- Case Management Redesign Update OCT 2023
- Case Management Redesign Update Sept 1 2023
- Case Management Redesign Update July 17 2023
- Case Management Redesign Update June 2023
- Case Management Redesign UPDATE May 2023
- Case Management Redesign
- Foundation Board Member Commitment Plays in Many Acts
- Masons Make a Difference
- Spring into Awareness - IDD Awareness Month wrap up
- Proud of Dezirae Gurule - Our DSP Nominee
- Gifts Make a Touching Impact
- A Spirt to Admire - A Special Staff Person
Case Management Redesign Update OCT 2023Published: October 19, 2023
CASE MANAGEMENT FOR LONG TERM SERVICES & SUPPORTS IS CHANGING IN COLORADO
Since 2014, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has worked to come into compliance with a federal law that requires case management be provided by an agency that is separate from the agency that provides direct service care, called conflict free case management (CFCM). This separation will preclude any possible conflict of interest of an agency that provided both case management and direct service.
The state of Colorado passed legislation to come into compliance with the federal law by implementing case management redesign (CMRD). This means that DDRC cannot provide both case management and direct services. The state is required to come into compliance with CMRD by July 2024.
DDRC & Jefferson County Working Together
Upcoming Communications & Updates
Case Management Redesign Update Sept 1 2023Published: September 8, 2023
Case Management Redesign and
New Case Management Agencies
Case Management Redesign (CMRD), a required statewide initiative, will create one place to go in each catchment area for case management services for all Health First Colorado Members accessing Long Term Support and Services (LTSS), including all Medicaid waivers. These places, called Case Management Agencies (CMA), aim to simplify access so individuals and families will be able to more easily find the right programs and services that work for them.
These changes will impact anyone who receives case management services from DDRC, including long term supports and services for all Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, including Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities waivers, State Supported Living Services, Family Support Services. and Quality Assurance.Recently, HCPF announced the RFP awards, meaning the entities who will perform up the roles of case management and become the CMAs. The announcement also outlined the timeframe for transition of case management services to the new CMAs. All new CMAs must be functioning by July 1, 2024.
As a Community Centered Board, DDRC’s case management, quality assurance, and family support services will transition between March – July,1 2024 to these following new CMAs:
o CMA for Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties: Jefferson County Dept. of Human Services
o CMA for Gilpin County: Adult Care Management, Inc. (ACMI)
o CMA for Summit County: Garfield County
HCPF, the current agencies (i.e., DDRC) and new CMAs will be sending additional information to members impacted by these changes. Members will remain with their current agencies until the functions transition to the new CMA.
DDRC is committed to doing all that we can to work closely with the three new CMA agencies that will be taking over case management functions from DDRC to help make a smooth transition for the individuals and families we serve and our DDRC staff impacted by these changes.
Case Management Redesign Update July 17 2023Published: July 17, 2023
CASE MANAGEMENT FOR LONG TERM SERVICES & SUPPORTS IS CHANGING IN COLORADO
The Current Landscape
Health First Colorado is Colorado’s Medicaid program. Health First Colorado offers a benefit called home and community-based services (HCBS) and the case management for these services.
Individuals and families who receive or wish to receive these important services should know about important changes that are coming to the case management system.
These HCBS services are typically called Medicaid Waivers. In the current system in Colorado, entities called Single Entry Points (SEPs) - of which there are 26 that cover the state - provide case management for the following Medicaid waivers: Brain Injury waiver; Community Mental Health Supports waiver; Elderly, Blind and Disabled waiver; Spinal Cord Injury waiver; Children’s Home and Community Services waiver; and Children with Life Limiting Illness waiver. Jefferson County currently serves as the Single Entry Point (SEP) agency for Jefferson County.
There are 20 entities across the state called Community Centered Boards (CCBs). Generally, CCBs provide both case management and direct services for another set of Medicaid waivers: Developmental Disabilities waiver; Supported Living Services waiver; Children’s Extensive Support waiver; and Children’s Habilitation Residential Program waiver. Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) currently serves as the CCB for Jefferson, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Summit Counties.
The information contained within this communication is specific to the changes in Jefferson and Clear Creek counties. Additional information related to the changes in Summit and Gilpin counties is forthcoming.
What is Changing and Why?
In 2014, the federal agency that oversees Medicaid issued a rule that addressed what was recognized as a potential conflict: that an entity providing case management services for any of these waivers that also provided services, had a conflict. This has come to be known as ‘conflict-free case management.’
To come into compliance with the requirement to be conflict free for the delivery of case management and waiver services to families, the state of Colorado passed legislation to implement case management redesign (CMRD).
