RSA-722: Annual Report on Appeals Process for Connecticut 2011

I. Mediation

A. Request for Mediation

1. Pending requests for mediation, October 1 (carryover from prior fiscal year)0
2. New requests for mediation, October 10
3. Total requests for mediation this fiscal year0

B. Disputes Resolved during Mediation Process

1. Disputes settled prior to the development of a written agreement0
2. Disputes resulting in a written mediation agreement0
3. Total disputes resolved during mediation process0
4. Disputes not resolved during mediation process0

C. Mediation Request Carried Over

1. Mediation requests pending resolution, September 300

II. Impartial hearing process

A. Requests for Impartial Hearings

1. Pending Impartial hearing requests, October 10
2. New requests for impartial hearings since October 10
3. Total requests for impartial hearings this fiscal year0
4. Number from Line II.A3 which had also been through the mediation process this fiscal year0

B. Disputes Resolved during Impartial Hearing Process

1. Disputes resolved without IHO decision0
2. IHO decisions favoring the individual0
3. IHO decisions favoring the agency0
4. Total IHO decisions0
5. Total disputes resolved during impartial hearing process0
6. Disputes not resolved during impartial hearing process0

C. Impartial Hearing Requests Carried Over

1. Impartial hearing requests pending, September 300

III. Review of IHO decisions

Has your agency established a process for review of IHO decisions? N

A. Requests for Review of IHO Decisions:

1. Requests for review of IHO decisions in process, October 10
2. New requests for review of IHO decisions since October 10
3. Total requests for review of IHO decisions this fiscal year0

B. Reviews of IHO Decisions Completed

1. IHO decisions favoring the individual sustained0
2. IHO decisions favoring the individual reversed0
3. IHO decisions favoring the agency sustained0
4. IHO decisions favoring the agency reversed0
5. Total reviews of IHO decisions completed0
6. IHO decisions not reviewed0

C. Reviews of IHO Carried Over

1. Reviews of IHO decisions pending, September 300

IV. Civil actions

A. Civil Actions Filed

1. Civil actions pending, October 10
2. New civil actions filed this fiscal year0
3. Total civil actions this fiscal year0

B. Civil Actions Resolved

1. Civil actions resolved in individual favor (sustaining final administrative decision)0
2. Civil actions resolved in individual favor (reversing final administrative decision)0
3. Civil actions resolved in agency favor (sustaining final administrative decision)0
4. Civil actions resolved in agency favor (reversing final administrative decision)0
5. Total civil actions resolved0
6. Civil actions not resolved0

C. Civil Actions Carried Over

1. Civil actions pending, September 300

V. Types of complaints/issues involved in disputes

Type Mediation
Impartial Hearings
Reviews of IHO Decisions
Civil Actions
1. Applicant eligibility for VR 0 0 0 0
2. Nature/contents/scope of IPE 0 0 0 0
3. Quality of counseling services 0 0 0 0
4. Delivery/quality of other VR services 0 0 0 0
5. Cost of services 0 0 0 0
6. Termination of services/service record closure 0 0 0 0
7. All other complaints/issues 0 0 0 0

Certification

Approved

Last NameWarzecha
First NameJill
Phone Number860-602-4029
Signed?Yes
Signed Date11/03/2011

Jill B. Warzecha E-mail address: jill.warzecha@ct.gov

VI. DESCRIPTION OF DUE PROCESS PROCEDURES (See instructions)

CT DoRS-BESB Program Vocational Rehabilitation Policy Manual (excerpt) Section 10 —Review of Rehabilitation Counselor Determinations Policy

An applicant or eligible individual who is dissatisfied with any determinations made by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor concerning the furnishing or denial of services, may request a timely review of those determinations.

The client must make a written request for a review of the decision that was made by the Rehabilitation Counselor, and state in the written request the nature of the matters to be addressed in the review. The Agency may not institute a suspension, reduction, or termination of services being provided under an Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) pending a review, unless the individual or in appropriate cases, the individual’s representative, so requests, or the Agency has evidence that services have been obtained through misrepresentation, fraud, collusion or criminal conduct on the part of the individual.

A) Review Options

1. Informal Resolution:

A client may seek an informal review of a Rehabilitation Counselor decision by sending a written request to the Executive Director of the agency. This review will be conducted within forty-five days of receipt of the written request for such a review. The purpose of an informal review is to offer clients of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program an option for timely resolution of disputed decisions. However, the option to conduct an informal review in place of a hearing by an impartial hearing officer may not be used as a means of delaying a more formal hearing. If informal resolution is not successful in the case of an individual who has made a written request for a hearing by an informal hearing officer, the formal hearing must be conducted by the end of this same period, unless the parties jointly agree to a delay.

2. Mediation:

Mediation is an informal, voluntary dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the disputing parties to reach an agreement. The mediator has no power to impose a decision on the parties. The Agency will maintain a pool of mediators who are familiar with the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, and who will be available to conduct mediation sessions. Clients who request a fair hearing must be informed that they also have the opportunity to request mediation as an option for resolution. However, the parties will enter mediation only if both the client and the Agency agree to mediation. Conversations that take place during the mediation process must be kept confidential. Anything that is said during the mediation process that would not otherwise be known cannot be used as evidence in any future hearings or civil proceedings. The parties to the mediation process may be required to sign a confidentiality statement prior to the commencement of such process. The Agency will bear the cost of the mediation process.

Each session in the mediation shall be scheduled in a timely manner, within forty-five days of the date of the written request from the client, and shall be held in a location that is convenient to both parties in the dispute. Any agreement reached by the parties to the dispute in the mediation process shall be set forth in written mediation agreement. The Vocational Rehabilitation Division shall not deny any other rights afforded to the individual under Title I of the Act as a result of a request to participate in the mediation process, or during mediation.

3. Formal Hearing Procedures:

A hearing by an impartial hearing officer must be held within forty-five days of the receipt of the written request for such a review, unless informal resolution was achieved prior to the expiration of the time period or the parties jointly agree to a delay.

The individual or, if appropriate, the individual’s representative shall be afforded an opportunity to present evidence, information, and witnesses to the impartial hearing officer, to be represented by counsel or other appropriate advocate, and to examine all witnesses and other relevant sources of information and evidence.

The impartial hearing officer shall make a decision based on the provisions of the approved State Plan, the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, and federal and state vocational rehabilitation regulations and policies. The impartial hearing officer shall provide a full written report of the findings and grounds for the decision within thirty days of the hearing to the individual or, if appropriate, the individual’s representative and to the Executive Director. The decision of the impartial hearing officer shall be final.

4. Appeal:

Any party aggrieved by a final decision of the impartial hearing officer may bring a civil action for a review of the decision. The action may be brought to any state court of competent jurisdiction, or in a district court of the United States of competent jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy.

B) Selection of Impartial Hearing Officers or Mediators

The impartial hearing officer or a mediator for a particular case must be selected:

(1) From among the pool of persons qualified to be an impartial hearing officer or mediator who are identified jointly by the Agency and the State Rehabilitation Council; and

(2) (A) on a random basis; or

(B) by agreement between the Executive Director and the individual or, if appropriate, the individual’s representative. A hearing officer or mediator may not be selected to participate in more than one review for the same individual.

C) Informing Affected Individuals

The Agency shall inform, through appropriate formats of communication, all applicants and eligible individuals of:

(1) the right to an informal review, mediation, or hearing by an impartial hearing officer, including the names and addresses of individuals with whom appeals may be filed or mediations established;

(2) the manner in which an impartial hearing officer or mediator will be selected;

(3) the right to appeal a final decision of the impartial hearing officer through a civil action that may be brought to any state court of competent jurisdiction, or to a district court of the United States of competent jurisdiction without regard to the amount in controversy;

(4) the availability of assistance through the Client Assistance Program, including the contact persons, address and telephone numbers.

Such notification will be provided in written format to the individual at the time that application is made for vocational rehabilitation services, at the time of development of the Individualized Plan of Employment, and upon reduction, suspension or cessation of vocational rehabilitation services.

VII. FINAL IHO AND REVIEW DECISIONS (See instructions) Not Applicable