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"The VMRC Newsletter"

Friday, September 8, 2023

Message from the Executive Director

Tony Anderson

Celebrating National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week: September 10th - 16th

Sunday kicks off the national Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Recognition Week in honor of the great work DSPs perform in support of people with disabilities and their families every day. During this week service providers all over our region, state, and across the country take time to thank DSPs and recognize them as the most important person in the service delivery system. If you or your family is supported by a DSP, please take a moment to thank them for their service and let them know you appreciate them.

Today we are struggling as a system because we do not have enough DSPs in our community to support the people we serve at VMRC and we've been trying hard to help our provider community to attract more workers. We're currently working with Joey Travolta's Inclusion Films and Futures Explored to create content explaining the type of jobs available as a DSP and they are currently filming and editing new videos as we speak. Don't forget to check out our DSP Collaborative website (if you're looking for work or looking for DSPs) and watch this promotional video about he workforce below.

DSP Collaborative Website

The Ten Recommendations from the President's Report on "America's Direct Support Workforce Crisis:"

In 2017 The President's committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities published a report, "America's Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Families, Communities, and the US Economy". While California is making progress on many of these recommendations and national organizations are working on some of the others, all of these recommendations still hold true and advocacy is needed to address these important areas. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. …states include sufficient Direct Support Professional wages and compensation packages in their rate-setting methodologies...
  2. promote the use of technology solutions in long-term services and supports, such as remote monitoring, sensors, robotics, and smart homes, to create efficiencies, reduce costs...
  3. develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive programs designed to provide training and technical assistance to employers that focus on improving business acumen to reduce Direct Support Professional vacancy rates, improve retention and promote efficient, high-quality long-term services and supports...
  4. financial incentives for states to expand the pool of Direct Support Professionals through recognition programs, grassroots campaigns and training efforts designed to expand awareness about the profession…
  5. expand utilization of self-direction in long-term services and supports so that family, friends and neighbors can be hired as Direct Support Professionals.
  6. recognize “Direct Support Professional” as a distinct occupation title …
  7. recognize Direct Support Professionals as skilled practitioners who are community navigators, facilitating greater community and economic involvement…
  8. develop federal standards and work with the Department of Labor to implement specialized credentials…
  9. find solutions to this crisis by using community colleges and American job centers to develop and invest in career training and credentialing …
  10. develop online matching registry services and other creative options to match people with intellectual disabilities and their families who need help finding available DSPs.

Advocacy for the DSP Workforce

The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), together with Relias, has developed this advocacy tool below to tell your member of congress about the role DSPs play in your life. Check it out, and if you feel so moved, tell your representative.

DSPs: Ask Congress to Recognize DSPs as a Profession! | ANCOR

Get Congress' help in urging the federal government to recognize that DSPs are their own profession and collect data on this important workforce. This data is needed to inform policymaking on important issues for DSPs, such as wages.

Read More

The Director's Travels

The September 11, 2023 board communication on the director's activities...

Do you, or someone you know operate a Micro Business? Would you like to showcase your Micro Business at the Disability Resource Fair on October 7th? If you are interested, please contact Doug Bonnet at 209-955-3656, or Limited spots are available for a select amount of Micro Businesses at the Disability Resource Fair.

VMRC Executive Committee Meeting (Hybrid)

Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 6:30 PM

702 N. Aurora Street, Stockton, CA 95202, Cohen Board Room

Click Here for Zoom Information

VMRC Self-Determination Advisory Committee (SDAC) Meeting (Hybrid)

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 3:30 PM

702 N. Aurora Street, Stockton, CA 95202, Cohen Board Room

Click Here for Zoom Information

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute to Register for the Premier Service Provider Conference in the Area! Spots are Filling up Fast!

Announcing Our Provider Community's Third Professional Conference, Moving Forward


We are so excited to announce that our local provider coalition, the Coalition of Local Agency Service Providers (CLASP), has been hard at work to put together their third provider conference. This one will be called “Moving Forward” 2023 and will be their first major provider conference in three years. This is an opportunity for our provider community to come together to learn about policy issues and innovations in providing person-centered services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

The event includes one of the national thought leaders on Person-Centered Thinking, Carol Blessing of Cornell University and John Raffaele and Joe Macbeth from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, talking about the important role of Direct Support Professionals in connecting people with disabilities to their communities. We were also very excited to learn that one of our most popular speakers on creative approaches to person-center supports for people with complex needs, Lynn Seagle, will be one of the featured morning keynotes and our DDS Director Nancy Bargmann will cap off our morning with a lunch keynote.

CLASP does so much to support the provider community and it’s an honor to work with these leaders who have dedicated their careers to serving people with IDD and their families in our region. This conference is an excellent example of how our providers focus on continuous improvements in service delivery in our community. Special thanks to Candice Bright and Liz Herrera Knapp for their leadership in making this happen.

