RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Oklahoma (Oklahoma Disability Law Center) - H240A180037 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameOklahoma Disability Law Center Inc.
Address2828 E. 51st Street
Address Line 2Suite 302
CityTulsa
StateOklahoma
Zip Code74105
E-mail Addressmelissa@okdlc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.okdlc.org
Phone918-743-6220
TTY 800-226-5883
Toll-free Phone800-226-5883
Toll-free TTY800-226-5883
Fax918-743-7157
Name of P&A Executive DirectorMelissa K. Sublett
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorJoy J. Turner
Person to contact regarding reportMelissa K. Sublett
Contact Person phone918-830-5559
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas109
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas261
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)370

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff12
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)615

The P&A presented twelve trainings where six hundred and fifteen individuals were trained using the lecture method, with handouts for training on residents rights, rights regarding employment, emergency and disaster awareness training and educational rights. Trainings included question and answer periods for each topic.

The purpose of the trainings were to educate the participants about their rights and how to enforce them.

Also, the P&A attended twenty-four conferences statewide where they distributed information about the P&A and information regarding the conference topics. It is estimated that the P&A distributed information to one thousand four hundred and seventeen people at those conferences.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles15
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website41,212
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated2,032
6. Other (specify separately)108,376

Narrative

WEBSITES:

http://www.okdlc.org

We had 41,212 website hits during FY 2018

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: OK Disability Law Center, Inc.

Twitter: @okdlc

We had 108,376 hits on our social media accounts during FY 2018

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)20
2. Additional individuals served during the year68
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)88
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)3

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 58

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility2
2. Employment1
3. Program access1
4. Housing0
5. Government benefits/services2
6. Transportation0
7. Education4
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care22
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse11
16. Neglect50
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor22
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint1
4. Appeals unsuccessful9
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case1
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit1
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy0
2. Short-term assistance8
3. Investigation/monitoring21
4. Negotiation3
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution1
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)1
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 224
3. 23 - 5960
4. 60 - 6416
5. 65 and over8

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females25
2. Males63

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race5
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native5
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American20
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White56
7. Two or more races2
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent6
2. Parental or other family home5
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home4
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center73
9. Homeless0
10. Other living arrangements0
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment1
2. Deaf/hard of hearing1
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment38
5. Mental illness3
6. Substance abuse1
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability1
9. Neurological impairment9
10. Respiratory impairment3
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment18
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment2
13. Speech impairment1
14. AIDS/HIV3
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability7

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities2

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes2,632

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

FACILITY MONITORING: The P&A continues to monitor residential facilities where people who are eligible for PAIR live to assure that PAIR eligible clients are aware of their rights where they live and are free from abuse and neglect. As a result of our monitoring efforts, we filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the facility’s licensing agency.

Additionally, we had an issue with our federal access authority arise during one of our monitoring visits and an issue regarding the conditions of a facility. Both are described below.

ACCESS ISSUE

Our office received a complaint regarding the care and treatment of an individual in a long term care nursing facility. Due to the allegations in the call, our office decided to make a monitoring visit to the facility to check on the well-being of the individual as well as all the other one hundred twenty-eight residents residing in the facility.

On April 18, 2018,P&Astaff arrived at the facility at approximately 2:25 pm. P&A employees introduced themselves as employees of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and explained the purpose of their visit. The employees presented Oklahoma Disability Law Center’s card which provides details about the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and the services the Oklahoma Disability Law Center provides.

The P&A employees were asked to wait in the lobby. While waiting, the P&A employees introduced themselves to the Social Services Director and explained why they were at the facility.

The Social Service Director went to find the Administrator. The Administrator met with the P&A employees staff in her office. The employees introduced themselves as employees of the P&A and advised her of the purpose of their visit which was to meet with residents and provide them with handout materials telling the residents about ODLC and what services we provided.

The employees presented Oklahoma Disability Law Center’s card which provides details about the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and the services the Oklahoma Disability Law Center provides. Additionally, the employees presented the administrator with a multi-page handout detailing the Oklahoma Disability Law Center’s access authority under both state and federal law.

The administrator told the ODLC staff they could not have access. She informed ODLC staff she would need to speak with her corporate office and that she did not like the purpose the employees were there. She felt that the P&A’s purpose was to solicit clients.

ODLC staff again explained the P&A’s authority under both federal and state law provides them the right to visit with the residents, tell them about the P&A’s office and tell them about their rights in the facility. After again being told access would not be permitted, the P&A employees left the premises.

The afternoon they were denied access, P&A employees filed a Request for Hearing with the Oklahoma State Department of Health under the state law providing access to facilities as a community legal service provider who provides legal services at no cost. 63 O.S. §1-1919.

The P&A also called the Long Term Care Ombudsman that same day. The P&A explained they had been denied access and made a complaint to their office regarding the individual client. The P&A was not sure how long it would be before they would be allowed into the facility and wanted to be sure someone went to investigate the allegations of failure to provide care and treatment. The Long Term Care Ombudsman assure the P&A someone would go and visit with the resident.

Two days later, attorney for the facility called the P&A to let them know he received our Request for Hearing and that he had concerns that the P&A was there to solicit clients. The attorney went on to say he had the materials the employees left with the administrator explaining our access authority and wanted time to investigate our authority.

The attorney for the facility told the P&A employee that he did not believe the P&A was indeed the state’s designated Protection and Advocacy Agency. P&A staff provided the attorney for the Defendant copies of documents and websites showing the Oklahoma Disability Law Center was the designated Protection and Advocacy Agency.

