The executive director at Quadco Rehabilitation Center(QRC) said attention in the year ahead will be directed at employment experiences, such as expanding volunteer and internship opportunities, now that they have addressed changes to become a private, non-profit organization.
Speaking to members of their non-profit and administrative boards at their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 23), Executive Director Bruce Abell said the changes driven by recent Medicaid rules on conflict-free case management were easier for them to implement than for county boards of DD.
Mr. Abell explained that while some of the county boards have had a harder time addressing the issues of divesting themselves of programs since they also provide case management services, QRC didn’t have to do that since it doesn’t provide case management services.
“We’ve been more like a partner in the service delivery system,” he said. “We operate just like any other provider in the area, and there are quite a few.”
At the last board meeting, he explained, QRC made some changes to the board so they would be in compliance with the rules, but they were not required to change the center’s structure.
He said QRC will continue to provide services and continue to serve people, just like the other private providers do in this area. However, he said, it won’t mean any changes for the people they are serving or the people they employ.
While those changes have been met, he said he believes the planning priorities of the center will continue to be driven by the federal and state requirements to comply with Medicaid.
He said the external priorities will be to see that people are fully employed and fully integrated within the community where they live and work. QRC has done that through their employment service, he said, and he would like to emphasize and build that service as a very important part of what they want to do for the future.
“We want to look at how the services we provide relate to that so that there is as much of a connection as possible between the kind of training experiences people have here in our programs and work programs as well as what they want to do for work when they go out and get a job.”
“We’ve always done this. I think it’s just more vital and more important that we emphasize it now,” he told the board members.
Mr. Abell pointed out that, as a provider, QRC doesn’t decide what people do with their lives. Each person that comes to QRC has a planning team, they talk about what the person wants to do, and then work out a plan. The part of the plan that is approved for QRC, once it is all signed and approved by everyone involved, basically becomes a contract for services for that person and paid for by Medicaid reimbursement.
The process for people who want employment is a bit different, he continued. The person is referred to the state agency, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. The process starts with the person, the job they want to have and whether the state agency will accept them and fund their interest in securing employment. Once accepted for services by the state agency, the person chooses from several different employment services providers, such as QRC’s Northwest Employment Services, the one they want to provide the services for them.
In the year ahead, Mr. Abell said they will want to focus more on the job search process. He said he thinks it will be important to add more volunteer and internship opportunities for the people at QRC.
“We want to be known as an agency that does training that leads to employment for people, that leads to full independence and the kind of lives that people want to have,” he said.
Rachel Lange, Manager of Northwest Employment Services reported that since she started in her position in October of last year, seven of twelve people have been successful in getting jobs in the community. One individual, she said, is even training the new people hired at their work location.
Of the other five who didn’t have a successful conclusion, one moved from the area, and another realized after working for 30 days that they want to try something different and is still in a job search.
She said they have had five referrals in the last month and are presently serving nine individuals in job development.
They are also preparing a summer youth work experience program for later this year.
Bill Priest, Director of Marketing, reported that GenFed Financial Credit Union in Bryan presented QRC with a donation of $1,060. He said the credit union and their members raised the money through a basket raffle held in December. The funds will be used for activities and events held for the people at QRC.
He also noted that the Archbold Knights of Columbus presented QRC with a donation of $250.