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:
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enter the total amount of expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services by subtracting line B from line A7.
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.
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.
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)
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).
Provide data in all categories on program participants who received one or more services during the fiscal year being reported.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.).
Please sign and print the name, title and telephone number of the IL-OIB Program Director.
|Title VII-Chapter 2 Federal grant award for reported fiscal year||845,343|
|Other federal grant award for reported fiscal year||0|
|Title VII-Chapter 2 carryover from previous year||13,858|
|Other federal grant carryover from previous year||0|
|A. Funding Sources for Expenditures in Reported FY|
|A1. Title VII-Chapter 2||856,663|
|A2. Total other federal||0|
|(a) Title VII-Chapter 1-Part B||0|
|(b) SSA reimbursement||0|
|(c) Title XX - Social Security Act||0|
|(d) Older Americans Act||0|
|A3. State (excluding in-kind)||94,016|
|A4. Third party||0|
|A6. Total Matching Funds||94,016|
|A7. Total All Funds Expended||950,679|
|B. Total expenditures and encumbrances allocated to administrative, support staff, and general overhead costs||67,851|
|C. Total expenditures and encumbrances for direct program services||882,828|
FTE (full time equivalent) is based upon a 40-hour workweek or 2080 hours per year.
|Program Staff||a) Administrative and Support||b) Direct Service||c) Total|
|1. FTE State Agency||0.6000||0.0000||0.6000|
|2. FTE Contractors||7.5000||15.9900||23.4900|
|3. Total FTE||8.1000||15.9900||24.0900|
|a) Number employed||b) FTE|
|1. Employees with Disabilities||12||4.5650|
|2. Employees with Blindness Age 55 and Older||6||2.5510|
|3. Employees who are Racial/Ethnic Minorities||18||5.3690|
|4. Employees who are Women||49||18.6960|
|5. Employees Age 55 and Older||21||6.6430|
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.
|1. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the previous FY and continued to receive services in the reported FY||366|
|2. Number of individuals who began receiving services in the reported FY||1,094|
|3. Total individuals served during the reported fiscal year (A1 + A2)||1,460|
|10. 100 & over||5|
|11. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|3. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|1. Hispanic/Latino of any race||24|
|2. American Indian or Alaska Native||27|
|4. Black or African American||419|
|5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander||1|
|7. Two or more races||2|
|8. Race and ethnicity unknown (only if consumer refuses to identify)||29|
|9. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|1. Totally Blind (LP only or NLP)||70|
|2. Legally Blind (excluding totally blind)||630|
|3. Severe Visual Impairment||760|
|4. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|1. Macular Degeneration||650|
|2. Diabetic Retinopathy||133|
|6. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|1. Hearing Impairment||507|
|3. Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes||727|
|5. Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders||291|
|6. Alzheimer's Disease/Cognitive Impairment||33|
|7. Depression/Mood Disorder||42|
|8. Other Major Geriatric Concerns||294|
|1. Private residence (house or apartment)||1,297|
|2. Senior Living/Retirement Community||97|
|3. Assisted Living Facility||49|
|4. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility||14|
|6. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
|1. Eye care provider (ophthalmologist, optometrist)||913|
|2. Physician/medical provider||25|
|3. State VR agency||48|
|4. Government or Social Service Agency||30|
|5. Veterans Administration||4|
|6. Senior Center||12|
|7. Assisted Living Facility||10|
|8. Nursing Home/Long-term Care facility||14|
|9. Faith-based organization||4|
|10. Independent Living center||30|
|11. Family member or friend||156|
|14. Total (must agree with A3)||1,460|
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.
