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CEO CORNER

Patricia Yeager, Ph.D., CEO

Patricia Yeager, Ph.D., CEO

After providing in-home health services to persons with disabilities in the Pikes Peak region for over thirty years, we decided to stretch our reach further into healthcare. We asked ourselves a few questions. Is it accessible and useable by persons with a wide range of disabilities? Can we “disrupt” the pipeline of people with disabilities going into nursing homes after being in the hospital? Why don’t more people with disabilities use primary care anyway? That might be able to prevent a trip to the hospital or emergency room… What is it with healthcare and people with disabilities?

Over the years, we have conducted several focus groups in our community to learn about barriers. A consistent barrier we heard about was “I can’t get on the table, nor can I get weighed!” And we also heard “The medical staff are uncomfortable around me, and that makes me uncomfortable.” As a result, The IC Fund purchased a hi-low able with weight scale and other accessibility features for Mission Medical Center late last year. In fact, there is an article in this edition of the Independence Times on page 3 that talks about this collaboration. The IC Fund Committee saw what a difference the addition of this accessible table made and decided that we need more Medicaid primary care providers to be accessible for people with disabilities. So in June, we kicked off a campaign to purchase accessible exam tables, Hoyer-style lifts, and hearing loop system to install in primary care providers’ offices. As part of the process, ADA site audits and disability etiquette training will be provided to ensure better accessibility and understanding for people with disabilities. We asked people with disabilities who are on Medicaid or Medicare to nominate their primary care provider, who would receive this accessible exam room equipment. By the time you read this, the contest will be over, but you can http://bit.ly/theicaccessiblehealth to get an update. By the end of the year, we should have all awardees identified and best of all, a map of where all the accessible medical equipment is located. Check the page often and go get a complete health exam – please!

Our community transition program, the one that works to get people out of nursing homes, often finds that a fair number of people in nursing homes don’t really need to be there! The lack of affordable, accessible housing is such a problem, that it takes significant time for people to transition out. This started us thinking about how we might disrupt the flow of people going into nursing homes from the hospital in the first place. Often, it is a medication administration problem, or a cooking/cleaning problem, or an understanding/managing diabetes problem. No one should go to a nursing home for those reasons! So we put together the Hospital to Home pilot program to see if we could change this phenomenon. In May of this year, we started the pilot program at UC Health Memorial Hospital Central, and I am happy to report that we have redirected four people back home, who were on their way to the nursing home. With our Home Health staff, the Independent Living staff, and 4 to 5 community agencies or for-profit providers, we are able to support these individuals so they can recover at home. The IL staff provide a bridge for getting back into community life after their hospital stay.

Building Services Beyond Colorado Springs

Map of The Independence Center coverage areas.

The Independence Center offers Independent Living skills classes, peer support groups, benefits guidance, as well as many assistive technology opportunities and transition assistance. But, did you know that we have more than one location that offers these services? As we have grown as an organization, so has our ability to reach more areas outside of Colorado Springs.


Western Counties

If you live west of Colorado Springs, you can access resources out of our satellite office in Cripple Creek and our brand-new satellite office in Fairplay. Keep a look out for future groups, presentations, and classes to pop up in Fairplay. If you live in or around the Cripple Creek area, we currently  have a few support groups established and are working to grow our resources to the area. For up-to-date information about support groups and other events,  visit our online calendar. If you have any needs or suggestions for additions, please contact Michele Chamberlain at 719-661-0105.


Eastern Counties

Eastern Counties have been growing more popular by the day and now include satellite offices in Calhan, Limon, Monument, and Burlington. These offices offer most of the same resources we have at The IC such as peer support, advocacy for yourself and your community, assistive devices that make barriers easier to overcome, home modifications, housing resources, as well as low-vision, blindness, deaf, and hard of hearing support. We offer many other resources to these areas, check out our Independent Living pages for more information. If you live in these areas and have questions, you can contact Frances Dorrance at 719-659-3635.


Transition Services

In Park, El Paso and Teller Counties we also offer Transition Services. If you currently live in a nursing home and are looking to transition into your own home, then we can help you through every step of the process. Whether you need help coming up with strategies to make your move successful, or peer mentoring to help build the confidence and skills you need to become self-sufficient, we are here for you.


