizemore received your recent inquiry regarding social media policy, and asked me to share some information that I had pulled together as part of a recent leadership development group project on communication and working in a digital environment. Below is an outline showing Virginia’s overarching policy and some resources that may be helpful in future planning. One thing that became clear in pulling together this information is the intensity of the challenge to keep up, from a policy perspective, with the rapidly evolving technology and shifting channels for communication.

In a separate email, you will find links and attachments for each of the items noted below. In addition, there will be a link for the presentation (Prezi format) for this group project addressing social media trends and communicating in a digital environment.

Thank you, and the best of luck with your exciting efforts to expand Rhode Island Vocational Rehabilitation services’ digital presence.

Jeff Knight, MS
Lead Vocational Evaluator, WWRC

I. Commonwealth of Virginia, current policy and guidance documents:
A. Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) Policy 1.75: Use of Internet and Electronic Communication Systems
This was effective 2001 and then revised in 2011.

B. Enterprise Technical Architecture, Social Media Topic Report, Networking & Telecommunications Domain; Commonwealth of Virginia Information Technology Resource Management (ITRM), Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA); 2015

“This report addresses the social media topic of the Enterprise Technical Architecture (ETA) Networking & Telecommunication Domain Report. This report describes technical topics such as wikis, blogs, mash ups, web feeds (such as Really Simple Syndication [RSS] feeds1), moderated discussion tools, social networking sites and virtual worlds.”

II. Disability Services Agencies’ Policy

A. Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services’ (DARS) Facebook page; Consumer Use Policy located on the Facebook page under “General Information”


III. Looking Forward: The CY 2017 Update to the Commonwealth Strategic Plan for Information Technology for 2017 – 2022
A. Social Media initially was a technology trend in the 2017 – 2022 ITSP. Due to the proliferation of VA state agencies having a social media presence social media no longer considered new trend:

“…Commonwealth agencies now instinctively realize the effectiveness of leveraging social media to improve transparency in government, increase collaboration, and encourage communication among the state workforce and citizenry. Ultimately, social media capability leads the charge to improve citizen access to critical information that agencies frequently update and provide.”

B. In this most recent strategic plan, social media has been moved under the Salient Technology Trend of Digital Government/Internet of Things.

“Goal is to develop a comprehensive strategy and foundation…that
• leverages the ubiquitous availability of mobile devices and “apps,”
• supports data sharing
• incorporates the internet of things (IoT) to enhance and expand citizen services, ensure governance and security compliance, gain greater agency productivity within agencies, and increase the attractiveness of Commonwealth employment to younger workers.”

IV. Additional valuable resource: NASCIO Issue Brief- June 2013: Examining State Social Media Policies: Closing the Gaps

“the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 association representing state chief information officers and information technology executives and managers from the states, territories, and the District of Columbia.”

A. Recommendations included:
• “…states should consider amending or adopting broader social media policies ad-dressing issues such as amending privacy policies and terms of use to reflect use of social media”
• “…encourages states to include in their policies essential language to protect states and employees”

B. This publication included a comprehensive SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY ISSUES CHECKLIST that could be a useful resource.

Attachments: Not received.

From Douglas Morton, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services:

Access to Facebook and other social media sites is controlled by our state’s department of technology. We cannot post directly and do not have a separate page devoted to VR. Our usage of social media has been limited to date.

From Kellie Scott, KY-OVR:

Yes we have a Facebook page. You can see us at When we had a Director of Public Relations all posts went through him. Now that we no longer have that position all postings and responses go through me. We just want to keep it ethical and tasteful. BTW, we also have it set up for Facebook to let us know if someone else mentions us on their facebook page.

From Robin Brandt, Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation:

I’ve been collecting information about this. I have a journal article, some other publications on use, and the agency under which Oregon VR sits has a policy I can share. I can send in a separate email since I can’t attach them here. I will send to the email above and the one below since it’s not clear which is preferred.

Attachments: 1

From Michael MacKillop, WA-Blind DSB:

I will be forwarding our 2015 agency policy for social media. The statement about Facebook within it needs to be updated, as we have since launched an agency Facebook page, which is locked down to comments. While that likely holds the most interest for you, I figured the other aspects of the policy may be useful.

Attachments: 1

From Brian Hickman, WY Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

WY does have a Facebook page. I have sent a copy of the agency’s policy to the Summit Group.

