Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Colorado Gives Day!

Colorado Gives Day is today, and we encourage you to participate! Donations made online at www.coloradogives.org/Imagine today will be eligible for partial matching funds. Donating through Colorado Gives eliminates all processing fees for Imagine! for donations totaling up to $50,000 per year. If you are thinking about making a gift to Imagine! before the end of the calendar year, please consider doing it online on Colorado Gives Day. You may also designate a particular Imagine! program, including Innovations, in the “Any comments or special instructions” box if you would like.  Thanks for your support!

Friday, December 6, 2013

More Construction Photos for our new Group Home in Broomfield

We are continuing to make progress on the new Group Home we are building in Broomfield!  This home is designed to meet the growing need for individuals to continue to receive community services as they age and their needs change.  Check out the photos below to see the progress on the home, which is slated to open in April/May of 2014.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Santa Fe Group Home Site Progress!

Below are the latest pictures of the progress we are making on our new Santa Fe Group Home in Broomfield.  Due to the location of our property, we needed to build an asphalt road to our property to allow for construction and fire trucks to access the land.  Now that this phase is complete, we can move full steam ahead on going vertical with our building.  We will continue to update the blog with pictures as we go forward with our construction through the winter.

Our new driveway, looking out towards our property
Our new driveway, looking back towards the main street
The parking area and ramps for the home
Excavation for the foundation and basement
Waterline trench for the home

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access

Technology benefits people with disabilities in numerous ways.  Advances in wheelchair technology such as power chairs and standing wheelchairs have given people with disabilities more mobility and a more normalized experience.  Communication devices such as DynaVoxes and various Apps have helped people with disabilities communicate in ways they never could before.  Technology such as remote monitoring and systems that allow individuals to track their task completion reduce the need for staff support, and allow individuals to live more independently.  Our SmartHomes are a testament to our passion about the power of technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities.  The two SmartHomes function as a living lab to develop and personalize new technologies that directly benefit the people living in these homes, and have the potential to benefit many other people in the future.

This week, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado issued a declaration titled The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.  The purpose of this declaration is to publicly state that we believe that access to technology and information should be a right for all people with disabilities.  Please click here to read the declaration, and consider endorsing it yourself to show your support on this important issue!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown: Effects for People with Disabilities

Today marks the first time in the past 17 years that we have had a shutdown of the federal government.  I'm sure some of you are wondering what effects this will have for people with disabilities.  Many of the government programs and services that benefit people with disabilities will be affected in one form or another.

Click here to read a post that went up today on the news service Disability Scoop that highlights the specific programs that benefit people with disabilities that will be affected by the shutdown.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fundraising for Flood Recovery

I know a lot of you have been seeing the images and video from the devastating flooding here in Colorado.  I also imagine that a lot of you have been wondering how you can help!

Well, here's your opportunity!  The flooding had a major impact on Imagine!, and we are seeking donations to help us recover!  Many of the homes we operate were significantly damaged during the flooding.  Please watch this video to learn more:

Please click on the link below to donate now to help our organization recover from this disaster.  PLEASE SHARE this information with your friends and family, and send it to anyone who is looking to make a donation to help us recover from this flood.  THANKS!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aftermath of the Flooding

Last week Colorado suffered one of the most devastating floods in state history.  Some people lost their lives.  Some lost all of their possessions.  Hundreds of people were displaced from their homes.  Many are still evacuated and have yet to determine how severe the damage was.  Thousands of people experienced damage to their homes, requiring costly and challenging repair.

Many people in the Imagine! network of employees, providers, and clients were affected by this disaster.  Nine of our residential sites had significant flooding, causing significant property damage for some of the live-in staff that support these sites.

During these extraordinary times, our employees and providers provided extraordinary support for our clients-- working exceptionally long hours while replacement staff were unable to reach the site or dealing with crises of their own.  Last week was Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week, and our amazing staff and providers showed us through their courageous actions why they deserve the highest recognition we can offer!

In the coming days and weeks, we will be using this forum to share some of these stories to honor the unfathomable hard work, heroism, and dedication that these staff and providers offered to shepherd us through this difficult experience.

