[dbmat] Fwd: Upcoming hearings about blindness services changes

  • From: Pwelch <pwelch@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: DBMATLegislative@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, dbmat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 13:40:21 -0600


Please send your written comments about these changes or try to attend one of
the meetings in your area listed below. As stakeholders we need to let them
know how the transition of some of the DARS programs to HHSC being made will
affect the consumers .

There are several hearings coming up soon about the transition of the
following programs to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC):
Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program (BCVDDP)
Independent Living Services (IL)
Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment Program (BEST) Programs
It is important that DBMAT members be present when possible or submit
written comments during this process. Written comments regarding the Texas
HHS System Transformation may be submitted instead of, or in addition to,
oral testimony until 5 p.m. on February 1, 2016. Send your emails to:

Here are potential talking points: (please feel free to copy and use, and/or
edit as appropriate)

Independent Living services for blind adults need an in-home based, skill
building approach. Blind consumers need Orientation and Mobility
Specialists, adapted diabetes education, and other specialized expertise on
appropriate services and adaptations for their visual impairment. How will
blindness expertise for these programs be sustained?
Joint projects between BCVDDP and Transition Programs are critical.
Collaborative projects between the DBS programs and the regional education
service centers (ESCs) with the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
(TSBVI) provide students of all ages access to needed enrichment of their
academic programs. Partnerships are essential to develop and implement
effective and efficient programs.
BCVDDP services need to maintain their focus on developing vocational
potential. To those working in school districts, there is no dividing line
by age; all students need consistent, specialized programming that leads to
successful post-school outcomes.
BCVDDP services need a formal linkage with the transition programs that will
be housed at TWC. Families should not have a gap in services nor have to
re-establish rehabilitation planning.
DB program specialists are needed for the BCVDDP and IL programs. There
should be at least 2 DB specialists as part of the new management structure
for each program - BCVDDP and IL. The current DB specialists spend about 50%
of their time with children/IL consumers and their very specialized knowledge
is important to the families and consumers. In addition, these services need
to be linked formally with the transition aged program staff to promote
seamless service delivery.
The agency transition plans must ensure that there is blindness expertise in
the supervisory ranks at HHSC to support staff who deliver services to
families in the BCVDDP.
Texas has for many years provided seamless services through one agency from
birth through adulthood. It is critical to ensure that families and
consumers get good information so they know who to call, where to go and what
services and supports are available as services shift to two separate
Upcoming hearing dates:

Tuesday, December 8 - 1:30 p.m.
South First Training Center
4601 South First St., Rooms K101 - K103
Abilene, TX 79605

Thursday, December 10 - 1:30 p.m.
Trinity Fellowship Ministries
5000 Hollywood Road
Amarillo, TX 79118

1/5: El Paso

1/7: Grand Prairie (for DFW area)

1/11: Houston

1/13: Tyler

1/19: Harlingen

Submitting comments electronically:
Written comments regarding the Texas HHS System Transformation may be
submitted instead of, or in addition to, oral testimony until 5 p.m. on
February 1, 2016. Email: HHS_Transformation@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



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  • » [dbmat] Fwd: Upcoming hearings about blindness services changes - Pwelch