The legislation provides that, no later than July 2024, a newly created single Case Management Agency (CMA) must be selected for each state catchment area so that individuals in need of long- term supports and services can access case management services in one place without a conflict, essentially combining the case management of all waivers from Single Entry Points and Community Centered Boards into one Case Management Agency.
This means that agencies such as DDRC cannot provide both case management services and direct services for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) waiver members. DDRC has provided both case management and Home and Community Based Services for nearly 60 years. DDRC will no longer be providing case management services but will continue to provide their direct services (HCBS Waiver Services, Early Intervention, Behavioral Health, Recreation, etc.). Jefferson County’s SEP only provides case management so historically has experienced no conflict.
DDRC & Jefferson County Working Together
Jefferson County Human Services (JCHS) and DDRC began working together about 2 ½ years ago, knowing that both entities, the individuals and families we serve, our staff and community would be impacted by this change. Working together, the leadership of both organizations analyzed all options, and ultimately decided that Jefferson County should apply, in partnership with DDRC, to be the new CMA for Jefferson and Clear Creek counties. After a lengthy process and many hours of planning, Jefferson County was notified by the State Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (the Medicaid state agency) on June 12 of a Notice of Intent to Award (NOIA) the contract to Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners formally approved JCHS to accept the NOIA on July 11.
Who This Impacts
Individuals and families who receive their case management and resource coordination from DDRC for all Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities HCBS Waivers, State Supported Living Services and Family Support Services will be the most impacted by this change. Case management for these services will move to Jefferson County. Additionally, DDRC will be transferring the functions of Quality Assurance and Family Support.
Most individuals and families currently served by Jefferson County’s Single Entry Point should experience little change.
Jefferson County intends to work with the DDRC staff impacted, holding hiring events and other activities. The new CMA anticipates most DDRC staff impacted by this change will be hired as part of the new Jeffco CMA.
When Will These Changes Take Place?
The state is required to come into compliance with Conflict Free Case Management by July 1, 2024, so all new CMAs must also be functioning by July 1, 2024. The state has identified a 3-tiered timing of transition for the 20 catchment areas; Jefferson County and DDRC are requesting transition of all case management functions in the third tier which would give the County and DDRC the most time with an effective date of July 1, 2024.
Jefferson County Human Services anticipates retaining its existing 38 employees of the Single Entry Point (who will become part of the CMA) and will seek to hire as many as 75 additional employees to support the case management agency and provide case management services to persons currently being served by DDRC. The new CMA is a state contract with the county, no county dollars will be expended; the contract is funded from state and federal dollars.
JCHS and DDRC leadership will continue working closely and in partnership throughout the process. Please watch for updates through email, websites and postal notices. We also anticipate holding open houses and town halls so that the community can help play a part in a smooth transition of services.
Case Management Redesign Update June 2023Published: June 5, 2023
CMRD Update June 2023
Recently, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) announced that the results of the request for proposal (RFP) selection will be moved back from late May to mid-June 2023. Jefferson County Human Services, with support from DDRC, submitted a RFP to HCPF to become the CMA for Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties, the new catchment area.
The transition to these new CMAs will include DDRC’s Resource Coordination, Quality Assurance and Family Support functions. HCPF has defined three separate CMA transition phases, however DDRC has not yet been advised as to which phase we will be assigned. The three phases are:
Phase 1: beginning August 2023 and concluding by November 2023;
Phase 2: beginning November 2023 and concluding by March 2024;
Phase 3: beginning March 2024 and concluding by July 2024.
Colorado is required to be in compliance with CMRD by July 1, 2024.
IMPORTANT: Individuals and families in our services impacted by these changes should watch for a dedicated communication with updates on these changes from DDRC as additional information becomes available in late June/early July. DDRC remains committed to the continuity of services and to minimizing disruption during this transition.
To stay up to date on CMRD and related matters see: Case Management Redesign | Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
Case Management Redesign UPDATE May 2023Published: May 2, 2023
Jefferson County Human Services (JCHS), with support from DDRC, submitted a request for proposal (RFP) to become the CMA for Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties, the new catchment area. The results of the RFP will be released by HCPF in late May or early June of this year. The transition of case management functions is planned to occur between November 2023 and June 2024, and includes DDRC’s Resource Coordination, Quality Assurance and Family Support functions. The State is required to be in compliance with CMRD by July 1, 2024.
Health First Colorado members accessing long term supports and services, including Medicaid waivers, will receive case management services in the future from the CMA in their catchment area. To stay up to date on HCPF rule changes that may impact these services , as well as other aspects of the future of case management, please visit HCPF's CMRD website and follow CMRD Rules Revision, Case Management Redesign | Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.
Please watch for updates and communications through this newsletter, emails to individuals / families, and updates on our website www.ddrcco.com. including information on the transition as soon as that is available. DDRC remains committed to the continuity of services for individuals and families and minimizing any potential disruption for individuals and families, staff and our community.