Attachments: 1

From Graham Porell, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission:

Our agency has a Facebook page and Twitter account. We don’t have a policy related to Facebook and Social Media at this time.


Supported Employment

— (01/14/2014) How is Supported Employment funded in your state? Do you have braided or blended funding? If so, how does that work? Or, does all the funding come from your VR system?

From Lucinda Garcia, DVR:

Funding is through VR system caseload monies.

From William Noone, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission:

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission funds supported employment through its VR system in two ways. First, the front end of VR services and short-term supports are provided through VR funds, both Title VIB and Title I funds. Long term, extended services are provided through state funds.

Massachusetts utilizes both federal and state funds to provide supported employment services. Most of the initial funding is federal and the state provides the on-going or extended supports. Massachusetts utilizes a pay for performance supported employment system entitled Competitive Integrated Employment Services. Providers are compensated based on results or successful employment outcomes.

From Brian Hickman, WY Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

WYDVR uses a blended funding. We receive $300,000 a Fiscal year. After counselors identify the client has being most significantly disabled, they can access this funding for supported employment services. Once they $300,000 is spent, General Rehab funds are used to continue the services. The client and counselor never sees a difference when the funding switches.

From Teri Egner, OK Dept of Rehabilitation Services:

We have blended funding. Both VR and the DDS agency fund SE services in OK. DDS also provides extended services for ind. with ID that VR pays the upfront training costs. We also use Natural supports and work incentives for extended services.

From Scott Fraley, VA DARS:

Time-limited services are funded through 110 $; long-term follow-along is funded by state money through the Long Term Employment Support Services, Medicaid and local MH and MR funding.

From Torrey Morse, DRS/BRS:

All funding comes from the VR System – Title 6 funds and Title 1 as needed.

From Mike Hermanson, Montana Vocational Rehabilitation:

The initial phase of supported employment (assessment, placement, and stabilization is usually funded by VR and mostly through supported employment funding. long-term supports are funded from a variety of sources: Developmental Disabilities (Medicaid Waiver), Mental Health, Senior and Long Term Care (Medicaid Waiver), and a state funded source administered by the same state division as VR (Disability Employment and Transitions Division) – Extended Employment Services.

From Michelle Barlow, NYS ACCESS-VR:

All of NYS’s intensive funding is from the VR system. Extended funding may be funded by mental health, developmental disability or VR.

From Cecelia Hockett, GA Vocational Rehabilitation Agency:

Georgia VR Program supported employment (SE) is federally funded under Title IV. However, there are other funding sources in the state to include the mental health program. Once the client has been successfully placed, stabilized on a job and successfully closed Status 26, Long Term/Extended SE services are provided at the expense of the SE provider. This has been an ongoing bone of contention in our state. We are currently working with the state mental health and developmental disability programs to arrange an agreement for continued funding for Long-term/Extended services support. Unfortunately I am not certain what is meant by braided or blended funding. But, I hope this information has been helpful. I will email a copy of our current payment structure.

Attachments: 1

From Randy Loss, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

All funding comes from RSA for VR services. There are prevoc and extended services provided by our state IDD agency, but none during the intensive stage.

From Victoria Drake, OK Department of Rehab Services:

All funding comes from VR system, as far as I know.

From Teresa Brandenburg, KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

We have a braided or blended funds for SE. The upfront funds come from VR state and Federal funds. Long Term Support funds come from a variety of sources to include, state general funds, medicaid waiver funds, Pass Plans, and other privates sources that Supported Employment agencies draw funding.

From David Higginbotham, LA Rehabilitation Services:

All funding for SE services provided through LRS is VR money. The New Opportunities Waiver provides some work supports and Medicaid of Louisiana is the funding source. I do not know of a case where the two funding sources were utilized simultaneously.


— (01/22/2014) After a client has received SE services and has been closed 26 in the VR system, who pays for the long term follow along support? Where does the money come from? Who administers the funds for the follow along support. Does any state have the money funneled through to VR and if so, what does that look like? Also, are all disability groups included in the long term follow along dollars for post-employment support?

From Antionette Williams, Florida Division of Blind Services:

After client receives SE Services and case is closed 26, follow along support is paid for via community rehab providers through their own funding stream. For follow along, funds are administered by the community rehab provider. Fl. Blind does not receive money funneled through funneled VR. Other disability groups are included accordingly.

