Annual Report - Independent Living Services For Older Individuals Who Are Blind

RSA-7-OB for Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency - H177B140058 report through September 30, 2014

Instructions

Introduction

The revised ED RSA-7-OB form incorporates revisions to the four established performance measures for the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind (IL-OIB) program. Added in 2007, these measures aim to better reflect the program’s impact on individual consumers and the community.

Added to capture information that may be required to meet GPRA guidelines, the performance measures can be found under Part VI: Program Outcomes/Performance Measures as follows:

Measure 1.1

Of individuals who received AT (assistive technology) services and training, the percentage who regained or improved functional abilities previously lost as a result of vision loss.

Measure 1.2

Of individuals who received orientation and mobility (O & M) services, the percentage who experienced functional gains or maintained their ability to travel safely and independently in their home and/or community environment.

Measure 1.3

Of individuals who received services or training in alternative non-visual or low vision techniques, the percentage that experienced functional gains or were able to successfully restore and maintain their functional ability to engage in their customary life activities within their home environment and community.

Measure 1.4

Of the total individuals served, the percentage that reported that they are in greater control and are more confident in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services.

Revisions to these established program performance measures consists of the following additional five items:

E1. Enter the Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they are in greater control and are more confident in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (Closed/inactive cases only)

E2. Enter the number of individuals served who reported feeling that they have less control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (closed/inactive cases only)

E3. Enter the number of individuals served who reported no change in their feelings of control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (closed/inactive cases only)

E4. Enter the number of individuals served who experienced changes in lifestyle for reasons unrelated to vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only)

E5. Enter the number of individuals served who died before achieving functional gain or experiencing changes in lifestyle as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only)

Submittal Instructions

OIB grantees are expected to complete and submit the 7-OB Report online through RSA’s website (https://rsa.ed.gov), unless RSA is notified of pertinent circumstances that may impede the online submission.

To register with RSA’s MIS, please go to https://rsa.ed.gov and click on Info for new users. The link provides instructions for obtaining an agency-specific username and password. Further instructions for completing and submitting the 7-OB Report online will be provided upon completion of the registration process.

OIB grantees submitting the 7-OB Report online are not required to mail signed copies of the 7-OB Report to RSA, but they must certify in the MIS that the signed and dated 7-OB Report and lobbying certification forms are retained on file.

The Report submittal deadline is no later than December 31 of the reporting year.

Part I: Funding Sources for Expenditures And Encumbrances — Instructions

Please note: Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services in Part I (C) must equal the total funds spent on service in Part IV. Part I C must equal the sum of Part IV A1+B1+C1+D1.

A. Funding SourceS for Expenditures and encumbrances in reported fy

A1. Enter the total amount of Title VII-Chapter 2 funds expended or encumbered during the reported FY. Include expenditures or encumbrances made from both carryover funds from the previous FY and from the reported FY grant funds.

A2. Enter the total of any other federal funds expended or encumbered in the Title VII-Chapter 2 program during the reported FY. Designate the funding sources and amounts in (a) through (e).

A3. Enter the total amount of state funds expended or encumbered in the Title VII - Chapter 2 program. Do not include in-kind contributions (e.g., documented value of services, materials, equipment, buildings or office space, or land).

A4. Enter the total amount of third party contributions including local and community funding, non-profit or for-profit agency funding, etc. Do not include in-kind contributions (e.g., documented value of services, materials, equipment, buildings or office space, or land).

A5. Enter the total amount of in-kind contributions from non-federal sources. Include value of property or services that benefit the Title VII-Chapter 2 program (e.g. the fairly evaluated documented value of services, materials, equipment, buildings or office space or land).

A6. Enter the total matching funds (A3 + A4 + A5). Reminder: The required non-federal match for the Title VII-Chapter 2 program is not less than $1 for each $9 of federal funds provided in the Title VII-Chapter 2 grant. Funds derived from or provided by the federal government, or services assisted or subsidized to any significant extent by the federal government, may not be included in determining the amount of non-federal contributions.

A7. Enter the total amount of all funds expended and encumbered (A1 + A2 + A6) during the reported fiscal year.

B. Total expenditures and encumbrances allocated to administrative, support staff, and general overhead costs

Enter the total amount of expenditures and encumbrances allocated to administrative, support staff, and general overhead costs. Do not include costs for direct services provided by agency staff or the costs of contract or sub-grantee staff that provide direct services under contracts or sub-grants. If an administrator spends a portion of his or her time providing administrative services and the remainder providing direct services, include only the expenditures for administrative services.

C. Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services

Enter the total amount of expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services by subtracting line B from line A7.

Part II: Staffing — Instructions

Base all FTE calculations upon a full-time 40-hour workweek or 2080 hours per year. Record all FTE assigned to the Title VII-Chapter 2 program irrespective of whether salary is paid with Title VII-Chapter 2 funds.

A. Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Program Staff

A1. Under the “Administrative & Support” column (A1a), enter the full-time equivalent (FTE) of all administrative and support staff (e.g. management, program directors, supervisors, readers, drivers for staff, etc.) assigned to the Title VII-Chapter 2 program from the State agency. (For example, if 20% or 8 hours per week of a staff person’s time were spent on administrative and support functions related to this program, the FTE for that staff person would be .2). Under the “Direct Services” column (A1b), enter the FTE of all direct service staff (e.g. rehabilitation teacher, IL specialist, orientation and mobility specialist, social worker, drivers for individuals receiving services, etc.) assigned to the Title VII-Chapter 2 program from the State agency. If administrative or support staff of the State agency also provide direct services, report the FTE devoted to direct services in the “Direct Services” column (A1b). (For example, if 80% of a staff person’s time were spent in providing direct services, the FTE for that person would be 8). Finally, add across the “Administrative & Support” FTE (A1a) and “Direct Service” FTE (A1b) to enter the total State agency FTE in the TOTAL (A1c) column.

A2. Under the “Administrative & Support” column (A2a), enter the full-time equivalent (FTE) of all administrative and support staff (e.g. management, program directors, supervisors, readers, drivers for staff, etc.) assigned to the Title VII-Chapter 2 program from contractors or sub-grantees. Under the “Direct Services” column (A2b), enter the FTE of all direct service staff (e.g. rehabilitation teacher, IL specialist, orientation and mobility specialist, social worker, driver for individuals receiving services, etc.) assigned to the Title VII-Chapter 2 program from contractors and sub-grantees. If administrative staff of the contractors or sub-grantees also provides direct services, report the FTE devoted to direct services in the “Direct Services” column (A2b). Finally, add across the “Administrative & Support” FTE (A2a) and “Direct Service” FTE (A2b) to enter the total contractor or sub-grantee FTE in the TOTAL (A2c) column.

A3. Add each column for A1 and A2 and record totals on line A3.

B. Employed or advanced in employment

B1. Enter the total number of employees (agency and contractor/sub-grantee staff) with disabilities (include blind and visually impaired not 55 or older), including blindness or visual impairment, in B1a. Enter the FTE of employees with disabilities in B1b. (To calculate B1b, add the total number of hours worked by all employees with disabilities and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE)

B2. Enter the total number of employees (agency and contractor/sub-grantee staff) who are blind or visually impaired and age 55 and older in B2a. Enter the FTE of employees who are blind or visually impaired and age 55 or older in B2b. (To calculate B2b, add the total number of hours worked by employees who are blind or visually impaired and age 55 and older and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE)

B3. Enter the total number of employees (agency and contractor/sub-grantee staff) who are members of racial/ethnic minorities in B3a. Enter the FTE of employees who are members of racial/ethnic minorities in B3b. (To calculate B3b, add the total number of hours worked by employees who are members of racial/ethnic minorities and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE)

B4. Enter the total number of employees (agency and contractor/sub-grantee staff) who are women in B4a. Enter the FTE of employees who are women in B4b. (To calculate B4b, add the total number of hours worked by women and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE)

B5. Enter the total number of employees (agency and contractor/sub-grantee staff) who are ages 55 and older, but not blind or visually impaired, in B5a. Enter the FTE of employees who are ages 55 and older, but not blind or visually impaired, in B5b. (To calculate B5b, add the total number of hours worked by employees who are ages 55 and older, but not blind or visually impaired, and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE)

C. Volunteers

C1. Enter the FTE of program volunteers in C1. (To calculate C1, add the total number of hours worked by all program volunteers and divide by 2080 to arrive at the FTE).

Part III: Data on Individuals Served — Instructions

Provide data in all categories on program participants who received one or more services during the fiscal year being reported.

A. Individuals Served

A1. Enter the number of program participants carried over from the previous federal fiscal year who received services in this reported FY (e.g. someone received services in September (or any other month) of the previous FY and continued to receive additional services in the reported FY).

A2. Enter the number of program participants who began receiving services during the reported fiscal year irrespective of whether they have completed all services.

A3. Enter the total number served during the reported fiscal year (A1 + A2).