Conference Landing Page
Conference Registration
Sponsorship Information

Thank You Sponsors!

Clinical Update

Dr. Claire Lazaro

Clinical Director

Autism Walk 2023

The Autism Walk in Modesto is coming up! Scan the QR code below to register. This will be on Saturday, September 30th from 9 am to 12 pm at the Central Catholic High School Track/Field.

Register Here

Free Vaccination Clinic!

FREE Vaccination Clinic at the VMRC Modesto Office

What: Flu Shots for 3 years and older (regular and senior formulation) and COVID vaccine

When: October 7th, 2023 at 11 am – 2 pm

Where: 1820 Blue Gum Avenue, Modesto, CA

Register here:

Bring your Medical and Prescription card.

Members not covered or not insured (e.g. Kaiser Members) will have to pay out of pocket at point of service. Please see price below:

  We will accept check or credit card for payment

COVID Vaccine (Anticipated to be the new XBB COVID Vaccine) = $160 for those uninsured or have Kaiser or MediCal (for people under 18 years old) plans.

Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine (<65 years old formulation) = $40

Senior Dose Flu Formulation (>65 years old) = $72

SAVE the DATE! FREE Vaccination Clinic at the VMRC Stockton Office

What: Flu Shots, and other vaccines such as Hepatitis B, TDaP, Shingles, and Pneumococcal. And Health Fair with Medicare Part D Enrollment, medication review, Naloxone nasal spray, Health screenings and health supplies such as blood glucose monitor, blood pressure monitor, etc (while supplies last).

When: October 27th, 2023 at 1 – 5 pm

Where: 702 N Aurora Street, Stockton, CA

Make an appointment: call (209) 687-4014

Bring your Medical and Prescription card, Medicare Card (if you have one), and ALL your medications.

Members of Kaiser will have to go to Kaiser as UOP don’t have the ability to bill Kaiser.

Take a Look at the Rest of the 2023 University of Pacific Health Fairs

CalAIM September 8 Intermediate Care Facility for Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD) Carve-In Office Hours

As part of the educational webinar series for the Intermediate Care Facility for Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD) Long-Term Care Carve-In, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will be hosting an Office Hour session on September 8, 2023, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. The goal of the webinar series is to provide stakeholders with information about the ICF/DD Carve-In policy requirements and how to best support and coordinate care for members, as all managed care plans will be required to cover and coordinate institutional long-term care for members entering or currently residing within an ICF/DD Home starting on January 1, 2024. All webinars and office hours will be open to the public.  


The Office Hours will provide a dedicated forum for DHCS and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to engage with ICF/DD Homes, Regional Centers, and Medi-Cal managed care plan representatives to address questions and further their understanding of the ICF/DD Carve-In. The September 8 Office Hours (advance registration required) will focus on questions related to the following components of the ICF/DD Carve-In: network readiness and contracting, continuity of care, authorizations, and leaves of absence and bed holds.


Office Hour participants are encouraged to submit their questions in advance using the registration form or by emailing  Additional details on upcoming webinars are available on the CalAIM ICF/DD LTC Carve-In transition webpage.

Case Management Update - Adults

Christine Couch

Director of Consumer Services - Adults

Spread the word! 988 text and chat services have joined call service in Spanish. Text or call 988

Case Management Update - Children

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services - Children

Executive Function: What is it, Why does it matter and What Early Intervention Providers can do to help

with Wendy Morrison RN, ECSE

Monday, September 18, 2023

12:00pm - 1:30pm

Virtual Event


Can't attend the event live? 

Register to receive access to the recording!

Angel often struggles to follow even simple directions and often forgets even simple directions. Noah seems rigid, preferring that things be done the same way all of the time and tantrums easily and often, seemingly over even the smallest things. Justice is easily frustrated and often acts out physically when upset. These behaviors are all examples of poor executive function skills in toddlers. 


According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, acquiring the early building blocks of executive function skills is one of the most important tasks of the early childhood years. Executive function skills are the building blocks of both cognitive and social development, they help us to control impulses, make plans, and stay focused. Biology and genetics set the stage for the development of these skills, but the right experiences during the first three years of life are crucial in shaping how these skills develop.  Read more here


At the end of this event attendees will be able to:


·   Define executive functioning and describe the role of executive function skills in early childhood development, particularly for children with developmental disabilities.

·   Describe how executive function skills develop in the first three years of life and list some important experiences that promote development of these skills.

Describe intervention strategies to share with caregivers that will support executive function skill development for children with a wide range of developmental challenges.

Wendy Morrison has worked in the field of early intervention for almost three decades after a number of years working as a pediatric nurse. She is an Early Childhood Special Educator and inclusion consultant working in homes and early care and learning settings around the San Francisco bay area.


For over a decade, Wendy has provided training to early intervention, early childhood and medical professionals on many topics relevant to the field of early intervention. Read more here.