There are still many unanswered questions, and we are working diligently to shape and resolve future outcomes and will provide updates as soon as available.
HCPF has developed an FAQ anticipating questions that people may have about CMRD and how it may impact them.
Find their FAQ through this link:
Case Management Redesign Published: March 31, 2023
Case Management Redesign Update March 31, 2023
The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) continues to undertake a major required statewide initiative related to Case Management Redesign (CMRD).
Jefferson County Human Services (JCHS), with support from DDRC, submitted a Request for Proposal at the end of February to become the Case Management Agency (CMA) for Jefferson and Clear Creek counties. The results of the RFP are scheduled to be released at the end of May or beginning of June 2023.
If JCHS is successfully awarded the RFP to become the new CMA, they would be responsible for Resource Coordination (Case Management), Quality Assurance and the Family Support functions as part of the CMA at the county. The transition of these functions is planned to occur between November 2023 and June 2024. DDRC and JCHS have been partnering and working on local solutions for several months.
There are still many unanswered questions, and we are working diligently to shape and resolve future outcomes. DDRC is grateful to be alongside such a fine partner as Jefferson County Human Services throughout this process.
Click here for information on CMRD on the HCPF website, and stay tuned for additional information on CMRD to be posted in the ensuing months.
Foundation Board Member Commitment Plays in Many ActsPublished: July 1, 2022
“I’ve been on the Developmental Disabilities Foundation (DDF) board for 10 years, and I really like being part of it and seeing what’s going on with DDRC,” said Barb Moritzky.The Golf Tournament and Auction are the DDF’s biggest efforts with proceeds going to various initiatives and general support, including to the 25 Hour Fund. The Fund provides for emergency, unmet or one time needs for people with developmental disabilities and their families, providing help not usually covered by Medicaid.
“I love going to the tournament, meeting people, and volunteering on the course. You can also win some cool things from the auction and feel gratified knowing it’s for a good cause. One year I won a beautiful quilt from the Quilt Museum,” she says, "and I have donated African fabric bags to the auction from a Ugandan ministries group I have worked with for years.” The auction is virtual so anyone can register to bid. Biding opens August 1 and will close on August 15.
Barb’s connection to the intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) world stems from her personal experience of having a sister with disabilities, who, after growing up in Fort Collins, has been served by DDRC for many years.
While at Colorado State University, Barb got involved in a program that paired college students with people with disabilities. Armed with a degree in Social Work, Barb worked for an IDD focused organization in Nebraska teaching independent living skills, becoming the area manager, and helping move people from state institutions and nursing homes into neighborhood group homes. Later, she was the Rehabilitation Manager at Laradon Hall.
In 1984 Barb and her husband joined the Peace Corps, went to Tunisia, and worked in a center for people with IDD. Inclusion of people with IDD was not accepted, but Barb gained success in using sports for integration, as soccer was universally loved. “I am especially grateful to have been invited to advise on the starting of the first Tunisian Special Olympics. When the first games were held, even though they didn’t have fancy new uniforms, the pride everyone had, and the joy in playing, still brings tears to my eyes.”
Currently, Barb is the Development Director for the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra. She loves music, singing and theatre, and along with her sister Julie, is involved with the DDRC Players, a theatre troupe that is now the Special Needs Acting Program (SNAP) of Colorado Acts. "I love how the theatre allows people to see themselves in a new light through the characters they play," she says.
“Services and supports like those offered through DDRC have made an important difference for my sister Julie, helping her to become more independent and social,” Barb says.
Years back, Julie worked at the Bruno Center in group employment, and now participates in opportunities offered through DDRC's Weiland Center. Julie shines in Weiland’s Zoom sessions playing Hangman, using her Dynovox, discovering she is a really good player, getting answers correct and delighting herself and others. She expresses her artistry there, too.
Barb says that knowing that her sister is engaged in things she wants to do gives Barb the important opportunity to work in varied areas.
When Barb reflects on the passage of time, she says, “We are definitely light years ahead of where we once were with disability inclusion, even though we have a long way to go.” DDF is lucky to have Barb’s experience and passion, along with the other DD Foundation members, to help move us forward in that journey!
Learn more about the August 15, 2022 DDF/DDCR Golf Tournament, "Groovy on the Green"
Masons Make a DifferencePublished: May 5, 2022
When the same group steps forward many times to give their time and physical effort to help make things better, you know their values go deeper than words. We are blessed and grateful that the Masons’ friendship includes DDRC and helping to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
In late April, Masons from the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41 and Denver Lodge #5 spent two entire Saturdays cleaning and sprucing up the yard of the DDRC “Lamar” residential group home in Lakewood. The property is home to about 8 people served by DDRC’s Quality Living Options program. Given that April is volunteer month, their timing was perfect.