B. Age

B1-B10. Enter the total number of program participants served in each respective age category.

B11. Enter the sum of B1 through B10. This must agree with A3.

C. Gender

C1. Enter the total number of females receiving services.

C2. Enter the total number of males receiving services.

C3. Enter the sum of C1 and C2. This must agree with A3.

D. Race/Ethnicity

Hispanic or Latino means a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

D1. Enter the number of individuals served who are Hispanic/Latino of any race or Hispanic/Latino only. Hispanic/Latino means a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

D2. Enter the number of individuals served who are American Indian or Alaska Native. American Indian or Alaska Native means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

D3. Enter the number of individuals served who are Asian. Asian means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

D4. Enter the number of individuals served who are Black or African American. Black or African American means a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as “Haitian” may be used.

D5. Enter the number of individuals served who are Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

D6. Enter the number of individuals served who are White or Caucasian. White means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

D7. Enter the number of individuals served who report two or more races but who are not Hispanic/Latino of any race.

D8. Enter “race and ethnicity unknown” only if the consumer refuses to identify race and ethnicity.

D9. Enter the total of D1 through D8. This number must agree with A3.

E. Degree of Visual Impairment

E1. Enter the number of individuals served who are totally blind (e.g. have light perception only or no light perception).

E2. Enter the number of individuals served who are legally blind (excluding those recorded in E1).

E3. Enter the number of individuals served who have severe visual impairment.

E4. Add E1 + E2 + E3 and enter the total. This number must agree with A3.

F. Major Cause of Visual Impairment

(Please note that the primary site for the definitions of diseases is http://www.nia.nih.gov/AboutNIA/StrategicPlan/ResearchGoalA/Subgoal1.htm.)

Enter only one major cause of visual impairment for each individual served.

F1. Enter the number of individuals served who have macular degeneration as the major cause of visual impairment. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease of the retina wherein the light-sensing cells in the central area of vision (the macula) stop working and eventually die. The cause of the disease is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and

It is most common in people who are age 60 and over. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in senior citizens.

F2. Enter the number of individuals served who have diabetic retinopathy as the major cause of visual impairment. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among working-age Americans and is caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. It is believed that poorly controlled blood sugar levels are related to its progression. Most persons with diabetes have non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or what is commonly called “adult-onset” or Type II diabetes, and control their blood sugar with oral medications or diet alone. Others have insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), also called "younger or juvenile-onset" or Type I diabetes, and must use insulin injections daily to regulate their blood sugar levels.

F3. Enter the number of individuals served who have glaucoma as the major cause of visual impairment. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases causing optic nerve damage that involves mechanical compression or decreased blood flow. It is permanent and is a leading cause of blindness in the world, especially in older people.

F4. Enter the number of individuals served who have cataracts as the major cause of visual impairment. A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye resulting in blurred vision, sensitivity to light and glare, distortion, and dimming of colors. Cataracts are usually a natural aging process in the eye (although they may be congenital) and may be caused or accelerated by other diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes.

F5. Enter the number of individuals served who have any other major cause of visual impairment.

F6. Enter the sum of F1 through F5. This number must agree with A3.

G. Other Age-Related Impairments

Enter the total number of individuals served in each category. Individuals may report one or more non-visual impairments/conditions. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Strategic Plan identifies age-related diseases, disorders, and disability including the following categories.

G1. Hearing Impairment: Presbycusis is the gradual hearing loss that occurs with aging. An estimated one-third of Americans over 60 and one-half of those over 85 have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing impairment occurs when there is a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear, and may be a conductive hearing loss (outer or middle ear) or a sensorineural hearing loss (inner ear) or a combination. The degree of hearing impairment can vary widely from person to person. Some people have partial hearing loss, meaning that the

Ear can pick up some sounds; others have complete hearing loss, meaning that the ear cannot hear at all. One or both ears may be affected, and the impairment may be worse in one ear than in the other.

G2. Diabetes: Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Type 2 diabetes, which results from insulin resistance and abnormal insulin action, is most prevalent in the older population. Diabetes complications, such as heart disease and loss of sight, increase dramatically when blood sugar is poorly controlled and often develop before diabetes is diagnosed.

G3. Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes: Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are the leading cause of hospitalization and death in older Americans. Congestive heart failure is the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients aged 65 and older.

G4. Cancer: The second leading cause of death among the elderly is cancer, with individuals age 65 and over accounting for 70 percent of cancer mortality in the United States. Breast, prostate, and colon cancers, are common in older people.

G5. Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders: Osteoporosis (loss of mass and quality of bones), osteoarthritis (inflammation and deterioration of joints), and sarcopenia (age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength) contribute to frailty and injury in millions of older people. Also contributing to loss of mobility and independence are changes in the central nervous system that control movement. Cells may die or become dysfunctional with age, as in Parkinson's disease. Therefore, older people may have difficulty with gross motor behavior, such as moving around in the environment, or with fine motor skills, such as writing.

G6. Alzheimer’s Disease/Cognitive Impairment: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia (a brain disorder that significantly affects an individual’s ability to carry out daily life activities) in older people. It and other cognitive impairments impact parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.

G7. Depression is widespread, often undiagnosed, and often under-treated in the elderly. It is believed to affect more than 6.5 million of the 35 million Americans who are 65 or older. Depression is closely associated with dependency and disability. Symptoms may include: loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, persistent, vague or unexplained somatic complaints, memory complaints, change in weight, sleeping disorder, irritability or demanding behavior, lack of attention to personal care, difficulty with concentration, social withdrawal, change in appetite, confusion, delusions or hallucinations, feeling of worthlessness or hopelessness, and thought about suicide.

G8. Other Major Geriatric Concerns: Several conditions can compromise independence and quality of life in older persons including weakness and falls, urinary incontinence, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and co morbidity (co morbidity describes the effect of all other diseases an individual might have on the primary disease).

H. Type of Residence

H1. Enter the number of individuals served who live in private residence (house or apartment unrelated to senior living).

H2. Enter the number of Individuals served who live in senior living/retirement community (e.g. housing designed for those age 55 and older).

H3. Enter the number of individuals served who live in assisted living facility (e.g. housing that provides personal care and services which meet needs beyond basic provision of food, shelter and laundry).

H4. Enter the number of individuals served who live in nursing homes/long-term care facility (e.g. any facility that provides care to one or more persons who require nursing care and related medical services of such complexity to require professional nursing care under the direction of a physician on a 24 hour a day basis).

H5. Enter the number of individuals served who are homeless

H6. Enter the sum of H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5. This number must agree with A3.

I. Source of Referral

I1. Enter the number of individuals served referred by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

I2. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a medical provider other than an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

I3. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a state vocational rehabilitation agency.

I4. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a government or social services agency defined as a public or private agency which provides assistance to consumers related to eligibility and securing entitlements and benefits, counseling, elder law services, assistance with housing, etc.

I5. Enter the number of individuals served referred by the Veterans Administration

I6. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a senior program defined as a community-based educational, recreational, or socialization program operated by a senior center, nutrition site, or senior club.

I7. Enter the number of individuals served referred by an assisted living facility defined as housing that provides personal care and services which meet needs beyond basic provision of food, shelter and laundry.

I8. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a nursing home/long-term care facility defined as any facility that provides care to one or more persons who require nursing care and related medical services of such complexity to require professional nursing care under the direction of a physician on a 24 hour a day basis.

I9. Enter the number of individuals served referred by a faith-based (religious affiliated) organization.

I10. Enter the number of individuals served referred by an independent living center (ILC) defined as a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private nonprofit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities, and provides an array of independent living services.

I11. Enter the number of individuals referred by a family member or friend.

I12. Enter the number of individuals who were self-referred.

I13. Enter the number of individuals referred from all other sources aside from those listed above.

I14. Enter the sum of I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I7, I8, I9, I10, I11, I12, and I13. This number must agree with A3

Part IV: Types of Services Provided and Resources Allocated — Instructions

Please note: Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services in Part I C must equal the total funds spent on services in Part IV. Part I C must equal the sum of Part IV A1+B1+C1+D1.

In addition, salary or costs associated with direct service staff or contractors providing

direct services should be included in the cost of services provided in A, B, C, and D.

A. Clinical / Functional Vision Assessments and Services

A1. Enter the total cost from Title VII-Chapter 2 federal grant funds (A1a) and the total cost from all other sources of program funding (A1b) for clinical and/or functional vision assessments and services, whether purchased or provided directly.

A2. Enter the total number of program participants who received clinical vision screening or vision examinations from qualified or certified professionals such as ophthalmologists or optometrists, and who received functional vision assessments or low vision evaluations to identify strategies for enhancing visual performance both without and with optical and low vision devices and equipment. Assessment areas may include functional visual acuity and fields, efficiency of vision in the performance of everyday tasks, and evaluation for low vision aids or equipment. These assessments are typically provided by skilled professionals or those who are certified or have a master’s degree in low vision rehabilitation. Do not include evaluations for orientation and mobility. These should be included in C3.

