IDD Awareness Month in MarchPublished: March 21, 2019
IDD Awareness Day Celebration
Every year DDRC participates in IDD Awareness Day as a way to join forces with others in the IDD community to bring our voice to the Colorado Legislature, to meet our local legislators, to highlight the work of outstanding Direct Service Professionals and to hear inspirational speakers.
It’s a great way to kick off IDD Awareness month in March.
This year we nominated Megan McCourt and Rita Higley, both DDRC Direct Service Professionals, to receive recognition alongside other outstanding DSPs nominated by their organizations across Colorado. Joining us for lunch and the presentations were Senator Rachael Zenzinger, Senator Jessie Danielson, Senator Dennis Hisey and aides from Representative Monica Duran’s office.
Pictured standing left to right: Ruth Aponte, Aponte and Busam, Senator Rachel Zenzinger, and Beverly Winters, DDRC Executive Director. Seated left to right: Aides/associates of Representative Monica Duran, and Megan McCourt and Rita Highly from DDRC.
FirstBank Makes Contribution in Honor of IDD Awareness Month and 25th Hour Fund
FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” has stepped forward with a $5,000 donation in honor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Awareness Month. As the concepts of diversity and inclusion grow broader, people are asked to consider how they can further welcome and include people with IDD in all aspects of community life. With that in mind, FirstBank made the donation specifically to support the work of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) through the Developmental Disabilities Foundation (DDF).
"We are pleased to support our Lakewood neighbor DDRC and help demonstrate the importance of valuing and improving the lives of people of all abilities,” said FirstBank CEO Jim Reuter.
Pictured above, left to right: Susan Hartley, DDRC Board of Directors Treasurer, Beverly Winters, DDRC Executive Director, Jim Reuter, FirstBank CEO and Barb Moritzky, DDF Treasurer.
The $5,000 gift from FirstBank will enable DDRC, in conjunction with the DDF, to help individuals and families address crisis needs through the “25th Hour Fund.” Barbara Moritzky, DD Foundation Board Treasurer said, “This generous donation will enable DDRC and the Foundation to help many individuals and families who often have nowhere else to turn in an emergency. Thank you, FirstBank, for making a difference in their lives.”
Beverly Winters, Executive Director of DDRC, said, “We have long held the values of quality, dignity and choice for every individual of any ability. This year, DDRC marks 55 years as a leader in serving the IDD community. We have deep gratitude to FirstBank for helping us mark IDD Awareness Month as we continue along our journey, and for showing that ‘Banking for Good’ includes all people.”
Film Fest Celebrates IDD Awareness Month
The Achieve With Us Colorado Film Fest, organized by The Arc of Colorado with 13 local Arc chapters, and made freely available through the sponsorship of many entities, including DDRC, was a moving, eye-opening and not-to-be missed event! The film fest is organized as part of IDD Awareness Month in March.
DDRC and friends were there to enjoy connecting with a great crowd and shared the experience of seeing Far From the Tree, one of many films featured during the festival. Based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name by Andrew Solomon, the film was a powerful and beautiful exploration of all the ways it means to be a “normal family.”
Be sure to mark your calendars to come next year!
DDRC Self Determination Grants Open DoorsPublished: March 21, 2019
Sometimes, a small object can be like a special door that opens to a wider world. For Cynthia Reynolds, that door is an iPad, which opened a portal to many things that enrich her life.
Cynthia, a woman with IDD in her middle years, is receiving services from DDRC. With the help of DDRC’s Self Determination funding, Cynthia recently acquired an iPad and received coaching in setting up and becoming familiar with its capabilities. That coaching was provided by Erlen Marsh, DDRC’s Instructional Technology Specialist.
Cynthia uses her iPad to help make choices in her practical living, like finding the RTD bus schedule to get to King Soopers or go on other errands. The iPad gives her access to an app to get grocery coupons, keep track of a shopping list, and watch for items on sale that she likes.
A self-described mystery book lover, Cynthia also uses the iPad to get connected to the Talking Book Library to have large-print books and tapes mailed to her. She also connects to the Jefferson County Library system and uses the iPad for games like “WonderWord.” Cynthia is challenged with spelling, but she fearlessly uses her iPad to access help in dictation and spellcheck, and is active in communicating by email and Facebook to reach friends and family. "I would miss people without this iPad," she says.
DDRC’s Self Determination Funds are awarded to help individuals with IDD get unique supports to pursue their dreams and lead fuller lives. Funding is available to those residing in Jefferson County. Grants may cover things such as therapy, employment supports, social connections and life coaching. A committee of community and DDRC representatives review the requests for funds to determine if the circumstances warrant approval.
State Audit on Case ManagementPublished: December 18, 2018
DDRC and the Community Centered Boards (CCBs) in Colorado serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have many financial, health and safety, programmatic and other surveys and audits. Recently, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor conducted an audit of all 20 CCBs as required by state law.
The audit, which was a retrospective look from July 2016 through June 2017, was specific to Medicaid case management and State Supported Living Services (SLS) case management. The audit findings were approximately 1% of the case management budget statewide. Those findings showed a lack of adequate supporting documentation, such as lacking a signature, specified dates, choosing the correct activity on the state automated system, or log notes to verify that each case management activity that was billed took place. Adequate documentation is required for all case management activities to support billing and verify that the service occurred. DDRC did quite well with the audit results regarding in-person case management visits, which is the one area of this audit that captured actual service delivery.
DDRC, other CCBs and IDD stakeholders agree with the Colorado Legislative Audit Committee recommendations that the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) and the CCBs work together to find a more effective funding methodology for targeted case management other than 15-minute billing unit increments. Other concerns to be addressed include an end to the 240-unit cap on reimbursement per individual, ensuring state requirements and funding for State Supported Living Services are adequate, and improving the state required technology systems for documenting claims to HCPF.
