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What is your mission statement/philosophy?
The CA mission is to empower the individuals we serve to meet their fullest potential of independent living, while maintaining a safe and home-like living atmosphere. CA was founded on the philosophy that the consumer comes first, the employee second and the company third.

Why did CA decide to serve persons with developmental disabilities?
Laura Redman, owner, had worked at several MHMR centers in East Texas prior to starting CA and had always loved working in this environment. When the opportunity arose for private individuals to start their own ICF-MR programs, Laura was inspired by her co-workers to get involved. Laura was raised with a cousin with a developmental disability (DD), and as her team came together to build CA, it became apparent that each one of CA employees had a passion to assist individuals with DD due to family involvement or just the passion of caring.

How long has CA been serving persons with mental retardation or developmental disabilities?
Community Access has been certified and licensed since 1991 as an ICF/MR provider and has also been certified as an HCS provider since 1993. In 2000, we received the Irwin Siegel Commitment to Quality Award, given annually to a Texas private provider who demonstrates outstanding commitment to quality improvement and advocacy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities.

How many persons does CA serve and how long have you been in business?
CA serves over 225 individuals in their service area, through the ICF-MR programs or the Home and Community Services (HCS) program. At this time, CA is open for new enrollments and does not have a cap of the individuals they will serve. Our philosophy is to serve those who need and want assistance and we will not turn anyone away. CA has been in business for 16 years. We opened in 1991, in Whitehouse, Texas.

Does CA have a reference list?
Yes, we do. You may view it here.

What type of experience do your employees have in special needs?
CA has a wide range of experienced employees. We have child development specialist, individuals with special training in behavior intervention, social workers, individuals with psychology degrees, contract individuals with autism specialization, a PhD psychologist, and vocational specialist.

CA is committed to continued education. We provide in-house training in all areas of special needs while also empowering our employees to attend state and national meetings in the area of developmental disabilities. CA employees can always be seen attending the state Medicaid meetings, PPAT seminars, the Texas Mental Retardation Association annual conference, the National QMRP conference, American Association of Mental Retardation conference, the Southwest Society of Service Coordinators, and many others, as they are offered.

Tell me about the level of training and credentialing of your employees.
CA employs all levels of workers. Our direct service workers are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent, a valid driver' license and pass a 90 day probation period. We believe in promoting employees up the ladder as openings permit, as we believe experience may be the best teacher. With that philosophy 80% of our Administrative personnel have been with CA for 10 years or longer. 75% of those individuals have a bachelor's degree in a human service field. Several individuals have advanced degrees. We employee certified med-aides, LVN's, and use contract RN services. We have a full time accountant who oversees all consumer trust fund activity that we are representative payee.

Describe ways in which you involve families, guardians, and individuals in the development of individual's program.
Individual program plans are developed utilizing the team approach. The team will consist of family, professional individuals, individual being served, and others as requested or deemed necessary. Everyone's opinion is important. Those that know the individual the best have insight into the needs and strengths of the person we serve. CA is a Medicaid funded program and will need to meet their requirements when developing the program plan. As long as those standards are met, family's wishes will always be put on the front line. If the team disagrees with the family, it must have valid reasons, such as the health and safety of the individual and those the individual lives with. Family is always asked to assist in the development of the plan and monitoring the progress of the plan.

Does your agency have experienced and professional employees who train new employees?
CA is proud of our training program. We have a module/test system for new employees, plus on the job orientation by the team leader, house manager or QMRP. No employee is left alone on the job until they master the task they are expected to do.

What procedures will employees implement in a crisis?
CA has several Certified SAMA trainers. SAMA is a behavioral intervention program. CA provides training to all its employees in this behavior technique to help prevent a crisis or how to intervene without injury to the individual if behavioral acting out does happen.

How does CA develop plans for persons with behavior problems?
Individuals are involved in the development of behavior support plans as much as possible. When an individual exhibits inappropriate behavior, data is collected and analyzed to determine what appears to be causing the inappropriate behavior and what can be done to modify the behavior. In the ICF/MR program, QMRP's have been trained to develop and monitor behavior support plans. In the HCS program behavior support plans are developed and monitored by a licensed psychologist with input from staff.

What are your policies regarding visitors, and privacy?
Individuals living in our group homes have the right to have visitors and meet with them in private. Accommodations are made to provide privacy with the rights of other consumers in mind.

What type of fun activities will be available, and does my family member get to choose their daily routine? Will a staff member be available to support my family member to participate in community activities (such as girl scouts, sports, Special Olympics)?
Individuals living in CA group homes participate in a variety of community activities including Special Olympics, movies, dinner out, plays, musical events, local, county and state fairs. Staff are always available to provide support during community activities. While there are scheduled activities throughout the day for individuals residing in group homes, as many opportunities as possible are presented for individuals to choose how to spend their time.