A3. Enter the total number of program participants who received surgical or therapeutic treatment to prevent, correct, or modify disabling eye conditions; and, hospitalizations related to such services. Include prescription optics in this service category. Nonprescription optics should be reported in B2.

B. Assistive Technology Devices, Aids, Services and Training

B1. Enter the total cost from Title VII-Chapter 2 federal grant funds (B1a) and the total cost from all other sources of program funding (B1b) for the provision of assistive technology devices, aids, services and training.

B2. Enter the total number of program participants who received one or more assistive technology devices and aids. As defined in Section 3(4) of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-364), “assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Assistive technology devices may include such items as canes, slates, insulin gauges, CCTVs, computers, adaptive software, magnifiers, adaptive cooking items, adaptive recreational items, handwriting guides, Braillers, large button telephones, etc.

B3. Enter the total number of program participants who received one or more assistive technology services and training. As defined in Section 3(5) of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (PL 108-364), “assistive technology service means any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” Services may include the evaluation of assistive technology needs of an individual, services related to acquisition of technology, costs of loan programs, maintenance and repair of assistive technology, training or technical assistance for the individual or professionals related to the use of assistive technology, programs to expand the availability of assistive technology, low vision therapy services related to the use of optical aids and devices, and other services related to the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

C. Independent Living and Adjustment Training and Services

C1. Enter the total cost from Title VII-Chapter 2 federal grant funds (C1a) and the total cost from all other sources of program funding (C1b) for the provision of services and adjustment training leading to independent living. Evaluation and assessment services (excluding those included in A2 or B3) leading to the planning and implementation of services and training should be included in these costs.

C2. Enter the total number of individuals who received orientation and mobility (O & M) services or travel training (i.e. learning to access public or private transportation and to travel safely and as independently as possible in the home and community with or without the use of mobility aids and devices).

C3. Enter the total number of individuals who received communication skills training (e.g. reading and writing Braille, keyboarding and computer literacy, computer skills training, using the telephone, handwriting guides, telling time, using readers, use of audio and tactile technologies for home, recreational or educational use; etc.). Training in the use of newspaper reading services and radio services should be included.

C4. Enter the total number of individuals who received personal management and daily living skills training (e.g. training in the use of adaptive aids and assistive technology devices for personal management and daily living, blindness and low vision alternative techniques for food preparation, grooming and dress, household chores, medical management, shopping, recreational activities, etc.)

C5. Enter the total number of individuals who received supportive services (e.g. reader services, transportation, personal attendant services, support service providers, interpreters, etc.) while actively participating in the program or attaining independent living goals.

C6. Enter the total number of program participants who participated in advocacy training or support network activities such as consumer organization meetings, peer support groups, etc.

C7. Enter the total number of individuals who received counseling (peer, individual or group) to assist them in adjusting to visual impairment and blindness.

C8. Enter the total number of program participants that received information and referral to other service providers, programs, and agencies (e.g. senior programs, public and private social service programs, faith-based organizations, consumer groups, etc.) to enhance adjustment, independent living, and integration into the community. Do not include individuals who received only information and referral and for whom no other services were provided.

C9. Enter the total number of individuals served who were provided any other service not listed above.

D. Community Awareness Activities / Information and Referral

D1. Enter the total cost from Title VII-Chapter 2 federal grant funds (D1a) and the total cost from all other sources of program funding (D1b) for providing information and referral services and community awareness activities/events to individuals for whom this was the only service provided (i.e. training for other professionals, telephone inquiries, general inquiries, etc.).

D2. Enter the number of individuals receiving information and referral services for whom this is the only service provided. (optional)

D3. Enter the number of community awareness events/activities in which the Chapter 2 program participated during the reported year (D3a) and the number or estimated number of individuals who benefited from these activities (D3b).

Part V: Comparison of Prior Year Activities to Current Reported Year — Instructions

A1. Program Expenditures and Encumbrances (all sources) Enter the total cost of the program for the prior fiscal year (A1a), and the fiscal year being reported (A1b). The total cost of the program can be found in Part I A7. Calculate the change (plus or minus) from the prior year to the reported year (A1c).

A2. Number of Individuals Served Enter the total number of eligible individuals served in the prior year (A2a), and in the current reported year (A2b). The total number of individuals served can be found in Part III A3. Calculate the change (plus or minus) in the numbers served from the prior year to the reported year (A2c).

A3. Number of Minority Individuals Served Enter the total number of minority individuals served in the prior year (A3a), and in the fiscal year currently being reported (A3b). The total number of minority individuals served is the total of Part III D1+D2+D3+D4+D5 +D7. Calculate the change (plus or minus) in the numbers served from the prior year to the reported year (A3c).

A4. Number of Community Awareness Activities Enter the number of community awareness activities or events in which the Chapter 2 program participated during the prior year (A4a), and in the fiscal year currently being reported (A4b). The number of community awareness activities is found in Part IV D3a. Calculate the change (plus or minus) in the number of events from the prior year to the year being reported (A4c).

A5. Number of Collaborating Agencies and Organizations Enter the number of collaborating organizations or agencies (formal agreements or informal activity) other than Chapter 2 paid sub-grantees or contractors in the prior year (A5a), and in the fiscal year currently being reported (A5b). Calculate the change (plus or minus) from the prior year to the year being reported (A5c).

A6. Number of Sub-grantees/Contractors If you provide services through sub-grantee agencies or contract, enter the number of sub-grantees or contracts in the prior year (A6a), and in the fiscal year currently being reported (A6b). Calculate the change (plus or minus) from the prior year to the year being reported (A6c). If you do not use sub-grantees, enter 0 in A6a, A6b, and A6c.

Part VI: Program Outcomes/Performance Measures — Instructions

A. Enter the number from Part IV B3 in A1. From available program data and evaluations, enter the number of individuals receiving AT (assistive technology) services and training who maintained or improved functional abilities that were previously lost or diminished as a result of vision loss in A2. (closed/inactive cases only).

In A3, from available program data and evaluations, enter the number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period (This number would not include those individuals who are no longer receiving services and who either did not make functional gains or maintain functional ability before case closure or inactivity).

B. Enter the number from Part IV C2 in B1. From available program data and evaluations, of those receiving orientation and mobility (O & M) services, enter the number of individuals who experienced functional gains or maintained their ability to travel safely and independently in their residence and/or community environment as a result of services in B2 (closed/inactive cases only).

In B3, from available program data and evaluations, enter the number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period (This number would not include those individuals who are no longer receiving services and who either did not make functional gains or maintain functional ability before case closure or inactivity).

C. Enter the number from Part IV C3 in C1. From available program data and evaluations, of those receiving communication skills training, enter the number of individuals who gained or maintained their functional abilities as a result of services they received in C2 (Closed/inactive cases only).

In C3, from available program data and evaluations, enter the number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period (This number would not include those individuals who are no longer receiving services and who either did not make functional gains or maintain functional ability before case closure or inactivity).

D. Enter the number from Part IV C4 in D1. From available program data and evaluations, of those receiving daily living skills training, enter the number of individuals that experienced functional gains or successfully restored or maintained their functional ability to engage in their customary daily life activities as a result of services or training in personal management and daily living skills In D2 (Closed/inactive cases only).

In D3, enter the Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period (This number would not include those individuals who are no longer receiving services and who either did not make functional gains or maintain functional ability before case closure or inactivity).

E1. Enter the Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they are in greater control and are more confident in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (Closed/inactive cases only).

E2. Enter the number of individuals served who reported feeling that they have less control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (Closed/inactive cases only).

E3. Enter the number of individuals served who reported no change in their feelings of control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received (Closed/inactive cases only).

E4. Enter the number of individuals served who experienced changes in lifestyle for reasons unrelated to vision loss (Closed/inactive cases only). “Change in lifestyle” is defined as any non-vision related event that results in the consumer’s reduced independence, such as moving from a private residence (house or apartment) to another type of residence e.g. living with family, senior living community, assisted living facility, nursing home/long-term facility, etc. Reduced independence could also result in employing a caregiver to enable the consumer continue to live in his/her home. Examples of events that could result in reduced independence of the consumer include loss of spouse and onset or worsening of other health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.

E5. Enter the number of individuals served who died before achieving functional gain or experiencing changes in lifestyle as a result of services they received (Closed/inactive cases only).

Part VII: Training and Technical Assistance — Instructions

On July 22, 2014, Public Law 113-128, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was enacted and included a new requirement under Section 751A that the RSA Commissioner shall conduct a survey of designated State agencies that receive grants under section 752 regarding training and technical assistance needs in order to determine funding priorities for such training and technical assistance. Please enter a brief description of training and technical assistance needs that you may have to assist in the implementation and improvement of the performance of your Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind grant (for example, financial management, reporting requirements on the 7-OB, program management, data analysis and program performance, law and applicable regulations, provision of services and service delivery, promising practices, resources and information, outreach, etc.).