From all of us at Innovations, thank you to our staff and providers for everything you did and will do to help get us through this disaster!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week!

It is with great excitement that we announce that this week is National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week!

The thing that gives me the most pleasure about my job here at Innovations is that, at the end of the day, we have truly helped people by supporting their day-to-day needs, and assisting them in achieving their personal goals.  However, none of that could be possible without the exceptional and exemplary work of our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), who work around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The challenging work of DSPs often happens behind the scenes, without much fanfare.  So, it that much more important that we really take this moment to say loud and proud that we appreciate the work they do!

As an organization, we make a strong effort to praise and reward our DSPs, even though it is difficult for any reward to fully match the passion and commitment that our DSPs bring to their work every day.  Still, to show our appreciation for our DSPs we will be providing treats and giveaways this week for both our employees and contractors.

Please join us, along with our State and Nation to declare that DSPs shall be recognized for their vital contribution to our Community!
  • Click here to read Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's Proclamation declaring this week as Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.
  • Click here to read the U.S. Senate Resolution designating this week as Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week.
So, if you see a DSP this week, please thank them for the important work that they do!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It may not look like much, but the Utility Box in the photo above signifies that we have broken ground on our latest development, a new 6-bed Group Home in Broomfield!  This new Group Home, called the Santa Fe Group Home, is being built with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Our vision for this home is that it will support aging individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The percentage of aging individuals in our community is expected to grow in the near future as we approach the so-called Silver Tsunami, and we know that aging people with disabilities will need additional settings to support their specific needs.  We are also excited to increase our footprint in Broomfield, where we are seeing a significant amount of growth in our services.  We will continue to highlight the progress of Santa Fe as construction progresses throughout the fall and winter.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Food Drive

I wanted to put up a quick Friday post to let you all know that Innovations will be doing a Food Drive to benefit Community Food Share, a local food bank that helps provide food for low income individuals here in Boulder and Broomfield counties.  The Drive will be running from April 15th through April 30th, and we will have drop-off boxes in both our Dixon building (1400 Dixon Street, Lafayette, CO 80026) and our Coal Creek building (1665 Coal Creek Drive, Lafayette, CO 80026).  

With your help we can beat our last Food Drive total of 170 pounds of food!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Can I Get Some Satisfaction?

Every two years, Imagine! coordinates a Customer Satisfaction Survey for all of the Program Approved Service Agencies (PASAs) in Boulder and Broomfield counties.  The purpose of these surveys is to assess how satisfied our customers are with the services we provide.  Our primary customers are the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities we serve.  We ensure that every consumer in our services has the opportunity to complete a survey.  If they are able to complete the survey independently, we encourage them to do that.  If they need assistance, we will provide the minimum amount necessary for them to complete the survey.  For our customer satisfaction surveys we also reach out to the people who support the individuals in our services.  This group includes family members, guardians, staff, providers, and other people who support the people we work with.  We highly value all of the feedback we receive from this survey.  It gives us an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of our supports and services, to find areas of success, and to locate areas for improvement and innovation.

The survey period runs from April 1st through June 1st, so if you have received a Customer Satisfaction Survey, please make sure to return it within that time frame to ensure that it is counted.  We will announce the results of the survey sometime in June, so look forward to that.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Joint Budget Committee Figure Setting

This week, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) met to complete the "Figure Setting" process for the disability services within the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).  Figure Setting is where the Joint Budget Committee approves final budget recommendations from its staff for each department.  These recommendations include how much funding will be awarded to each line item in the department, and where that funding will come from.  It also includes recommendations for bills that the Joint Budget Committee should introduce during the legislative session.  The budgetary recommendations, once approved, are brought to the State legislature where they are incorporated into the Long Bill (click here to see the Long Bill for the current fiscal year).  Once the Long Bill is approved, those budgets are set for the next fiscal year.  Occasionally, changes are made to a particular budget during the process of approving the Long Bill, but usually the legislature supports the recommendations of the JBC.