A hearing was set at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Case No. LTC-2018-204 regarding the state law issue. Multiple attempts were made by the P&A attorneys to try and resolve the case without necessity of a hearing or litigation. Finally, as the attorney for the facility refused to talk further with the P&A staff, the P&A attorneys sent the attorney a Complaint they drafted and intended on filing with the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

When the attorney for the facility received the Complaint, they called the P&A to discuss the merits and told the P&A they will call back shortly after they spoke with their client. The attorney called the P&A back and told the P&A they would allow our office to monitor the facility. The P&A went and conducted a monitoring visit. During its visit, the P&A staff met with the individual they had received a call about earlier to determined whether she was receiving appropriate care and treatment.

Because we were able to successfully resolve the access issue, our office dismissed the hearing at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The facility later invited our office to speak at the Resident’s Council meeting and at a meeting for the facility’s staff. P&A staff presented information at both meetings. There have been no further issues with the facility.

Finally, the attorney who represented the facility also represents many other nursing homes around Oklahoma. The attorney told the P&A staff that if we have any issues with any of the facilities he represents to please call him and he will work with us to resolve any issues.

FACILITY’S FAILURE TO HAVE WORKING AIR CONDITIONING

The P&A received a call about a facility in rural northeastern Oklahoma from another P&A. The caller told our staff that their brother had been in a hospital for heart related issues and was released from the hospital to a long term care facility. His daughter met him at the facility. It was in the middle of summer and in the upper 90s. When she got to the facility, they did not have any air conditioning. She reported that it was terribly hot. It was so bad, she would immediately took her father out of the facility and drove him to a local hospital. “She was very concerned about all the other facility residents. The P&A determined that there were one hundred thirty-nine residents in the facility.

The facility was one that was represented by the attorney mentioned above in the access case. Because of the relationship established with the attorney, the P&A was able to able to call him and report the issue to him. The attorney had staff investigate our complaint and within a day, called us back and reported that indeed, the air conditioning was broken and that they were replacing the whole unit that day. Through other sources, the P&A was able to confirm the air conditioning had been repaired.

MONITORING STATE PRISONS: The P&A continued its monitoring efforts in the Oklahoma Prison System. This fiscal year, the P&A monitored the state’s prison which houses its death row inmates. Due to this continuing outreach into the prisons, the P&A has seen an increase in the number of prisoners contacting our office for service.

During FY 2017, the P&A opened a systemic investigation regarding the lack of medical, mental health and dental care at Lawton Correctional Facility, the largest private prison in Oklahoma. The investigation continued during FY 2018 and will continue into FY 2019.

SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE: The P&A continued with this project during FY 2018 and will continue working on this project during FY 2019.

In late September of 2016, staff from the P&A, in partnership with staff from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Juvenile Affairs and the Oklahoma Supreme Court, attended Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform’s certificate program focusing on School-Justice Partnership and developed a project focusing on children “in care”, that are currently under state court supervision.

The overarching goals of this systemic project are to enhance educational outcomes for children with special needs in the delinquent system (including children with serious mental illness and developmental disabilities) and reduce the school to prison pipeline. Currently, there are 10,156 in either foster care, or out of home placement. 33% (3,351) of those children have been identified as having either serious mental illness, physical disabilities or developmental delays.

It is a two-part project. The first part is educating the Judiciary and the second part is educating the Oklahoma Juvenile Court Stakeholders.

Issues addressed in the P&A trainings:

A. Criminalizing Students with mental and physical disabilities when the disability is a factor in the action giving rise to the “crime.”

B. Children in Group Homes - whether children in group homes and children transitioning out of psychiatric or residential treatment facilities are educated in the LRE and receiving FAPE.

C. Literacy - Oklahoma does not have research based methods to address dyslexia, a disability affecting approximately 20% of the population. Students not reading at his or her grade level by the end of the third grade arefour times less likely to graduatehigh school on time-six times less likely for students from low-income families. In a2009 studyby researchers at Northwestern University, it was found that high school dropouts were 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates.

D. Child-find: Court staff are unaware of how to identify students in need.

In October, 2017, the team successfully implemented the second phase of its training for stakeholders. Members of the Oklahoma Team collaborated with a number of stakeholders to cultivate an educational conference to be hosted in two of Oklahoma’s largest cities. The conference, titled “Enhancing Educational Success for Children and Youth in Care,” was held in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

In November, 2017, the team presented at the Oklahoma Court Improvement Grant Conferences. The attendees included judges, court staff, CASA workers, DHS workers and other individuals regularly involved in the juvenile court system.

The team trained approximately one hundred and fifty-six individuals during FY 2018. The project is an ongoing project with two trainings are currently planned for FY 2019.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: In FY 2018, the P&A continued its relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Health and their emergency preparedness efforts in developing a statewide trainings agencies providing care during and after disasters.

The P&A continues to be a part of the FAST (Functional Assessment Support Team) and presented training at the regional Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) conference. The P&A presented information regarding legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability awareness regarding individuals with developmental disabilities.

TRIBAL TRAINING AND OUTREACH: During FY 2018, the P&A continued its collaboration with the tribal community and regional training on legal rights and their enforcement.

P&A staff met with the United Urban Indian Council, Inc., which is funded by the Department of Labor to provide employment and training opportunities to eligible Native Americans living in Oklahoma County. Services provided include tuition assistance and employment services. We presented information about ODLC priorities and objectives and information about the services we offer our clients.

P&A staff also presented at the On the Road Family Perspectives Conference for the Comanche Nation VR in Lawton. Staff participated on Community Resource Panel and distributed information about the P&A.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts21,500
2. Number of individuals named in class actions5

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

Litigation jointly funded by PAIR, PATBI, PAAT, PABSS and PADD

On November 1, 2017, the State of Oklahoma issued notices terminating the Medicaid In-Home Support Waiver (IHSW) and the ADvantage Waiver due to budget shortfalls the state was experiencing. The waivers were to be terminated effective December 1, 2017. Oklahoma planned to use the money from the cutting those needed services to help make up for its budget shortfall.

