Valley Mountain Regional Center

VMRC Community Health Advisory

One Hundredth and One

Community Health


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Weekly Message from the Executive Director
Tony Anderson

By the Numbers

This week we reported two consumers and two direct support professionals with a positive test for COVID-19. Since January 12, 2022 we have consistently reported decreases in positive cases for both consumers and direct support professional cases overall, and we haven’t reported any deaths or hospitalizations since mid February.


Of course the reasons for success in the low death and hospitalization reports is attributable to the good work of our community to ensure high vaccination rates in our region for people with developmental disabilities (we rank second highest in the state for consumers 16 years and older, second only to San Gabriel Regional Center who has consistently ranks number since DDS started ranking the regional centers). At VMRC we also have also paid close attention to the vaccination status of our consumers and only 37% percent are listed as unknown while the state is collectively reporting 57% unknown. Finally, last week we reported that not all counties met the threshold to allows us to to do face to face unannounced visits to monitor licensed programs but this week we are happy to announce that we have met the goal for all our counties and will be fully face to face for all quarterly visits. Here are our numbers for our region as of Thursday night which show we have stayed under 5% positivity rate for at least 3 days in a row:

San Joaquin – 2.0%

Stanislaus – 3.2%

Amador – 2.8%

Calaveras – 2.2%

Tuolumne – 2.4%


Department of Developmental Services Letter Home and Community Based Services and Self-Determination

This week we receive a letter from DDS clarifying the use of services that are also provided in the traditional system in group arrangements. The letter describes how the state will decide if the services meet the Home and Community Based Services rules. Here’s the letter for details and are are some highlights:

  1. Settings that are designed specifically for groups of individuals with developmental disabilities must be assessed prior to beginning the SDP service. 
  2. Providers of one of the services listed on Enclosure A who are both vendored with a regional center to provide services through the traditional service delivery system and plan to provide services to a participant in the SDP in the same setting as services in the traditional system are required to complete an assessment. 
  3. The regional center, provider, and participant should work collaboratively to ensure compliance with the HCBS Final Rule in all settings where an SDP service is provided, including any not listed in Enclosure A
  4. This may require a setting assessment using the form in Enclosure B
  5. If it is determined the setting is not compliant, the regional center and participant should explore possible changes with the service provider, which would allow the participant to purchase the service using SDP funds. 
  6. Examples of these types of settings are camps specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities that are used on greater than a temporary or intermittent basis
  7. The participant and the service provider must complete the assessment. 
  8. It may be completed at the same time for all SDP participants interested in using the service.
  9. The participant’s Financial Management Services provider and the participant will jointly review the initial assessment.
  10. During annual reviews of the individual program plan, the planning team must review the initial assessment and determine if the setting continues to be HCBS Final Rule compliant. 
  11. Documentation of this review will be maintained by the regional center and may include, for example, documentation in the Individual Program Plan.
  12. The setting must comply with the HCBS Final Rule prior to payment for services.
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Case Management Update – Children

Tara Sisemore-Hester

Director of Consumer Services – Children

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Spotlight on Noah

It’s our pleasure to introduce Noah! He’s 9 years old and lives at home with his Mom. Noah loves to ride his hoverboard and play PS5. He enjoys going to school and spending quality time with his Mom. For a special treat, he gets to have a cheeseburger from Jack In The Box, where the staff there remember him and his order when they see him. Noah has been working hard and has increased his expressive communication skills. He’s active and smart, and affectionate and he makes those around him smile.

Noah’s Mom has shared she’s very happy with VMRC services and thankful for Noah’s Service Coordinator for providing ongoing support over the years. The respite has been extremely helpful. Mom works nights, so the respite service gives her a chance to catch up on sleep or cook Noah’s favorite dinner while the respite worker is with him. She also finds the feedback she gets very helpful, which assists her and Noah in their daily lives. We are so proud of Noah and want to wish him (and his Mom) continued success.