|1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds||455,046|
|1b. Total Cost from other funds||0|
|2. Vision screening / vision examination / low vision evaluation||976|
|3. Surgical or therapeutic treatment to prevent, correct, or modify disabling eye conditions||24|
|1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds||146,328|
|1b. Total Cost from other funds||0|
|2. Provision of assistive technology devices and aids||566|
|3. Provision of assistive technology services||927|
|1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds||281,454|
|1b. Total Cost from other funds||0|
|2. Orientation and Mobility training||215|
|3. Communication skills||928|
|4. Daily living skills||307|
|5. Supportive services (reader services, transportation, personal||21|
|6. Advocacy training and support networks||232|
|7. Counseling (peer, individual and group)||438|
|8. Information, referral and community integration||1,404|
|. Other IL services||27|
|Cost||a. Events / Activities||b. Persons Served|
|1a. Total Cost from VII-2 funds||0|
|1b. Total Cost from other funds||0|
|2. Information and Referral||18,769|
|3. Community Awareness: Events/Activities||175||23,649|
|a) Prior Year||b) Reported FY||c) Change ( + / - )|
|1. Program Cost (all sources)||1,057,132||950,679||-106,453|
|2. Number of Individuals Served||1,344||1,460||116|
|3. Number of Minority Individuals Served||449||489||40|
|4. Number of Community Awareness Activities||142||175||33|
|5. Number of Collaborating agencies and organizations||305||268||-37|
|6. Number of Sub-grantees||37||38|
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||927||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)||777||83.82%|
|A3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period.||55||5.93%|
|B1. Number of individuals who received orientation and mobility (O & M) services||215||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)||173||80.47%|
|B3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period.||31||14.42%|
|C1. Number of individuals who received communication skills training||928||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)||697||75.11%|
|C3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period.||151||16.27%|
|D1. Number of individuals who received daily living skills training||307||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)||205||66.78%|
|D3. Number of individuals for whom functional gains have not yet been determined at the close of the reporting period.||125||40.72%|
|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)||139||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)||22||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)||70||n/a|
|E4. Number of individuals served who experienced changes in lifestyle for reasons unrelated to vision loss. (closed/inactive cases only)||30||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)||47||n/a|
• Conducting quarterly, or at least semi-annual, Older Blind Project Directors conference calls so we can be a) kept up to date on the law, grant requirements and applicable regulations, especially with the implementation of WIOA, and b) informed of innovations/ideas/concerns/solutions from the other states that have been brought to the attention of RSA. • Discussing problem areas in correctly filling out the 7OB form, including the revision of the 7OB form to eliminate duplication and ambiguous wording. • Training for the technology and VRT instructors to help seniors who use smart phones, tablets, iPhone and iPad. More seniors are getting these devices and don't know how to use them. Maybe a webinar can be developed that our program can access at no charge. • Training resources for OBP providers in Georgia to attend national conferences in order to learn firsthand about any new products, teaching techniques, and current information about services, activities, and products for the visually impaired. • Learning new programs to access documentation and information electronically from anywhere e.g. Google Drive and Google Docs. Financial assistance to locate, purchase and obtain training in the use of cloud storage for data storage and off-site retrieval. • Training in areas of depression, falls prevention/risks, elder abuse, dual sensory loss, mental health and braille training in the new code for our seniors. • Standardizing criteria that would determine if training was or was not successful so we have better ways to measure the impact/outcomes of services for our seniors. • Training in managing multiple disabilities when vision loss occurs or when physical disability occurs with prior loss of vision e.g. how the disabilities interact with one another and how to coordinate primary and optical care.
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 Adults Age 55 and Over (also referred to as the Older Blind Program — OBP) implements the Title VII-Chapter 2 program through seven 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 (CVI) • Vision Rehabilitation Services ((VRS) • Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia (VIFGA) • Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (SCBLV) • Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) • Walton Options for Independent Living (WO) Project Independence (PI) 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 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. MSU does not provide direct services to seniors. We maintained working relations with the following entities that increased our outreach efforts in order to reach the underserved and unserved older blind in Georgia: • Helen Keller National Center • Georgia Division of Aging Services • Georgia Radio Reading Services • National Federation of the Blind of Georgia • Georgia Council of the Blind • Business Enterprise Program • Native American Representative • Georgia Vision Collaborative • Statewide Independent Living Council • Georgia Library for Accessible Services • Older Driver Task Force • Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults • Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) Accessibility Solutions, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture IN FFY 16, we expanded our working relationships with the Division of Aging Services and the Georgia Gerontology Society to help reach the underserved and unserved older blind in Georgia. Our main initiatives to reach underserved and/or unserved populations in Georgia this year were: 1) increasing outreach efforts through involvement with the various components of the Division of Aging Services, 2) increasing support of our peer support groups throughout the state by continuing to provide the groups with program and resource information e.g. webinars so they have a wide variety of topics to offer their groups, 3) maintaining and expanding our relationship with the Statewide Independent Living Council and Centers by inviting them to send their blind and low vision consumers to our peer support group meetings, 4) continuing to increase awareness of the dual sensory loss by scheduling a Georgia Confident Living Program for our deaf-blind seniors in FFY16, and 5) renaming our program to “Project Independence: GA Vision Program for Adults Age 55 and Over” to more accurately reflect the population with whom we work. Our primary subcontractors’ implementation process and outreach efforts to reach underserved and/or unserved populations are listed as follows. Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) The VISTAS CENTER continues to contact the local Optometrist’s office by leaving brochures of our program and the services provided. We participate in as many community services as possible in order to spread the word about our program. We subscribe and announce in the Special Needs Program brochure information in order to reach a mass number of persons with visual disabilities. We continue to maintain a close relationship with local agencies e.g. the Area Agency on Aging, Council on Aging, faith based organizations, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and physicians who help to spread the word about our program. Transportation is provided to our seniors for low vision exams and training when needed. Implementation of our program is provided by our LV Optometrist and our five sub-contractors who provide services in Technology, Orientation & Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (including braille instruction) and Low Vision Evaluations. We also have two certified Peer Support Group leaders. 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. 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. Most seniors receive a full range of compensatory skills training, while others receive short term services aimed at immediate need/s. Many times, the latter is appropriate for clients who have immediate safety concerns or require only a few basic skills to maintain or regain their independence and quality of life. SCBLV continues to succeed in its’ family rehabilitation program. This program is provided to seniors’ families twice a year, and gives them the opportunity to step into their loved one’s shoes, simulate their vision loss, and experience the skills training they receive at the center. From this experience, family members gain a new respect and understanding for the client’s vision loss, and it serves as a necessary support for family members. All direct services are provided by SCBLV’s professional staff, as well as Dr. Brown, our contracted Optometrist specializing in Low Vision. SCBLV utilizes staff members dually certified in Orientation & Mobility (OM) and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) to implement home-based services, allowing one instructor to provide our scope of services to each (OB) client, thus reducing travel costs and maintaining a level of consistency for each client. SCBLV continues the traditional outreach activities through in-service trainings and office visits with medical professionals, service agencies and senior residential facilities and centers. Also, SCBLV staff is proudly represented at community events, health/medical conferences, and resource fairs throughout Georgia. Finally, additional outreach is provided through our website and social media outlets. Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia (VIFGA) For 20 years Mons International, Inc was awarded the Older Blind grant and the non-profit arm of Mons International, the Visually Impaired Foundation of GA, Inc., helped fund devices or individuals not covered under the Older Blind grant. This is the fourth year that the Older Blind grant was handled through the Visually Impaired Foundation of GA, Inc. (VIFGA). VIFGA is not a “brick and mortar” facility. Since we serve rural South Georgia, we go to the communities to work with the clients instead of the seniors coming to our facility. I work with twelve different doctors over the state along with subcontracting with OM, VRT and Computer Technology Specialists as well as four peer support group leaders. • 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, business card, and VIFGA blurb are given to the senior if available and/or applicable. Additional services are also recommended at this time as well. • 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 senior is asked to choose one or two items (totaling no more them $200.00). Project Independence provides those “favorite” items if possible. The products provided through PI include a magnifier or magnifying glasses, a pocket magnifier and/or sunglasses. The items are sent directly to the senior, together with a packing slip for the client to sign and return to VIFGA. If special services are needed, the appropriate teacher is contacted and he/she contacts the senior. Additional devices may be recommended by the VRT, computer technologist and/or O&M teachers and sent to the client. The senior with both hearing and vision loss may also choose to attend the Confident Living Program (CLP) to receive daily living, orientation and mobility, adjustment to blindness, and/or computer skills services over a three day period. Feedback from CLP program participants indicated that their experience was “life changing”. At four month intervals a staff member from VIFGA calls all clients that have received services to inquire: 1) if they did indeed receive the products recommended; 2) if they are able to use the products; 3) whether or not they need additional help from the program; 4) if the devices helped, 5) if they know how to contact us, and 6) to remind them that Mississippi State will be calling to ask about the program. Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) CVI implements Title VII-Chapter 2 programming both in-house and in the community. CVI’s Maxwell Low Vision Clinic provides two to three clinics per week in-house, and monthly satellite clinics in Macon, Suwannee, Fayetteville and Cumberland. The Maxwell Low Vision Clinic has three part-time sub-contracted optometrists in the Atlanta Low Vision Clinic; one of them is also available to conduct the various satellite clinics and another who is available sporadically to cover vacations and other scheduling conflicts of the other doctors.. Maxwell Low Vision Clinic staff includes a full-time Low Vision Clinic Director who also functions as a practicing Occupational Therapist, a second full-time Occupational Therapist, a Medical Secretary and an Information and Intake Specialist. Program staff also includes a Case Manager, one full-time Vision Rehabilitation therapist (currently vacant), and a full-time Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist from CVI's Community-Based Program. Outreach efforts to reach unserved/underserved populations during the past year have included presentations spread across metro Atlanta, by several CVI staff members from various agency programs (Community Based Services, Facility Based Services, the Low Vision Clinic, the VisAbility Store, Volunteer Services, and agency Executive Staff). CVI's Title