29 Feb Everas Community Services Agency Update
Hello and Happy 2016!
As we are midway through our 2015 – 2016 fiscal year, I wanted to share a few updates with our Everas families and guardians. I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and are looking forward to a fantastic new year.
As many of you know, our name change and mission expansion has brought many new opportunities to our organization. Since 2013, Everas has seen significant growth in our programs and services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In this time frame we have added 2 new Adult Day Service Programs, bringing us to four locations throughout New Jersey in Bergen, Hudson, Somerset and Monmouth Counties serving 63 men and women with varied support needs. Everas Day Service programs are known as Our-Co, and provide services that enable people to increase their independence and participation in the community, from skills building through supported employment. Our-Co also supports people with specialized behavioral and medical needs.
Our Residential Services Program has added 13 new residences, bringing the department to 2 Supervised Apartments and 21 Group Homes statewide that provide services to 101 adults. Services enable people to maximize their independence while living and participating in their communities. A warm welcome goes to our newest additions – Millstone, Eatontown and Red Valley in Monmouth County – our most recent transfer programs. For the past two months it has been our pleasure getting to know the men and women who live in these homes, as well as their families. We are also pleased to announce that we are currently working with the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities on another transfer program we hope to have on board in the next few months, as well as the development of our first medical group home which will be located in Union, NJ.
Each new program at Everas adds to the diversity of our services, bringing new resources and creating new opportunities for our agency. We are proud of our work to advance the mission or our organization throughout the state.
Everas has always paid close attention to quality, safety and security and throughout our growth and development it has become increasingly important to ensure we can monitor all of our programs efficiently. Over the past several years, Everas has convened a Security and Safety Committee, comprising staff from throughout our organization and charged with the evaluation of our programs and practices in both direct services and agency administrative functions to minimize organizational risk for accidents, injuries and security issues. The committee recommends best practices and strategies that help prevent any loss or injury to our clients, staff and property. In the past year, the work of this committee has resulted in the upcoming implementation of issuing Everas photo I.D. badges to all employees, as well as placing surveillance cameras in critical locations on our properties and in agency vehicles to increase safety and security agency wide. Everas is pleased to be able to offer this level of security monitoring to support the safety and security of the entire Everas community.
As you are no doubt also aware, this is a time of change within the state system of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as the state transitions to a fee for service funding system. As a member of the statewide leadership team, Everas participates with the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities leadership to ensure that community provider, client and family concerns are considered throughout the transition. We have advocated on several issues this past year such as increased community services funding with particular attention to the need for increased wages for Direct Support Professionals, additional supportive housing vouchers, increasing the number of individuals to move from the waiting list to community services, as well as practical and comprehensive services to be included in the Statewide Transition Plan on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Home and Community Based Rule. As Everas prepares for the shift in funding system we have also implemented a HIPPA compliant electronic health record system and are currently researching billing software to support a smooth transition within our organization. Several key staff members also attended a three day Medicaid Bootcamp to understand the new regulations and organizational needs that will accompany this change.
A critical component to the fee for service transition is the NJCAT assessments for all agency clients. This assessment determines the budget allotment your family member will receive to for services through the Community Care Waiver or the Supports Program. The assessment covers areas of support needs including self-care, behavioral and medical support needs, and is completed by the primary caretaker of an individual from their place of residence. Everas has been completing the assessments for all individuals who live with us, however the results of the assessments will be sent directly to family member/guardians. Please note: The results will only be sent by email, so we are in need of your email contact information to include with the assessments. Please contact Lauren Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 732.805-1912 ext. 221 to provide us with email account information. If your family member lives with you and receives Day Services only from Everas, and you would like assistance with the assessment, please let us know. If you have already received information from DDD regarding your family member’s tier assignment and annual budget, please contact Everas. Sharing this information with Everas will assist us in our planning and preparation for the transition.
As the DDD funding transition continues to progress, Everas will provide updates as needed with any new pertinent information for you and your family member.
In December, Everas hosted our annual holiday party at a catering hall in Somerset, NJ. Nearly 250 people including clients, staff, Board Members, and guests enjoyed the luncheon which included dancing and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. This is truly a special event at Everas, as nearly all of our Day Services and Residential clients attend this celebration. Everyone was dressed to impress and came prepared to share some holiday cheer.
We would also like to thank everyone who has made a donation to our Holiday Giving campaign. To date, we have raised more than $2,000.00 between online and mailed in donations. The money raised supports holiday celebrations and quality programming throughout the year for the people in our programs. While this campaign has ended, you can always make a donation to Everas by visiting our website and clicking the Donate button or by sending a donation to our main office.
In November 2015, Everas mailed out packets to all guardians which included the annual required paperwork for both Day Services and Residential clients. If you have not returned your signed packets please do so as soon as possible. If you did not receive or misplaced your packets, please contact us so we can mail a new set. If you have any questions regarding any of the policies, please contact the manager of the program your family member participates in directly.
Everas is continually managing/updating our mailing lists including home addresses for traditional mail as well as emails for electronic communications. Please send an email to Francesca Hemsey, Community and Development Coordinator at email@example.com to be included in our email communications and in the event of new contact information.
At Everas, our mission is to provide innovative services that support independence and community inclusion for people across a broad spectrum of ability and specialized needs, and we are committed to our core values of care, quality and respect. It is our privilege and honor to serve your family member and key to that quality is communication. Please reach out to Margarete Andrews our Associate Executive Director regarding Residential Services or Jennifer Rector our Executive Director regarding Employment/Day Services for any needs. We look forward to a happy and healthy 2016!