The ADvantage waiver program is a Medicaid Waiver program serving over 20,000 individuals with disabilities. The individuals eligible for the ADvantage Waiver must be over 18 and may not have an intellectual disability.

In order to be eligible for the IHSW, individuals must have a diagnosis of an intellectual disabilities. The Waiver provides an alternative to institutional care for those individuals and provides vocational services and other in home services. At the time the notices were issues, 1,500 adults statewide received these services.

The State itself estimated a high number of people losing waivers would need to be placed into nursing homes. Oklahoma told CMS it would not be transitioning participants on this waiver to another waiver but would be providing case management to assist them with accessing community services and supports. However, very few community services and supports were accessible and available at the time the State planned to terminate those services.

Here is an article by News 4 the day the notices were sent:

https://kfor.com/2017/11/01/advantage-waiver-recipients-worry-after-dhs-sends-elimination-notices-as-state-budget-solution-remains-elusive/

Our office co-counseled with the ACLU in order to prevent these cuts from occurring. On November 8, 2018 we wrote Ed Lake, the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, expressing our grave concern over the State’s decision to terminate services to this very vulnerable population, putting them at risk of unnecessary institutionalization and eliminating their ability to continue working.

Here is an article issued on November 9, 2017 regarding our letter to Director Lake:

https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/aclu-warns-of-lawsuit-over-planned-elimination-of-programs-for-disabled-elderly/

The story reads:

ACLU warns of lawsuit over planned elimination of programs for disabled, elderly if a state agency does not rescind notices that programs serving more than 20,000 disabled and elderly Oklahomans will be eliminated, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma will respond with a lawsuit, a spokesman told The Frontier. The ACLU of Oklahoma plans to file a preliminary injunction next week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to try to prevent the elimination of Oklahoma Department of Human Services programs, said Brady Henderson, legal director of the organization. “We are preparing all of this hoping we never have to file it,” Henderson said. “And that’s always a tough spot to be in. It’s ridiculous if we have to seek it.” The ACLU of Oklahoma has been working on the suit with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and Progressive Independence, an Oklahoma-based advocacy group. The Oklahoma Disability Law Center is a protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities. DHS sent letters out on Oct. 31, notifying participants the ADvantage Waiver and Adult In-Home Support Waiver program would be eliminated Nov. 30. ACLU sent a letter to DHS director Ed Lake on Wednesday night warning it would seek “judicial intervention” if the agency did not rescind its termination letters and notify all ADvantage and In-Home Support Waivers program recipients their benefits would continue. "We look forward to the day we can send out notices to our clients that say the Legislature has found funding and that the program will be reinstated," DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said. DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said the agency has not yet responded to the letter. Legislators have issued statements on how they do not intend to let the services fail, and the agency is waiting for them to come up with a budget resolution, she said. “We’re just waiting for the Legislature to take action,” Powell said. “We really believe the Legislature does not want to see these programs end, and they will come up with a solution. “We look forward to the day we can send out notices to our clients that say the Legislature has found funding and that the program will be reinstated.” Henderson told The Frontier the agency announced the elimination of the programs with little notice and gave no opportunity for participants to be heard or appeal the decision. A letter sent to program participants stated, “Since elimination of the ADvantage Waiver affects everyone receiving services through it, there is no right to appeal this action.” By eliminating the waiver programs, DHS is essentially driving people into institutions, Henderson said. “You’re leaving people without an option,” he said. Henderson cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision that people with disabilities are entitled to receive services in the community rather than in institutions. The Court concluded that, “unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination.” The lawsuit may also include claims involving the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, Henderson said. Henderson said the waiver programs prevent people from having to be in institutions and ensures they can stay in their communities with their families. “That’s the issue with terminating (the programs),” he said. At the same time, eliminating the programs would actually cost the state more money, as nursing facilities are more expensive, Henderson said. State Rep. Pat Ownbey, chairman of the House Human Services Committee, told the Tulsa World on Monday that he believes the ADvantage Waiver program will not be eliminated. “The intent of the Legislature is not to allow the ADvantage Waiver program to be cut,” he told the Tulsa World. “It’s not going to happen … We will get that (budget) hole filled.” Ownbey voted in favor of House Bill 1054X on Thursday, a budget measure that narrowly failed. Melissa Sublett, executive director of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, said the letters sent to participants are clearly an elimination of the program. “It gives a specific date and says there’s no avenue for appeal,” Sublett said. “The letters don’t appear to be anything than what they are. It’s unbelievable. People from all over the country are contacting our office. “It’s very real to people, and we are forced to take it seriously.” Sublett said although the programs serve seniors, a large portion of participants are young adults. “You have 20-year-olds that don’t want to be in a nursing home,” she said. Many of the people receiving services have severe disabilities and need 24/7 care, Sublett said. Many need feeding tubes and help with everyday tasks, such as going to the restroom DHS made no effort to transition program participants or assess other options, she said. “Add the fact that they’re discontinuing the adult day care and personal care program, there are really no alternatives to keep these individuals living in their home,” she said. Sublett encouraged families affected by the notices to contact her organization. Powell said DHS is working on a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services transition plan in the case the programs are not reinstated, which would include referring people to alternatives such as nursing homes and other facilities. If ACLU files the suit, the defendant would likely be DHS director Lake in his official capacity, Henderson said. It is unclear who the plaintiffs would be, but there could be up to six, he said. DHS lost $69 million of its state funding for Fiscal Year 2018. Last month, the agency submitted a revised budget to the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The revised budget included eliminations of DHS services, including the ADvantage program. It also would eliminate funding for adult day services for seniors and adults with disabilities and in-home services for seniors, including home-delivered meals and home-making services. The House passed a bill on Oct. 30 that would appropriate $29 million to DHS. The bill is now in the Senate. On Wednesday, a tax package that was expected to have generated millions of dollars and help fill the state’s budget shortfall failed to pass the Oklahoma House. “For 20,000 Oklahomans right now, every day is closer to the Dec. 1 deadline. … We have thousands of families in Oklahoma just scrambling, lying awake at night wondering, ‘Is my family member going to be OK next month?'” Henderson said.