VII- Chapter 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. Appropriate participants receive a low vision examination from an Optometrist, with the exception of the Macon location. Following the assessment, the senior receives individualized therapy with either a Low Vision Occupational Therapist or a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist to address all aspects of daily living and to provide further training of the doctor’s recommendations. Often seniors require follow-up services 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 several insurances for both the Optometrist and the Occupational Therapist have allowed the Low Vision Clinic to make OBP funds stretch across as many individuals as possible. All participants served by CVI’s Community Based Team receive one on one assessments followed by provision of individualized one on one training. Whenever indicated, some seniors receive training in group classes. Assignment to group classes is case by case and occurs only if appropriate for the particular individual. 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 86% (157/182 new clients) of our clients began their program with a comprehensive low vision evaluation (LVE) conducted by one of our three consulting optometrists who specialize in low vision. The majority (141) of these exams were covered under Project Independence funding, but we also performed 16 additional LVE using other grant funding that we had made available for this purpose. We continue to average 2-3 Low Vision Clinic days per month; typically 2 days in our Smyrna office and 1 day in different towns within our rural service delivery area. Most VRS program participants purchase their own prescribed devices; this year this practice saved the grant around $11,000. Many seniors receive at least one follow-up visit from an instructor to go over the use and care of the device. If they cannot afford a device, VRS will help pay for one tool through Project Independence or other grant funding. The instructor will also provide follow-up instruction to clients in other skills areas based on needs identified from the initial intake, the client’s time with the doctor and the social worker during the LVE process. The Individualized Service Plan is created at the time of the LVE or during an initial visit from a VRS staff member if a client does not have an LVE. Generally, instructors try to provide training weekly to the client, until their instructional 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) certified staff. Staffs provide instruction in activities of daily living, access technology, orientation & mobility and adjustment to blindness counseling. To provide these services we utilize a core of staff teachers ((nine in 2015-16) as well as independent contractors who reside in various regions within our service delivery area. VRS strived to provide services in a timely and efficient manner to maximize the funds we have. To reduce continually increasing mileage reimbursement costs and our instructor’s driving time, we encourage seniors to come to centralized training sites or to our main office, when possible, to receive services. Walton Options for Independent Living (WO) Outreach - Referral Sources Self-referrals come thru AAA home modification referrals as well as individual or family calls into the agency. Other sources are: eye doctors, vision therapists from the University and the Veterans Administration, Home Health, nurses, social workers/case workers, the blind peer support group, Area Agencies on Aging, Tools for Life, the Walton Foundation, and Money Follows the Person. Referral Process Once a referral for Blind Services is received, the OBP department will contact the consumer and collect more demographic information and find out the consumer’s needs. The senior is instructed that we will need a copy of their latest eye report with acuities to verify their eligibility for the program. We offer to mail them a Release of Information (ROI) form and stamped envelope for them to mail the signed form back to us. The signed ROI form is faxed to their eye doctor who, in turn, sends us their eye report (by mail or fax). Upon receipt of report, we determine if the consumer is eligible for the OB program. Once eligibility is determined, the eye report is sent to a VRT. The senior’s needs are discussed by email or phone with a VRT and an evaluation is usually scheduled. If the VRT evaluation identifies a need for O&M, the OBP department sends a referral to the O&M instructor with the demographic information and a copy of the eye report, indicating a need for an O&M evaluation. There are three options, once eligibility is determined: 1. Staff will send eye report to VRT/O&M and request assessment(s), or 2. If the consumer is only requesting something specific (talking watch) and does not need an assessment, OBP staff will schedule an appointment to see the consumer, collect all the info needed, obtain signed documents, order equipment, deliver and train the person on the device. During the home visit, if observation indicates that consumer is having more challenges than referenced in referral e.g. suggesting current tools are no longer effective, OBP staff may request a LVE, or 3. VRT will recommend a LVE after assessment, if needed. Upon receiving summary requesting LVE, OBP staff will refer consumer for a LVE. Service Delivery • VRT assessments — meets consumer for first time and assesses needs. Completes required paperwork, establishes goal(s) and obtains required signatures. Provides agency a written summary describing assessment and recommends AT and all training needs (VRT, O&M, TAT). Agency approves hours for trainings and orders AT if needed or seeks preapproval for AT. • Staff meets with consumer - completes required paperwork, establishes goal(s) and obtains required signatures. Together with consumer identifies need and based upon need, refers for VRT/O&M or orders AT. Once AT comes in, delivers to consumer and trains on proper use. • LVE is scheduled (a) when the staff conducting a home visit identified that the consumer’s vision is changing and the AT used before is not working any longer or (b) the VRT may refer consumer for a LVE if it is determined needed. • WO subcontracts with OM and VRT certified professionals to provide those services. Data Entry • Summaries from VRT and O&M are copied and pasted into Netcil (agency data collection). • Staff notes are entered into Netcil. • When goals are met and/or cases are closed — all the data notes are printed and included in the consumer’s case file (case file includes referral, intake form, ROI for eye report and eye report, written notes, printed notes from Netcil, summary forms, appointment logs, purchase request, invoices, equipment log, cost worksheets, receipts, equipment responsibility form if over $1000, Kay’s approval email if necessary, eligibility form, goal sheets, voter registration, CAP form, WOIL indemnity form and end of year form).