Overall, the Figure Setting process this year went very well for people with disabilities.  Here are some highlights from the Figure Setting meeting:

  • A 4.0 percent increase for the Developmental Disabilities Program (to restore cuts from previous years), including:
    • Adult Comprehensive Services
    • Adult Supported Living Services
    • Children's Extensive Support
    • Family Support Services
    • Case Management, and
    • Early Intervention Services
  • A 1.5 percent increase for the following items:
    • Preventative dental hygiene
    • Legal auxiliary services
    • General fund rehab programs, and
    • Independent living centers
  • The JBC approved the recommendation to add 765 new resources.
  • The JBC approved a recommendation to have their staff draft a bill to move I/DD services from CDHS to Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF, commonly pronounced ‘Hic-Puff).  This move is being recommended in order to streamline services, improve the interface with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and to minimize redundancy.  The recommendation includes the creation of an Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at HCPF, which we think would greatly improve the management of services for people with disabilities.
Click here to read the complete JBC Figure Setting Document, and stay tuned for an update next month regarding the passage of the Long Bill.

Monday, March 4, 2013

End the R-Word!

As many of you know, there is a national movement to end the use of the R-word, which is an important step towards ensuring that all people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are treated with dignity and respect.  Click here for a link to a blog entry from a member of a Self-Advocacy group, discussing why the R-word is so painful for him as a person with a Developmental Disability.

Coming up on March 6th is the National Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day.  Click here to access the full website for "R-Word," the organization promoting this event.  Innovations will be participating in this campaign all month long, and will be having a special event on March 27th from 1-3 at the Coal Creek Building (1665 Coal Creek Drive, Lafayette, CO).  We are encouraging all members of our network to create a poster or piece of artwork related to ending the R-word to share with others.  There will also be a banner for all to sign to show support for this important movement.

I would also encourage all of you to click here to sign the R-Word pledge to eliminate the R-word from your everyday speech, and to encourage others to do the same.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Additional info on the Dual Eligible Demonstration

I wanted to send out another post on the Dual Eligible Demonstration, since there seems to be some confusion around it.  Specifically, I want to share what we think consumers, providers and families should know.

Several of our Dual Eligible consumers have received letters from our local Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO, commonly pronounced ree-koh).  Here is a useful definition of what a RCCO is from the Colorado.gov website:
The RCCO connects Medicaid clients to Medicaid providers and also helps Medicaid clients find community and social services in their area.  The RCCO helps providers to communicate with Medicaid clients and with each other, so Medicaid clients receive coordinated care.  A RCCO will also help Medicaid clients get the right care when they are returning home from the hospital or a nursing facility, by providing the support needed for a quick recovery.  A RCCO helps with other care transitions too, like moving from children's health services to adult health services, or moving from a hospital to nursing care.
There are seven different RCCOs for the State of Colorado, and like Community Centered Boards (CCBs) each serves a geographical area.  The RCCO for our geographical area (region 6) is called the Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA).  The letters that some of our Dual Eligible consumers have received are actually from CCHA.  These letters are being sent to inform the consumer that she or he will be passively enrolled in the Dual Eligible Demonstration project unless they contact CCHA to opt out of the program.  That means that if the consumer takes no action then she or he will be enrolled in the program.  This is a technique that is being used to ensure that a large number of individuals participate in the Demonstration.

Overall, we think that the Dual Eligible Demonstration is a positive thing, in that it will help streamline care for individuals being served by both Medicaid and Medicare.  However, we encourage each consumer or guardian that receives this letter to contact CCHA and confirm that their primary care physician is indeed participating in the Demonstration project.  We have heard from another agency that a consumer was enrolled in the program and later found out that their primary care physician was not participating.  We have been assured by the State that individuals should not be receiving these letters unless their primary care physician is participating, but we still urge individuals or their guardians to find out for sure before enrolling.

