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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:40pm

 sed seal





Rebecca H. Cort


Designing Our Future

Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) Update


June 3, 2010


Goal 4






Issue for Discussion

VESID is playing a significant role in the work of the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC).  As part of the Designing Our Future plan to revitalize partnerships, the current status of these efforts will be examined.


Reason for Consideration


To inform the Regents and obtain their support for the proposed services and planned interagency activities needed to support individuals with disabilities in obtaining successful employment and independent living outcomes.

Proposed Handling

This item will come before the VESID Committee at its June 2010 meeting.


Procedural History


In November 2009, VESID reported to the Board of Regents on its partnership initiatives under Designing Our Future, including its involvement with the MISCC. 


Through legislation (Chapter 551 of the laws of 2002) and executive action, New York State has established the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council (MISCC) to implement the 1999 United States Supreme Court Olmstead Decision.  The Olmstead Decision requires states to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the least restrictive community settings.  The MISCC consists of representatives from ten State agencies, including SED, and nine appointed public representatives, representing services for people with disabilities.

The MISCC legislation requires the development of an implementation plan.  The implementation plan must identify what improvements need to be made to the system of community-based services to ensure that the system is comprehensive, accessible, meets the needs of persons who are likely to require assistance in order to live in the community and provides high quality, adequate supports for individuals of all ages with disabilities.  

When initially established in 2003, the MISCC formed two committees, Housing and Transportation. In January 2008, OMRDD’s Commissioner Ritter, Chair of the MISCC, asked VESID to lead an executive-level interagency committee focused on employment of individuals with disabilities.  Commissioner Ritter recognized that the MISCC needs to establish an implementation plan.  She set a priority for each of the Committees – Housing, Transportation and Employment – to formulate an implementation plan for 2010. 

The MISCC Employment Committee

The MISCC Employment Committee consists of participants from over 25 organizations including State agencies, schools, community rehabilitation programs, independent living centers, advocates, and persons with disabilities.  The Committee is focused on facilitating systems change to close the employment gap for individuals with disabilities through executive, legislative and budgetary action.  The MISCC Employment Committee adopted the following vision statement in May 2008:

All people can work.  New York State, in partnership with the whole community, will exercise leadership to advance prospects for employment and economic self-sufficiency of all individuals with disabilities.  Resources will be directed or redirected to realize this vision of integrated competitive employment. Individuals with disabilities will have the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the economic vitality of the workforce.  Employers will view individuals with disabilities as valued employees in their recruitment and hiring efforts.  

Over the past year and a half, the MISCC Employment Committee has accomplished the following:

  • Supported the Office of Mental Health (OMH), in collaboration with Cornell University and Syracuse University, in securing and launching a significant two-year Medicaid Infrastructure Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled “New York Makes Work Pay” and serves as an advisory group to the project.  The Committee members participated in many activities during the past year aimed at developing a five-year strategic plan for New York State on employment of individuals with disabilities;
  • Developed a matrix outlining eligibility for employment-related services provided by the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), OMH, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) and VESID;
  • Developed a set of principles to guide the development of employment policy related to people with disabilities in New York State, focusing on inclusion and self-determination; 
  • Played a key role in the NY Makes Work Pay Project and its Think Beyond the Label Campaign, a national marketing initiative aimed at corporate leaders to hire people with disabilities as potentially valued employees; and
  • Coordinated a dialogue among State agency partners to develop the first cross-agency implementation plan related to employment under the MISCC.


During FFY 2010, the VESID VR Program is pursuing the following goals as part of its MISCC Employment Committee implementation plan:


  • VESID will increase the total number of individuals who achieve an integrated employment outcome after receiving vocational rehabilitation (VESID) services.  

Performance for FFY 2009:  12,151, a decrease from FFY 2008 (13,326).


  • VESID will increase the total number of youth (applicants at age 14 – 21) who achieve an integrated employment outcome.

      Performance for FFY 2009:  4,202, an increase from FFY 2008 (4,140)

      Note:  This is a subset of overall number of integrated employment outcomes.


VESID will increase the total number of individuals who achieve an integrated employment outcome after participating in supported employment services.

      Performance for FFY 2009: 2,940, a decrease from FFY 2008 (3,226) 

      Note:  This is a subset of overall number of integrated employment outcomes.


These measurable outcomes will be pursued through a number of strategies, including coordination with school districts, OMH and OMRDD to increase the number of young adults who transition directly from high school to postsecondary education, vocational training or employment.


The VESID Independent Living (IL) Program


VESID IL Managers have been active with the MISCC Housing, Transportation and Employment Committees.  VESID’s network of 39 independent living centers statewide is uniquely positioned to provide peer counseling and advocacy services that allow New Yorkers with the most significant disabilities to access many of the supports available through State partner agencies to live, learn and earn in the community.  Most independent living centers directly provide essential supports that individuals with significant disabilities require to lead independent and self-directed lives.  IL Centers have the capacity to effectively link people with adjunct services, such as the Medicaid waiver programs through the Department of Health (DOH) and OMRDD, and other critical services.

MISCC In Action:  A Real Life Story at the April 28, 2010 MISCC Meeting

At the public comment portion of the last MISCC meeting on April 28, 2010, a woman with a disability provided compelling testimony to the importance of independent living services in New York State.  Joyce had led an active life as a working professional woman.  At 43, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and relocated to western New York for a more affordable community and family support.  With the exacerbation of her MS just a few years later, she found herself in a nursing home, feeling hopeless regarding any opportunity for reclaiming her independence in the community.  She experienced a significant depression with thoughts of suicide. 

When she connected with a peer counselor at the Western New York Independent Living Center, Joyce asked the peer counselor “What can I possibly do?”  The peer counselor responded:  "What would you like to do and where would you like to be?"  Through linkages with critical community supports, such as consumer-directed homecare, environmental modifications, a housing subsidy and accessible transportation, she was able to leave the nursing home and transform her life to one of independence in the community with part-time work and independent housing.  She had reclaimed her life due to the critical support systems in the community. 

This story illustrates the core purpose of the Independent Living Program and how peer counselors serve a unique purpose in providing hope and opportunity.  With the proper supports and services, people with disabilities can experience full inclusion. The work of the MISCC is to ensure that every citizen with a disability has that opportunity.


The Board of Regents can demonstrate leadership by continuing to support the VR and IL Programs and their partnership work on the MISCC and the respective committees.  

Timeline for Implementation

              With Regents support, the described activities will continue to move forward.