Meeting Minutes – March 16, 2011


Colorado SILC General Meeting

March 16, 2011


Meeting Minutes


Present: Tim Thornton, Anna French, Julia Beems, Judy Neal, Billy Allen


Guest: Joel Pavelis, Leonard Lujan, Dixie Herring, Doug Heyliger, Pat Going, Chantal Woodyard


Staff: Richard Solosky


The Meeting was called to order by Julia Beems at 9:02am


Chairperson’s remarks: Julia welcomed everyone to the meeting.  She explained that the meeting would allot more time to the committee reports.


January Minutes: Billy mentioned that the January minutes did not specify whether or not there was a vote regarding the mission statement of the marketing committee.  Julia mentioned that there was not a vote because the mission statement only applied to the committee, not to the entire SILC.  Patricia motioned that the SILC accept the minutes.  Andy seconded the motion.  The minutes were passed with a unanimous vote.


Committee Reports


  • Membership- Patricia Yeager: A letter was sent to Mary Kay and James Taylor notifying them that their membership applications will not be advanced by the SILC.  The MS Association proposed two individuals for membership.  One of them, Brook Whiney was supposed to be in attendance at this meeting. Patricia has been in communication with Josh Running Wolf about finding a representation from the Native American community.  Patricia mentioned needing individuals from the African American community, Hispanic community, mental health community, and a military veteran.  Julia mentioned that each committee chair should give some thought as to what type of expertise they would like to see in new members.  Julia suggested finding experts in the areas covered by the Core services.  Tim mentioned he would reach out to the Housing Authority to see if they could propose somebody for membership.  Tim also mentioned that his mother works for the VA.  He will check with her to see if she knows of a good candidate for SILC membership.  Julia suggested being very selective in targeting membership.


  • Public Policy- Andy O’Riley: Andy discussed the Public Policies next project.  The project is designed to illustrate the value of Independent Living in Colorado.  The issue brief will give an overview of independent living and go into detail regarding the Core services.  The brief will focus on spotlighting success stories for each of the Core services.  The Public Policy committee will look to the CILs to help identify individuals to highlight in the brief.  However, the committee itself will need to conduct interviews with the individuals selected.  The Public Policy Committee is looking to bring in a professional writer to help with the project.  Patricia mentioned that Bob Michaels from ILU is working with 12-20 CILs in acquiring outcome based statistics.  He is providing follow-up surveys on IL services.  The surveys ask consumers to relate their experience with the CILs and the impact it has had on their lives.  The ILU is about to release their initial impact.  Patricia mentioned it would be beneficial to conduct similar surveys in Colorado for the purposes of the public policy project.  Julia suggested getting more than one spotlight person per service.  She felt it would be wise to focus on people from different areas in Colorado and from all different backgrounds. There was then a discussion around making this an annual project.  The SILC next discussed developing a distribution strategy.   It was determined that the Public Policy Committee will identify the audience, distribution strategy, and shelf life of each issue brief at the time of creation.  The Marketing Committee will then be given the responsibility of implementing the distribution plan.



  • State Plan- Debbie Petersen: The committee has been evaluating each of the objectives outlined in the SPIL.   Debbie reviewed each of the objectives (each objective was outlined in a chart included in the meeting agenda) with the SILC.  She provided an overview of each of the objectives and how the committee is reviewing and acquiring information concerning progress and outcomes.  Specifically, she identified the individuals and organizations being asked to report the information to the committee.  Debbie mentioned that some of the objectives will be put on hold until the Long Bill is passed.  Several objectives cannot be moved forward until there is more clarity concerning the funding available for the CILs.   The SILC discussed the best ways to update the general community regarding the SILC’s activities and accomplishments.    The hope is to highlight progress on the SPIL on the website.  Billy suggested posting a very accessible narrative regarding the activities of the SILC and then providing a link that gives more detailed information regarding the SPIL goals and objectives.  Billy also expressed it was important that the SILC highlight its collaboration with other agencies.