Covid-19’s Impact on Students with Disabilities in California: A Family-Focused Training on “Learning Recovery Services” and Compensatory Education

The webinar is intended to help families navigate compensatory education and earn recovery services if their child has been impacted by COVID-19 distance learning and/or school closures.

Topics that will be discussed include:

  • Impact of school closers and distance learning on students with disabilities
  • Recent state guidance on determining a student’s services and support needs
  • The difference between “learning recovery services” and compensatory education
  • Tips to help families advocate for their child’s needs

Guest speakers will include:

  • Moira Allbritton, Program Specialist with Exceptional Family Resource Center in San Diego
  • Ramaah Sadasivam, Supervising Attorney in the Youth Practice Group at DRC
Visit the DRC Website

Self Determination: Independent Facilitators (IFs)

Check out this site recently updated by the Department of Developmental Services to help our community better understand what “Independent Facilitators” do and how this service can help you in Self-Determination.

“The independent facilitator may assist the participant in making informed decisions about the individual budget, and in locating, accessing, and coordinating services and supports consistent with the participant’s IPP. The independent facilitator is available to assist in identifying immediate and long-term needs, developing options to meet those needs, leading, participating, or advocating on behalf of the participant in the person-centered planning process and development of the IPP, and obtaining identified services and supports.”

Independent Facilitators (IFs) – CA Department of Developmental Services

“Independent facilitator” means a person, selected and directed by the participant, who is not otherwise providing services to the participant pursuant to their IPP and is not employed by a person providing services to the participant.

Read More

Office of the Self-Determination Program Ombudsperson

Goals & Responsibilities

The Ombudsperson assists regional center consumers and Self-Determination participants and their families to participate in the program.


  • Increase the number of people in the Self-Determination Program (SDP)
  • Reduce the amount of time it takes to enter SDP
  • Recommend policy change at regional centers and DDS


  • Provides information to regional center clients and their families,
  • Facilitates solution to disagreements,
  • Investigates complaints regarding implementation of the program,
  • Recommends strategies for change to the department and the legislature, and
  • Compiles and reports data to the legislature.

The Ombudsperson cannot:

  • Decide disputes in favor of one party or another
  • Overturn a fair hearing decision or make a recommendation to a court

All information is confidential unless agreed to be released.



Join us to discuss the new CDC milestones, why and how they were changed and how they may affect referrals to early intervention.

• Come 15 minutes early (8:45) to visit and learn more about IDA

• There will be a theme to discuss for most of the hour

• We will reserve part of the hour for open sharing

• We will divide into breakout groups if more than 12 people attend

Spend time with colleagues chatting about the importance of the work we do and the ways we support our children, families and ourselves.

Please bring your friends and colleagues too!


Saturday March 26, 2022

9:00am – 10:00am


You will receive your NEW ZOOM Link in your confirmation once you register.

Register here

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We are excited to announce the following self determination orientation opportunities:

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 9AM-12PM Spanish

Thursday, June 16, 2022 1PM-4PM English with Spanish Translation

Monday, August 8, 2022 1PM-4PM English with Spanish Translation


Join us every 4th Thursday of the Month!


Have questions about the Self-Determination Program? Need support with transitioning into Self-Determination? Want to talk to others who have gone through the process?

We are happy to help! Come adjoin us for our weekly coaching meetings to get information and hands on support with your Self-Determination journey! Meetings are free to participants and open to all. Hope to see you there!


Culturally and Linguistically Competent Self-Determination Program

“The USC UCEDD at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received a 2020/21 DDS Service Access and Equity grant to identify barriers to participation in Self-Determination in communities of Color. We conducted focus groups in the African American/Black, Latino and Chinese Communities. We would like to share what we learned with you at a community symposium. Please join us for an exploration of barriers and recommendations to address these challenges. Next Thursday, March 24, 2022 2-3:30PM Click here to register for the virtual symposium! Supported By: Join us for a Community Symposium funded by the Department of Developmental Services! For more information contact Imani Franklin” 

Register: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


Case Management Update – Adults

Christine Couch

Director of Consumer Services – Adults


PJ the Featured Speaker

Recently we told you that “PJ” one of our local advocates was recently selected to be a featured speakers a state conference focused on employment after high school. PJ is always very inspiring and was feature during a strand that focused on youth leadership and hearing from the students themselves as the experts. If you weren’t able to attend the conference don’t worry because PJ was generous enough to share with us her presentation. Click on this button below to see PJ featured presentation.