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 at the conventions of the Georgia Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia, and the Business Enterprise Program; at meetings of the Georgia Statewide Independent Living Council, the Georgia Vision Collaborative, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Georgia Library for Accessible Services, providers of blind services, peer groups, the Older Driver’s Task Force, various components of the Division of Aging Services, the Georgia Gerontology Society and the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults. Attendance at the National Program Directors Meeting and the American Foundation for the Blind Conference, both in Arlington, VA brought information on new policy and new methods and approaches from other states so that GA might incorporate these activities in our program i.e. expanding staff qualifications and financial resources. Assistive listening devices (ALD’s) were brought to state meetings for use with those having a dual sensory loss and were a major hit in the presentations throughout Georgia. 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. Even though the Independent Living (IL) Centers have transitioned to a new agency, it is vitally important that Project Independence maintain a collaborative relationship with the IL system. One of our six service providers 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 the Project Independence (PI)/SILC liaison. The Project Manager participates in the IL meetings and sends training and other pertinent information to the IL groups in GA. As part of Project Independence collaborative activities, two contractor meetings were held this fiscal year. We had a face to face meeting in April 2016. Our final meeting for FFY16 was via phone with the contractors in September 2016. 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 was devoted to outreach, collaboration, WIOA policy, recommendations of the MSU evaluation and overall PI program recommendations. The fall phone meeting brought the providers up to date on the final WIOA rules for OBP, reworked some financial policy concerns regarding aids/devices and policies involving other services. In July 2016, we conducted a statewide Peer Support Group Leader conference call to update the peer group leaders on the new OBP polices as well as shared innovative ideas about each peer leaders’ group. In FFY16, PI sponsored two new peer leaders for a three day intensive peer training taught by the Independent Living staff. In Georgia, our peer leaders must have completed this intensive IL training course or have group training in their college or post-secondary curriculum as we want our peer leaders to have a standardized level of competency. Georgia Radio Reading Service (GARRS) continued dissemination of the 30 and 60 second public service announcements (PSA) regarding our program. These PSA’s aired several times per week and reached an audience of approximately 16,000. In FFY16, updated 30 and 60 second PSA’s were recorded in the Program Manager’s voice. 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. 2. Distributed a number of training webinars and informational resources from various entities to our partners, interested community persons and the IL system so as to increase private and public awareness of services to seniors. In turn, these various groups send informational resources to Project Independence — we have a very good information and resource network setup. 3. Conducted our second Georgia Confident Living Program (CLP) training using Georgia providers for December 2015.There were eight participants and five Support Service Providers. 4. Conducted in depth program reviews of all seven contractors. These reviews helped ensure uniformity and standardization of services throughout the state. The reviews consist of a summary of discussions with Project Independence staff and consumers, a review of service processes, case files, observations of various lessons, groups, and low vision exams. The process pinpointed any problems/issues that needed addressing and proposed recommendations that would improve our program and expand our services in Georgia. The focus was on services, finances and implementation of previous fiscal year recommendations. 5. Using FFY15 carryover funds we purchased training services, training items and supplies; registration, travel, lodging for contractors’ meeting/training; and peer support group leader training. These funds allowed Project Independence to conduct critical activities for seniors and staff we would not have been able to do that allowed us to incorporate new methods and approaches in our program, especially for our seniors who are deaf-blind. Our primary subcontractors collaborated and incorporated new methods and approaches in various ways. Highlights are noted in the providers’ words: Visually Impaired Specialized Training and Advocacy Services (VISTAS) We continue to participate in local health fairs and distribute our brochures throughout the community. There is a local SPIL based in our area and, as needed, we refer clients to each other. Because we serve seniors 55 years and over we refer those that are younger to the CIL. We also advise consumers, if they are younger and are interested in services we provide to contact the local Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Counselor for the Blind. We work with the Lions Club and the local division of the American Council of the Blind. We’ve worked with the ‘I Can Connect’ program this fiscal year. Because of this communications program we have been able to expand our services and serve more clients, especially with the utilization of a DaVinci CCTV and iphone. Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (SCBLV) SCBLV is improving the field of vision loss by hosting the annual Vision Conference for local and surrounding area Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Ophthalmology Technicians, etc. This conference, aimed at vision specialists, trains professionals to identify vision loss and provide referrals to patients who could benefit from our services. In our second year as host, 42 regional specialists participated and earned professional certification credits. Furthermore, SCBLV continues attempting to resolve the issue of identifying and serving rural Georgians by working with local community centers to identify individuals that may have fallen through the traditional referral route of starting with an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist. The SCBLV management team and Board continue to evaluate the option of opening an outreach office that would provide services more accessible to clients in rural communities away from Savannah. 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 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 glasses twice a year at the Native American Reservation in Whigham, GA. • Grant for Capital Expenditures for Equipment: In FFY16, a grant was awarded to VIFGA. The Center for the Visually Impaired (one of our PI contractors) worked with VIFGA and provided fiscal sponsorship for the grant, which benefited all six Georgia PI contractors. The funds were awarded specifically for Project Independence contractors to purchase new demonstration equipment, up-date old demonstration equipment, or purchase equipment to enhance our competency to deliver services. The grant demanded many hours of hard work rewarded with funding to improve our work places, but also with a much stronger bond of trust and cooperation between all the PI contractors. • Support Groups and Support Group List: This is an essential piece of the vision rehabilitation process. We supported five support groups this year, two in Albany, one in Valdosta, one in Macon, and one in Douglas. All did well this year. However, the leader for the Valdosta group moved and left us with no group in Valdosta at this time. There are four other groups to which I send seniors in our area, three in Columbus and one in Milledgeville. At the end of the fiscal year, VIFGA sends all seniors the Support Group List to remind them again of this service. • 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 clients have a dual sensory loss. • Assistive Listening Devices: I have found that I use the “Pocket Talker” in 40% of my exams to enable seniors to communicate with me. • Presentations: I enjoy presenting at doctor’s offices, support groups, and civic clubs. • Brochures and Resource Guides: This is an invaluable tool! Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) In response to increased demand resulting from the vacant VRT position in the Community-Based program, CVI’s New View facility-based services began providing instruction to program participants, particularly in the areas of assistive technology. Not surprisingly, the demand for instruction in mobile devices, such as, iPhones, iPads, and similar devices has increased significantly during the past year. With the elimination of Homemaker as a viable vocational goal in the VR program, we have also seen an increase in client referrals for keyboarding and computer training, including the use of the Apple Mac computer. In response to this demand, we began providing both individualized and group training to seniors at our facility. In addition, CVI’s Assistive Technology staff has provided ongoing training and support to our Low Vision and Community-Based staff, so that they, too, can begin providing this service to seniors not able to come to the center. Outreach efforts to reach unserved/underserved populations during the past year included targeting ophthalmology practices’ doctors and staff by the Low Vision Clinic Director who spoke directly to doctors and staff regarding the benefits of low vision examinations and therapy. Attendance at an ophthalmology conference and a Foundation Fighting Blindness event in Atlanta provided further networking opportunities. Many attendees were eligible for OBP-related services. As mentioned in our FFY15 report, and in response to a decrease in overall referrals to our services, CVI hired a full-time Program Marketing Manager. He has been busy contacting, collaborating and networking with various constituencies and traditional referral sources, including eye care practices, senior centers and other social services organizations, assisted living facilities, health fairs, etc. In addition, this marketing professional has also begun reaching out to less traditional referral sources, such as dialysis programs, diabetes clinics and diabetes professionals, falls prevention initiatives, etc. While the impact of this concerted outreach campaign will certainly be more of a long-term strategy, we have already seen a gradual increase in referrals, no doubt as a result of these efforts. In order to facilitate access to services by Spanish-speaking adults, CVI maintains an especially dedicated telephone line where inquiries for information and services can be left. These messages are retrieved each day and are then processed through CVI’s normal intake process with the assistance of interpreters when needed. 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. Continued Collaborations: • United Way of Metro Atlanta: We provided Diabetic Education to 28 seniors who live with diabetes and Vision loss. • University programs: VRS continued to support one Salus University student working on their VRT certification, one OM intern and a Georgia State University intern in the field of Social Work. • Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing/ ICC-GA: VRS continued to work on a limited basis in 2015-16 with ICC/GA to help seniors with a dual-sensory loss access this grant for the provision of tools to meet their communication needs. • HKNC/CLP — VRS works together with our HKNC representative to ensure our seniors with a dual-sensory loss are receiving the most up-to-date services, tools and resources to help with communications and ADL’s. (VRS staff are trained in working with clients with dual-sensory loss). VRS hired a Development Director this past year to help with Grant Writing and community outreach, resulting in a number of grants awarded to assist with providing services and tools to our seniors. We have been able to connect more consistently with our referring doctors and participate in more community awareness activities. In the area of volunteers, VRS continued to receive volunteer support in the areas of data collection and management, board activities, office and program support and for our fundraising race. This year VRS also added a Dining in the Dark event which served to both raise awareness of our work and needed funds for our program. Volunteers come to us from a wide variety of businesses and community partners, extending our reach and connections beyond our traditional means. VRS volunteers have logged approximately 2,729 hours in the past FY. VRS implemented a more comprehensive screening process of potential Low Vision Evaluation clients. The cases/eye notes are more closely previewed by our intake coordinator, and if she has concerns, by the program director and/or the doctor. Our goal is to ensure that clients who are coming in for an LVE will benefit from the services — ensuring funds are used more wisely. Clients for whom we are not sure an LVE will be appropriate are added to our Home Visit First (HVF) list — where a teacher will visit the client in their home to further explore the nature of their vision loss, their needs and their ability to benefit from an evaluation. If it is determined that an LVE would be of benefit, an appointment is scheduled; if not, services in other skill areas are provided. This year VRS was lucky to have both an Adjustment to Blindness Counselor AND a Social Work Intern providing support to our seniors. We are beginning to experiment with some phone counselling and expanding our support group networks. We have identified the need to start new groups in several other north Georgia areas that we hope to have up and running by June 2017. Walton Options for Independent Living (WO) Walton Options included many collaborative activities and community awareness throughout eastern Georgia. These efforts included the Area Agencies on Aging, Resource/Health Fairs, Elder Rights conference, the YMCA, Senior Centers, the National Council on Independent Living, Disaster Preparedness, local ophthalmologists, consumer organizations for the blind, local businesses, a senior rally at the Georgia State Capitol, legislators, transportation meetings, Tools for Life, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Nutrition programs, and local businesses. To expand and improve services, Walton Options is: 1. Developing possible demonstration/training days on high ticket aids/devices for the consumer to try before purchasing. 2. Developing a resource funding guide. 3. Assisting consumers, if needed, to complete applications for funding. 4. Encouraging consumers to donate their aids/devices back to the OBP program if they no longer need them. 5. Creating and implementing a three month follow-up process to verify the devices (AT) the senior received are still beneficial to them. 6. Creating a Healthy Options resource book that includes healthy recipes, a healthy diet on a budget and cost saving tips. 7. Teaching various life skills classes in the community, to include but not limited to, self- advocacy, money management, disaster preparedness, identity theft, self-defense for the visually impaired and falls prevention.