The State did not rescind its notices to terminate services. Therefore, on November 17, 2017, we filed a Complaint against the directors of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in the District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma requesting a preliminary injunction and seeking to ensure Oklahomans with disabilities received the critical services required by federal law.

Subsequent to the filing of our initial Complaint, Governor Mary Fallin signed a stopgap budget measure (HB 1019X) to fund critical DHS services, including waiver services, through February 2018. As a result of the stopgap budget measure, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) sent letters to recipients of the ADvantage Waiver and IHSW indicating their waiver services would continue to be funded beyond December 1, 2017. However, DHS indicated its budget would only fund services through February 2018, and DHS would then again send 30-day termination notices to waiver recipients on February 1, 2018, to be effective March 1, 2018.

This left ADvantage and IHSW recipients at risk of termination of their waiver services effective March 1, 2018, and a significant number of waiver recipients remained at risk of institutionalization as a result of DHS’s actions. Because individuals were still at imminent risk of losing funding for their employment services and were at risk of unnecessary institutionalization, we filed an Amended Complaint on December 6, 2017.

The Governor called another special session in December to try and address the budget shortfalls. On December 22, 2017 our office agreed to stay the litigation to see if the Legislature would be able to fully fund the agencies or if we could work out an agreed resolution though settlement.

However, we were not able to resolve the litigation through settlement negotiations. Therefore, the stay ended and the Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. The judge issued an Order on March 26, 2018 dismissing the case and stating that our case was moot because the remedy we sought to avoid, the termination of the waiver services, had been avoided.

Our office will continue to monitor the funding of these programs during FY 2019. If any cuts are made to the programs, both the ACLU and our office remain committed to pursuing any action necessary to assure our client’s rights are not violated.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 1: Improve access to appropriate services for persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, employment, housing, transportation, income, medical care, education and vocational training.

1. Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in the community and in institutions such as in jails, prison, and nursing homes and schools.

Need to Be Addressed: Abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities in the community and in facilities.

A description of the activities to be carried out: Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect; Report allegations to licensing agencies and other appropriate agencies; Engage in systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed; Provide training to clients, organization and agencies on laws related to issues of abuse and neglect and our office’s authority regarding access to facilities and to investigate issues of abuse and neglect.

Indicator used to determine successful outcome: Number of individuals who are no longer subject to abuse or neglect.

Collaboration: Long Term Care Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, Office of Disability Concerns, Oklahoma State Department of Health. Our office receives referrals from these entities and in some cases work together in order to assure that our clients are not subject to abuse or neglect.

Number of cases handled: 79

Case example:

The P&A was contacted by a prison inmate for assistance in receiving medical care for his hernia. The inmate reported that for over two (2) years, he had attempted to receive surgical treatment with no success. He had only received Motrin from the medical staff at the state prison. The inmate told the P&A that due to the pain he experienced when attempting to eat, he was constantly losing weight.

The P&A accepted representation of the inmate and contacted the General Counsel of the Department of Corrections and requested our client’s medical and mental health records. In addition to the record’s request, the P&A informed the General Counsel that our client had a painful hernia needing surgery and was losing weight due to his inability to eat caused by the pain. The P&A requested that the Department of Corrections look into the Inmate’s current medical care and take whatever action was necessary to ensure he was receiving proper treatment.

After about two (2) weeks, P&A received no response from the General Counsel of the Department of Corrections. The P&A re-submitted our client’s complaint. Shortly after, the Department of Correction informed the P&A that the Inmate had an easily reducible hernia and did not qualify for surgical repair. No other response was provided to the P&A. The P&A again contacted the General Counsel of the Department of Corrections and requested the specific medical treatment the Inmate would be receiving, since it was not going to be surgery. The Department of Corrections responded that the Inmate had been educated on self-treatment procedures and had received a truss. However, our client was still in constant pain and had never received any truss. He was still unable to eat, was no longer receiving pain medication, and was still not receiving any type of medical care.

The P&A, again, contacted the General Counsel of the Department of Corrections and informed that our client had never received a truss, was not receiving pain medication, was still unable to eat, and was still in constant pain. The P&A again requested that the Department of Corrections ensure that our client received his truss in addition to medical care for his hernia. After this contact, our client received a hernia belt and the Department of Correction submitted a referral to an outside provider for surgical repair for his hernia.

As a result of the P&A’s intervention, our client received necessary medical care, including a hernia belt and surgery to repair his hernia.

2. Provide representation to individuals seeking to enforce their federal and state rights regarding employment discrimination, housing discrimination, access to transportation, denial of public health benefits/health care (ie: TEFRA, Medicaid, Advantage Waiver), denial of access to private and public programs, discrimination in non-government and government benefits or services under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and architectural accessibility.

Need to Be Addressed: People with disabilities are subject to discrimination and are denied needed government and non-government services. Disability advocacy groups identify need to the P&A of their members with disabilities.