The Masons efforts were transformational! Wielding rakes, trimmers, clippers and paint brushes they got to work. They gave tall deck pillars a fresh coat of protective paint. They cut and cleared away debris from many overgrown and dead bushes. They raked up remnants of winter leaves and fallen twigs to reveal emerging spring grass, and they trimmed-up tree limbs to provide a space underneath to enjoy a spot of shade. Moving all that debris was no easy task as the yard is on a steep slope, so it was a lot of climbing up and down the hill. The final stack of branches stood more than 7 feet high and was at least twice as wide.
Steve Jimenez, DDRC’s Facilities Director was there to help and provide tools and direction for the project. Upon its completion he said, “This was incredible and such a huge help!” “It was our pleasure,” the Masons responded, demonstrating their gracious and humble character.
Our sincere thanks to Mason Grant Sanders, who spearheaded the effort, along with his fellow Masons Bill Busby, Bryan Kemper, Lawrence Laurent, Johann Ortner, and Justin Washnieksi, all of the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, Conner Gould of Denver Lodge #5, and Jon Vande Riet, general volunteer and Grant's son-in law.
Spring into Awareness - IDD Awareness Month wrap up Published: April 4, 2022
Fairfield-Denver West /Federal Center, the West Metro Chamber and DDRC, were pleased to partner to host Spring into Awareness, a gathering to wrap up IDD Awareness Month in March and to celebrate diversity and inclusion for people of all abilities, including through employment.
A brief video of Fairfield, their team, and their commitment to diversity in employment, along with DDRC, showcased inclusive employment. An art show by artists served by DDRC beautifully illustrated themes of self-advocacy and the aspirations of the artists. The three host organizations spoke about their work to create a vibrant community. Local Jeffco businesses Flights Wine Café, Wahoo’s, Ballmer Peak Distillery, Crimson Cat Studios, and Shaklee (Susan Firmin) generously supported the event with donations of drink, food and door prizes. It was a fun and meaningful evening, and pictures from the night are shared below. See the video: Inclusive Employment Works -Fairfield and DDRC.
Proud of Dezirae Gurule - Our DSP NomineePublished: March 23, 2022
IDD Awareness Day, hosted by Alliance Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, and CU JFK Partners was celebrated on March 23. Honoring the contributions and roles of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) has always been a significant part of IDD Awareness Day as we recognize the important impact these staff make in the lives of the people they serve.
We are incredibly proud of Dezirae Gurule, our DDRC DSP nominee for the 2022 Colorado DSP of the Year. She is a winner in our eyes! As an Employment Specialist on the DDRC Employment Services team, Dezirae has contributed to the evolution of our service delivery culture, built strong relationships with her team, and has a meaningful impact on the career journeys of the people she supports.
Career Seeker Impact: Dezirae explores creative strategies to offer effective job coaching that supports independence. An example of her person-centered approach is when she began working with a career seeker who loves superheroes. The career seeker experiences anxiety, especially when trying to connect with new managers or co-workers. While some members of her support network felt the career seeker’s love of superheroes might be a hindrance to her success at work, Dezirae embraced what was important to this career seeker and explored how it could actually assist her at work and reduce anxiety. Dezirae helps this person build relationships with her team by being present with her for new introductions and encouraging conversation about superheroes. This employee now connects with new team members and mitigates her anxiety by talking about superheroes as an ice breaker. Instead of hiding her personal interests from her co-workers, it has become her superpower!
Service Delivery Culture: Dezirae is a leader among her peers. She shares her knowledge and expertise with her fellow Employment Specialists to advance their supported employment skills for the benefit of the people we support. She asks bold questions and is not afraid to advocate for change that will help bring positive outcomes for the people we support.
For example, Dezirae provided supports for an employee who was pursuing his next steps toward greater independence at work. DDRC had been providing line of sight (LOS) supervision duties for this employee during his shifts. He demonstrated through his work performance and positive choices that it was time to discuss if his LOS supports could be reduced or eliminated altogether, as he desired. While it wasn’t typical that the Employment Specialist would be involved in advocating for a transition away from line-of-sight supervision, Dezirae recognized his readiness to transition and helped him advocate for himself, including being present as a support during meetings that were not typically billable in Desirae’s role. However, this advocacy and her support promoted positive employment outcomes for this person. Our subject matter expert at HCPF applauded our advocacy and indicated that our inquiry regarding the matter of billable activities would serve as a best practice case study as HCPF evolves their fee schedule over the coming months. Dezirae’s initiative shows she puts service culture first and seeks to make that the norm.
Employer Relationships: Dezirae has a natural talent for connecting with local employers and building relationships with leaders in our local workforce to help open more doors for people we serve. She builds a network of employer contacts which leverages in her own job development efforts and shares her connections with her teammates so that the career seekers we support find the right job match for their employment goals.