Part VIII: Narrative — Instructions

Self-explanatory.

Part IX: Signature Instructions

Please sign and print the name, title and telephone number of the IL-OIB Program Director.

Part I: Funding Sources And Expenditures

Title VII-Chapter 2 Federal grant award for reported fiscal year855,790
Other federal grant award for reported fiscal year0
Title VII-Chapter 2 carryover from previous year0
Other federal grant carryover from previous year0
A. Funding Sources for Expenditures in Reported FY
A1. Title VII-Chapter 2734,066
A2. Total other federal0
(a) Title VII-Chapter 1-Part B0
(b) SSA reimbursement0
(c) Title XX - Social Security Act0
(d) Older Americans Act0
(e) Other0
A3. State (excluding in-kind)81,563
A4. Third party0
A5. In-kind0
A6. Total Matching Funds81,563
A7. Total All Funds Expended815,629
B. Total expenditures and encumbrances allocated to administrative, support staff, and general overhead costs47,522
C. Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services768,107

Part II: Staffing

FTE (full time equivalent) is based upon a 40-hour workweek or 2080 hours per year.

A. Full-time Equivalent (FTE)

Program Staff a) Administrative and Support b) Direct Service c) Total
1. FTE State Agency 0.6500 0.0000 0.6500
2. FTE Contractors 7.3000 17.7800 25.0800
3. Total FTE 7.9500 17.7800 25.7300

B. Employed or advanced in employment

a) Number employed b) FTE
1. Employees with Disabilities 19 6.6300
2. Employees with Blindness Age 55 and Older 9 4.1300
3. Employees who are Racial/Ethnic Minorities 17 5.5500
4. Employees who are Women 45 18.0800
5. Employees Age 55 and Older 27 10.8300

C. Volunteers

4.15

Part III: Data on Individuals Served

Provide data in each of the categories below related to the number of individuals for whom one or more services were provided during the reported fiscal year.

A. Individuals Served

1. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the previous FY and continued to receive services in the reported FY370
2. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the reported FY1,020
3. Total individuals served during the reported fiscal year (A1 + A2) 1,390

B. Age

1. 55-59161
2. 60-64157
3. 65-69169
4. 70-74135
5. 75-79157
6. 80-84221
7. 85-89214
8. 90-94137
9. 95-9937
10. 100 & over2
11. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

C. Gender

1. Female909
2. Male481
3. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

D. Race/Ethnicity

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race20
2. American Indian or Alaska Native34
3. Asian9
4. Black or African American429
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White818
7. Two or more races8
8. Race and ethnicity unknown (only if consumer refuses to identify)71
9. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

E. Degree of Visual Impairment

1. Totally Blind (LP only or NLP)98
2. Legally Blind (excluding totally blind)521
3. Severe Visual Impairment771
4. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

F. Major Cause of Visual Impairment

1. Macular Degeneration587
2. Diabetic Retinopathy137
3. Glaucoma259
4. Cataracts28
5. Other379
6. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

G. Other Age-Related Impairments

1. Hearing Impairment427
2. Diabetes418
3. Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes569
4. Cancer67
5. Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders305
6. Alzheimer's Disease/Cognitive Impairment29
7. Depression/Mood Disorder48
8. Other Major Geriatric Concerns382

H. Type of Residence

1. Private residence (house or apartment)1,226
2. Senior Living/Retirement Community100
3. Assisted Living Facility42
4. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility21
5. Homeless1
6. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

I. Source of Referral

1. Eye care provider (ophthalmologist, optometrist)874
2. Physician/medical provider14
3. State VR agency54
4. Government or Social Service Agency20
5. Veterans Administration2
6. Senior Center10
7. Assisted Living Facility2
8. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility1
9. Faith-based organization1
10. Independent Living center18
11. Family member or friend146
12. Self-referral99
13. Other149
14. Total (must agree with A3)1,390

Part IV: Types of Services Provided and Resources Allocated

Provide data related to the number of older individuals who are blind receiving each type of service and resources committed to each type of service.

A. Clinical/functional vision assessments and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 393,079
1b. Total Cost from other funds 0
2. Vision screening / vision examination / low vision evaluation 857
3. Surgical or therapeutic treatment to prevent, correct, or modify disabling eye conditions 505

B. Assistive technology devices and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 126,501
1b. Total Cost from other funds 0
2. Provision of assistive technology devices and aids 727
3. Provision of assistive technology services 1,059

C. Independent living and adjustment training and services

Cost Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 232,329
1b. Total Cost from other funds 0
2. Orientation and Mobility training 221
3. Communication skills 822
4. Daily living skills 781
5. Supportive services (reader services, transportation, personal 29
6. Advocacy training and support networks 263
7. Counseling (peer, individual and group) 398
8. Information, referral and community integration 1,228
. Other IL services 63

D. Community Awareness: Events & Activities

Cost a. Events / Activities b. Persons Served
1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds 16,198
1b. Total Cost from other funds 0
2. Information and Referral 20,183
3. Community Awareness: Events/Activities 206 24,559

Part V: Comparison of Prior Year Activities to Current Reported Year

A. Activity

a) Prior Year b) Reported FY c) Change ( + / - )
1. Program Cost (all sources) 856,660 815,629 -41,031
2. Number of Individuals Served 1,418 1,390 -28
3. Number of Minority Individuals Served 528 501 -27
4. Number of Community Awareness Activities 167 206 39
5. Number of Collaborating agencies and organizations 280 307 27
6. Number of Sub-grantees 39 37

Part VI: Program Outcomes/Performance Measures

Provide the following data for each of the performance measures below. This will assist RSA in reporting results and outcomes related to the program.

Number of persons Percent of persons
A1. Number of individuals receiving AT (assistive technology) services and training 1,059 100.00%
A2. Number of individuals receiving AT (assistive technology) services and training who maintained or improved functional abilities that were previously lost or diminished as a result of vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only) 889 83.95%
A3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 88 8.31%
B1. Number of individuals who received orientation and mobility (O & M) services 221 100.00%
B2. Of those receiving orientation and mobility (O & M) services, the number of individuals who experienced functional gains or maintained their ability to travel safely and independently in their residence and/or community environment as a result of services. (closed/inactive cases only) 146 66.06%
B3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 49 22.17%
C1. Number of individuals who received communication skills training 822 100.00%
C2. Of those receiving communication skills training, the number of individuals who gained or maintained their functional abilities as a result of services they received. (Closed/inactive cases only) 684 83.21%
C3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 89 10.83%
D1. Number of individuals who received daily living skills training 781 100.00%
D2. Number of individuals that experienced functional gains or successfully restored or maintained their functional ability to engage in their customary daily life activities as a result of services or training in personal management and daily living skills. (closed/inactive cases only) 592 75.80%
D3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period. 98 12.55%
E1. Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they are in greater control and are more confident in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 161 n/a
E2. Number of individuals served who reported feeling that they have less control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 7 n/a
E3. Number of individuals served who reported no change in their feelings of control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 82 n/a
E4. Number of individuals served who experienced changes in lifestyle for reasons unrelated to vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only) 24 n/a
E5. Number of individuals served who died before achieving functional gain or experiencing changes in lifestyle as a result of services they received. (closed/inactive cases only) 45 n/a

Part VII: Training and Technical Assistance Needs

Three items stand out that would be advantageous for our program: 1. Have Older Blind Project Directors meetings just for us, preferably not attached to another convention/meeting. 2. Conduct quarterly or at least semi-annual Older Blind Project Directors conference calls so we could be a) kept up to date on the happenings at the national level, and b) informed of innovations/ideas/concerns/solutions from the other states. 3. Better utilize existing Older Blind list serves for email discussion groups. There are many new Project Directors and we do not know each other. By having the face to face meetings and regular conference calls, we could begin to form a real network.

Part VIII: Narrative

A. Briefly describe the agency's method of implementation for the Title VII-Chapter 2 program (i.e. in-house, through sub-grantees/contractors, or a combination) incorporating outreach efforts to reach underserved and/or unserved populations. Please list all sub-grantees/contractors.

Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Seniors (also referred to as the Older Blind Program — OBP) implements the Title VII-Chapter 2 program through 7 main sub-grantees. Many of our sub-grantees further subcontract with various vision specialists throughout Georgia. The sub-grantees in Georgia are: • Center for the Visually Impaired • Vision Rehabilitation Services • Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia • Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision • Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) • Walton Options for Independent Living

Project Independence contracts with a seventh provider, Mississippi State University (MSU) - The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision. MSU conducts program evaluations and serves as a consultant to Project Independence. Mississippi State University continues to provide a yearly detailed program evaluation and assist with measuring customer satisfaction. The six main PI providers send names and phone numbers on a quarterly basis of closed cases to MSU who, in turn, contact the seniors to conduct the customer satisfaction survey. They do not provide direct services to seniors.

