The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

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Meeting Minutes

Virginia Brain Injury Council

January 28, 2005
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Meeting Minutes
January 28, 2005

The January 28, 2005 meeting was called to order by Dr. Paul Aravich, the chair of the VBIC, at 1:20;

Members in Attendance:

Ptti Goodall, Anne McDonnell, Karen Brown, Pat Wilkins, Fran Rooker, David Walsh, Paul Aravich, Sherry Confer, Harry Weinstock, Julie Moon, Donna Broshek

Absent Members:

Nancy Bullock, Nathan Zasler, Christian Rubio-Cespedes, Robert Demichelis, Paul Blais, Joann Mancuso, Wallace Satchell, Dane DeMoss, Paul Sharp, Laura Taylor.

Visitors included
Liz Smith, Helen Butler, Jason Young, Lorraine Justice, Christine Baggini, Leigh Wion, Susan Rudolph, Patti Thompson.

Public Comment Period:

Jason Young, chair of the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VABISP), asked to comment on the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for the new money appropriated for this fiscal year by the General Assembly. The VABISP is concerned about not having the opportunity to provide input into the decision as to who the money would be awarded to, the delay in getting the RFP process started, and how any how remaining funds will be spent. He stated that the VABISP is seeking a more pro-active, collaborative process with DRS, and would like VBIC to make a recommendation to Commissioner Rothrock that DRS and the VABISP work more collaboratively, and that adding a new staff position to assist with managing the BI program be considered. Ms. Goodall mentioned that Commissioner Rothrock would be attending the VBIC meeting, and the consensus of the group was to table action until Commissioner arrived.

DRS State Plan Public Hearing:

Elizabeth Smith, DRS Director of Policy and Planning attended the meeting to provide members of the VBIC an opportunity to provide comment on the DRS State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment. Ms. Smith stated that this particular hearing is only concerned with Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment programs administered by DRS. Feedback obtained from participants will be used to update DRS’ State Plan that is submitted to the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration. Comments from council members included:
• Improved outreach to professionals to address knowledge gaps relative to awareness of continuum of available services.
• Improve utilization of resources and reallocation of money to provide services.
• Better training for counselors re: follow-up, how to work with individuals with brain injuries.
• Create committee to investigate outcomes relative to employment successes, best practice models, investigate innovative strategies, etc.

The results of the 2005 Public Hearings will be posted on the DRS website at once the Plan has been approved by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Questions regarding these comments or the State Plan should be addressed to: Elizabeth E. Smith, Policy and Planning Director, at or 1-800-552-5019.

Following the conclusion of the Public Hearing, and with Commissioner Rothrock in attendance, Mr. Young was asked by the Chair to reiterate the concerns he expressed during the public comment period of the meeting. Mr. Young stated the concerns expressed by the VABISP and its desire to have more input into the decision-making processes that affect brain injury services and service providers (particularly in regard to the RFP processes related to disbursement of the recent General Assembly appropriation for brain injury services). He stated a desire for proactive communication between DRS and VABISP and a more collaborative relationship. Commissioner Rothrock stated that the decision regarding the use of the balance of FY ’05 state fund appropriation had been shared with and approved by GA representatives as well as by Secretary Woods: of the $75,000 remaining after the last contract award, $25,000 will be used by DRS to develop a program outcomes measurement system for state-funded brain injury service providers and $50,000 will be used for service initiatives that were at risk. He clarified that this was a one-time infusion of money that must be spent by the end of the fiscal year. Following up on Mr. Young’s other comments, Dr. Aravich asked the Commissioner how the Alliance could have more input and collaboration with DRS. Mr. Rothrock stated that it was his impression that this was one of the most collaborative efforts this community had experienced with DRS, and he was “dumbfounded” by the implication that decisions were made in a vacuum. Dr. Aravich then asked the group for specific suggestions as to what was being sought. Mr. Young suggested that a member of the VABISP be included on future RFP review panels. Fran Rooker suggested that there is a need for more staff to help DRS BI/SCI Unit.

Commissioner Rothrock suggested that VABISP and VBIC come up with a 10-year Action Plan with costs. Anne McDonnell reminded the group that there has already been preliminary discussion about revising the State Action Plan; feedback from constituents statewide will be sought through town meetings. Dr. Aravich suggested a joint meeting between DRS, VABISP and VBIC to discuss the plan to update Virginia’s Brain Injury Action plan.

The Commissioner provided a few additional updates:
• The IRS is presenting information on tax credits and benefits available to qualifying taxpayers with disabilities.
• March 25th is the 20th anniversary of the Virginians with Disabilities Act. A commemorative resolution and a celebratory event are being planned for June 2005; more details will be forthcoming as they are confirmed. As part of the recognition of this legislation, there has been some discussion of the creation of some type of disability issues “position paper” that will be provided to candidates for statewide office.

Finally, the Commissioner congratulated the VABISP and the brain injury community on its legislative successes over the last two years. He stated he feels they are poised for continued significant success and could have a national model for a statewide network of brain injury services.

Old Business:
1. Neurobehavioral Committee: has not held a meeting. Karen Brown asked that she be included on the committee

2. Nominating Committee:
• Election of new members: slate of three nominees (Gary Chiaverotti, Page Melton, Carole Norton) approved.
• Recommendation of committee for entire council to vote on remaining two nominees was rejected.
• Motion to empanel a new Nominating Committee to present slate of two nominees for April meeting was passed
• Suggestion was made that new Committee consist of all new members. There was a discussion as to the appropriateness of non-voting members serving on the Nominating Committee; the consensus of the group was that it was not appropriate for non-voting members to serve on a voting committee.
• Volunteers for Nominating Committee were Pat Wilkins, Paul Aravich, Harry Weinstock, Donna Broshek and Nathan Zasler; motion to accept these Nominating Committee members was passed.

3. Legislative Update:

Anne McDonnell stated that a legislative breakfast reception will be held Monday at the General Assembly building in 5th floor West Co