PJ’s Featured Presentation

Still time to join us at the Modesto NUTS game on April 9!! We want to see you there!!


Free Transition Fair: GOT PLANS?

There’s still room to join us at the transition fairs. The next one focused on transition from high school to college and or work in San Joaquin County will be at the end of the month in April. Join us it will be fun for sure.




Community Services Update

Brian Bennett

Director of Community Services

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VMRC is seeking Qualified Commercial Transportation Service Providers to submit Letters of Interest

Valley Mountain Regional Center (VMRC) is seeking service providers to operate transportation services and transportation assistant services to serve people with developmental disabilities who reside in the counties of: Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Tuolumne, Amador, Calaveras. Developmental disabilities include intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, autism, and cerebral palsy. The applicant selected to provide transportation services and transportation assistant services in the VMRC service region will work closely with R&D Transportation services, Inc. (R&D) a full-service transportation broker, who provides scheduling, routing, quality assurance, and oversight of all contract transportation billing invoices.

Transportation services include transporting individuals to and from their place of residence to day programs, generally between the hours from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Individuals may need supervision, assistance with wheelchairs, or assistance and monitoring while being transported. Currently, VMRC needs to expand its transportation routes to fulfill emergent service needs for individuals for round-trip travel to/from their respective program activities.

More Information about vendorization may be found on DDS’s website at under

“Vendorization Process” or under California Code of Regulations, Title 17, and Sections

54310 through 54390, vendor application requirements; Sections 58500 to 58570,

Transportation Services; and Sections 54342(a)(81) and (84).

Interested Commercial Transportation service providers should contact R&D Transportation at  (888) 695-8848 Ext. 242


Upcoming Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Training Opportunities

The HCBS Final Settings Rule applies to all vendors who provide services in a setting that serves more than one regional center consumer. The intent of the Final Settings Rule is to ensure that people with developmental disabilities receive services that integrate them fully into the community to the same degree as people without developmental disabilities. It ensures quality of life! They also ensure that the residential settings that services are received in are home environments rather than institutional environments. All settings must optimize and enhance choice rather than regimenting it. The HCBS Final Settings Rule protects consumers rights including the right to privacy, dignity, respect and freedom from coercion and restraint. The Final Settings Rule goes into effect March 17th, 2023, all providers with the service codes listed below, must be compliant by that date.

VMRC will continue hosting trainings for Residential Providers, Day Type Services Providers and Employment Services Providers. Service providers under the following service codes are strongly encouraged to sign up for one of the trainings provided. It takes time and effort to implement these requirements. Eligible service codes are Residential: 096, 113, 904, 905, 915, 910, 920; Employment Services: 950 and 954; Day Type Services: 028, 055, 063, 475, 505, 510, 515, 855

The attached flyers have registration links on them for the following trainings. You must register to take the training. Once you have registered you will receive a link for the zoom session on the date you have chosen. For attendance purposes please have each staff taking the training register with their own contact information including their email address. Any last-minute changes to the scheduled trainings will be communicated to the registered individuals by email at the email address they have provided.

HCBS Trainings for Residential Providers

March 22nd, 2022, 10:00am – 11:00am

April 5th, 2022, 10:00am – 11:00am

April 14th, 2022, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

May 3rd, 2022, 10:00am – 11:00am

May 17th, 2022, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

HCBS Trainings for Day Type and Employment Services

April 5th, 2022, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

May 4th, 2022, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Contact Anna Sims, SCSL, HCBS Program Evaluator with questions: (209) 955-3353,

HCBS for Day Program and Employment Providers March 2022 through May 2022

HCBS for Residential Providers March 2022 through May 2022

Virtual Dental Home

VMRC plans to improve access to oral health services and improve oral health for children and adults that it serves by the securing of qualified Dentist’s and/ or Hygienists to implement the Virtual Dental Home (VDH) model. The VDH model of support is designed to offer customizable oral health supports for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities who reside in licensed support settings in VMRC’s five county catchment area (Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties) .