  • Marketing—Debbie Petersen: The Marketing committee is focusing on developing a unified message that can bring together the SILC, ACCIL, and DSU.  The committee is going to identify some key adjectives and statements regarding Independent Living.  These phrases and adjectives will then be sent out in a survey format to the SILC, ACCIL, and consumers of CILs.  These surveys will allow these stakeholders to rate each phrase according to their importance.  Once these surveys are conducted, the committee will use the feedback to craft the language of the unified mission statement.  Julia requested that the Marketing Committee take the lead in distributing the SILC handbills, membership brochures, and past issue briefs.    Judy mentioned that it might be possible to distribute the handbills at the Nine News Health Fair.  Debbie also mentioned she could distribute some of the handbills at the TBI Employment Conference.  Richard then presented on a calendar project being developed by Very Special Arts (VSA).  VSA is a non-profit agency that partners digital artists with children with disabilities in creating artwork.  Each year VSA develops a calendar using the artwork.  VSA is interested in using Independent Living as the subject for the 2012 calendar.  Richard suggested using the calendar to highlight some of the annual events impacting people with disabilities.  The calendar can be a good marketing tool in educating youth about independent living centers.



  • Finance Report & Finance Committee Report- Billy Allen: Billy explained that the finance committee had a slow start, but is now working very hard to allocate the remaining budget.  Currently, there is a balance of $24,617.  Billy presented the committee’s recommendations on how best to spend this balance. One of the committee’s suggested purchases is a Polycom system to use video relay to help facilitate meetings across the centers.  The committee recommends that the SILC purchase the Polycom system and then the SILC will loan the system to the individual centers as needed.  The Polycom will also help the Centers provide video relay services to the deaf and hard of hearing communities.   Billy motioned that the SILC authorize the Executive Committee and the Finance Committee to work collaboratively to spend the remaining budget.  Patricia seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.  Julia requested that each committee chair put together a budget for next year.  The chairs of the committee must have their budgets into Billy by April 15th.  The Finance committee will then meet April 18th.



Public Comment: Leonard Lujan from Atlantis presented about the Center’s Home Modification program.  The program works with low-income individuals with disabilities in Denver County. It is designed provide modifications necessary for need accommodations.  The program allows for modification projects with costs up to $6,500.  It is possible to get a waiver on the cap for some projects that exceed that amount.  Atlantis works with specific contractors that specialize in housing modifications for people with disabilities.    The hope is to do 19 projects in this year.  The program has a quicker response time and provides a more personalized service than the HCBS modification program through the Medicaid.  The Atlantis program can be utilized once every five years.


Doug Heyliger presented about the Independence Center in Colorado Springs. He discussed some efforts to rebrand the Center.  He also discussed the Center’s Accessibility Store.  He highlighted some of the products at the store.  The Center is working to collaborate with other non-profit agencies in Colorado Springs on projects with overlapping interests.  He particularly mentioned the Center’s involvement in the TED collaboration (transportation-employment for the disabled).


Billy mentioned that there will be a resource fair in Colorado Springs involving several agencies focused on serving people that are deaf an hard of hearing communities.  The event will be held on June 3rd 9am-1pm.  Sara Mora from DVR Is the contact person for the event.  Her number is 719.482.7972.


DVR Report—Joel Pavelis and Judy Neal: Dr. Ken Schmidt is no longer working at DVR.  Sandy Pratt is also retiring in June.  The plan is to hire a shadow position for Sandy’s position.  The legislative budget involves several cuts to K-12 education.  This will potentially negatively impact the SWAP program through DVR.  There might be some school districts that do not have the resources to continue the SWAP programs.  The official RSA report has not come back yet.  Once it does come back, DVR will work with the stakeholders in adopting whatever changes to the IL rules.  Through a lot of advocacy, the cuts to Independent Living proposed by the Joint Budget Committee are currently off the table.  However, the cuts could reappear on the Long Bill.  However, DVR is acting as though the funding is going to be available.  Judy mentioned that they are beginning the three-year recertification process.  The recertification site visits will involve a team that will include Judy, possibly another person from DSU, a member of the SILC, and potentially a peer reviewer from the ACCIL.