If you have any further questions about the program, click here to access the Colorado.gov website page about it, which explains the project in much greater detail.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dual-Elligible Demonstration Stakeholder Update

This week there was stakeholder meeting for Colorado's "Demonstration to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Individuals."  Essentially, this project aims to steam-line care and billing for individuals who receive both Medicaid and Medicare.  Since many individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) are dual eligible, this is an important project for Innovations to follow.  Click here to read the complete proposal that the State of Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing (HCPF) submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

At this point, HCPF is negotiating with CMS to ensure that Colorado benefits from any savings from this program.  Once a deal is reached, and a Memorandum of Understanding is finalized, the State will move forward with implementation of the program.  HCPF expects that the first enrollees of the program will begin receiving Demonstration services as of June 1st, 2013.  There is an Advisory Group for this project that meets regularly.  Click here for the minutes of that group's latest meeting.

Enrollment in this Demonstration is done passively, where an individual who is Dual Eligible will receive a letter asking them if they want to opt out of the demonstration.  If the individual chooses not to opt out or does nothing, then they will be enrolled in the demonstration.  At this point, we think that the Demonstration will benefit individuals, as it will help their physicians coordinate care.  Initially, we were concerned about provider enrollment, but HCPF has made provider enrollment a priority, and have ensured that an individual will not lose their primary care physician by participating in this demonstration.  We will continue to follow the implementation of this project and will post more details as they become available.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Innovations Advocacy Council

I want to use one of the first posts on this blog to give credit to the Innovations Advocacy Council, who identified the need for Innovations to share information more directly with its stakeholders, and inspired the creation of this blog. 

The Innovations Advocacy Council was founded this past year to give members of the Innovations network an opportunity to provide ideas and feedback to the Innovations Management team.  The Mission of the Innovations Advocacy Council is to “support and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to maintain full and independent lives. The Innovations Advocacy Council will work toward strengthening bonds in the community and its interaction with individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as advocating for individuals with disabilities within Innovations and governing agencies.”  The Advocacy Council consists of a diverse cross-section of people who are connected with our services here at Innovations.  Specifically, it is comprised of individuals receiving services from Innovations, family members and guardians of people receiving services, contract providers for Innovations, and employees of Innovations.   We continue to be grateful for the opportunity to get feedback from a group of people that cares deeply about the individuals we serve. 

If you have any agenda items for the Advocacy Council, or if you wish to learn more about the Council, please contact Lou Ella Price at lprice@imaginecolorado.org.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Joint Budget Committee Hearing for CDHS

The new year got off to a fast start with the Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) hearing for the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) on Wednesday, January 2nd.  The JBC heard from CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha, who answered questions from the JBC and outlined the Department's short-term and long-term goals.  Some highlights from the presentation:
  • A new office was created in CDHS last June called the Office of Early Childhood.  This office will consolidate and streamline programs for young children.
  • CDHS is requesting $1.78M in appropriation for Early Intervention funding due to growth in the number of children in Colorado who need such services.
  • CHDS is anticipating steady growth in individuals diagnosed with Intellectual/ Developmental Disability (I/DD) (due to increases in technology and health care)
  • CDHS would like to see definition of I/DD changed in rule to match Colorado state law.
  • The new Office of Community Living, established by Gov. Hickenlooper, will address long term strategies, including drawing down the waitlist for services, simplifying the waivers, and improving the system for accessing services..
  • Mr. Bicha acknowledged the problem that parents of children with severe disabilities need to “give up” their children to get services.
  • A transition plan is being developed to transition kids to adult waiver at age 18.
    • CDHS does not want to eliminate CHRP or just thrust kids into the DD system due to unintended negative impacts, and will transition kids on a person-by-person basis.
  • The JBC budget proposal provides services for 809 additional individuals, including 573 enrollments for children on the CES waiting list.
  • CDHS is committed to transitioning people to the “most integrated setting,” and will work to transition people from the Regional Centers to community placements when possible.  
  • CDHS will continue to use Regional Centers for short-term stabilization.
  • Mr. Bicha agrees with Gov. Hickenlooper's recommendation of a 1.5% provider rate increase for the next fiscal year.  When pressed by Rep. Levy, he stated that CDHS will not be asking for any further rate increase for next fiscal year.
Click here for the agenda for the CDHS hearing and the written responses from CDHS to questions from the JBC.  Click here for an audio recording of the hearing.