From Natasha Lemler, Minnesota State Services for the Blind:

After a client has received SE services and has been closed 26 in the VR system, who pays for the long term follow along support?

-Our primary long term follow along support is a county waiver program. Secondary support is a grant provided to a few select placement agencies called the Extended Employment Grant.

Where does the money come from?

-CADI waiver funds comes from the state primarily. The Extended Employment grant I believe is federal.

Who administers the funds for the follow along support?

-The county or placement agency that receives it.

Does any state have the money funneled through to VR and if so, what does that look like?

-Our blind agency does not.

Also, are all disability groups included in the long term follow along dollars for post-employment support?

-The waiver programs through the county are primarily for those with a TBI, developmental disability, severe mental health, or who are deafblind.

From Paige Tidwell, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency:

As of right now, VR does not pay for follow along support, which has been a big issue in building capacity and availability of services. Our state DD funds follow along support through the DD waiver and state grant & aid funds. GA VR is working closely with the state DD and MH agencies in implementing state-wide changes to our SE, to include the funding structure. We are also looking at Partnership Plus through SSA/TTW as an additional funding option for job retention/follow along services. I have been curious about using post-employment to provide follow along funding, so I am very curious how others respond.


— (01/22/2017) A) I would appreciate being able to see either a draft or final State VR policy on Supported Employment. We are looking for examples to share with other state’s who are in the stage of developing their own Supported Employment policy in alignment with the new Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA).B) In addition, I would appreciate sharing any RFP/documents that are soliciting Community Rehab Providers (CRPs) to provide supported employment services under WIOA which would also be very much appreciated.We could use these resources as we’re helping other states develop their own supported employment procurement and policy by having a model to look at.As State VR agencies are adapting new policy and practice to implement supported employment under WIOA to provide these services, this kind of information would be helpful to ensure those services are being provided. This information would be made available to other state VR agencies through our technical assistance center so this could occur.Part of my role as a Technical Assistance Specialist under the WINTAC (Workforce Innovations National Technical Assistance Center), is to help VR agencies across the country implement WIOA especially as it relates to meeting the new Competitive Integrated Employment outcome expectations utilizing supported and customized employment strategies.This information would be very useful in serving our VR consumers in this regard.

From Richard Clark, Iowa VR:

Attached please find the Iowa policy.

Attachments: 1

From Robyn Throlson, ND DVR:

I will send our draft SE policy but we do not have any RFPs for providers.

Attachments: 1



— (02/01/2018) SCVRD is currently working on a data warehouse/business intelligence project to improve our data analysis and reporting capabilities. We are interested in finding out if there are other states that have implemented such a project using similar tools and approaches. The main tools that we are using include:Microsoft Power BI DesktopPower BI Report ServerMicrosoft SQL Server Analysis Services (Tabular Data Models)Microsoft SQL Server Integration ServicesMicrosoft SQL Server Data ToolsWe would appreciate knowing if there are any states willing to provide input as to their approach to developing BI systems that are using these tools.This will improve lives through greater capacity for consistent data and reporting, timely development of report dashboards and enhanced decision making through data analysis. This will also enhance the use of new data elements required for reporting under WIOA and migration to managing performance for the new common performance measures. Through these efforts, service delivery and efficiency/effectiveness of VR services will be enhanced.

From Daniel Dougherty, DC Dept. on Disability Services:

We are in the same boat. We are currently broadening our use of Tableau, and have developed a performance management unit with similar goals to what you described. I would be happy to talk you anytime about our experience and would love to learn from yours. – Dan Dougherty, Management Analyst DC Dept. on Disability Services, 202-527-3562


Transition Services

— (09/18/2015) The Disability Statistics Research and Training Center at the University of New Hampshire is interested in identifying VR agencies that link their data systems with their states K-12 education data system to track youth in transition. Please let us know if your agency has a mechanism in place for doing this.

From Richard Clark, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

Iowa is currently trying to do this. It is not finalized but in the early stages should be able to tell us how many students with IEPs are connected to VR and what the outcome data is for those students. It will also tell us how many are still not getting connected with VR and potentially track services we are providing to Potentially Eligible students.

From Kathleen Enders, WI VR:

No we do not.

From Verline Davis, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services:

At this time, ARS does not have a mechanism in place. It sounds like a great idea, please let me know how it works for your state.