We maintain working relations with the following entities that increase our outreach efforts in order to reach the underserved and unserved older blind in Georgia: • Helen Keller National Center • Georgia Radio Reading Services • National Federation of the Blind of Georgia • Georgia Council of the Blind • Business Enterprise Program • Albany Advocacy Resource Center/Albany Center for the Blind • Native American Representative • Statewide Coalition on Blindness • Georgia Vision Collaborative • Statewide Independent Living Council • Georgia Library for Accessible Services

We began new working relationships with the following entities that will further help to reach the underserved and unserved older blind in Georgia: • Older Driver Task Force — through this group we have introduced Project Independence to retirement communities, Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the Alzheimer’s Association • Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults • iCanConnect-Georgia’s Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program • Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) Accessibility Solutions, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture

Our main initiatives to reach underserved and/or unserved populations in Georgia this year were: 1) increasing our support of our peer support groups throughout different areas around the state by conducting a statewide peer conference calls and providing them with program and resource information e.g. webinars so they have a wide variety of topics to offer to their groups, 2) continuing to increase awareness, training and services to seniors with a dual sensory loss, 3) implementing a Georgia Confident Living Program for our deaf-blind seniors, and 4) increasing outreach efforts through involvement with different resource entities.

Our primary subcontractors implemented outreach in various ways. The reports are in their words.

Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) VISTAS CENTER started serving the Northeast Georgia area in 2001. We have tried to reach the communities close by as well as those further away in need of our services. We try to attend as many Health Fairs for seniors as possible to distribute our brochures on Project Independence and let the public know what services we offer. Our funds have been limited this fiscal year and we were not able to accept all the invitations to fairs. Our five sub-contractors are a major help in signing new clients and distributing the information in the community. Services provided by our subcontractors and peer leader include: Technology, Orientation & Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Peer Support Groups, Braille Instruction and Low Vision Evaluations.

VISTAS has been fortunate to serve clients because our past and present clients recommend our services. We continue to hold membership in the Senior Network that collaborates with other agencies that serve seniors in the area, thus increasing our outreach efforts.

Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (SCBLV) Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (SCBLV) incorporates the Title VII-chapter 2, Older Blind (OB) program, into our overall service delivery model so that many of the (OB) seniors receive essentially the same services as seniors in other service categories. The general service delivery model follows a progression of intake and eligibility, low vision examination, functional assessments in vision rehabilitation therapy, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, service plan development, skills training, plan reviews and closure, and finally follow-up case management.

Training is either center or home based, depending on the senior’s individual needs and living situation. The type, duration and location of services delivered are determined and noted in the service plan. Many seniors receive a full range of compensatory skills training while some receive short term services for either a refresher of skill sets or immediate specialized needs. Sometimes seniors identify new goals and other times a situation may arise when they need short term additional help.

Center based services are usually long term, incorporating all service areas while home based services are generally shorter term and focused on home safety concerns and skills. In the past the services have been provided through in-house and contractual staff. This year we are utilizing certified staff along with our contract optometrist to provide all services.

SCBLV outreach activities are provided through in-service trainings and office visits with medical professionals, service agencies and senior residential facilities and centers. In addition, staff attends community events and health fairs as well as providing outreach through our website and new social media outlets.

Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia (VIFGA) Implementation of the Program: VIFGA subcontracts with numerous professionals to provide services in southwest Georgia. Those 17 subcontractors provide services/skills training in the following areas: Low Vision Evaluations, Technology, Orientation & Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Personal Adjustment Counseling to Blindness, Braille Instruction, and Peer Support.

• New Organization: For the past 20 years Mons International, Inc. was awarded the Older Blind grant. This is the second year the Older Blind grant was handled through the non-profit arm of Mons International, the Visually Impaired Foundation of GA, Inc. (VIFGA). • Referrals: Eye care professionals, family members, friends, rehabilitation counselors, etc. refer a senior with low vision to VIFGA. A copy of the senior’s eye medical is faxed by the doctor to VIFGA or to the clinic where the senior will be seen. The senior is called, and if appropriate, is scheduled in one of our nine clinics in South Georgia closest to the senior’s home. • Low Vision (LV) Exams: At the clinic, the doctor checks the refraction and makes suggestions about LV products or services. The LV Specialist discusses services, resources, and advocacy with the senior. Products that are matched to the seniors needs are demonstrated and recommended. A typed summary of the exam is given to the senior and attending doctor at the time of the exam along with a host of resources e.g. the Client Assistant Program brochure, the Project Independence resource brochure, list of peer support groups, resource lists, library application, the Helen Keller registry application and VIFGA information. • Products and Services: The recommended products are listed on the exam summary that is given to the senior at the end of the exam. The recommended and selected products totaling no more them $200.00 are sent directly to the senior together with a packing slip for the senior to sign and return to VIFGA. These products usually include a magnifier or magnifying glasses, a pocket magnifier and/or sunglasses.

When other direct services are needed, the appropriate teacher is contacted and he/she contacts the senior. Additional devices may be recommended by the vision professionals and sent to the senior. Follow up phone calls are made at quarterly intervals to inquire about use and helpfulness of products and need of additional services.

The senior may also choose to attend the Albany Center for the Blind as a residential or non-residential senior to receive daily living, orientation and mobility, adjustment to blindness, and/or computer skills services on a more intense schedule. This facility was an option in FFY14 but will not be for the coming year as the Albany program for the blind closed.

Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) CVI implements Title VII-Chapter 2 programming primarily in-house. The Maxwell Low Vision Clinic has 3 part-time sub-contracted optometrists in the Atlanta Low Vision Clinic. The Maxwell Low Vision Clinic staff include a full-time Low Vision Clinic Director who also functions as a practicing Occupational Therapist, one full-time and two part-time Occupational Therapists, and a Medical Secretary. Low vision exams, low vision therapy evaluations and follow up training are provided in designated remote areas as needed. Program staff also include a Program Director, a full-time Case Manager, one full-time Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and part-time Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. We are currently actively recruiting for another full-time VRT.

At CVI’s headquarters in Atlanta two to three clinical low vision evaluations are scheduled weekly, with occasional additional clinic days during the month, as workload demands. One monthly clinical low vision evaluation day is scheduled in Suwanee, the agency’s primary eye care partner in Northeast Georgia. In addition, we are currently conducting monthly low vision assessments and treatment at Eye Centers in Macon, Fayetteville and Cumberland, GA.

Outreach efforts to reach unserved/underserved populations during the past year have included 53 unique presentations, spread across metro Atlanta, Central Georgia and Northeast Georgia, by CVI staff members from various CVI programs. Of particular importance have been our efforts to reach out to the major eye care practices in the Atlanta metropolitan area. These outreach efforts have resulted in the establishment of additional monthly low vision clinics at several satellite sites; requests from other practices have already been received for similar initiatives.

CVI’s Title VII- Chapter 2 service model is a mixture of group and one on one service provision. The low vision clinic service model is one on one service provision. Following the low vision assessment, the senior receives individualized therapy with an Occupational Therapist to address all aspects of daily living and to provide further training on devices prescribed by the optometrist. Often seniors require follow-up services in the clinic and/or in their own homes to address all their challenges and to ensure that the senior has been able to successfully use devices and apply modifications and compensatory strategies. Accepting Medicare and several other insurances for both the Optometrist and the Occupational Therapist has allowed the Low Vision Clinic to make OBP funds stretch across as many individuals as possible.

We have continued providing individualized services in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy and Orientation and Mobility in the seniors’ homes and other congregate facilities. When feasible, group-oriented services have also been provided, primarily in assisted living facilities. On occasion, when a senior is able to come to the Center, we provide services at CVI.

Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS) Implementing the Title VII-Chapter 2 program, Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS) offers comprehensive vision rehabilitation services to any resident of our 33 county, north Georgia service area, who is over 55 and who meets the state requirements regarding functional vision loss. This year approximately 57% (130) of our seniors began their program with a comprehensive low vision evaluation (LVE) conducted by one of our three consulting optometrists who specialize in low vision. We continue to average 4-5 low vision clinic days per month; typically 3-4 days in our Smyrna office and 1-2 days in different towns within our rural service delivery area. We also subcontracted with a sign language interpreter so we could effectively communicate with our deaf-blind seniors.

VRS program participants often purchase their own prescribed devices and most receive at least one follow-up visit from an instructor to go over the use and care of the device. The instructor will also follow-up with the findings from the initial assessment performed by one of our counselors during the intake process. The Individualized Service Plan is created at the time of the LVE or initial visit from a VRS staff member. Generally, training sessions are scheduled once a week, until the training goals are met. All follow-up vision rehabilitation services are provided by university trained and Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapist certified staff. Additionally, we provide Technology Access Training, personal adjustment to blindness counseling and peer support groups. To provide all of these services we utilize a core of staff teachers, as well as some independent contractors who reside in various regions within our service delivery area. To reduce continually increasing mileage reimbursement costs and our instructor’s driving time, we encourage seniors to assume the responsibility of coming to centralized training sites or to our main office. We strive to provide services in a timely and efficient manner to maximize the funds we have.