Virtual Dental Home Information Session
Policy Brief: The Virtual Dental Home

Special Incident Report Training

VMRC’s Quality Assurance Team will be providing Vendor SIR Training on Thursday, March 24th from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Please watch for the email blast if interested.

If you can’t see all of the pictures click here} Valley Mountain Regional Center, Quality Assurance Department Presents: Special Incident Reporting (SIR) Training via Zoom.

Please check with your CSL to ensure that VMRC has the correct: Contact Name, Phone number, Cell number, Emergency contact number, Email address, and Fax number. If there are any changes to this information, contact your CSL and provide the updated contact information so VMRC can update our system.

Come Join Us: Special Incident Reporting (SIR) Training via Zoom

Read More

Community Services Training Opportunities and Service Provider Information

Weekly Community Services Department Provider Informational Session

Info-Sessions will occur 1x per Month on the FIRST FRIDAY OF EACH MONTH

Zoom Link to upcoming Monthly Sessions:                                   

April 1 2022, 9-10 am                        

May 6th 2022, 9-10 am  

June 3rd 2022, 9-10 am  

July 1st 2022, 9-10 am   

August 5th 2022, 9-10 am    

October 7th 2022, 9-10 am  

November 4th 2022, 9-10 am  

December 2nd 2022, 9-10 am                     

Zoom Link to upcoming Monthly Sessions

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Clinical Services Updates

Claire B. Lazaro, MSN, RN, NP, PHN, NP-C

Director of Clinical Services


National Women’s History Month

Women have been the nurturing backbone of our society. They have given incredible contributors to improvements all over the world and in all fields of life. One that comes to mind is Marie Curie, a physicist who were able to isolate polonium and radium, with the hope to use it in treating diseases including cancer.[1] Let us honor and express appreciation to the women in our lives, past, present and the young ones who will be the future, during this month. Here are some free virtual activities in celebration of National Women’s Month:

·        Her Story: How Women and Girls Transformed the World! Join the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative for virtual workshops for children ages 3-6 and their adult companions. Learn about art, history, and more! Educators from the Smithsonian will lead three different 30-minute programs that incorporate close looking at art and historical objects. Adults must remain with children throughout each program.[2]

·        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Great Americans” Medal Posthumous Presentation 

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, recognized for her groundbreaking commitment to gender equity and human rights, will posthumously receive the National Museum of American History’s signature honor, the “Great Americans” medal. Her children, Jane C. Ginsburg and James S. Ginsburg will accept the medal on their mother’s behalf. A significant selection of artifacts representing the justice’s Supreme Court career will be donated by her family during the virtual ceremony. Free Registration 


The Omicron BA.2 subvariant has increased in the United States. Latest data show it is 23.1% of new COVID-19 infections nationwide.[3] It is predominant in the Northeast area of the U.S.

[1] The Nobel Prize.

[2] Women’s History Month.

[3] CDC COVID Data Tracker as of March 17, 2022.


Purchase of Services Data (POS)       

What is Purchase of Service Data, and Why do the Regional Centers have to present the information.

The Purchase of Service Data gives us information on how the Regional Centers spend the money they receive each year on services for consumers. The report (Data) must be presented in categories such as the consumers’ age, race or ethnicity, Primary language, Disability detail, and Residence type. The report provides information on the total amount of money utilized on the previous budget year.

Why is it important to know this information? We learned how the Regional Centers spend the money they receive for services. Why do Regional Centers have to present the report? The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act requires that all 21 Regional Centers have one public meeting and present the information of Purchase of Services.  

North Valley Hills Update

   Dena Hernandez, Regional Manager (209) 473-6930

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DUE MAY 17, 2022!