Employers look to Dezirae as a resource for recruiting qualified candidates that are the right job match for their business needs and as a source of education around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. For example, Dezirae has developed a close relationship with the Golden Hotel and Restaurant management team. Because of her time spent getting to understand this employer’s needs, they have been an incredible partner in promoting inclusive employment within their own hiring practices. They have approached Dezirae about educating their staff on how to support co-workers with disabilities in an inclusive and equitable way. When hiring opportunities become available, they reach out to Dezirae because they know that she will connect them with qualified candidates and be a meaningful resource and support for new employees. Similarly, Dezirae has also built strong working relationships with Burlington and the managers there have reached out to Dezirae to help with their hiring efforts in other parts of the state.
Dezirae’s contributions as an Employment Specialist at DDRC truly impacts every aspect of our work. From growing our team, to educating employers, to serving career seekers, Dezirae exemplifies Employment First and advancing our vision for people with disabilities to pursue their employment goals and participate fully in the workforce.
And today, more than ever, positive outcomes for employees and employers, and workforce participation, are of importance for so many!
Gifts Make a Touching ImpactPublished: January 24, 2022
Holiday lights have mostly faded, but the impact of holiday giving shines on. In December several community groups and people, moved by their generous hearts and “can-do” spirits, organized holiday fundraising, gift card and gift donation drives. These efforts made a positive impact on the 200+ gift recipients: people served by DDRC, their families and their caregivers, whose need was identified by DDRC staff. Gift items and many gift cards to King Soopers, Walmart and Target were distributed, bringing smiles of appreciation and touching recipients in meaningful ways.
A person served by DDRC, and their sibling received donated gift cards. This is the only thing they receive during the holidays and the entire year. They have no other family support and were very happy for the kindness of strangers. They were struggling prior to DDRC’s A Better Choice’s involvement with them, and DDRC staff took them shopping so they could purchase something for the holidays.
The family of a young man with developmental disabilities had been in dire straits due to the mother having MS and having difficulty covering health care costs. The gift cards were used to purchase items of necessity. This mom cried with gratitude when she was told they would receive the gift cards.
Another family with an adult child with disabilities living at home also has other family members at home with severe health problems. The Target card allowed them to get some things they could not afford before the holidays, and they were delighted. Another person served by DDRC who is often financially strapped, was so thankful and relieved to receive a gift card and he even purchased items for his dog, a very selfless act on his behalf.
All this came through the efforts of many volunteers and donors. The Holiday Open House Drive-By event, organized by DDRC Board member Mary Ann Tillman along with Becky Shreck, and fellow volunteers Jill Polito, Amanda DiVito Parle, and Layne Mielke, generated over $11,000 including online donations, cash, and checks, in addition to the gift card contributions.
The Masons, a fraternal order, also collected money for gift cards, through the dedicated efforts of Mason Grant Sanders, raising $3,825 in donations from the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, the Paul Revere Lodge #130, and other individuals associated with the Masons, including Lincoln and Sherry Soul and Dee O’Kelly.
But that’s not all! DDF Board member Paula Emeson facilitated a $250 donation from the Arvada-Jefferson Kiwanis Club. Volunteer Lynn Fiederowitcz also hosted a gift drive, and her friends and guests donated gift cards, along with movies, board games, and puzzles to provide indoor entertainment. Volunteer Ruth Probasco donated “care bags,” of clothing, activity books and more.
DDRC staff from Resource Coordination (RC), Early Intervention (EI), Children and Family Services (CFS), A Better Choice (ABC) and Quality Living Options (QLO) identified people in need and served as "Santa's Helpers" to make sure gift cards and items were distributed, particularly DDRC staff Christina Smith (CFS/El); Anna Allen (RC); Bruce Fritz (ABC); Julie Wenning (QLO) and Jennifer Dawson (Main Office Receptionist). And importantly, DDRC’s Volunteer Services Coordinator April Richey was instrumental in coordinating all these efforts with DDRC staff and volunteers.
A huge thank you to all these volunteers and contributors, and hat’s off to all the staff who went the extra mile!
A Spirt to Admire - A Special Staff PersonPublished: December 22, 2021
We are so grateful to have wonderful employees !
Joana grew up in Ghana, Africa. When she was barely a teen, her younger sister contracted a disease that left her deaf. Classmates teased or bullied her sister, and early on Joana was struck by this insensitivity and saw the importance of sticking up for people and helping them be accepted and fit in.
Joana’s family was unable to afford her dream of an education to be a nurse after high school, but she parlayed a gift of a sewing machine to sew thigs to make money, and even helped other graduates learn the trade too. Eventually, Joana immigrated to America, taking her hardworking and kind spirit with her.