Walton Options for Independent Living (WO) Walton Options contracts with Vocational Rehabilitation to provide Chapter 2 services throughout a 16 county region. Because WO borders a state line, we also often get referrals from South Carolina that come to Georgia to access services. We have one full time instructor who travels throughout the counties to consumers’ homes to deliver training and resources. This encompasses an area approximately 125 miles wide and 150 miles deep from furthest points. This one person provides services to an average of 100 people in their homes each year, majority of whom are living in rural, impoverished counties. In the middle of the year, this instructor gave notice of desiring to retire from full time service. To help maintain continuity of services, we transferred the supervisory authority of the Chapter 2 program to an existing staff member who oversees our other senior programs. This Operation Independence Coordinator makes the initial visit with the senior when appropriate to help capture the goals. The Assistive Technology Specialist helps with the recommendations and training of AT. We also have the work reviewed by the CRC on staff. Because the program is located within an Independent Living (IL) Center, there are peer mentors and IL Coordinators who can provide support services and information and referral services beyond what the Chapter 2 program may provide. The Center conducts Outreach on a regular basis at Senior Centers, Schools, and other partnering agencies. This outreach is provided under our Part C and B grants. We follow up with consumers after their cases are closed for 30 days to get feedback on services.

B. Briefly describe any activities designed to expand or improve services including collaborative activities or community awareness; and efforts to incorporate new methods and approaches developed by the program into the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) under Section 704.

The project manager conducted presentations and presented details of our program both as a collaborative and community awareness effort of our program at the conventions of the Georgia Council of the Blind - GCB (Augusta), the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia - NFBGA (Columbus), the Statewide Coalition on Blindness (Macon), and the Business Enterprise Program (Duluth); at the meetings of the Georgia Statewide Independent Living Council, the Georgia Vision Collaborative, the Georgia Library for Accessible Services, the Older Driver’s Task Force and the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults.

Assistive listening devices (ALD’s) were brought to meetings for use with those having a dual sensory loss and were a major hit in the presentations throughout. Demonstrations were conducted with people without hearing loss so they would understand the impact of the ALD’s on someone with a hearing loss. More and more seniors who are blind and low vision are letting it be known they are having hearing difficulties. The use of ALD’s aided other entities in the benefit of this technology and enhanced further awareness in the community of a needed resource. Information was distributed and discussions were held with interested parties at these various locations. This collaboration and community awareness resulted in numerous phone calls and referrals for Project Independence.

Maximizing our working relationships with the Centers for Independent Living (CIL’s), one of the six contractors is Walton Options, an Independent Living Center located in Augusta, Georgia. Furthering our coordination with the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), one of our peer support group leaders is on the SILC Board having been appointed by the Governor of Georgia in FY13. She is our new PI/SILC liaison.

The Program Manager contacted each Independent Living Center directly to talk with the director about our mutual interests and shared concerns. The direct contact with one another is very important for maximizing our working relationships as well as expanding or improving our services.

As part of Project Independence collaborative activities, two contractor meetings were held this fiscal year (due to budget constraints the meetings were by phone conference) with providers and partners in attendance. Both meetings enhanced our collaborative activities and increased community awareness of various programs. As a group, participants were able to share concerns, ask questions, highlight Project Independence events, share new methods and provide partner updates. The participants also provided feedback from training attended, shared resource information and discussed program services for seniors. The spring meeting focused on addressing the recommendations of the MSU evaluation; the fall meeting focused on addressing provider changes and dealing with high risk environments.

Along with the Program Manager, the Project Independence providers participated in the RSA conference call in January 2014. Information from RSA and the other states was shared. There was an emphasis on baby boomers, technology, aging in place, and IL collaboration.

In FFY 14, we held two peer support group leader conference calls to address issues and problem solve concerns. These phone meetings aid in supporting the endeavors of the group leaders and provide an avenue for the leaders to share techniques, discuss issues and obtain solutions. The groups help raise community awareness of the program.

Georgia Radio Reading Service (GARRS) continued dissemination of public service announcements (PSA) about the Georgia Vision Program for Seniors about twice weekly. The Project Director voiced a new 30 and 60 second recording this year for GARRS. Their audience reached approximately 16,000 in FY14.

Activities of the Project Independence Manager continued further collaborative activities and community awareness: 1. Increased community awareness and greatly enhanced visibility of our program through our up to date Project Independence website http://gvra.georgia.gov/vocationalrehab/project-independence. All the CIL’s are listed in this resource list. The website enhances a spirit of cooperation between the DSU and the CIL’s. 2. The demonstration project on a communication device that three of our blind/low vision staff tested was concluded this fiscal year. Our group did not recommend this product for our seniors as it is currently marketed. Feedback was provided to the manufacturers as to how they could improve the product for our blind/low vision seniors. 3. Distributed a number of training webinars and informational resources from various entities to our partners and the IL system so as to increase private and public awareness of services to seniors. In turn, the IL system sent various informational resources to Project Independence — we have a very good information and resource network setup. 4. Implemented the first Georgia Confident Living Program (CLP) training using Georgia providers in December 2013. Paige Berry, the National CLP trainer guided us in the project. There were six participants. Much work went into the success of this project. We anticipate offering the CLP every 18-24 months. 5. Conducted in depth program reviews of all seven contractors. These reviews helped ensure uniformity and standardization of services throughout the state. The process pinpointed any problems/issues that needed addressing and proposed recommendations that would improve our program and expand our services in Georgia. This year Project Independence focused on process of services and implementation of previous fiscal year recommendations. Relationships with the CIL’s were reviewed. 6. Program Manager, along with another Project Independence provider, submitted a proposal to present in November at the 2014 annual Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR). We will report on the outcome of this submission in FFY 15 as the outcome of the process will not be known in FFY 14.

Our primary subcontractors collaborated and incorporated new methods and approaches in various ways. Highlights are noted:

Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) The Senior Resource Network is a provider of home health, transportation and other services to and for seniors in the Northeast Georgia area. Through this resource agency we are able to collaborate with the companies that can directly and indirectly bring services to the blind community. The Talking Book center has been very helpful in getting information about the program distributed through their monthly mailing list.

When VISTAS receives a call inquiring about our program we explain as much as we can over the phone and then mail out an information package that includes an application and other papers that are required to become a part of the program. We provide brochures to local eye doctors and in return receive referrals from them. We work closely with the local independent living center. We continue to provide transportation when needed and when we are aware of the need - so our seniors can receive services and keep appointments for their various services.

Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (SCBLV) SCBLV’s video magnifier Lending Library program continues to serve a population of individuals who could not otherwise obtain these reading assistant devices. The program coordinator also works with each individual to ensure that funding is secured so that they can purchase their own device and provide a smooth transition for them in attaining their goals.

SCBLV’s family rehabilitation program is provided to families twice a year to enable them to have hands-on experience learning about vision loss and the skills training that their loved one is receiving as well as what their loved one is experiencing. This program provided a much needed support for families. During this time, SCBLV conducted graduation events for those who completed their program.

Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia (VIFGA) The Visually Impaired Foundation of GA, Inc. attends consumer group conferences, teacher, counselor, and library conferences, and meetings involving the visually impaired or the elderly throughout the state to promote awareness of Project Independence. We also provide workshops on low vision aids to senior centers, libraries, doctors’ offices, universities, and school systems. We call ophthalmologists throughout the state on a monthly basis reminding them of the services available in their area. The Visually Impaired Foundation of GA, Inc. maintains a website (vifga.org) and a toll free number (1-877-778-4342) to help people find the Georgia resources available to them. We also provide eye exams and services twice a year at the Indian Reservation in Whigham, GA — a very special project we initiated over ten years ago for Native American seniors with vision loss.