Vocational Evaluation

— (07/28/2015) What vocational assessments does your state use for blind or significantly visually impaired consumers? Are you aware of any upcoming evaluation techniques designed for blind or visually impaired individuals? Oklahoma is attempting to improve the quality of our vocational evaluations, both for consumers and the counselors who request them.

From Paige Tidwell, University of Georgia:

As a professional vocational evaluator, I am very pleased to see your inquiry. I am on the board for VEWAA & PVE. If you are not familiar, PVE is currently the only national credential new evaluators can obtain. I encourage you to check out our website It would be great if the state VR required your evaluators to have a credential and/or concentrated training specifically in evaluation.

Regarding your specific question, mcarron-dial publishes the CVES, which is a complete evaluation system for individuals who are blind or have low vision. I highly recommend any evaluators who do this, obtain the specific certification training available with Dr. Jack Dial, who is based in Texas. Georgia VR contracts with CRPs who utilize this system. unfortunately, many of the existing testing publishers do not make their pencil-paper assessments JAWS readible, but often when we call the publishers directly, we have been able to work something out.

CareerScope has an audio component, but not sure if all subtests can be administered with the audio.

From Pamela Brauchli, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

The McCarron Dial Systems identify relative strengths and needs in up to five areas of functioning: Verbal-Cognitive Language, Learning Ability and Achievement Sensory Perceiving and Experiencing the Environment Motor Muscle Strength, Speed and Accuracy of Movement, Balance and Coordination Emotional Response to Interpersonal and Environmental Stress Integration-Coping Adaptive Behavior

• for Vocational Evaluation (Community, Supported, and/or Sheltered Employment)
• for Neuropsychological Evaluation
• for the Blind/Visually Impaired
• for Transition Planning/School-to-Work
• for Early Childhood
• for Vocational Interest
• for Personal/Social Adjustment

Assessment batteries provide data from these five factors which may be used to estimate the appropriate program level for serving individuals in a preschool, transitional planning, prevocational or vocational setting. Computer programs are available for quantifying/analyzing data and providing various reports ranging from recommendations for educational management to job placement. Individual educational, vocational, remediation and/or accommodation plans may be drafted by considering relative strengths and needs among the five factors. A comparative analysis of the individual’s performance on the five factors can be made to normative references.

You may contact us at:

McCarron-Dial Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 35285
Dallas, TX 75235-0285
Telephone: 214/634-2863
Fax: 214/634-9970

From Elizabeth Sammons, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

Most would have at least one test, like a WRAT/TABE, CAPS/COPES/COPS, or Compass (Interest) test. We don’t have a lot of specialized tests but we do have the CVES on there for visually impaired participants. I don’t think we have a deaf specific but there are some reading-free options. We use the following quite a bit:

• Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation
• Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System (for those visual impairments)
• Community Based Assessment

In addition to vocational evaluations – we have many of our BSVI consumers participate in the following:

• Clinical Low Vision Evaluation
• Functional Low Vision Evaluation



Vendor Evaluation

— (06/01/2015) Are any of the states monitoring or auditing their vendors particularly, their job developers? If so, could we receive a copy of your monitoring/audit review document and any accompanying instructions. Thank you.

From Marlene Jones Kinney, DC RSA:

Our external monitors conduct on-site reviews of our job placement, SE and EBSE providers. I will forward a copy of our review instrument. BTW, do you conduct satisfaction surveys on your St. 28 closures? If so I would like a copy of your survey.

From Kathy Marchione, CT BRS:

We evaluate vendors during their first 2 years with us by surveying VR Counselors, supervisors, and consumers. It is not specific to job development and is fairly basic.

From Janet Cool, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities:

Ohio VR is in the process of developing the procedure for monitoring our providers, including job developers, but it would be premature to forward it until it has been approved.


— (3/13/2016) At the Office of Rehabilitation Services, we are studying our vendor approval process and how we are defining our parameters within the vendor community. We are reaching out to other state agencies for input regarding their relationships with the vendor community. Would somebody be willing to share any thoughts, ideas and/or language in regards to their vendor agreement? For example, is anyone incorporating parameters for payment in the event a vendor submits an invoice to the VR counselor, past the due date to submit said invoice? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Gaining knowledge from this inquiry will help us strengthen our vendor agreement; which in turn, will aid the overall process of effectively providing quality and timely services to our clients.