A description of the activities to be carried out: Investigate allegations of discrimination; Provide systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed to enforce federal and state laws; Provide information and advice to clients so they can engage in self-advocacy; Participate in task forces and advisory committees; Seek out disability advocacy groups to identify systemic issues that need to be identified and establish and/or maintain collaborative relationships; Provide training to clients, organizations and agencies on laws related to people related to people with disabilities.

Indicator used to determine successful outcome: Number of individuals who are no longer subject to discrimination based on their disability.

Collaboration: Long Term Care Ombudsman, Office of Disability Concerns, the Federally Funded Parent Training and Information Center (The Oklahoma Parents Center), the Client Assistance Program and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Our office receives referrals from these agencies and in some instances have collaborated or worked jointly on cases to assure our clients are not subject to discrimination based on their disability.

Number of cases handled: 9

Case example: This case involved funding from both PAIR and PAAT

The P&A was contacted by a military veteran who is totally blind about issues he was having with the Will Rogers Airport He told the P&A he was frequent flier, flying from Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City to destinations all over the country. He almost exclusively flys with American Airlines. He came to the P&A because he was not being accommodated regarding his need for help in navigating his way from curbside to the ticket counter of the airline he was flying. He told the P&A he had been trying to resolve the issue by himself for the past three years, to no avail. He said he had tried contacting the airport staff, American Airline Staff and even filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, all with no results.

Our client explained that about three years ago, all airlines (with the exception of Southwest) at Will Rogers World Airport (and most if not all mid-sized airports) pulled their curbside check-in. Persons in his situation (as well as others with different disabilities) were left to their own devices to try and make their way into the airport from the parking lot and then to the airline’s ticket counter. For the non-disabled traveler, this might seem a small problem; but for a traveler with significant disability, such as himself, the effort was impossible without assistance. He told us that even with his well-trained service animal, he had difficulty finding the proper door into the airport. Then trying to get his luggage, service animal and himself into the airport was overwhelming. Once in the airport, he was always was at the mercy of a good Samaritan (sometimes having to call out for help) to assist him to the appropriate counter.

The airport and the airlines (American Airlines) seemed to be passing the buck on who was responsible for assisting our client when he first came to our office. There was no “system” in place at all to respond to the needs of a disabled traveler from curbside. Our client was advised by the airport that he should call the ticket counter (which may or may not answer, or may or may not provide the assistance requested). American Airlines previously advised him that it takes no responsibility for provision of accommodations at curbside.

On December 13, 2017, Our office filed a grievance with the Oklahoma City Airport Trust regarding the discrimination our client was facing. In that grievance, we requested the following remedy: The Airport develop a system that would provide accommodations to blind passengers by both American Airlines and the Will Rogers World Airport which would assist the individuals from the drop off curb area to the ticket counter.

Below is a news article about the case (http://newsok.com/article/5578167)

Bob Allen has always been someone who can handle tough situations. He saw combat in Vietnam, ran a business and with the help of his guide dog, Shirley, gets around as good as anyone without sight could hope for.

But when Allen finds himself negotiating small- and mid-sized airports, like Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, he and Shirley often meet their match.

Allen travels frequently. When he flies with his wife, there are no problems. But when he takes a taxi or Uber to Will Rogers, things become more difficult. His preferred airline used to have staff available to get him from the curb to the checkout counter. But now, all but one carrier serving Oklahoma City no longer provide curbside assistance to handicapped and elderly passengers. As good as Shirley is, she has to work hard to find doors, and once inside, she doesn't know Southwest from United from American.

The curb to the counter might not sound like a wide gulf to navigate. “We're talking about 20 feet,” Allen said.

But if you're blind or elderly, that space can be a gaping chasm.

Allen has had to call out to strangers who might be near him for assistance getting to the counter. Once there, the airline provides staff to get him to the gate and onto the plane.

Allen has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation and has been working with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center which assisted him in filing a grievance with the Oklahoma City Airport Trust.

Will Rogers World Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said the airport is familiar with Allen's problems and will continue to try to work with him to resolve them.

It is a challenge,” Carney said.

Airlines at midsize airports like Will Rogers have cut staff and services, Carney said.

Airlines at Will Rogers contract with different companies for skycaps and wheelchair runners. That means there's no centralized system or number to call. And each airline has different training and requirements, Carney said.

Airport staff plan to renew their push for airlines to provide more clarity, and perhaps, more of their own staff to manage customers who have physical disabilities.

It's something we have had a lot of discussions about and we are committed to resolving it,” Carney said. “But it is a slow process.”

Carney said ultimately the bulk of the responsibility falls on the carriers.

"In our discussions with the airlines we remind them that the law requires them to provide assistance from the curbside to the gate," she said.

Signs providing disabled people with numbers to call for assistance were placed outside the terminal building in December, Carney said.

Allen has tried to work with airlines. He provided recorded calls to customer service representatives to The Oklahoman for this story that he said are indicative of his problem. Many are exercises in futility and circular arguments that get nowhere, he said. Airlines maintain it's the airport's responsibility to assist the passenger. The airport believes it's the airlines' job.

In a sense, the space from where Allen is dropped off to where he checks his bag is a no-man's-land.

“It gets very frustrating,” he said. “I think everyone kind of cares. But it's not an everyday problem for them.”

Before he flies, Allen calls the airline several days ahead of time to arrange for someone to meet him. It's noted on his reservation, but most of the time, the promised staff never appears.

In one of the calls, an American Airlines employee casually suggested Allen just have his taxi or Uber driver walk him to the counter, but it has long been forbidden for unattended vehicles to be left in front of airports.

“If they do that it's illegal,” Allen said. “No cab driver is going to do that.”

Open Doors, a nonprofit based in Chicago, works to ensure universal access to disabled travelers. Program director Katy Rosseland said Allen's problem is common.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of finger-pointing that goes on,” she said. “Does service start at the terminal or does it start at the parking garage? That's the question that seems to come up frequently. There is a clear service gap.”

