[nfbmi-talk] requires legislative not exec action

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Sun Feb 26 06:59:47 CST 2012


MRC MEMBERSHIP RESEARCH REQUEST

 

Date of Request:        April 20th, 2011

Members:                   Jackie Thomas & Luke Zelley

Staff Support:            Marlene Malloy           

Due Date:                   June 3, 2011 (next Business Meeting) 

 

Purpose:    The MRC considered taking a position on the possibility of combining/sharing Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB). Four options follow: 

 

1.      MRS and MCB remain separate i.e. no change.

2.      MRS and MCB remain separate but share office space.

3.      MRS and MCB remain separate but share staff and other resources.

4.      MRS and MCB totally combine into one agency.

 

Recommendation:  MRC cannot support # 2:and #3 : sharing office space, as it believes RSA regulations prohibit doing so and staff and other resources sharing as doing so is not possible when space cannot be shared. 

 

Initial research found reports and data with positives and negatives to combining.   Because it ultimately requires legislative action, Idaho’s legislators requested a task force look into the issue before taking action. MRC recommends a task force  to include representation from MRS and MRC, be created to look into this issue in-depth before taking action.

 

Information Requested:     

1.      Current research on the topic of combined agencies.

2.      Status of other State’s VR programs (separate or combined).

3.      Overview information about the Michigan Commission for the Blind.

 

RESPONSE:

1. Current Research:

 

a.       About MCB:

·         Michigan Public Act 260 of 1978 Creating MCB

http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,1607,7-154-28077_28313-18135--,00.html 

 

·         Overview of MCB: 

http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,1607,7-154-28077_28313-14762--,00.html 

 

b.      Idaho:  The Idaho legislators passed a resolution to convene a "Task Force" regarding combining VR & Commission for Blind

http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2011/HCR027.pdf 

 

c.       Connecticut:  Legislative Report with recommendation & plan to combine

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/pridata/Studies/Consolidation_Final_Report.htm 

 

d.      A Review of Research Studies: Separate vs. Combined Agencies

http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsite.asp?SectionID=85&DocumentID=4488 

 

e.       2010 Mississippi State Study:  An Update on Services and Outcomes of Blind and Visually Impaired Consumers Served in Separate and General/Combined VR Agencies

www.ncsab.org/alert/2010/final_report_replication_study.doc 

 

f.        2005 Ohio State University Study:  Combined agencies had higher means on all variables studied.

http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=osu1126741654 

 

g.       South Carolina:  A Review Restructuring and the Business Enterprise Program at Commission for the Blind

http://lac.sc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/E1451232-56D6-4665-AE0F-6D7E81B164C4/0/SCCB_Summary.pdf 

 

 

2. Status of Other States:  Gained from Rehabilitation Services (RSA)

VR SERVICE CATEGORIES BY TOTAL NUMBER OF PUBLIC VR AGENCIES FUNDED BY RSA:

General Services:  24

Blind Services:  24

Combined:  32

 

3.Current national activity level regarding combining VR agencies: 

 

Most recently combined states:  Connecticut Legislature combined the Blind and General Agencies in May 2011, Pennsylvania Blind and General were combined in 1999.

 

State currently considering combining: New Mexico (saving administrative costs); two months ago Idaho considered it, but did not make the change.

 

Within the past few years the following states considered combining:  Vermont, Oregon, and Arkansas.

 



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