“I want people to be comfortable, to be ready to go out in the community, be met with smiles, and not be left out,” Joana says, explaining that helping people meet the world with dignity is important. She also helps them find joy in daily living by doing activities like lunch at a park, going grocery shopping, going to a movie or doing some hobby or art at home. “I love to cook and try new recipes too, so residents can discover what they enjoy” she says.
Joana lovingly accepts that each person has their own interests, abilities and challenges. She has developed close relationships to the people she supports and to their family members too, which is comforting for family that does not live close by. Recently, Joana and Donna, a woman residing in an apartment and receiving supports, enjoyed putting up a holiday tree and decorations sent by Donna’s sister.
Joana has saved and paid to build a house in Ghana where one day she will semi-retire and help her elderly mother. She envisions starting a small business there, employing people to make water bags for homes in a community where the water supply isn’t reliable.
“Family is everything,” Joana is often heard to say, and she brings that outlook to her role at the DDRC apartment residences. She also brings that outlook to her interactions and warm encouragement to the newer DDRC IRSS staff who she describes in glowing terms. No doubt she serves as a positive example: “This job is not just because you need money. This is a job where you enjoy helping people. You need to have heart,” she says. We are so fortunate that we have people like Joana Appiah whose amazing heart helps us achieve our mission!
Disability Employment Awareness Month and Preston Story Published: October 1, 2021
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It’s a time to celebrate successes in integrated employment and what people of all abilities have to offer in the workforce. Over the years, people have been working to change systems, change laws and change attitudes. We are proud that DDRC and our Employment Services have been a part of this movement.
|Preston at work at Advance Auto Parts|
Pursuing one’s passion and finding job fulfillment is not some faraway dream, not when you show openness and have support. It worked out for Preston, thanks to his interest and willingness to explore change and the support he received from DDRC’s Employment Services and Employment Specialist Andera Samuelson.
Preston worked for six years on a DDRC janitorial crew comprised of people with developmental disabilities. At the time, Preston considered this the maximum contribution he would make to the workforce. When COVID emerged, the segregated crew that Preston worked on was temporarily halted, but that disruption became a catalyst for change. Rather than reopening the crew when the situation was more manageable, it was clear that the right course of action was to work with each employee to understand their unique work goals and path forward. It was a time to put integrated employment into full practice.
Preston began working with Andrea to explore his interests and the strengths he brings to the workforce. As part of that discovery and job development process, it became apparent that Preston has a passion for automobiles. When Andrea took Preston to Advance Auto Parts, he lit up immediately and started educating her about all the auto parts! This was the spark she was looking for, the clue that this could be a career that Preston loves. With Andrea's support, Preston pursued a Parts Salesperson position and accepted a job offer with Advance Auto Parts.
Advance Auto Parts recognized the importance of working with Preston like any other employee on their team and have naturally built their relationship with Preston so that Andrea’s involvement can be limited to what Preston will truly benefit from. Advance Auto Parts is emphasizing their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and is working to engage employees with disabilities in their workforce.
Preston has thrived in this chapter of his employment journey. The authentic fulfillment and job match he found is the vision that DDRC’s Employment Services team holds for all people with disabilities who choose to pursue employment goals.
If you’re looking to hire a qualified candidate or are a person with a developmental disability wondering about career opportunities that are right for you, reach out to DDRC’s Employment Services at 720.544.8114, or call DDRC’s Case Management at 303.233.3363 for suggestions to get started.
Masonic Brothers Make an Impact for the BetterPublished: September 1, 2021
Masons from Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41 and Denver Lodge #5
The Masons’ tagline and guidepost is the value of “making good men better,” and striving to help make better communities too. On a late summer weekend, they came together to do just that while cultivating camaraderie among their members.
They worked shoulder to shoulder to cut, trim, pull, dig out and stack all kinds of overgrown plants and weeds of the DDRC Belmar apartments in Lakewood, currently serving 8 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
They painted a long stretch of privacy fence, trimmed trees, and cut bushes to create wider, easier walkways for residents. They spread new mulch to create a fresh look and pulled many dying bushes from the streetside to give the property a prouder, neat look. It was two days of work, creating heaping piles of debris and filling a big dumpster, and when they were done, they made the yard better - a lot better. In fact, they transformed the property!
Apartment residents and the Masons got together briefly in the yard to meet each other while sharing refreshments. ”Wow!” exclaimed Eric, one of the residents, “This looks so different and bigger! Now we can walk all the way around the pavilion. Thank you.” The other residents nodded in agreement, saying it looked so nice, and expressing thanks. Voni McDonald, DDRC Lead Counselor at Belmar said, “We are so grateful we can get back out here and enjoy the space more, especially with COVID, when other options have been limited. Thank you, Masons!” The get-together gave the Mason’s a firsthand idea of the people benefiting from their efforts and the impact they were making.