What type of transportation do you provide and how many vehicles do you have? Does each house have a car?
Each 6-bed ICF/MR has a van. Three and four bed HCS homes share a van between each 2 houses. Activities are planned to ensure that there is always transportation available.

How do you accommodate persons who are non-ambulatory?
CA has wheelchair accessible vans in each regional location to provide transportation to individuals who utilize wheelchairs.

Do you have employees who speak other languages? Is there an interpreter available?
CA has employees who understand and use Spanish and Sign Language. Interpreters can be provided as needed. Skills are taught to employees when there is specific need.

How do you accommodate persons who are nonverbal?
CA employees are taught to anticipate needs for individuals who are non-verbal and unable to communicate their wants and needs. When an individual uses gestures and/or sign language as their primary means of communication, staff are taught specific gestures and signs used by the individual.

What provision will CA make for my family member to attend the church of their choice?
When an individual indicates a choice of church that is different from others in their home, accommodations will be made by either providing transportation through staff or volunteer assistance.

What is your employee to individual ratio?
Our employee to individual ratio is very high. Overall, we have more employees than consumers, due to all the state regulations that are require behind the scene work. Currently we employee 350 and serve 226 residents. Another 50 individuals are on contract for Foster Care and other direct service needs. In our homes we usually have a 1.5 staff to 4 resident ratio. At low need times during the day you may see fewer employees, at high need times, such as eating, bathing, and dressing you may see more.

What are your back up procedures when there is an emergency?
Each region has an administrator on call. We use a pager system. One pager is designated an emergency pager and is passed on to the on-call person each week. One of the following individuals can always be reached in case of an emergency, CEO, Vice President of Programs or Regional Operations Manager.

Are employees available to support my family member to participate in activities in the community?
Yes, clients participate in outside activities at their interest and staff accompany. Clients attend church, Special Olympics, ARC dances and activities. Among our homes they have barbeques and get-togethers as well as attend community activities.

How and where will my family member be cared for when he or she is ill?
We use Dr. Wiseman, our family physician that most of our clients use for medical needs. He will refer to a specialist when recommended and/or he feels it is needed. Some of clients use a family physician of their choice. In the event that an individual needs to be hospitalized, we use Trinity Mother Frances Hospital where we have an agreement with an on-staff medical doctor who is a hospitalist. We cal lahead and let him know we are bringing in our consumer, and they are then prepared. The hospitalist will also communicate with Dr. Wiseman regarding the outcome of the hospital stay/visit.

Do you have medical employees on site or on call for medical or dental issues? Are medical employees willing to practice/rehearse with my family member what to expect when going to the doctor, hospital or dentist?
We have LVNs on staff and assigned to particular homes/consumers. The LVNs rotate on-call for after hours and weekend medical concerns. Nurses are notified and make recommendations to schedule appointments with physicians or to send consumers to the ER. Our nurses will work to inform a consumer what to expect for a medical visit or procedure.

What choices will my family member have concerning day programming, vocational training, supported employment, etc?
We contract with Andrews Diversified Industries (ADI), Andrews Day Training Program (ADT), Community Workforce of Texas (CWFT) and Goodwill-Opportunities of Tyler (OIT) for day programming. Each contract offers a different work or day training program. An individual visiting during a pre-placement will visit each site to make a determination of where they would like to attend and is also based on their skill level. Through Community Workforce of Texas we have a contract with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DARS) to assist individuals in finding a job in the community for those individuals who are interested.

Describe how employees train individuals in daily living skills?
Individuals are assessed during their first 30 days of admission to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are. Following the assessments, the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meets to review the recommendations and determines what areas to work on with the individual. Goals and objectives are written based on the IDT decision. Staff are trained by the supervisor, House Manager, Team Leader and/or QMRP on how to train and work with the consumer. All employees also attend New Employee Orientation and an in-house orientation during their first 6o days of employment. The direct care staff then works with the consumer on those training goals for daily living skills as well as work with them informally each day through showing them how to cook, take care of their home and develop laundry skills.

Will the home serving my family member be located in close proximity to school/day program/place of employment?
Our homes are in a centrally located area inside city limits. Our clients are transported to and from job sites, day programs and daily activities. Individuals in school utilize the public school bus system.

Do you lease or own your residential homes? Do you have short-term leases?
All our homes are owned by Community Access, Inc.

What screenings do you require when employees are hired (drug screen, criminal background check, abuse/neglect)?
Criminal background checks are completed. Misconduct registries checks, which help monitor for employees who may have abused an individual, are completed and employee must show a current Texas drivers license.

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