ACCIL Report-Tim Thornton: David Bolin is no longer working at the Independent Living Center in Colorado Springs.  The ACCIL did not approve the money requested by the SILC marketing committee for the collaborative marketing effort.  However, Tim did let all the Centers know that each of the individual centers can choose tp contribute to the marketing effort.  Tim provided an overview of the Nursing Purity Bill, SB 170.  The bill discontinues the automatic funding increases currently enjoyed by nursing facilities.  Despite opposition from the nursing homes, the bill has based through committees in the House and Senate.  Tim made a motion for the SILC to draft a letter outlining SILC’s support for SB 170.  Billy seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.


The National Director for the Center of Medicaid/Medicare, Dr. Berwick, is coming to Denver and will be visiting the Atlantis Center.  He will be coming to the center on March 29th.


Tim also gave an update on the Money Follows the Person (MFP) initiative.  The state is only getting $22 million dollars over the course of a five year period.  The state asked for $82 million.  There will be a lot of competition for the money that is available.   There will be a series of public meetings to help prioritize where that money should be spent.  Tim also updated the SILC about the CTS program.  The CTS program helps transition people out of nursing homes.  Unfortunately, it appears that many of the referrals are not appropriate for independent living.  There will be a stakeholder meeting where some of these issues will be raised.  He also said that they are working to ensure there is a presumptive eligibility for home nursing care for individuals that have already been deemed eligible for nursing services.   Ian Engle from CWPD has a short informational video that was produced about the center.


State Rehabilitation Council-Debbie Petersen: The Council reviewed the state plan and evaluated the strengths, weaknesses, and threats to the DVR system.  Many of the strengths identified were very positive.  The weaknesses dealt primarily with the funding sources and bureaucracy involved in acquiring that funding.  There was also some discussion about how DVR can utilize social media.  There was also discussion that there needs to be more critical evaluation of DVR vendors.  One of the threats DVR identified involved the VA rehab program poaching DVR counselors.  There was also discussion about the need for DVR to have a closer relationship with the school districts.  The number of SWAP counselors is one of the biggest obstacles.  The Colorado DVR coordinator of federal employment received an invitation to attend a conference in Washington about furthering employment opportunities for people with disabilities within the Federal government.


Old Business: Billy provided an update on the Ambassador program.  Billy presented to the ACCIL.  However, after David Bolin’s termination, there has not been any follow up.



Policy Review-Patricia Yeager: The SILC reviewed the advocacy policy developed by Patricia.  The policy defines the SILC’s public policy commitment and how the SILC should go about its advocacy.  The policy makes sure that DVR and the Department of Human Services are both notified before the SILC sends out any advocacy brief or letter.  Julia asked the policy include contact information for the Department of Human Services public information officer.  Patricia moved that we accept the policy regarding advocacy.  Tim seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.


Next, Patricia reviewed the membership policy she developed.  Patricia explained that the SILC needs to do a better job vetting potential members.  The policy requires that prospective members attend at least one SILC general meeting and be a part of a committee for at least three months before the SILC advances them for official nomination.  Patricia motioned for the new policy to be implemented.  Andy seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.



Website Presentation: Richard has talked to half a dozen website developers and has received quotes from anywhere $5,000-$12,000.  Richard feels that the SILC can develop a pretty good website for about $8,000.  Richard provided an outline of how he feels the website should be designed.  At this point, it appears the website will include about 32 pages.  The website will be designed with a content management system to allow the SILC to update the website without having an outside contractor manage the site.  Richard presented a draft of what the website might look like.  Richard explained his preference that the website be about independent living in general, with a focus on public policy and provide resource information for those interest in services.



Presentation on changes to the ADA- Pat Going & Chantal Woodyard: Mr. Going spent a few minutes introducing Ms. Woodyard and presented a few updates to the Council about DBTAC including a branding initiative to better position the agency.  Ms. Woodyard presented a slimmed down version of their DBTAC services and ADA update presentation.  ADA updates include changes to Title I definitions to make them more inclusive, major life activities, major bodily functions and mitigating measures.   Changes to Title II include ticketing, exams & courses, places of Lodging, and hotel reservations.  Major changes include updates to service animals, effective communications, wheelchairs and power mobility devices and direct threat.  The new rules take effect on March 15, 2011.  Complete information can be found at: