Minutes — May 2017 Council Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Lisa Akers-Owen, HHSC/Older Americans Act
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Paula Brunson, TWC/Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Rachel Jew, DSHS/Maternal — Child Health
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Amy Sharp, TCDS
  • Jami Snyder, HHSC/Medicaid
  • Meagan Sumbera, A&M — CDD
  • Lora Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Rick Tisch

Council Members Absent

  • Kristine Clark
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Mary Faithfull, DRTX
  • Ruth Mason
  • Dana Perry
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Ron Roberts, TEA/IDEA
  • David Taylor

Guests Present

  • Chris Botello
  • Isabel Evans
  • Brooke Hohfield
  • Annessa Lewis
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Nina Zuna — TCDS

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Wendy Jones
  • Danny Fikac
  • Radames Fuentes
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, May 5, 2017, in the San Gabriel Ballroom of the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel & Conference Center, 1101 Woodlawn Avenue, Georgetown, TX 78628. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:06 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests were introduced. It was noted that Paula Brunson was present as a representative from Texas Workforce Commission/Vocational Rehabilitation Act but is not a voting member.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Consent Items
    Chair Durheim reviewed consent items including the minutes from the February 10, 2017, Council meeting and February 9, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Kristine Clark; Mateo Delgado; Mary Faithfull, Disability Rights Texas; Ruth Mason; Dana Perry; Brandon Pharris; Ron Roberts, Texas Education Agency (TEA); and David Taylor.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the February 10, 2017 Council meeting and February 9, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Rick Tisch
    The motion passed unanimously. Chair Durheim stressed the importance of attendance to maintain quorum.

  4. Chair and Executive Director’s Report
    Chair Durheim reported that Kristen Cox will be serving on the Public Policy Committee following her term as Council Vice-Chair.

    Durheim reported that membership vacancies and expired terms have not been addressed with the Governor’s Appointments Office. She noted that appointments requiring Senate approval take priority during the legislative session. She also noted that staff from the Governor’s office have indicated that many applications to serve on the Council do not actually meet membership requirements.

    Durheim introduced Nina Zuna and Jami Snyder who was recently appointed as the alternate representative from the Texas Center for Disability Studies. Zuna has attended orientation and is therefore eligible to vote.

    Executive Director Beth Stalvey introduced Radames Fuentes who began employment as a TCDD Grants Management Specialist in late April. Stalvey also recognized TCDD Executive Assistant Koren Vogel for 15 years of service with the agency.

    Stalvey reported the Partners in Policymaking project has closed the application period on May 1, 2017 with 145 applications received. 35 participants and 10 alternates will be selected from this application pool. The project staff will first conduct a technical review of the applications. An independent review panel will then narrow the applications by determining “yes”, “no” or “alternate potential” for each applicant. Then a team of TCDD staff and project staff will make the final selections. Classes will begin in August.

    Stalvey reviewed a list of upcoming conferences and events in which she, staff, and Council members will participate in the upcoming quarter. The Disability Leadership Institute will take place in Houston on May 8-12, 2017. Council member Scott McAvoy has indicated that he is attending this event. Stalvey will participate as o a mentor in the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) new executive director orientation in Washington, DC on May 15-16, 2017 which provides additional opportunities to learn about changes to federal reporting requirements. Stalvey will participate in the American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry and TCDD will likely have an exhibit booth at the conference in Houston on June 2-4, 2017. Stalvey has also been invited to participate in a Spark Initiative Conversation on Informed and Supported Decision Making. This is an NACDD partnership event with Optum that takes place in Minneapolis, MN on June 20-21, 2017. Stalvey and Planning Director Joanna Cordry will attend the NACDD Conference and Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) workshop in Salt Lake City on July 11-14, 2017. Council Vice-Chair John Thomas and Kristen Cox will also attend the NACDD conference. It was also noted that two TCDD grantees will present their projects at this conference. Stalvey will also participate in the closing panel of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities — Texas Chapter (AAIDD-TX) convention in Houston on July 28, 2017. TCDD will also have an exhibit booth at this event.

    Stalvey, Durheim, Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez and Grants Management Specialist Wendy Jones recently attended the final graduation for Project Hire in Edinburg, TX. Participants expressed a deep appreciation for TCDD funding and are looking for ways to continue the project’s activities through other funding.

  5. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussion of future grant activities to implement the state plan. The first executive summary discussed was Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training. This project would be for self-advocate groups and would be targeted to rural and underserved areas. It was also noted that additional funding may be needed if the project manager is a person with an intellectual, developmental or other disability and additional funding was designated for accommodations that an organization may not be able to afford.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of funding of up to $75,000 for up to five years, for one Local Leadership and Advocacy Training project to be implemented by a local self-advocacy organization, to include the possibility of receiving additional funds up to $25,000 to provide reasonable accommodations to Project Directors or Project Coordinators who have a developmental disability if they are necessary and exceed the amount the group can afford.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee. (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cortez then reported on discussions of the executive summary for Developmental Disabilities Network Partners Collaborative on the impact of Medicaid Services and Supports. TCDD would collaborate with Disability Rights Texas, Texas Center for Disability Studies, and Texas A&M Center on Disability & Development to obtain personal stories from individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members on the ways Medicaid services support them in their daily lives. These stories would be used to inform state and federal policy makers as well as the public about the ways changes to the Medicaid program would impact people with developmental disabilities.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of no more than $50,000 for one year, to support the DD Network Partners to gather personal stories from individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members on the impact of Medicaid services.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee. (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed without opposition. Amy Sharp and Meagan Sumbera abstained from voting.

    Cortez next discussed the Future Funding Priorities document and noted that following the discussion of new executive summaries, it was agreed that the new projects would take funding priority over existing approved projects.

    MOTION: To prioritize TCDD projects approved for funding in the following order:

    1. DD Network Partners Collaborative: Impact of Medicaid Services and Supports
    2. Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training
    3. Peer Support Specialists for Person Directed Planning
    4. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Projects
    5. DD Network Partners Collaborative: Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making

    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee. (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

  6. Service and Support Animals
    Planning Director Cordry gave a presentation on the differences between service animals, emotional support animals and therapy animals. Members received information on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections for service animals which limited to dogs or miniature horses. The ADA does not offer protection for emotional support or therapy animals. The ADA allows service animals into business and other establishments provided the animal does not cause a disruption. Business owners are only allowed to inquire 1) if the animal provides a service for a person with a disability and 2) what service the animal provides.

    Chair Durheim added that per Texas Association of School Board policy, service animals in schools can only be dogs and not miniature horses.

  7. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    Executive Director Stalvey briefly discussed the document on “Disconnected Youth” which is defined as individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed. The document provides data on different regions of Texas, race/ethnicity, and disabilities. Council members conducted separate discussions in the Public Policy and Project Development Committees. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor did not have further discussion.

    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported that the Committee discussion turned to employment barriers that youth are faced with. She noted that Paula Brunson from Texas Workforce Committee described several programs and the acronyms representing those programs that were unfamiliar to many members. She reasoned that if Council members were unfamiliar with the programs it was likely that the general public would also be unfamiliar. Brunson discussed Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWIC) and Subject Matter Utilization Resource Facilitators (SMURF) who are trained to assist individuals with disabilities who wish to work but still maintain Social Security and Medicaid benefits. Members were reminded of the TCDD project from the National Disability Institute on Understanding Employment Options and Supports which provides training on these topics.

    Stalvey also reported on staff activities related to addressing disproportionalities and disparities. She noted that representatives from each of the Texas DD Network Partners will be attending the Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competency sponsored by Georgetown University in June 2017. Prior to the institute there is a significant amount of training that includes webinars, analysis, and writing assignments as well as state team meetings to discuss how disparities are addressed. Planning Director Cordry will also attend a separate session of the same institute as part of the NACDD board.

  8. Presentation: Texas Advocates
    Grants Management Specialist Wendy Jones introduced members from Texas Advocates who discussed their Self-Advocate Grassroots Community Organizing project. Project Coordinator Brooke Hohfield, Annessa Lewis and Chis Botello reported that transportation, affordable housing and availability community activities were the priorities among community groups. Texas Advocates partners with organizations such as the Arc of the Capital Area and the Austin Resource Center for Independent Living (ARCIL). They are working with Cap Metro to make sure bus stops are accessible and increase the availability of MetroAccess — the paratransit program. They have also addressed issues such as the weight of bathroom doors at Austin City Hall which was corrected.

  9. Communications and Marketing Activities Report
    Communications Director Joshua Ryf provided updates on communications activities from the past quarter. He discussed social media campaigns related to the 85th Texas Legislature which reported on hearings and bill filings for legislation that would impact people with disabilities. He also reviewed the bill summaries that were featured on the TCDD website.

    Ryf reviewed highlights of the #SideBySideTexas social media campaign in March including Council member involvement. He noted a new partner for 2017 was the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities who assisted in obtaining a proclamation from Governor Abbott’s office on DD Awareness Month.

    Ryf reviewed various activities taking place from May through July and reminded members to share ideas, promote funding opportunities, recruit Council members, and encourage others to connect with TCDD via email and social media.

  10. Executive Committee Report
    Chair Durheim reported continuation grant funding that was awarded during the Executive Committee meeting to:

    • Texas Statewide Independent Living Council (Accessible Transportation Summits)
    • Region 17 Education Service Center (Family Involvement in Schools)
    • Family to Family Network (Leadership Development and Advocacy Training)
    • National Disability Institute (Understanding Employment Options and Supports)

    Seven event stipends and two speaker stipends were awarded this quarter.

    The Committee approved 15 new individuals to the pool of potential Independent Review Panel members.

    Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the quarterly financial reports and noted that administrative expenses for FY 2017 are on track for year-to-date expenditures.

    The Executive Committee members did not express any concerns with the agency financial reports.

    The Committee reviewed Conflict of Interest disclosures and no concerns were noted.

  11. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussion of projects planned to implement state plan activities. She noted that the Committee focused on ways to address State Plan Goal 3.4 “Support self-advocates and family members to participate in cross-disability, culturally diverse leadership coalitions each year.

  12. Public Policy Committee Report
    Public Policy Committee Chair Taylor reported on members’ discussion of state and federal policy activities. They discussed HHSC efforts to include people with disabilities on state boards and advisory groups. The Committee also discussed the American Healthcare Act, Medicaid Block Grants, Meaningful Day Activities, and Medically Dependent Children’s Program eligibility.

  13. State Agency Representatives Quarterly Activities Report
    Texas Center for Disability Services (TCDS) representative Amy Sharp reported on a University of Texas Graduate Degree program and the possibility of an undergraduate minor program in the area of Disability Studies. TCDS has added seven significant projects and has three additional applications for projects pending. She also reported that the Texas Office for Healthy Children (formerly Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities) will now be administratively linked TCDS and there will be evaluation of programs from that office to determine future activities.

    A&M CDD alternate representative Meagan Sumbera reported the recent graduation of 34 students from the Bridge to Career in Human Service program bringing the total to more than 100 graduates.

    HHSC/Medicaid representative Jami Snyder reported on the enrollment to the STAR Kids program. More than 163,000 children have transitioned to the program with ten different Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).

    HHSC/Older Americans Act representative Lisa Akers-Owen discussed eligibility for community care programs for individuals who do not financially qualify for Medicaid but still cannot afford private services. She also discussed the Texas Takes on Dementia project which partners with MCOs and non-profits to develop a training program to educate family members and service coordinators about the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Paula Brunson from Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) reported on the successful transition of the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to TWC. She noted that the next step will be to combine VR and Blind Services into one Rehabilitation Services program.

    Department of State Health Services (DSHS)/Title V/Maternal Child Health representative Rachel Jew reported that the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CHSCN) Systems Development Group is recruiting interns for the summer and fall of 2017 to focus on community inclusion.

  14. Announcements and Updates
    Council members discussed dates and locations of future meetings of August 2-4, 2017 (Hilton Austin Airport), November 1-3, 2017, February 7-9, 2018 and May 2-4, 2018.


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the meeting at 12:19 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council