Veteran In Charge Program

Our Veteran In Charge program is currently offered in Elbert, Park, El Paso and Teller counties. This is a new program that serves eligible veterans of any age who are at risk of nursing home placement. If you are a veteran with a disability, this program offers you home and community based services, which enable you to continue living in your home. The Veteran In Charge program gives you the freedom to build a self-directed plan for greater independence and the authority to control how to pay for your long-term supports and services. With knowledgeable support from a coach, you can have a flexible monthly budget to purchase goods and services such as: assistive devices, environmental support, meal delivery, transportation, emergency response systems, in-home personal care, homemaker services, caregiver support, home modifications, and adult day care. With this fast-growing program, we are sure that more communities will become available in the future, so if yours is not included don’t fear, we may expand in the future.


Other Services

Don’t forget, just because we don’t have a satellite office in your community, that doesn’t mean that we don’t offer services. Some of the communities we commonly visit include; Bailey, Burlington, Cheyenne Wells, and Woodland Park. Please call our main office to speak with someone in your community. An up and coming satellite office will also be available in Fountain! We are very excited about this addition so that we can continue to serve our community to the best of our ability.

Map of The Independence Center coverage areas.

 

 

 

Satellite Office Locations

Fairplay:

South Parks Senior Center
298 6th St.
Fairplay, CO 80440

Hours: 3rd and 4th Wednesdays of the Month
9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Contact:
Michele at 719-661-0105 or
mchamberlain@the-ic.org

 

Monument:

Tri-Lakes Cares
35 Jefferson St # B
Monument, CO 80132

Hours: Every Monday
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Contact:
Jesus at 719-960-6893 or
jsanchez@the-ic.org

 

Calhan Office:

Available daily by appointment only

Community Outreach Center
328 10th Street
Calhan, CO 80808

Contact:
Fran at 719-659-3635 or
fdorrance@the-ic.org

 

Burlington

Prairie Family Center
372 14th Street
Burlington, CO 80807

Hours: Every other Thursday
From 9am – 2pm

Contact:
Fran at 719-659-3635 or
fdorrance@the-ic.org

The Independence Center – A Mission & Vision to Get Behind

Photo of The Independence Center Fcility

 

Photo of The Independence Center Fcility

The Independence Center

When people ask what it is that we do here at The Independence Center (The IC), I often find myself trying to come up with a cohesive answer. This isn’t because I don’t know what it is that we do, but rather because of the wide assortment of services that we provide. Officially, I would say that our mission is working with people with disabilities, their families and the community, we create independence so that all may thrive. This description is accurate, but doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the diverse nature of the disability related services that The IC provides.

At The IC, helping people with disabilities to achieve and maintain independence is accomplished through the work of four distinct departments, which include the Center for Independent Living, Home Health, Advocacy, and The Independence Center CNA School. Though all departments work towards different objectives, the overall mission remains one and the same.

The IC’s Center for Independent Living provides a host of services that help consumers to advocate for themselves in order to live a meaningful and independent life. This independence is achieved through our core services which include Information and Referral, Skills Classes, Transition Services, Peer Support and Self-Advocacy, and Community Based Advocacy. There are several other services that The IC offers, but we won’t delve into them in this blog. In addition to our main facility in Colorado Springs, The IC services El Paso, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Park, and Teller counties through our Outreach department.

Our Home Health department provides people with disabilities the ability to continue living at home, in their community, while receiving medical and personal support through our staff of highly trained health care providers. Additionally, a new Colorado law makes it possible for the family member of a loved-one with a disability to become a paid caregiver for their family member with a disability, after receiving proper training. This program is administered through The Independence Center, and has made a world of difference for our team of paid family caregivers.

The advocacy arm of The IC works with the community and public officials to advocate for people with disabilities. Many times, this work revolves around expanding community accessibility features such as curb cuts, wheel chair ramps, and accessible parking spaces, but also includes advocacy for housing, people experiencing homelessness, and various other topics that affect the lives of people with disabilities. From our founding in 1987, The IC has always advocated for people with disabilities and disability rights, and that work continues today.

Last but not least is The IC’s CNA School, which provides students with the training necessary to become a Certified Nurse Aide. The Colorado State Board of Nursing approved program has trained over 2,900 nurse aids since 2006, and ensures that The IC’s Home Health department has the highest quality CNA’s available.

At The Independence Center, our vision can be seen throughout the organization in our values and the way that we operate on a daily basis. We believe that everyone should be provided equal opportunity, and should have access to freedom of movement in their daily life. We are the local home of civil rights for people with disabilities and encourage our consumers to advocate for themselves whenever possible. The Independence Center was literally designed to be a model of accessibility. From the time you enter till the time you leave, everything has been optimized to ensure unparalleled accessibility for people with disabilities. From extra wide walkways to the looped conference rooms, no expense was spared.