Rosseland said while the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped improve access to transportation infrastructure in the United States, we still lag behind some other countries.

“I think Europe is more innovative than we are, especially with air travel. Everyone is involved in the airports and it is the airports that are responsible for providing services. It works better when everyone has a stake.”

There are 56.7 million people in the United States with disabilities, according to the 2010 census. Open Doors estimates disability travel generates more than $17 billion annually.

Of those who travel, 65 percent encounter obstacles at the airport, according to its study. But that number represents an improvement. A 2005 survey found 82 percent encountered problems.

“We are on the right path, but there is still a lot of room for improvement,” Rosseland said.

Oklahoma Disability Law Center attorney Gary Taylor assisted Allen in filing the grievance with the airport trust.

“Everyone seems to be saying they want to help, but nobody seems willing to say, 'We will fix it,' ” he said.

Taylor said the even the grievance process provides few assurances.

“I really don't know what the result would be,” he said. “Their rules say you need to file within 60 days of whatever it is you're complaining about. They will conduct an investigation and within 60 days of its conclusion they will send a report with their conclusions. I'm afraid that in our experience nobody will take it on.”

Taylor said Allen's problem falls under the purview of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He cited a current lawsuit filed by a man in Milwaukee against that city's airport.

“I don't think anyone questions whether or not the ADA covers it, but when confronted about what are you going to do about it, they're saying it's not their responsibility to comply,” Taylor said. “That's the airlines' response, and it's the airports' response. From what I can tell in the Milwaukee case it appears to be something similar to what is happening in OKC.”

The best long-term, permanent solution might be broader protections for the disabled that go beyond what the ADA already provides.

I think the solution is probably federal legislation that requires airports to do this or at least determines who the responsible party is. It's a little mushy when you go looking at who is responsible,” Taylor said.

Allen plans to continue to travel, but he would like the experience to be a little easier when he's going through small and medium-sized airports. There are times when he is pessimistic whether things will ever get better.

“It's not important enough for anyone but disabled people, therein lies the problem,” he said.

Then, he grows defiant.

“If we can make enough ruckus we can get something done,” he said.

On April 30, 2018, we received an answer to the grievance filed in December. We felt the answer we received contained many mischaracterizations of the issues contained in the original grievance. The answer advised the client, in part, that he could call the airline’s individual ticket counters and request assistance from the curb to the counter. The airport had placed the phone numbers for the ticket counters on their website. Our client tried looking on their website, which gave rise to a brand new issue-- that being the Will Rogers World Airport’s website was not accessible for screen readers.

On May 14, 2018, our office filed an appeal to the General Manager of the Oklahoma City Airport Trust. Our office re-articulated that our client’s initial request was very simple, for the Will Rogers World Airport and the Airlines who serve the Airport to put an effective system in place to provide assistance for him to be able to get from the passenger drop off curb to the Airline’s ticket counter. We explained that our client was hopeful that the Trust will take the steps necessary to ensure those accommodations are provided effectively.

In the appeal, we requested the following remedies:

1. That the Airport make the necessary changes in its website to assure that it is compliant with federal accessibility laws - specifically that it is accessible for use with screen readers,

2. That the Airport provide training to the Airline staff who work at the ticket counters or require all the Airlines to provide training to their employees on “Curbside Assistance” and that you provide him with copies of the agenda and training provided to the staff by either the Airport or by the Airlines, and

3. That the Airport publicize the system for requesting curbside assistance.

About two weeks later, an attorney for the Airport Trust reached out to the P&A. The attorney explained they had reached out to the airlines about possible training and to their web developer about issues with accessibility of their website.

On June 15, 2018, we received a response from the General Manager of the Airport Trust. The response offered to meet with the P&A and our client to see if we could work out a resolution to the issues. On June 26, staff from the P&A and our client met with the with the General Manager, an attorney for Oklahoma City, the ADA Coordinator for the airport and the Public Information and Marketing Manager.

At that meeting, our client brought his laptop and was able to show the airport staff the accessibility issues with their website. The airport staff had no idea. They had been told their website was “ADA compliant” by their web designers. They took immediate steps to call in a person from their IT department and had our client show the person the issues he was experiencing. They told our client they would reach out to their web designer and explain the issues. Our client was invited to attend the meeting(s) with the web designer so they could get his input as they worked to resolve the issues.

Also, during the meeting, the General Manager explained that the airport has monthly meetings with the airlines. The General Manger has been working with the station manager for each airline to discuss the need for training and consistency with regarding to providing accommodations to their passengers. They have had multiple calls with American Airlines and said they have added security guards from 6 am to 10 pm that have been advised to be watching for individuals who may need assistance.

Our client met with the airport staff and their web designers to assist them in designing a website accessible for screen readers.

As a result, of the P&A’s intervention, the Will Rogers World Airport website is now totally accessible for screen readers. The airport added a tab to its website titled “accessibility”. The tab takes people directly to the contact information for each airline where they can ask for assistance from the curb to the counter. Further, American Airline has reinstituted curbside assistance for all its passengers at the Will Rogers World Airport.

3. Provide representation to elementary, secondary and post-secondary students with disabilities who are subject to discrimination or reduced school day (less than 1/2 day).

Need to Be Addressed: Students with disabilities are subjected to discrimination, denied the right to go to school all day and are denied FAPE.

A description of the activities to be carried out: The P&A will seek out disability advocacy groups to identify systemic issues and establish and/or maintain collaborative relationships; Engage in systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed to address discrimination and reduced school day; Provide information and advice to clients so they can be empowered to engage in self-advocacy; Provide training to clients, organizations and agencies on laws related to students with disabilities.