DDRC and the CCBs statewide believe in the importance of the need to correct all processes that will lead closer to a 100% compliance rate. Since the state auditor’s retrospective look, HCPF, DDRC and other CCBs have implemented measures to strengthen documentation, billing processes and in-person case management monitoring. Further measures are also in progress.
All of these collective efforts in Colorado will further demonstrate to the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) that Colorado’s Medicaid funding is being administered as intended.
DDRC has a long history of transparency, accountability and a commitment to best practices in meeting our mission. Our individuals, families, funders and community can be confident that DDRC will work with IDD stakeholders to find solutions to support great lives for people with IDD and their families.
FirstBank Brings "Banking for Good" to LifePublished: June 13, 2018
Ron Lindsey (L), Harold Dickerson (C), and Cody Widiger (R), employees of FirstBank,
volunteer with the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center
With an uplifting and bold tagline emblazoned on their tee shirts, three guys from FirstBank flexed their muscles and fired their brain cells to show that “Banking for Good” is more than a company slogan, it is a company culture that encouraged them to volunteer with the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, and help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Undaunted by the summer heat, Harold Dickerson, Cody Widiger, and Ron Lindsey, who are part of FirstBank’s Fraud Analytics Operations, tackled multiple clean-up projects on two Lakewood, Colorado properties that are group homes for those who are differently-abled, those with IDD.
The men removed stubborn overgrown bushes, hauled dead and fallen tree limbs, raked up debris, cleaned out window wells, and made multiple trips to dumpsters – all of which resulted in tired yards taking on an inviting feeling. It was a wonderful improvement to the properties, where the residents didn’t have the tools, pickup truck, or physical ability to accomplish the heavy lift of that effort.
Taking the better part of an afternoon, the volunteers also tackled construction of many raised garden planter kits, providing the residents an opportunity to grow flowers, herbs and vegetables.
The nonprofit Developmental Disabilities Resource Center manages the group homes, where about six to eight individuals live in each house. DDRC manages about eleven such homes, and also coordinates with apartment managers and individual homeowners to provide additional housing. A mere 50 years ago, people with IDD were shuttered away in large, impersonal institutions, so the approaches taken today allow people with IDD to live more authentic lives that are connected to the community.
When asked by DDRC why they volunteered, Harold, Manager of Fraud Analytics said, “FirstBank encourages employees to give back to the community; it’s an important part of our culture. We're here to help people in need.” Ron shared that he has a friend who works with children with autism, so he knew about intellectual disabilities, and was eager to make a difference in his own way. Cody expressed appreciation of FirstBank’s support of time off from work for employee volunteerism.
FirstBank, a privately held bank and financial services company with headquarters in Lakewood, has bank locations in Colorado, Arizona, and California. They take pride in their role of transforming communities, whether empowering business growth or helping to address community needs through partnership with nonprofits. The three-man team from FirstBank didn’t just spruce up the yards of the Lakewood group homes, they also transformed the residents' summer outdoor living experience, all made possible by a philosophy of “Banking for Good.”
If your company would like to see how they can make a difference by supporting the services of DDRC, contact DDRC’s Volunteer Coordinator at 303.462.6585 or email April.Richey@ddrcco.com, or contact our Community Relations Office at 303.462.6623.
Dogs Donations and DisabilitiesPublished: May 1, 2018
They say that dogs are man’s best friend (and women’s too). That’s in part because a pooch is loyal and giving, albeit through wags and wet kisses. But what does this have to do with DDRC?
Just ask one of our steadfast donors, Heidi Markley, who has contributed proceeds from her dog and house-sitting service, Angels and Unicorns, to support the work of DDRC year-after-year, and often several times a year. Heidi had a child in service with DDRC and she saw the crucial importance of respite care and its benefits for both the family and the individual in service. She donates to help support respite care through DDRC’s Shannon and Bill Markley Respite Fund.
DDRC is fortunate that the commitment to the work we do is shared by more than 500 donors, whose combined contributions this year have totaled approximately $180,000.
Beverly Winters, DDRC Executive Director
speaking to donors.
This April, DDRC donors attended a reception in their honor, where DDRC Executive Director Beverly Winters thanked them and spoke about the impact of their contributions in supporting our wide range of services and special initiatives. These initiatives include our 25th Hour Fund for emergency assistance and a one-time boost, the refurbished Technology Learning Lab which provides classes and coaching to help people in service gain greater independence through their tech devices, and the new Café Soul, an employment training ground for people with IDD who are exploring the food service industry. Attendees toured the Tech Lab and Café Soul, enjoyed a spread of delicious hors d'oeuvres, and connected with other donors and DDRC staff.
Beverly Winters and Heidi Markley
DDRC is proud to say that we build on abilities, helping people with disabilities fulfill possibilities. We wouldn’t have the ability to do all that we do were it not for our wonderful donors. And that’s something to bark about!
Pictures from the April reception:
Joanne Elliott, DDRC Board of Directors member with Deb Gordon, DDRC Director of Quality Living Options -ISS
Lesley Dahlkemper, former Jeffco School Board member and candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner with Corinne Gray, DDRC Board of Directors member, and Susan Johnson, DDRC Director of Children and Family Services.
Diane Hitchingham, DDRC Development Director, with Ron Marquez, former DDRC Community Relations Director, and Jill Polito.
Rob DeHerrera, DDRC Deputy Director and CFO, with Art Hogling, former DDRC Executive Director, and Mary Prall.
Ron Marquez, with Joseph and Jill Polito, and Erik Krickbaum.