The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

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Meeting Minutes

Virginia Brain Injury Council

January 2006
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Nancy Bullock Virginia Department of Health
Sherry Confer Virginia Office for Protection & Advocacy
Tom Dashiell Family Member
Dane DeMoss Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
Katherine Lawson Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
Treven Pickett McGuire Veterans Admin. Medical Center
Gwen Smith Virginia Department of Education

Kristie Chamberlain, Department of Rehabilitative Services

Paul Beverly Survivor, Richmond, VA
Janet Brooking Drive Smart Virginia
Marylin Copeland Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Joann Mancuso Commonwealth Support Systems
Fran Rooker Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia
Jason Young Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers

The meeting was called to order at 1:07 p.m.; introductions of members followed.

Public Comment:
Janet Brooking from Drive Smart Virginia, asked the Council to assist efforts to fight the repeal of the Motorcycle Helmet Law. She offered to provide information to Council members and asked for the members attend committee meetings if possible. A motion was made and seconded that the Council write a letter to the committee members voicing their desire that the law not be repealed. The motion passed unanimously.

Minutes of the October 28, 2005 meeting were approved.

Department of Rehabilitative Services, Commissioner Rothrock’s Remarks:
• The Commissioner thanked the Council members for coming. He also presented Certificates of Appreciation to Dr. Paul Aravich and Anne McDonnell for their service as Chair and Secretary.

• Commissioner Rothrock informed the Council that House Appropriation and Senate Finance staff has requested information about this Council because of the budget amendment that seeks to require DRS to consider the recommendations of the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC) in funding allocations. He stated that although there had been times the influence of the VBIC had ebbed, he felt the council was moving forward and invited those in attendance to work with DRS to help craft how services are delivered in the future. He felt the need for the Council is great, and would like to see it grow as healthy and vibrant as the CIL and ESO advisory groups and be recognized as a significant partner to policymakers and agencies. He challenged the VBIC to identify micro and macro issues relative to Virginia’s response to persons with brain injury, to focus on needs assessment, programming, outcomes, overall impact, and to develop a logical and rational method to make recommendations on how new funds will be allocated.

• The Commissioner stated DRS is working to make sure it does a better job of informing the public about how their money is being spent. He mentioned the DRS brain injury data and program outcomes initiatives, and stated more information will be forthcoming as the process develops further.

• He challenged the VBIC to prepare itself to address substantive policy issues. He feels Governor Kaine, who understands our issues and knows more about BI services than previous governors, will turn to the VBIC with tough questions and want tough answers.

• Pat Wilkins asked about the responsibility of the CIL’s to serve persons with BI; she feels there is very little rapport and interaction with and support for the BI community relative to her local CIL. The Commissioner stated the CIL’s are locally owned and operated consumer directed community based programs are required to have core services – peer counseling, independent living training, systems advocacy and I&R - and the Board of Directors of each CIL is charged with responding to the needs of their local community and can decide on which of those 4 core services they want to focus; he added Congress may include transition from institutional care to community living as another core service. Commissioner Rothrock stated DRS oversight focuses on core services and is not empowered to do a qualitative assessment. He stated in the early 90’s, the CIL’s got some staff training funds to make them more aware of what BI issues were and improve their ability to respond to those issues, but the CIL’s sees themselves as general disability service providers. Robert Demichelis stated the BI community has been addressing this for decades, but the CIL’s require those they serve be able to self-advocate which is a problem for some survivors. The Commissioner asked staff support to the Council, Kristie Chamberlain and Patti Goodall to talk to Theresa Preda in DRS and ask her to add BI programming into the CIL conference agenda, and to invite someone from the SILC to come to the July meeting.

• He suggested the VBIC look at its own educational needs, and suggested topics such as the history of CIL movement, what the service providers on the council do and new developments relative to medical treatment of brain injury. Paul suggested 30 minutes be put aside at every meeting for an educational component, and members inform Kristie Chamberlain if there’s particular educational item in which they are interested .

• The Commissioner and Patti are addressing the attendance of other state agency staff; letters will be sent asking them to re-commit to their service to the Council after a review of the Council’s makeup is completed.

• The question as to how VBIC can facilitate Department of Education’s dissemination of the Educator’s Guide was raised. A motion was made and seconded for VBIC to write a letter to the Commissioner expressing our concern over the lack of follow-through on this matter and asking him to contact DOE and advocate on behalf of students and family. The motion passed unanimously.

• The Commissioner feels pursuing codification will increase the stature of the VBIC and may decrease the ease with which we operate, but it needs to wait until next year as questions such as how appointments will be made needs to be addressed; previously, Council members were appointed by the commissioner. As it currently serves as the advisory body to DRS for the federal grant its continuation needs to be ensured as we can’t receive federal TBI Act grant funds without a council. Patti mentioned there is a strong possibility DRS would receive additional staff support for the BI/SCI division as a result.

Recap of meeting between the DRS Commissioner, VBIC Chair and Secretary:

• DRS had previously provided staffing for the Council and the Commissioner was asked if it was something that could be re-visited. Commissioner Rothrock felt it was appropriate and designated Kristie Chamberlain as the DRS staff person; Kristie will take care of setting up the meeting times and agenda, making copies and setting up the room for the meeting; she will also serve as a resource for Council activities and as a liaison between the VBIC and the Commissioner and assist with some VBIC communications. The VBIC Secretary will continue to be responsible for the meeting minutes. He encouraged the Chair to seek regular meetings with DRS staff

• The issue of codifying the VBIC within the Code of Virginia was discussed. The Commissioner stated such legislation would increase the stature of the VBIC and ensure its continuation but it may decrease the ease with which we operate. He suggested we begin studying the issue and wait until next year if we decide to pursue it.

• The Commissioner stated he felt the distinct