Indicator used to determine successful outcome: Number of students who are no longer subject to discrimination or being denied a free appropriate public education.

Collaboration: Office of Disability Concerns, the Federally Funded Parent Training and Information Center (The Oklahoma Parents Center), the Client Assistance Program, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Our office receives referrals from these agencies, we have provided joint training on educational rights of students in some instances. We have also worked jointly on some cases to assure that our clients are not subject to discrimination and are being provided a free appropriate public education.

Number of cases handled: 4

Client is a 15-year-old 9th grade Native American student. His mother contacted our office following a two-day suspension for aggressive behavior, which the school staff believed was significant enough to call in the School Resource Officer to intervene.

Prior to this suspension, our client had some inappropriate behaviors at school which had not resulted in suspension. Periodically he would become agitated or cooperative. When he became agitated or uncooperative, school staff called his mother or father to speak with him on the telephone, which enabled him to calm down. His father had picked him up from school early, on occasion, because he was concerned the client’s behavior would escalate.

Our client’s parents had noticed a steady drop in grades and an increase in the number of calls they received as the school year progressed. His mother had requested the school conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and develop a positive behavior intervention plan (BIP) for the client. School staff verbally refused her request, stating they did not believe his behavior warranted a BIP.

We contacted the school about the parents’ concerns and attended an IEP meeting with the client’s parent to discuss the parents' concerns. The school continued to deny the client’s behavior had warranted intervention, prior to his suspension. However, they did inform his mother he had been sleeping through 1st period English class most of the 1st semester in school. Review of the client’s IEP suggested the school had become increasingly focused on the client’s behavior over time and had overlooked his academic challenges in reading and written expression. We requested the school conduct a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation, conduct an FBA, and assess the client’s need for Assistive Technology (AT).

ODLC staff attended another meeting to review the evaluation report, with the client's mother, following completion of the evaluations. Both the school's psycho-educational evaluation and FBA data collected suggested the client’s behaviors were related his building frustration with written assignments, reading demands, and failing grades.

As a result of the P&A’s intervention, client’s academic goals, contained the IEP, were revised based on current assessment data and present levels of academic performance. Accommodations and modifications to address weaknesses in reading and written expression were added to the IEP. The client’s placement was adjusted to include time in the resource room for academic assistance when needed. An appropriate BIP was written and added to the IEP and the school agreed to administer one of his medications at school, to prevent him from falling asleep in class.

Additionally, the school agreed the client was in need of assistive technology so they provided the client with an iPad loaded with educational application software to address his academic challenges in reading and written expression.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

1. Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in the community and in institutions such as in jails, prison, and nursing homes and schools.

Need to Be Addressed: Abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities in the community and in facilities.

A description of the activities to be carried out: Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect; Report allegations to licensing agencies and other appropriate agencies; Engage in systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed; Provide training to clients, organization and agencies on laws related to issues of abuse and neglect and our office’s authority regarding access to facilities and to investigate issues of abuse and neglect.

2. Provide representation to individuals seeking to enforce their federal and state rights regarding employment discrimination, housing discrimination, access to transportation, denial of public health benefits/health care (ie: TEFRA, Medicaid, Advantage Waiver), denial of access to private and public programs, discrimination in non-government and government benefits or services under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and architectural accessibility.

Need to Be Addressed: People with disabilities are subject to discrimination and are denied needed government and non-government services. Disability advocacy groups identify need to the P&A of their members with disabilities.

A description of the activities to be carried out: Investigate allegations of discrimination; Provide systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed to enforce federal and state laws; Provide information and advice to clients so they can engage in self-advocacy; Participate in task forces and advisory committees; Seek out disability advocacy groups to identify systemic issues that need to be identified and establish and/or maintain collaborative relationships; Collaborate with agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities such as the Long Term Care Ombudsman, Office of Disability Concerns, the Federally Funded Parent Training and Information Center (The Oklahoma Parents Center), the Client Assistance Program and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services; Provide training to clients, organizations and agencies on laws related to people related to people with disabilities.

3. Provide representation to elementary, secondary and post-secondary students with disabilities who are subject to discrimination or reduced school day (less than 1/2 day).

Need to Be Addressed: Students with disabilities are subjected to discrimination, denied the right to go to school all day and are denied FAPE.

A description of the activities to be carried out: The P&A will seek out disability advocacy groups to identify systemic issues and establish and/or maintain collaborative relationships; Engage in systemic advocacy or litigation and individual representation as needed to address discrimination and reduced school day; Provide information and advice to clients so they can be empowered to engage in self-advocacy; Provide training to clients, organizations and agencies on laws related to students with disabilities.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

Sources of funding for the PAIR program is the federal grant from RSA.

Description of PAIR staff:

Executive Director: responsible for implementing the policies of the Board of Directors and for managing the day-to-day activities of the program

Fiscal Director: responsible for implementing program requirements

Attorneys- responsible for rendition of legal services

Advocates - responsible for rendition of advocacy services under supervision of attorneys

Secretaries - responsible for support services to attorneys and advocates

Budget:

Category

Prior Fiscal Year

Current Fiscal Year

Wages/Salaries$84,756.56$93,725.00
Fringe Benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.)$12,633.00$11,357.00
Health Benefits$16,835.51$20,958.00
Sub-Total Salaries/Benefits:$114,225.07$126,040.00
Temporary Staffing$4,310.00$2,413.00
Materials/Supplies$6,048.16$6,072.00
Postage$552.00$704.00
Telephone$4,065.76$3,080.00
Rent$17,183.67$15,000.00
Local Travel/Mileage$4,856.22$3,534.00
Travel/Training$7,998.36$5,754.00
Copying$966.00$759.00
Bonding/Insurance$1,738.71$1,193.00
Equipment (rental/purchase)$4,002.00$2,750.00
Contract Services$6,484.50$3,108.00
Miscellaneous$5,597.55$7,243.00
Total$178,028.00$177,650.00
Direct Service Costs Subtotal:$146,797.53$143,619.00
Admin Costs Subtotal$31,230.47$34,031.00
Total Budget$178,028.00$177,650.00

Grievances: There were no grievances filed under the P&A written grievance procedure, which is posted on websites of the P&A and distributed to individual clients.