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 consumers are interviewed about their experiences with the program. The six contractors providing direct services send the NRTC names of closed consumers on a quarterly basis. An experienced telephone interviewer then contacts consumers to complete surveys. Each year the NRTC prepares a program evaluation report that includes consumers' 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 comprehensive report will be available in early 2017. 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 consumers. Depending upon the contractor and/or individual consumer'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 consumers in outlying rural areas who might not otherwise be able to participate in such a program. During this project year, 233 consumers participated in telephone interviews. The majority of participants (60%) were aged 75 and older. Almost two-thirds (65%) were female. About 87% 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 (56%), with the second most reported reason being glaucoma (14%). 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 (97%); followed by the timeliness in which those services were received (95%), and overall quality of services (91%). Consumer ratings of functioning after receiving different types of independent living service areas follow: • 94% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to travel independently • 90% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received assistive technology devices • 100% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received communication skills training • 93% reported that they were better able or had maintained their ability to function more independently having received daily living skills training • 60% reported that they had greater control and confidence in their ability to maintain their current living situation; 30% indicated no change; and 10% 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 quotes: • It has made it easier for me to read. It is great to know that someone cares and is willing to help. • The various techniques and the tools that are available were very enlightening. Things they showed me that will help me along the way. • It lets me know that there is help when I need it. I will know when I need more help and the type help that I need. The magnifier has helped me a lot. • As the caregiver they have helped me to understand her situation better. • They were able to keep me from being totally immobilized in my house, not being able to do anything. They were able to take me out of my fear of going blind and to find people that were able to help me and who wanted to help me. I am able to walk and talk and cook. They saved my life. • I am not so scared of losing my sight. • I have more confidence and they made me more aware of things that I did not know. The teaching is great. • Just them uplifting me and making sure that I understood there was help there anytime I wanted it or asked for it. Other than that, the cane has helped me the most. • They provided me with the magnifier that I can read again. The important stuff. Like my medicine bottles. • Helping me understand more about vision loss and how to cope daily. • Well, it really has helped me to have a better outlook in my life. It has helped me to accept the fact that I can go on with my life. And the training has helped me a lot. I now have a happy and successful life. • The fact that they do take interest in you and they try to help in any way they can. Also, the devices that you need, they try to provide them for you.
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 MC has been a client of our center for more than 15 years. When she was first introduced to our services as a senior in her early 70’s, she received training in the areas of OM and VRT to remain independent in her home. At that time, staff realized that her combined Vision Loss to Retinitis Pigmentosa with a significant hearing loss could indicate that she had Usher’s Syndrome. After consulting with doctors, Ms. C was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome, Type III. For the past 15+ years MC has reached out to us for additional training and/or support whenever her vision or life circumstances have changed. Staff have helped Ms. C move 4-5 times - orienting her to new communities. We have continued to help enhance her communication skills by aiding in the purchase of assistive listening devices and providing training to those in her life on how to best communicate with her. Ms. C, now in her 80’s, continues to be an active member of her community e.g. living on her own in a senior apartment, going to support group meetings and going out on her own as she is up to it. Center staff continue to support MC formally and informally. MC’s journey with our center is indicative of the types of relationships we strive to build. We hope clients grow to trust our staff and feel comfortable to call us when their needs change. Our goal is to always be available to provide support and training — lifelong training — for those who may need it. We are very proud of how MC has been able to maintain her independence over the years and the example she gives to others like her in her community. Senior 2 Since she was 18 years old, Ms. B has endured a vision loss resulting from Stargardt’s Disease. Now 67, she has received varying degrees of blind rehabilitation over the years. Recently, a change in her living situation paired with additional vision loss created new obstacles and additional goals for her changing lifestyle. Nearing 70, she found herself without a support system and living on her own. Energetic and independent, she wanted to make sure she stayed this way. In 2016, Ms. B came to the Center in order to learn Braille and assistive technology to access email and internet on her computer. After a couple of weeks at the Center, she realized that with her decreased vision, she would benefit from additional training in Orientation & Mobility. During her training, the client addressed goals and concerns relating to using the local bus system, traveling on roads without sidewalks, and gaining the skills needed to one day procure a guide dog. At the conclusion of her program, Ms. B had achieved all of her original objectives, as well as the goals she added as she progressed through the program. Since returning to the Center, Ms. B has learned basic Braille, mastered both Windows and MAC operating systems, and even participated in a community Marathon! In September of 2016, she was evaluated