Commissioners’ Conference Room
Second Floor – County Administration Building
9:30 am – 11:00 am
In Attendance: Commissioner Donnelly, Commissioner Johnson, Neil Gluckman, Linda Hoffman, Ginny Riley, Laura Walker, Jim Drendel, Marsha Ellis, Cory Hudson, Ruth Long, Katy Mason, Eileen Brittingham
A recording of this worksession is available at: http://larimer.org/bcc/list_worksessions.cfm.
Introductions & Announcements
Commissioner Gaiter welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order.
Everyone in attendance introduced themselves and stated their position for the listening audience.
Director Ginny Riley asked the Commissioners if they had any other agenda items. The Commissioners had no additional items.
2012 Senior Tax Work-off Program
Human Service Program Coordinator Katy Mason has managed this program for many years. Katy provided the Commissioners with an outline of the requirements to participate in the program which include:
· Must be 60 years of age or older
· Reside on property in Larimer County
· Be at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Level (Income = $1,862 per month for a single person/$2,522 for two person household)
Applications are accepted during February each year. Katy reviews all applications, meets with the applicants, and makes placements based on the following prioritized criteria:
1. Lowest income families
2. Applicants who did not work in the program last year
3. Applicants who have the ability/willingness to travel to Fort Collins
4. Applicants whose skill set matches the needs of the department
5. Applicants who do not receive the Homestead Exemption
Commissioner Johnson asked how much the participants are paid. Katy responded that the participants receive a stipend which averages out to minimum wage. Katy emphasized the value the county receives from this program. This year’s participants have worked 3,211 hours (not all work has been completed) providing the value of work to the county is approximately $42,244. Thirteen county departments benefited from these workers.
Commissioner Johnson asked if the department assesses applicants for any other benefit programs. Katy responded that during the interview process she has a group of volunteers set up at table with information about the various assistance programs. Volunteers are also available to answer general questions on programs.
Effects of Sequestration on Office on Aging
Manager for the Office on Aging Ruth Long provided the Commissioner’s with a handout out that explained:
· What sequestration is
· Why it is happening
· How it will affect Larimer County seniors
· What the Commissioners can do
Ruth explained that the Office on Aging may see significant cuts from sequestration. If sequestration happens Larimer County would be required to cut whichever programs are designated by the federal government. There would be no ability to select which programs and how much to cut from the program. Reductions would be backdated to October 1, 2012. The decision on whether or not to move forward with sequestration will happen in January 2013. Sequestration would be in effect for the next 10 years.
Ruth and Ginny will continue to monitor this issue very closely and keep the Commissioners informed. Ruth has worked with the Office on Aging Advisory Council to inform them of these issues so they can help educate the community.
Medicaid Program Review of Types and Appeals Process
Deputy Director Laura Walker reviewed the different types of Medicaid programs available in Colorado.
All Medicaid programs require the client to meet eligibility requirements. If the client disagrees with the County action on a case, the client has several different options. First, they can request a county level hearing which, is an internal dispute resolution. The person facilitating this meeting would be someone other than the employee who made the original determination. The worker may be present but could not make the decision. If the client still disagrees with the county’s findings then they can request a State level hearing. The county and client would present all their information to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ would make his or her own determination and send its decision to the county and the client. If the client loses the State appeal they would be responsible to pay back any benefits issued. If they win, their benefits would continue.
Laura explained that the Colorado health exchange should be available to Colorado residents by October of 2013. The exchange will provide anyone who does not currently have health insurance and is below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level the ability to obtain low cost health insurance. The health exchange computer system will communicate with the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). We are not sure of the impact the health exchange will have on workload.
Ginny informed the Commissioners that during the Colorado Counties Inc (CCI) conference there is a seminar on health care reform.
Revamping Child Welfare Risk Assessment Tools
Division Manager for Children, Youth and Family Jim Drendel explained that caseworkers are required to under state procedures to us a tool called the NCFAS (North Carolina Family Assessment Scale) when Jim and State staff began investigating this tool they found that caseworkers were completing the tool but not using it in their case management, mainly because the tool was not designed for child welfare work but rather for therapy services. In addition, the State requires that caseworkers use the Safety and Risk tools, these tools have not been validated for reliability in 15 years. A new Safety tool has been developed and is set to be distributed state-wide once the training document is complete. A new Risk tool is in the final stages of research and should be available shortly.
The Federal Government is requiring a new tool to measure child well-being. Currently, child well-being is measured by whether or not a child is seen by a physician or dentist. The federal government wants child protection to look at trauma symptoms to see whether or not a parent or child’s trauma symptoms increased or decreased after working with child protection. There are no current trauma screening tools for child protection workers. Larimer County is working with Colorado State University to develop a trauma screening tool for children and families we work with. Clients would be asked to complete a pre and post survey to measure their trauma symptoms.
Commissioner Johnson asked where in the process these tools are used. Jim responded a worker goes out to a home and completes the safety tool if there is no imminent danger (nothing happening right now), then they would use the risk assessment tool. The risk assessment tool looks at the likelihood of the child(ren) being abused or neglected. The risk tool requires that all caseworkers ask the same questions. It requires the caseworker to examine whether the story the child is telling matches what the parents and other family members are saying. Once this has been determined the caseworker scores the assessment and gets a rating of high or low risk of possible future abuse or neglect. A discussion on how these tools are used in court proceedings ensued.
Ginny stated that the goal is to get the right intervention at the right time with positive outcomes. All counties will be required to use the trauma symptom tool. If you would like additional information please let Ginny know.
Client Activity Report
Business Operations Coordinator Eileen Brittingham presented an overview of the department’s client activity. Eileen reviewed: monthly average caseloads, program activity, complaint totals, and client follow-up survey regarding complaints from June 1, 2012 through August 30, 2012.
During the 3rd Quarter:
· The Food Medical & Financial Assistance program averaged 28,534 cases
· The Benefits Information Center took 10,778 calls and 91% were resolved on the 1st contact
· Child Support averaged collected $3,843,768
· Children, Youth and Family (Child Protection) received 1,470 referrals, with 95% of children involved with our services remaining in their homes when that was the case plan
· The Director’s office received 29 formal complaints during the 3rd Quarter
The next meeting has been scheduled for February 11, 2013 from 10am to 12pm, Commissioners’ Conference Room.