Coordination:

1. The P&A coordinates its activities with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) by accepting referrals from the Office of Disability Concerns when those matters are not covered within the CAP responsibility and by participating jointly on systemic projects.

2. The P&A and the Long Term Care Ombudsman entered into a Memorandum of Agreement on August 8, 2018 (see language of the MOA below). The P&A coordinates with the State long-term care program by accepting referrals from the Ombudsman and by sending referrals to the Ombudsman. At this time, these are the types of referrals the Long Term Care Ombudsman will be making to the P&A:

Abusive Guardianship Cases

Inappropriate Discharge from facility (dumping in hospitals)

Individuals who want to live outside the facility and believe the can do so if provided necessary supports and services (Olmstead issues)

Cases where the facility, as representative payee, is mishandling the individual’s SSA funds

Individuals needing assistance obtaining assistive technology devices or services

Individuals who are receiving SSA benefits and want to work

Further, the P&A works with staff from the Ombudsman’s office on the Emergency Management (FAST) trainings.

3. Oklahoma Department of Human Services. On May 17, 2018, ODLC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to receive reports of injury or death of adults or children from the following DHS offices:

Long-term care Ombudsman serves residents in all of Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living and similar adult care homes. An ombudsman helps improve the quality of life and the quality of care available to long term care facility residents (all Oklahoma Nursing Homes)

Adult Protective Services - Investigates abuse/neglect/exploitation of Oklahoma vulnerable adults

Child Death Review Board- Conduct a specific case review of those cases in Oklahoma where the cause of death or near death is or may be related to abuse or neglect of a child;

Office of Client Advocacy - Internal DHS office that conducts investigations and maintains grievance programs to promote client safety and independence and the delivery of OKDHS programs and services

Child Protective Services - Investigates child abuse and neglect (children in foster care, state custody, group homes)

Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) serves persons ages 3 and up who have a primary diagnosis of intellectual disabilities. Persons served may also have other developmental disabilities in addition to intellectual disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, etc.

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

Between Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Oklahoma Disability Law Center Protection & Advocacy Services

I. Parties

Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (Ombudsman) is the program having jurisdiction, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3058 and 660.600 RSMo, to handle complaints of persons residing in long-term care facilities, and administrative acts or omissions of agencies providing benefits , entitlements or services.

Oklahoma Disability Law Center (P&A) is the Protection and Advocacy System for the State of Oklahoma designated by the Governor to provide protection and advocacy services to people with disabilities, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 6041 et seq., 42 U.S.C § l 0801 et seq., 29 U.S.C. § 794(e), 29 U.S.C. § 732, and 29 U.S.C . § 2201 et seq.

II. Referral of Cases

When P&A receives requests for services from potential clients who reside in a long-term care facility, P&A will refer the person to the Ombudsman Program. If the person is eligible for P&A services, P&A will also provide information and consultation to the Ombudsman Program on issues related to the person's disability. In selected cases that 1) fall within P&A case priorities, and 2) have potential for great impact on the service delivery system, P&A and the Ombudsman may jointly represent the person.

When the Ombudsman Program receives requests for services from a person who has a disability, whose need for services meets P&A case acceptance criteria, the Ombudsman will refer the person to P&A. If the person is a resident of a long-term care facility, the Ombudsman will provide consultation and information to P&A on issues relating to the long-term care facility

III. Training and Consultation

Both the Ombudsman and the P&Awill provide training to staff of the other party, when requested. Both parties will participate in conferences and public awareness events of the other party as mutually agreed. Each party will provide consultation and advice on issues within the expertise of the agency as requested by the other. Both parties will fully cooperate to ensure that clients who are eligible for services from both parties receive quality representation and will provide technical assistance to each other to insure such responsibilities.

IV. Disclosure of Client Information

Both parties will share information and records of clients referred to the other program. However, all disclosure of records shall comply with applicable disclosure laws and regulations and when such records are disclosed personally identifiable information will be held in confidence and will not be disclosed to other parties. Both parties shall ensure that the identity of any complainant or resident is not disclosed without the written or verbal consent of such resident, their legal representative or by order of a Court of Jurisdiction.

V. Systemic Issues

Both Parties will consult and cooperate in addressing systemic issues which concern elders and people with disabilities. Such issues shall include but not be limited to: State and federal agency policies, rules and regulations, proposed legislation, reports and recommendation of commissions, task forces, executive agencies and industry policies and practices. Whenever practical and mutually beneficial to people with disabilities and elders who are most socially and economically vulnerable, the parties will engage in joint planning, collaboration and advocacy on systemic issues.

VI. Exchange of Agency Plans, Goals, Reports and Priorities

Each party will provide the other with: copies of their annual plans, their agency goals and objectives, priorities and criteria for acceptance of cases, and annual reports. Each will also provide the other with any proposed changes to any of the above documents for comment and copies of any changes adopted.

VII Amendments, Termination and effective Date

The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, or their designee, will meet once each year to review this agreement and decide whether amendments are needed and mutually agreed upon. This agreement shall be effective on and after the last date of signature below.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByMelissa Sublett
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date11/06/2018