One or more Program Development Grant is available

Up to $20,000 

North Valley Hills Regional Office

Housing (Capacity-Building/Advocacy) 

The State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) is invested in ensuring that 

families and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) have the 

information, training, resources, guidance and technical assistance to identify and 

obtain affordable, safe, accessible housing and live full, independent lives in 

communities and homes of their choosing throughout the lifespan. SCDD 

acknowledges that families and individuals with I/DD experience barriers in 

understanding and navigating systems and obtaining desired housing within the SCDD 

North Valley Hills Regional Office (NVHRO) catchment area (San Joaquin, Stanislaus, 

Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador counties). The Council is seeking a culturally 

competent entity (e.g. agency, group, team or individual) to develop a service/resource 

toolkit, technical assistance and training to assist families/individuals with I/DD in 

understanding tenant and housing rights and subsidized housing programs, obtaining 

ILS/SLS services, as needed, and exploring a variety of housing options, including 

home ownership. Priority will be given to projects that focus on culturally, ethnically and 

linguistically diverse, underserved populations (in urban and/or rural settings).

The project grantee will:

  • ✓ Have demonstrated subject matter expertise in housing, funding sources, service/support options and housing rights-related topics
  • ✓ Have demonstrated cultural competence in the field of intellectual/ developmental disabilities 

The grantee will develop and implement a pilot project that will:

  • ✓ Develop/provide a plain language toolkit, curriculum, information/tips, resources/materials, etc. about housing/tenant/renter’s rights (including maintenance, evictions, Fair Housing, etc.), subsidized housing programs, obtaining ILS/SLS services, as needed, funding options, the broad range of housing options, including home ownership, etc.
  • ✓ Deliver a combination of guidance/technical assistance (TA) and multi-modal instruction about housing throughout the lifespan to families/individuals with I/DD
  • ✓ Be a replicable program, developing and/ identifying using promising or best practices

For more information and to download all forms for Cycle 45, please visit our website Email any grant questions to

Autism/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Alzheimer’s

Wandering 911 Script

Creating a Wandering 911 Script allows you to be prepared in the event that your loved one wanders and emergency responders are needed to assist in locating your loved one. The below information should be completed before a wandering incident occurs.

Remember to call 911 immediately if your loved one wanders.  For more information, please visit the Autism/IDD/and Alzheimer’s Outreach Program at

Click here for a fillable PDF

Autism/ Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Alzheimer’s and Dementia Outreach,Montgomery County Police Department , Montgomery County, MD

We follow-up with caregivers after we receive notice of a call for service involving someone from the autism/IDD, Alzheimer’s, or dementia community. We work with other county and state services that may be able to help.

Read More

How to connect to SCDD through Social Media

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Self-Advocacy Council 6 (SAC6)
Weekly Virtual Chat – St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

After the update from Tony Anderson– VMRC Executive Director– and Mental Health Tip of the Day by Dr. Dave– we will play BINGO to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Wear GREEN!

WHEN: Friday, March 18, 2022

TIME: 11:00 AM -12:15 PM

WHERE: ZOOM – computer, tablet, cell phone

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 826 7662 7732

Passcode: 653419

PDF Version of the SAC6 Flyer Here


Family Resource Network (FRN) Update

Lisa Culley, Executive Director


Building Bridges: Transitioning Your Child from the Early Start Program

Is your child turning 3 soon? Join FRN for a parent workshop on Building Bridges: Transitioning Your Child From the Early Start Program! Learn about the process of advocacy, what’s happening during the months leading up to your child’s 3rd birthday, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process, and ongoing services available through VMRC. You will walk away from this training with knowledge that will give you a great foundation for the next stage of parenting your child with special needs. Attendees will receive a Building Bridges workbook to complete as you prepare for your child’s transition. Spanish interpretation will be available. Register by clicking the link on the flyer, calling the FRN office at 209-472-3674 or by email at

Download our Flyer

Local County, State and National Public Health Resources

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