This would not have been possible were it not for the values of the Masons, and especially due to Grant Sanders, Mason, who helped to spearhead the initiative. Grant invited participants from his lodge, the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, who came as a large contingent, as well as Masons from Denver Lodge #5. They all worked hard, were so congenial, and seemed truly gratified to see the impact of their efforts.The Masons and the Marquis de Lafayette have been especially supportive and helpful to DDRC over the years. They have donated significant funds, provided holiday gift cards for people DDRC serves who have few other resources, and they have done other construction projects for DDRC too. With all that they can truly say they are fulfilling their mission while also making a difference for people with developmental disabilities!
Shoutout to Our Golf SponsorsPublished: August 15, 2021
Masks and COVID Tests Required in Group Homes as of August 2021 Published: August 5, 2021
OF REINSTATED MASK REQUIREMENT
AT RESIDENTIAL/ GROUP HOMES
And COVID-Testing Requirement
This notice involves DDRC Residential Group homes
To: Residential care facilities (Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Group Homes, and Intermediate Care Facilities)
From: CDPHE Residential Care Strike Team and Infection Prevention and Control Unit
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released updated guidance modifying masking requirements. The changes come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended increased mask use indoors for vaccinated individuals on July 27.
· Added updates requiring universal mask use for staff, visitors, and residents regardless of vaccination status. The guidance allows for exceptions for vaccinated residents at particular times during activities and communal dining.
In addition to the mask requirement changes, CDPHE continues to implement rapid testing for all unvaccinated staff and residents that leave the facility for longer than 24 hours.
A Great Job Fits Brings Out the Best, As it Did For StevePublished: July 25, 2021
Over time, Steve worked in several departments, and he reports that he never missed a day of work. He prepared product for the kilns, drove a forklift, packed various product, and was called upon to show new team members how to do parts of the job. “I think I was a good teacher and some of the guys told me that too,” he shared.
At his retirement send-off, Steve’s colleagues wrote him warm wishes and signed a framed Coors Tek beadwork piece that was Steve’s own creation. The beadwork was one of a hundred pieces that he has created, framed, and sold, many with a sports theme.
Steve enjoys learning. He participates in DDRC’s Discovery Technology Lab, exploring various apps, and challenging himself with vocabulary and word programs, with support from Erlen Marsh, Discovery technology Lab Instructor/Supervisor (pictured here with Steve).
Steve finds satisfaction living independently with his wife and son, while receiving support from DDRC’s A Better Choice supported living services.
When asked what he thought about retirement, Steve didn’t seem ready to slow down too much, saying he will continue his tech learning, beadwork, woodworking, and few other things too!
DDRC Self Determination InitiativePublished: June 15, 2021
Determination Initiative (SDI)
Self Determination is a concept central to everything DDRC does to support individuals and their families as they choose how to lead their lives. So, it’s harmonious that DDRC also has the Self Determination Initiative (SDI), an initiative that provides support to help make aspirations a reality for people we serve.
DDRC’s new SDI Coordinator, Julia Panucza, who has worked in the IDD field and with DDRC’s Adult Vocational Services says, “I bring my dedication, experience and leadership to advocate for people with disabilities and help them achieve their goals."
A variety of services, materials and supports arising from person-centered needs and goals may be considered for funding, such as:· coaching and technical support in using technology,
· acquiring devices so people can stay connected, access email and have a tool for budgeting.
· bicycles and other equipment,
· classes /support to lead to entrepreneurship, employment, greater independence and personal growth.
· access to Employment Gateway, a web portal created as the brainchild of DDRC’s SDI, in coordination with others, to help job seekers. Each person creates a video resume and profile of their interests, skills and experience. It’s a powerful way for the individual to show who they are and what they can bring to a job.
Julia is excited to have more individuals apply and participate, and says, "I have a passion for what I do - to make goals and dreams a reality.” If you or someone you know would like to explore SDI funding, email Julia.Panucza@ddrcco.com or call 303.462.6528.
Marti Gets Meaning from DDRC Therapeutic Learning ConnectionsPublished: June 14, 2021
Marti has always enjoyed sports. She was active in DDRC’s Therapeutic Learning Connections/ Recreation (TLC/Rec) program playing Bocce ball and this spring she’s been part of a group of 13 individuals on DDRC’s team training for Special Olympics Track and Field competitions, involving distance racing, softball throw and long jump.
During a Saturday morning practice, Marti explained that she had won 1st place in her race walking event at the regional competition, saying, “It was hard not to cry when I won because I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did! I was proud and happy!”Rick Lovato and Kristina Cripe, DDRC Recreation Specialists, said that the DDRC TLC/Rec program brings a variety of people together. Some individuals live in group residential settings and others live independently, and the program meets the needs and abilities of all participants. “They are building friendships and it’s a supportive environment,” Rick says.