VIFGA incorporates new methods, collaborative and community awareness by a variety of means: • The Albany Advocacy Resource Center for the Blind: This is a four year old program that opened in South Georgia. I refer seniors to the residential program for intense services in mobility, computer access, independent living, and social skills. All seem to enjoy the atmosphere, learn quickly, and usually want to stay longer. This option has worked well for training, especially in the rural areas. The seniors can receive an immersion in training and then follow up with teachers coming to their home. The combination of residential training and in-home training is ideal. Regrettably, this service will not be offered in FFY15 as the Albany program for the blind closed. • Support Groups and Support Group List: This is an essential piece of the vision rehabilitation process. We started three new support groups this year, in Bainbridge, Valdosta and Macon. All are struggling, but I believe they will grow this coming year. That brings our total to eight that have direct contact with the Older Blind program. There are two other support groups, one in Columbus and one in Milledgeville, where I also refer seniors. At the end of the fiscal year, VIFGA sends all seniors the Support Group List to remind them of the support groups. • Helen Keller Registry: VIFGA has incorporated into the Low Vision Exam the distribution of the Helen Keller Registry for those with dual sensory loss. I have found that nearly 40% of VIFGA seniors have a dual sensory loss. • The “iCanConnect” service from the Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired helps purchase and train seniors who have a dual sensory loss. Referrals are made to this program. • Assistive Listening Devices: I have found that I use the “Pocket Talker” in 40% of my exams to enable our seniors communicate with me. • Presentations, Brochures and Resource Guides: I enjoy presenting at various doctor’s offices, support groups, and civic clubs and distributing Project Independence Brochures and Resource Guides at every available opportunity. These are invaluable tools!

Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) Efforts to expand/improve services this year have included collaborative activities, community awareness activities, and new methods and approaches. Collaborative/community awareness activities included 53 unique marketing and outreach events to visually impaired seniors, senior facilities, and organizations serving seniors. Collectively, these presentations reached 2,763 unique individuals.

Intensive outreach efforts to reach unserved/underserved populations during the past year were targeted towards eye care practices in the greater metropolitan area. These individual visits to ophthalmology practices, one-on-one conversations with doctors and their staff and participation in both ophthalmology and optometric local conferences have resulted in an increased awareness about low vision services and CVI services for older adults as a whole. Consequently, we have increased the number of low vision clinics offered per month and have instituted more systematic follow up training and support in the seniors’ homes, thus ensuring that newly acquired skills are more easily transferred to their home environment.

Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS) VRS continues to work to maximize collaborations with other organizations to stretch our funding resources to their maximum limit. Our list of collaborating partners continues to grow as all staff work to seek out new partnerships in their daily work around North Georgia. In FFY14 we continued to work together with Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) and Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI) to provide services to our seniors with a dual sensory loss.

VRS is an official contracting partner with GACHI in the implementation of their iCanConnect program and provided direct instructional services to 5 seniors this year through their grant. VRS will continue to refer clients to their program for services and equipment and in turn will be able to provide some evaluative and training services to clients that need these services.

A staff member completed her Certificate Program in “The Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf-Blind” through NIU and used this knowledge to host a Confident Living Program in Georgia. Five to six seniors with hearing loss came together in Cave Spring, GA for a 3-day workshop in living with hearing and vision loss. Plans are underway for a second program in 2015. VRS has made it a priority for all staff to learn the skills and strategies in working with individuals who have a dual sensory loss so that our clients have the best services possible in both areas of need.

VRS continues to work with the United Way of Metro Atlanta to provide specialized services to all clients who may have unmet needs. In July 2014 we were awarded a grant to continue our Diabetic Education program. In FY14, twelve seniors with diabetes and vision loss participated in our 6-week diabetic education programs.

VRS continues to support new teachers and interns in the field of Vision Rehabilitation Services. We supported the education of one new professional in FY14 and plan to continue hosting interns. These individuals allow us to provide services to clients at a reduced cost as their time spent in internships and field work is on a volunteer basis. By identifying and mentoring local candidates, we are also able to guarantee additional well-trained staff for our program moving forward.

VRS staff has worked hard to maximize their efficiency this FY and has brainstormed a number of strategies to do this including: Low Vision Lab Days, Tech Days and group training days at the center in Smyrna. Teachers in some cases have been driving together to an area to work with a number of clients for a day either in small groups or one-on-one. Since VRS has a number of teachers who do not drive, this collaboration effort has reduced costs spent on drivers/ mileage, increased teacher collaboration time and allowed clients to learn in small groups which they are enjoying a great deal. We plan to do more of this type of work in FY15.

Volunteer time spent on Project Independence work has had a significant impact on our ability to provide services this year and document the data from this work. One volunteer designed and managed the database system which we use for all client services documentation. With her help we have been able to collect, track and use data very efficiently. Her work has allowed other staff to spend time providing services and/or developing new programs and funding sources. This volunteer logs close to 1,000 hours a year for VRS. Other volunteers prepare instructional or application materials, answer phones and provide follow-up calls and support our annual 5K Road Race — fundraising events.

In order to resolve some of the funding struggles, VRS continues to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising and using social media to share our message. The Development and Marketing Team have continued to increase our visibility in our various communities through multiple news stories and articles in local newspapers and on various television stations. Paired with the use of twitter, Facebook and email updates, our community partners are able to more easily follow what we do and know how to locate and contact us in regard to our working with community resources and at community events. Finally, this year’s “Spooktacular Chase” drew a large crowd including a number of seniors.

VRS ended FFY14 with an eye towards growth. With partnerships and collaborations we have been making this year with both the non-profit and business communities we feel poised to do good things in FFY15. We are working with Leadership groups to help us address funding initiatives, grant writing and the development of new programs to meet the needs of our clients young and old who would like to work. We are excited to be able to support our seniors in all of their life endeavors.

Walton Options for Independent Living (WO) Walton Options conducted many presentations throughout eastern Georgia that included senior centers and the Area Agencies on Aging as well as conducted numerous eye screenings in the Augusta area. Collaborative activities involved the Statewide Coalition on Blindness, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Lions Club, Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired and Georgia Tech. Various webinars provided additional training to staff.

Walton Options attends regular Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) meetings and supports ongoing training of staff in areas that will serve consumers. The three year state plan for Independent Living was developed and submitted for approval to begin 10-1-2013. The executive director of Walton Options was very involved with the process and responsible for part of the communication with RSA. Part of the plan identifies deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind as underserved. We try to provide outreach and work with the AAA to identify seniors experiencing sensory or dual sensory loss. We also coordinate with Tools for Life Program and the SILC in efforts to identify needs that the state plan should address as well as the progress of the plan objectives. Our agency work plan addresses technology and utilization for whom people with vision loss may benefit, such as training on phone and Ipad apps, as these are more affordable options that are proving to enhance independence.

An extension of incorporating new methods into the program was exemplified by one of WO staff members, Brian Mosley (who is blind). Mr. Mosley received the prestigious 2014 Tools for Life Leadership Award on June 3, 2014 for outstanding leadership in the area of assistive technology and disability services. He uses AT to assist people who are blind in being more independent. Brian has been interviewed by the media and had it picked up on national syndicate for his use of apps on I phone for his own independence and assistance to others. He serves as peer on an individual basis to others who are blind.

His award read: “The Tools for Life Assistive Technology Awards Ceremony has been a tradition within Georgia over the last 18 years. The Tools for Life Leadership Award recognizes and honors individuals who have been a catalyst for positive change through proactive leadership skills by using or promoting assistive technology for living, learning, working or playing.

“Brian Mosley accepted the Tools for Life Leadership Award in front of 715 educators and assistive technology professionals at IDEAS. Mr. Mosley won this competitive award over other nominees because of his spirit of collaboration, his leadership skills and his dedication to the success of individuals with disabilities through AT. Additionally, Mr. Mosley has the gift to inspire his peers, quickly incorporate new ideas and implement AT solutions.

C. Briefly summarize results from any of the most recent evaluations or satisfaction surveys conducted for your program and attach a copy of applicable reports.

GA contracts with The National Research and Training Center (NRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University to provide a program evaluation of the Project Independence program. As part of the evaluation seniors are interviewed about their experiences with the program. The six contractors providing direct services send the NRTC names of closed seniors on a quarterly basis. An experienced telephone interviewer then contacts seniors to complete surveys. Each year the NRTC prepares a comprehensive detailed program evaluation report that includes seniors’ feedback regarding satisfaction with services and how services have impacted their ability to live independently. In addition, demographic and service data from the annual 7-OB report and findings from site reviews of contractors are included in this report. This report will be available in early 2015.

The GA program has contractual agreements with six regional agencies for provision of direct services to eligible seniors. A regional service delivery approach enhances the ability of project staff to be sensitive to and familiar with the needs of local seniors. Depending upon the contractor and/or individual senior’s needs, an itinerant, center-based, or combination of itinerant/center-based model is used in providing services. An itinerant model is generally used to serve seniors in outlying rural areas who might not otherwise be able to participate in such a program.