From Nora Bishop, Department of Rehabilitation Services CT:

I am the Community Rehabilitation Provider Liaison for the VR Agency in Ct. We have contract language for invoicing parameters. I am attaching the contract template and have highlighted the areas you mention in Section A and Section E. If you would like to discuss further, please email me and we can set up a time for a conference call. (No attachment provided;

Attachments: None

From Barbara Boese, State of Delaware VR:

In the attachment is our Purchase of Service Agreement, Attachment 1 which identifies if the work product is late (there are time limits) or of poor quality= incomplete; then payment may be reduced. The clause is in the contract however the standard or how we go about applying this is far too subjective from my perspective as the DVR Contracts Administrator. The contract boiler plate has dispute resolution terms that solve payment reduction and other issues. In response to the quality we have modified our monthly report to be reflective of the Placement Agreement that is consistent with Individual Plan for Employment. Therefore reports reflect back to the documents in which goals and objectives are identified with who is responsible to complete. As for timely reporting; “Houston we have a problem”. We require a monthly report due within 14 days of the end of the month during the Job Development Phase. Upon placement into a job the start date triggers a report. We require a Placement report based on the first day of employment and every month thereafter until 90 days are achieved. This is the introduction of 2 time schedules which hasn’t worked. The first schedule is monthly and second is the anniversary date of the first day on the job. And like Pavlov’s dogs reinforcement of payment for a report is the situation. Although Contractor’s are contractually required to send a 30 and 60 day job retention report, these far too often come with the 90 day retention report when the Contractor is paid the final point per our payment schedule. I have recommended to the VR counselors that we have one schedule; the end of the month, because the end of the month always comes at the same time. It makes for an easier tickler system to generate and track reports for both VR and Contractors. Counselors in one county have embraced the monthly report method versus the monthly, then placement anniversary date schedule. Contractors less positive, based upon reports are tied to money. No one wants to have a payment point for 30 day & 60 day retention report to get those reports timely. So my question is; are those intermediate retention reports essential. This is the question I am about to put to the VR Counselors and the Contractor Community.

I have quarterly Contractor Community meetings where we discuss report writing-skills training, payment and reports, policy changes and upcoming Request for Proposals and new business whatever that might be. I manage to keep those meetings productive and constructive. Every VR Counselor is welcome to attend and I invite via Outlook invitation for Contractors and VR District Administrators to attend. I am working towards identification of standards that are defined where their application is prescribed and embedded in provider contracts. These contracts are available on an intranet for all VR counselors to see the terms that they may apply to a Contractor they are working with on behalf of a client.

The Contract attached is a Summer PETS Pilot Program DVR ran in 2015. We did an informal RFP among existing providers and the contract writing took a direction toward accountability, with a quantified service deliverable and an emphasis on impact of service delivery, since the outcome was not a job placement retention goal of 90 days. However the “boiler plate”; the pages proceeding the signature page is standard and is based upon Delaware Legal Code, Title 29, Chapter 69.

It is all a work in progress for me to establish the rules of compliance; get compliance and then begin to monitor for quality assurance in VR services. I have come to VR from a different Department in State Government in which rules were well established, compliance was not an issue as rule and sophisticated quality assurance monitor of services were completed. I am not convinced that the marriage of invoices/authorizations, reporting and payment in a decentralized state agency system serves us well.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in January 2014 was to complete a billing audit. I found a systems problem. Contractors reported employment of consumers that were not specifically verified. There was no evidence of malice on the part of Contractors. I instituted a fidelity measure to verify employment through the collection of paystubs within 30 days of employment start date, or use of another counter fidelity measure, e.g. Department of Labor Employment Verification Letter to be signed by the consumer’s supervisor. This has reduced our overpayment of placements that did not occur, but I need to go back and query again to statistically know how well the remedy has worked. As for quality of service among the providers we are rolling out some standardized training for their participation which is currently a term of their contract. We have selected to utilize Elsevier College of Direct Support, Employment Services. 50 different lessons are available. We require 18 hours of ongoing training annually to be documented in an annual report. Yes, you guessed low compliance in the submission of annual reports. But I have instituted Outcome Performance Measures to be reported in order to receive final payment in some of our contracts (Summer PETS Pilot Programs 2015). This next evolution of crafting placement services that marry the concepts of WIOA and Career Pathways will weave those terms into contracts. Currently for our resource manual known as the CHOICES Booklet the “DVR Report Card” is an inclusion on each contractor in the resource manual. The providers have been given the formula to calculate their own report card to be included in the annual updated CHOICES. We are updating that annually which is my tickler to get annual reports at the conclusion of the contract year or close referrals to that provider. Money is a motivator. It has been my experience as a Contracts Administrator for more than 10 years that cash flow and compliance are related. I trust I have answered your questions, provided examples and offered insight along with my own editorial comments.