and approved for a guide dog by Guide Dogs for the Blind. As a current client, peer support member, and supporter of the Center, Ms. B is truly a role model and inspiration to others. Senior 3 Ms. D was seen at the low vision clinic for her visual difficulties related to Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration; she is 92 years old and currently lives in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF). She has assistance with meals and laundry from the ALF; however, she wanted to be able to engage in activities within her complex, read and remain as independent as possible. She reported having difficulties with all aspects of reading such as reading the activity list and menu at the ALF as well as pleasure reading books and newsprint. She also wanted to participate in bible study within the facility and maintain independence with managing her medication. She was using her over-the-counter magnifier, but reported that it was not really helping her anymore. Following instructions with several reading options, she ultimately had best results with using moderate magnification with both hand held and stand magnifiers — and was confidently able to reach her reading goals. She was also educated on how to use the magnifier outside of her apartment by using a lap desk while sitting at Bible study. She can read her own menus and verbalized great pleasure in not relying on the ALF staff. Ms. D. expressed that because of her age, her finances had become very difficult to manage. As a result, with the assistance of the OBP Funds (and a financial contribution from her!), she was able to receive services, two magnifiers and a lap desk. Ms. D. verbalized a great deal of pleasure with her increased independence. She reported that without the assistance from the magnifiers, she would have felt even more frustrated knowing that something could help her, but not being able to financially obtain. She expressed that she felt people of her age were often ignored when verbalizing complaints and felt renewed self-confidence after working with the doctor and therapist at our center. Senior 4 Mr. J’s sister and primary caregiver shared her feedback on the program from her perspective as she provides the primary care and handles her brother’s personal business. (Her feedback was very meaningful and warranted inclusion in this report.) She stated that [provider] had truly been a blessing for him and that [provider] was quick to respond to his needs. When asked, “What was the greatest impact of the services received? “She stated it was the watch. He is now able to tell time; and with the cane, he is able to be more independent. She stated he said he doesn’t feel helpless and doesn’t have to bother others about the time of day. He is now able to get around and walk down the road by himself with his cane. She stated he loves being able to do things alone and without the help of others. She stated she is very thankful because he has a better outlook on life and is more positive. He was often frustrated and angry because he had to wait on others to help him; now he can do stuff on his own, which she said was a blessing. She stated [provider] is helpful by sending an O&M Instructor out to help him on Saturday to learn how to better use his “stick” (cane).
E. Finally, note any problematic areas or concerns related to implementing the Title VII-Chapter 2 program in your state.
Funding In Georgia, the program still struggles with getting the word out in the rural communities as there are not enough resources or money to advertise. While providers continue to look for grants to help with the program, funds for continuous outreach is still very much needed. Providing services to individuals in the rural service areas continues to be a challenge. Our seniors in rural areas are stranded by a lack of available transportation, and oftentimes, require completely home-based services. Due to the extensive miles traveled to cover the entire rural areas of Georgia and the growing visually impaired aging population some of the providers run low on funds. Additional funds would enable the program to provide more seniors in the rural areas with the services they need. These services include orientation and mobility, computer and technology skills, vision rehabilitation therapy, and adaptive aids/devices. Project Independence continues to provide services to eligible seniors regardless of income for little or no cost. However, we put a cap of $200 per person on the items — unless special circumstances. Due to the rising costs and demand for visual aids and devices (especially electronic video magnifiers), we continue to ask more consumer involvement to help cover the cost of visual aids and devices. Participants are given information on financial third party resources as well as provided loaner equipment when available. The $200 annual cap per consumer will not meet some consumer’s needs. Consumers may not be able to get devices they need to increase their independence. Others may have to wait an extended period of time to obtain the devices, due to waiting on funding approval from other resources. While the cap allows Project Independence to maximize resources to pay for those direct services where third party funding is generally not available, obtaining the third party funding may increase the consumer’s frustration and they may just give up. We will continue to revisit the aids/device cap and resources throughout FFY17. While certified professionals receive over 95% of the reimbursement, the program does not allow full cost of administrative fees for the providers’ services. Despite using creative methods to ensure that all available funds are appropriately utilized and stretched as far as possible for some providers, we were still unable to make the money stretch to the end of the fiscal year. We need to prepare for additional seniors that may come our way due to the changes implemented by WIOA. Access to resources is needed so that teleconferences and face to face meetings for contractors and peer support group leaders are available. These types of meetings are so important to the success of our Georgia program. Staffing We continue to struggle having certified staff who can deliver Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy services. The challenge remains to identify and keep certified individuals for OM and VRT. 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.
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 by||Kay McGill / Paul Raymond|
|Title||OBP Prg. Mgr./GA Blindness Services Coord.|