For the race walking, Marti has her eyes fixed on the finish line and is pumping hard. By the fourth time she is winded at the finish line, but she beams as she says. “I love my DDRC Special Olympics people.” And while usually it’s the coaches who give out the kudos, Marti adds, “Rick and Kristina are doing a good job and I’m proud of them,” showing that the supportive culture has rubbed off on everyone!
The team also participated in the state meet in June and everyone came away glad to have been a part of it.
Teammate Bret is shown in the tie-dye shirt.
Recreation Specialists Kristina and Rick are shown above with Marti.
If you or someone you know would like to participate in DDRC’s TLC/Rec programs, which include sports and other activities responsive to participants’ interests, please contact Kristina.Cripe@ddrcco.com or call 720.544.8115.
You can also talk with your Resource Coordinator to explore many other programs too.
COVID Guidelines in Group Residential Homes - UpdatePublished: May 3, 2021
Giving to DDRC - ReFUNDPublished: April 12, 2021
Consider donating a portion of your Colorado Tax Refund to DDRC. Just enter our registration # 2002 300 3423 in the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit” field of your filing form or look up Developmental Disabilities Resource Center.
Read here to see our resilience in 2020 and the work you are fostering with your donation.
See our full report here: https://ddrcco.com/downloads/reports/DDRC_2020_Annual_Report.pdf
Seeing the Remarkable Roles of DSPs Published: April 6, 2021
Professionals (DSPs) act as advocates, coaches, friends and more
in their support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Liz works in our A Better Choice supporting individuals receiving Supported Living Services and previously worked with our Quality Living Options, DDRC’s residential services. Her special care is shown in her support of a woman with a terminal illness, helping the woman transition from her condominium, to hospice, to a nursing home, and even changing nursing homes during the pandemic! Liz advocated for the woman’s comfort, provided her reassurance, helped see that the moves went smoothly, kept cherished items at hand, and helped other people see the woman’s wonderful individuality.
We are grateful for and proud of these two DSPs and we thank all our DDRC DSPs for their awesome work.
New COVID-19 Resource PagePublished: March 22, 2021
DDRC has a new consolidated COVID-19 Resources page. The page has important and updated links to web resources and documents related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccine Colorado LocationsPublished: January 19, 2021
Visit the find where you can get vaccinated web page at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/where-can-i-get-vaccinated for locations and other information.
Note: This web page will be updated as information becomes available.
Vaccine Clinics Update - Consents and AccessPublished: December 21, 2020
Vaccine Clinics Update on Consents and Access
Timely action needed.
Attention, Group Home residents, parents/guardians/legal representatives and other stakeholders, as well as DDRC employees working in Group homes, please read this important information about vaccines and required consent forms.
DDRC has received additional information regarding the vaccine clinics and have much work to do to coordinate our efforts Walgreens, our pharmacy partner.
Timely Action is needed to complete consent forms so that DDRC can let the pharmacy know how many does to bring. Consent / consent forms should be completed as soon as possible and DDRC Employees should let their supervisor know if they plan to receive the vaccine or not by Wednesday, December 23, 2020.
DDRC will work with guardians and legal representatives of group home residents to either consent to or decline the vaccine.
Information about the vaccine and consent forms are linked here:
Who is eligible for vaccines?
All group home residents and any employee working in group homes or needing routine access to group homes will be offered the vaccine. In addition to QLO/GRSS employees at each home, this includes AVS staff providing day services at group homes or providing coverage for open group home shifts, Recreation staff providing supports in group homes, QLO/GRSS Program Mangers, QLO LPNs, and Maintenance staff.
If you are an eligible staff member and you have specific questions regarding where and when you will receive your vaccine, contact your direct supervisor, or the Program Manager for the location you are assigned.
Every vaccine recipient must provide a consent form for each of the two doses you will receive: two doses, two consent forms. This form is called the “Vaccination Administration Record.”
When and where will clinics be held?
We do not have an exact date yet but anticipate clinics will be held in 2-3 weeks (late December- mid-January).
The clinics will be held at each group home.
Staff: Each staff member will be assigned to a location based on their primary work assignment or surveillance testing assignment. Thus, if an employee is participating in the surveillance testing and does not have a primary group home assignment, then they will receive your vaccine at the same house they do their testing.
If you are not a group home employee, but are an employee when might you get the vaccine?
Other health care workers are included in Phase 1B of Colorado’s vaccine distribution, but we do not know when or how those vaccines will take place. We will provide updated information as we receive it.
For general questions about vaccines for DDRC staff or group home residents, contact Kristie Braaten/ DDRC (303) 462-6506