Attachments: 1, 2

From Kathy Lowry, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services:

We will honor the invoice after the due date but will not pay interest if charged. The vendor cannot bill for interest until 45-days after receipt of a proper invoice.

If a vendor submits invoice for goods or services they provided after the funds have lapsed, a Ratification Agreement would be required in order to pay the vendor. Funding lapses 18 months after the end of fiscal year.

From Jennifer Beilke, MN State Services for the Blind:

I would be happy to talk with you about this subject. We are actually going through this process right now as well. I can tell you that we’ve recently added a clause to our contracts so that invoices received 90 days past the authorized period will not be paid. (


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

— (01/07/2017) In an effort to create more opportunities for sharing and cross-collaboration, the Summit Group is exploring creating facilitated conference calls with state agency personnel who would like to discuss specific topics within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA). These conference calls would be designed as discussion groups to share challenges, lessons learned, promising practices, and helpful resources as they pertain to topics within the Summit Group Community of Practice (e.g., program evaluation, planning, measurement and reporting, process and performance improvement, etc.). The intent is to hold recurrent meetings, as necessary, based on need and the evolution of the topic area.We are asking for your input to drive the topics for relevant and timely discussion. Please follow the link and add your input on 1-3 topics related to WIOA implementation that you would like to see offered as the focus of future discussion groups. If you have a particular interest in facilitating one of these discussions, please indicate so and include your contact information.

From Kirsten Rowe, Va. Dept. for Aging and Rehab. Services:

1. Accessing and using Unemployment Insurance (UI) program and other sources of quarterly wage data for WIOA core program performance reporting and evaluation
2. Addressing the “effectiveness in serving employers” performance measure for core WIOA programs
3. Developing VR staff performance metrics for the new world of WIOA

From Elaine Robertson, SC Commission for the Blind:

We are realigning our rehabilitation center to include pre and post testing for the various skills taught. Any suggestions on how to track these in an easily reportable format would be helpful.

From Janet Cool, OOD:

1) subminimum wage
2) extended employment surveys/reviews
3) wage verification (source documentation)


— (02/01/2018) I am interested in obtaining information from other VR state agencies, who have started the process of updating the VR Counselor’s Performance Evaluation in response to WIOA. Your ideas and thoughts on this would be appreciated. It is anticipated that updating the VR Counselor Performance Evaluations will ultimately lead to improved service delivery for VR consumers.

From Margaret Alewine, SC Vocational Rehabilitation Dept:

We are currently in the beginning stages of updating counselor performance documents. We have addressed other staff positions, such as business development specialists, in support of WIOA expectations. We wanted to have at least a beginning framework for benchmarking new performance data before updating the counselor documents.

From Jessica Lanese, Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

In early 2017, Florida DVR completely redesigned performance expectations for most of our field staff. Our main goal was to create performance expectations that allowed field staff and their supervisors the flexibility to manage their workload in a way that best serves our customers; however, we began the redesign with an overview and brainstorming session related to the common performance measures and the product of this session was referenced throughout the project. So, while WIOA requirements and the new common performance measures are tied to core metrics for staff, direct links between requirements and duties do not exist for all tasks. The new performance expectations were implemented in September 2017 and evaluations will take place in July 2018 for the September 2017 – June 2018 review period. We anticipate that these expectations will be in place at least until expected levels of performance are negotiated for the common performance measures.

From Kara Lang, Nevada Rehabilitation Division/BVR/BSBVI:

I am attaching a copy of Nevada’s revised WPS’, that WINTAC assisted us in developing. The three attachments are all used for the counselor’s evaluation. Answers to the case review questions are calculated on the master tabulation spread sheet and provides the “score” for the counselor’s evaluation.

Attachments: 1

From Ron Barcikowski, Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation:

If you are talking specifically about each counselor’s performance evaluation, subject to pay raises, etc, we have done nothing. However, in terms of releasing counselor reports that address their performance on the WIOA standards and WIOA proxy measures for the standards, we have been doing that for about year and a half.