Non-Member: $55

IDA Agency/Individual Member: $40

IDA Parent/Student/New Clinician Member: $30


IDA CE Hours: Nursing, PT, Speech and Language $15 (1.5 hours)

CDI CE Hours: LCSW, LMFT, LEP, LPCC (you will be invoiced)


ADA Requests: Contact IDA @

with ADA request by Sept 7, 2023


Limited Partial Scholarship Available

Register Now

You are invited to join us for this free virtual training for parents and caregivers

of children with autism. Register today by clicking the link below!


Back to School

Thursday, September 28, 2023

5:15pm - 6:30pm ET

Presented by Erica Kearney, M.A., LABA, BCBA

This is the first of a 10 month training series provided virtually by experts at the National Autism Center at May Institute. Please stay tuned for future trainings. 


ABOUT THIS TRAINING: Back to school is an exciting, and sometimes challenging time for children and families. This is especially true for autistic children and their families. In this webinar, we will discuss tried and true strategies for making this transition a positive one. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions and discussion.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Erica Kearney is the Executive Director at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Chicopee, Massachusetts. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Register Now

Once you register, you will receive an email to confirm your attendance

and more information about the training. 

Community Services Update


Brian Bennett, Director of Community Services

The Direct Support Professional (DSP) is critical to the system of supports for persons with IDD. For DSP’s supporting individuals and their families with achieving their individual goals, the VMRC Community Services Team thanks all Direct Support Professional’s for their contributions. 

Home and Community Based Services Final Settings Rule

Vendor Training opportunities for Residential and Day Program providers October - December 2023

Social Recreation Opportunities! (Ceres, CA) 

Made possible by a Grant from the Department of Developmental Services

VMRC’s website has a new look!

For service providers:

For inquiries about Request for proposals:

The DEI Corner


Mark Crear, DEI Manger

The New Golden Platinum Rule: 

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.” We’ve all heard the phrase. At first glance, It’s a splendid concept except for one thing: Everyone is different, and the truth is that in many cases what you’d want done to you is different from what your partner, employee, consumer, spouse, or child would want done to them. What appears to be empathy is, in fact, very self-serving. By treating people the way we want to be treated, we are most likely treating them inappropriately.   

In our modern workplace, with all our different preferences, cultural backgrounds, professional disciplines, ages, genders, sexual orientations, etc., treating others as you would like to be treated isn’t always the best option. Although it can be helpful to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, doing so can actually lead to making assumptions based on your own perspective — not theirs. This is what we refer to as Implicit Bias.   

It’s time to adopt the “Platinum” Rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated. This should be the fundamental maxim for effective relationships. All it takes to put this new mindset into practice is understanding, curiosity, and compromise. 

  • Remember that your way is not the best or only way: Remember that there are many alternatives available to reach the same destination. When we rely too heavily on our own perspectives, we miss out on the diverse and important viewpoints around us.


  • Challenge your assumptions: We are all a unique mix of genetics, experiences, and desires. Generalizing other people and their characters can be very dangerous — and more often than not, our generalizations are inaccurate. When you find yourself making assumptions about another person, ask: Are my assumptions based off my own experiences and understanding of the world, and if so, am I being biased? 

  • Ask questions and listen: The best way to really find out how someone else would like to be treated is to simply ask. Make it a point to understand what your direct reports and your team need from you.  

  • Recognizing people for who they are and giving them what they need is the cornerstone of building stronger relationships in our personal and professional lives. Adopting the Platinum Rule and realizing its potential by focusing on others will be an invaluable exercise for ourselves, our teams, our organizations, and our communities. This is what we refer to as person centered thinking.   

North Valley Hills Update

   Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930

Congratulations to our Office Technician Marigene Tacan-Regan on her Retirement from SCDD after 17 years of service!

Marigene’s last day in the office will be Friday, September 8, 2023!

Thank you, Marigene!

Our office hosted a Retirement Open House on Aug 30, 2023. It was a fulfilled event and we thank our community partners and SCDD staff, family and friends who were able to stop by!

Big thank you to Tony Anderson for making the event! 

WE WANT YOU if you live in Amador, Calaveras or Tuolumne Counties to join our SCDD North Valley Hills Regional Advisory Committee (RAC)


Our RAC meets 5 times a year- currently in person with a zoom option. We talk about important issues for folks with developmental disabilities and their families and learn what is happening in the system both good and bad!


If you are a person over the age of 18 and have a developmental disability or are a family member to a person with a developmental disability –



Questions- please contact Dena Hernandez at the number above

CHOICES Institute

Save the Date!  

CHOICES Institute will be holding its 36th ANNUAL Conference on FRIDAY, April 12, 2024


Our planning team met on August 16 and is working on all the details for the conference. CHOICES wants to hear from YOU!



 We need your help!!!! Share your idea(s) for a theme!!


Email or call Dena Hernandez before 9/20/23


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