During this project year, 250 seniors participated in telephone interviews. The majority of participants (51%) were between 55 and 74 years of age. More than two-thirds (68%) were female. About 88% of participants reported living in a private residence; the others living in senior living/retirement communities, assistive living facilities, or nursing homes. The most reported reason for vision loss was macular degeneration (46%); the second most reported reason for vision loss was glaucoma—14% of respondents indicated they had glaucoma. Consumer satisfaction levels among those participating in the survey were very high. In responding to satisfaction questions regarding delivery of services, i.e., manner of service delivery, types of services provided, and perceived outcomes of services—almost all of the participants expressed satisfaction. Participants were most satisfied with the attentiveness, concern, and interest of staff (95%); followed by the timeliness in which those services were received (94%), and overall quality of services (93%). Consumer ratings of functioning after receiving different types of independent living service areas follow: • 96% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to travel independently • 93% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received assistive technology devices • 97% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received communication skills training • 96% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received daily living skills training • 64% reported that they had greater control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation; 32% indicated no change; and 3% indicated less control and confidence

Program participants were asked what the biggest difference the program had made in their lives. Typical comments include the following: • Being able to read and do the things that I could not do before. The things that I didn’t even know existed I now know about. • I have more confidence and less problems in coping with my vision. • I am more confident when I go out. I am more aware of my surroundings now. In general, I feel more comfortable now. • It gave me confidence because before there were a lot of things I thought I couldn’t do like house chores. It prepared me and taught me that I can live independently. • It made a great difference in my life. If I need things, I know I can contact them. The things I have received have helped me and I know how to use them. • It was the caring attitudes of everyone who cared for me in this difficult situation. That is what I benefited from the most. Also, directing me to others that can provide me the things I wanted in a different setting. • It’s helped me to live with my situation. I felt so out of place and they have helped me very much along those lines. • Knowing that there are people who care. • The fact that it is available and affordable. I greatly appreciate all that they do and I can’t say enough about how kind they have been. • The books on tape were so helpful and allowed me to read again. • The compassion and understanding I have received from them. They are wonderful! • Without the program, I would not have a life outside my home.

D. Briefly describe the impact of the Title VII-Chapter 2 program, citing examples from individual cases (without identifying information) in which services contributed significantly to increasing independence and quality of life for the individual(s).

Senior 1 Recently we had a senior move to another state and I was very helpful in getting him in touch with in blind services. I talked to the Older Blind manager in the other state and gave this information to so Mr. B so he would know exactly who to contact. Mr. B had just started with technology training and wanted to continue. He also wanted to continue his orientation and mobility lessons in the area to which he was moving. He has notified our office since his move and told me he was very thankful for the information he received. He also said he was pleased with the new facility and thanked the (provider) for helping him in the last year.

Senior 2 A 79 year old female client with a diagnosis of wet macular degeneration and a visual acuity of 20/360 in her good eye came into the clinic. The only device that would enable her to read and write again was a 24’ MagniSight Explorer CCTV. The client lives alone and does not have the funds to purchase such an expensive item. I wrote a grant in order to secure funds for her machine. The provider was awarded the grant and delivered the machine to this very grateful and happy client! She is able to live independently due to the CCTV which enabled her to see labels, medication instructions, canned goods, and her mail.

Senior 3 Mrs. EJ was a secretary at her local Police Department for 30 years. After retirement, she had a severe stroke which resulted in vision loss. With the stroke, she also had short term memory loss and mobility issues. Mrs. EJ initially obtained a low vision evaluation and received prism glasses. She began receiving comprehensive rehabilitation services which helped her regain some of the skills and confidence she lost in the initial stage of her vision loss. She developed friendships with students she met during her time at the center. Some of these students live in her community and are able to stay in contact each other. Mrs. EJ obtained a refurbished computer she used with Magic Software. She has been able to return to her home and community activities again with confidence and independence.

Senior 4 One particular consumer was originally identified by contact with one of our peer supporters. He had lost his vision due to blunt trauma while homeless. He was very fearful and guarded. The peer supporter introduced him to provider and began to work with him to find housing. In the interim, he was connected to our VRT and OM instructor. The peer supporter and advocacy coordinator worked to connect him to a community organization and after about a month; he was accepted by Action Ministries and moved into an apartment in one of the local complexes. The OM staff worked with him on navigating his apartment and the general area. He was using his cane so much that tips were being replaced frequently. He then was introduced to the Trekker and began to acquaint himself more and more with that - mostly self teaching. The growing confidence and security of the individual has been so obvious. He was approached and interested in attending the classes to become a peer supporter and peer group leader.

Senior 5 When our VRT/OM instructor went to the home of WM to deliver a low vision device and provide follow-up training, she found a person who had given up on life. He reported that he was waiting to die as he had no hope left, now that his vision was almost gone. He shared that when the rest of the vision was “taken from him, he would leave this world.” It was an overwhelming moment. Over the next few months this instructor visited about once a week to “provide support and assistance in learning the skills he needed, while he was still here.” Each week WM learned a new skill that allowed him to do something new that he had not been able to do any longer. He was able to begin paying his own bills, cook more safely, read again with his magnifier and begin to take short walks with his Chihuahua, Princess. One day we discussed his “work/hobbies” —as it was obviously he had once enjoyed “piddling around” with fixing up any and all machines — a large shed in the yard was filled with washing machines, lawn mowers and other such small engine items. WM shared that he felt he could really no longer work on these items due to his vision loss. A long discussion ensued about what types of tasks he did to repair these machines and how his vision was a problem. Over a few weeks the topic was further explored with the donation of an old CCTV for the shop. The next week, when the instructor returned, the shed door was open, 60’s music was playing from the shed and WM had grease up to his elbows — “I am fixing up this old mower for my neighbor,” he shared. This instructor knew that WM, would be just fine. In a follow-up call a few months later, he reported he had started dating an old high school sweetheart, had gone on a trip to the mountains and spent Sunday at the park with his sweetheart. Case closed — success!

Senior 6 Ms. J, a 71 year old female with glaucoma, was telling her friend she was having a difficult time preparing meals because she couldn’t read the labels on her food packages and could no longer see the settings and buttons on her appliances. She was afraid she would have to move out of her home and into an assisted living facility if she could no longer cook for herself. The optometrist initially found that Jane was able to read a soup can label with use of a high powered magnifier. The occupational therapist worked with Ms. J in determining what would be the best optical aid to help her to achieve her goals. Following her visit to the clinic, the occupational therapist worked with her in her home marking her appliances as well as organizing the kitchen and preparing a hot meal. Ms. J did receive two visits from the OT within the home, not only addressing meal preparation but also lighting, safety within the home, and identifying her clothes in her closet. When Ms. J was discharged, she was able to demonstrate using the magnifier independently as well as safely working in the kitchen and preparing a meal. Ms. J said that as a result of the therapy she felt she could continue to stay in her home independently.

E. Finally, note any problematic areas or concerns related to implementing the Title VII-Chapter 2 program in your state.

In Georgia, services have been available to eligible seniors regardless of income for little or no cost. However, due to the rising costs and demand for visual aids and devices, more consumer involvement is being asked to help cover the cost of visual aids and devices. Participants will be given information on financial third party resources as well as be provided loaner equipment when available. This allows Project Independence to maximize resources to pay for those direct services where third party funding is generally not available. Independent Living plans will be implemented and assistance for third party funding or use of loaner equipment will continue to be explored.

Funding As we continue to struggle with funding concerns and to look for additional funding some of the providers are applying for grants to help with administrative costs, increase services and market the program.

In FFY14, several providers completed their contracts with no funds remaining with about two to three months before the end of the fiscal year. Creative methods were utilized to ensure that all available funds were appropriately expended and stretched as far as possible so that seniors were served. Some seniors were able to receive basic services through private funding and other program grants. With the additional funds in the next fiscal year, we plan to be able to serve more seniors longer during the fiscal year.

FFY 13 & FFY14 were very difficult funding years for us. In spite of the significant variance of funding between FFY13 and FFY14, we were able to serve almost the same number (1390 vs. 1418) — an amazing feat and an attest to the creative abilities of all our providers. Every penny available was stretched and creative means and methods were used to provide services to our seniors. The providers are to be highly commended for this yeoman’s undertaking.

Some of the numbers dropped for one provider due to the reduction in number of seniors who were rolled over to the program from the previous fiscal year.

Staffing We still struggle to have certified staff who can deliver Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy services. Scholarships and funding to help encourage careers in this area should continue.

Finding qualified professionals who are willing to travel long distances to spend time with seniors in some of the more remote rural areas in Georgia has proven to be a difficult task. Contractors spend a great deal of funds on transportation in order to serve seniors in the remote areas of Georgia. One provider, whose VRT resigned, had to import a VRT from Alabama to provide services. The process involved of locating a certified VRT who would provide the services at the current pay proved very difficult and actually delayed services to seniors in that area until a willing staff was located. This delay impacted the numbers served by that provider for FFY14 by reducing the numbers due to the lack of staff. The challenge remains to keep and identify certified individuals for OM and VRT.

Outreach More time and effort will go into marketing Older Blind services, especially to optometrists’ and ophthalmologists’ offices. These offices are the largest referral base statewide and we want to increase our presence with this group.

Part IX: Signature

Please sign and print the name, title and telephone number of the IL-OIB Program Director below.

I certify that the data herein reported are statistically accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Signed byKay McGill
TitleProgram Manager, GA Project Independence (OIB)
Telephone770-414-2676
Date signed12/18/2014