Assistant Director of Independent Living

JOB DESCRIPTION

JOB TITLE:   Assistant Director of Independent Living                       EFFECTIVE DATE:  08/2015

DEPARTMENT:  Independent Living                                                     REPORTS TO:  Director of IL

STATUS:   Full-time; salaried exempt

Position summary:

Provides oversight of operations pertaining to the Independent Living (IL) Programs at the direction of the Independent Living Director and fills in for the Director as needed. Duties include direct supervision of IL Program Managers and oversight of IL Programs. Participates in the strategic planning process, develops and executes adequate IL infrastructure, assists with developing and monitoring IL budget.  Facilitates the Board appointed Program Committee for the purposes of Program evaluation. Works closely with the Development Officer and Finance to oversee the management of IL grants. Ensures the IL program meets all state and federal compliance standards and that the philosophy, mission, goals and core values of the Independence Center are maintained throughout our 6 county catchment area.

 Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, Social Services or related field.
  • Five years’ leadership/managerial experience to include experience managing multiple programs and supervision of staff; experience as a director or assistant director preferred.
  • Two years’ experience with setting and monitoring program budgets.
  • Preferred knowledge of legislative issues and policy.
  • Experience working with people with disabilities.
  • The capacity to work independently.
  • Proficiency with MS Windows, MS Office, and other common computer programs.
  • Demonstration of the IC’s core Values of Inclusiveness, Flexibility, Person First, Accountability and Integrity.

 Essential Functions/Areas of Accountability:

  1. Ensure the philosophy, mission and vision of The Independence Center is maintained.
  2. Work with IL Director to establish and achieve annual & quarterly strategic planning goals and directives for the IL program.
  3. Responsible for maintaining State & Federal CIL funding by submitting the Section704 Annual Performance Report, SILS & OIB grant contracts on an annual basis and SILS & OIB monthly billing reports to the State. Monitor and ensure all other contracts/grants for IL services and programs are renewed and fulfilled as needed.
  4. Ensure the Independent Living program meets all state and federal compliance standards.
  5. Responsible for the direct supervision of IL Program Managers to include setting quarterly and yearly performance goals and completing yearly evaluations.
  6. Work with the Director and Board appointed Program Committee to evaluate IL program outcomes and gain approval for new IL programing.
  7. Responsible for the completion of the monthly CEO report and communicating IL updates to the IL Director.
  8. Fill in for the IL Director as needed or requested as various local and state meetings to include Director and Board meetings.
  9. Ensure managers and staff receive cross training to ensure adequate coverage for all IL Programs.
  10. Oversee the hiring and approval processes for new employees and work with Human Resources as needed.
  11. Coordinate activities and communication between departments as applicable.
  12. Coordinate grant funded opportunities with Development Officer as needed and ensure grant outcomes and reports are submitted.
  13. Establish and maintain cooperative working relationship with coworkers, partnering agencies and the public. Represent The IC through speaking engagement opportunities as requested.
  14. Approval of timesheets and time off requests in the company payroll system as required.
  15. Maintain confidentiality as outlined in the employee handbook and work within the confines of HIPAA regulations.
  16. Travel as needed for training, conference, and meetings.
  17. Develop and maintain a non-hostile and safe work environment which welcomes diversity and embraces cross disabilities of staff and consumers.
  18. Complete all other duties as assigned.

 Skills and Abilities:

  • Self-motivated and flexible
  • Possess decision making and problem solving skills
  • Able to complete tasks in an organized and punctual manner
  • Excellent interpersonal and good active listening skills.
  • Excellent communication skills, Including public speaking
  • Strong program planning skills

 Physical/Environmental Requirements:

  • Office environment requiring ongoing computer use and extended amount of time sitting or standing.
  • Some regional and national travel may be required.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to empower a qualified candidate with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

This position may also require the performance of other duties as assigned.

If you are qualified and wish to apply, or know of someone who meets the qualifications listed, a cover letter and resume should be sent to hrresumes@the-ic.org.  Deadline to apply for this position is July 1.

 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITYThe Independence Center is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity.  We prohibit unlawful discrimination against applicants or employees on the basis of age 40 and over, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, military status, genetic information, or any other status protected by applicable state or local law. Reasonable accommodations may be made to empower a qualified candidate with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.

 

 

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