Weekly Focus - September 16, 2016

An update and information report for doctors who provide consultative exams for OOD’s Division of Disability Determination
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Kevin L. Miller, Executive Director

September 16, 2016

The mission of the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency is to ensure individuals with disabilities achieve quality employment, independence and disability determination outcomes.

What's Inside:

OOD Commissioner Blake Haxton Excels in Paralympics


To say OOD Commissioner Blake Haxton is an inspiration to many would be an understatement of epic proportions. Haxton is the personification of bringing about positive change in the public’s attitudes and perceptions about disability.


Many Ohioans have heard Haxton tell his remarkable story of contracting necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating disease, while in high school in 2009. To save his life, doctors operated on Haxton more than 25 times and ultimately were forced to amputate his legs.


Haxton has continued to defy odds and has graduated from The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business with an undergraduate degree in finance, a law degree from the OSU Moritz School of Law, and passed the second level of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam. Not satisfied, Haxton returned to his love of rowing, made the U.S. National Team, and recently competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games held in Rio. 


Haxton, competing in the arms and shoulders single sculls event, did an outstanding job at the games. Just three years into his career as an international para-rowing athlete, and competing on the largest international stage, Haxton made the event finals and finished in fourth place on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas race course in Rio. 


“Commissioner Haxton is not only a great role model for individuals with disabilities, he is an excellent example for anyone who is pursuing something that is goal-oriented,” said OOD Executive Director Kevin Miller. “I feel fortunate to know him.”


Haxton currently serves as Vice Chair of the OOD Commissioners.


See Blake Haxton speak about representing the United States in the Paralympics, click here


Pictured above: Before joining Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Haxton addressed youth at OOD's Youth Leadership Forum.

Winning Comes From Never Giving Up

Andrea Kimmet was born with a rare metabolic disorder resulting in very short stature and an extremely quiet voice. A scooter and a service dog free her to pursue the mobility she loves. For more than four years starting in high school, she received job development services. Andrea persisted every month in applying for jobs and following up with her job developer on leads (first with Harbor and then with Capabilities). She received vocational assistance throughout her entire case by Uzy Achufusi, transition specialist with Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities' Bridges to Transition partnership. 


“She always had a positive attitude and kept up with her volunteering throughout the entire process, adding the volunteer experiences to her resume,” explains her counselor Tonya Mortimer. “Andrea has a lot of work skills and has a very good work ethic, she just had to find the right employer to give her a chance.”


That employer is Contemporary Services Corporation, which hired Andrea as a part-time ticket-taker for concerts and sports events starting last March. When need arises, job coaching is provided as a long-term support paid through her waiver as sports seasons change at the University of Toledo. Work tasks vary slightly from basketball, to football, to other seasons, but Andrea has kept on top of things. 


Andrea’s mom commented, “Andrea would like to tell others looking for employment ‘to never stop trying.’ She never stopped trying and now she is employed and loves it. She thinks all of her volunteer work also helped her in showing future employers she was a hard worker.”


To find out more about Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities' vocational rehabilitation services, click here.

Employment First Partnership Training

Director John Martin from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities joined OOD Director Kevin Miller this week in welcoming the Employment First Partnership staff at their in-service training. Partnership staff were recognized for their accomplishments this year, including assisting more than 500 individuals with developmental disabilities achieve competitive integrated employment and successfully closed their cases, along with exceeding the program goal by 35 percent. Staff also learned about trauma informed care from Woodlane Residential Services and autism strategies and action from the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI). For more information on Employment First, click here.


Employment First Trng Dirs Martin & Miller
Directors Martin and Miller share Employment First accomplishments at a partnership training.

Division of Disability Determination Shares Best Practices

OOD's Division of Disability Determination (DDD) hosted their counterparts from the state of Indiana this week to share best practices and to help Indiana representatives understand how Ohio incorporates LeanOhio principles into claims processing.


Collaborative efforts like this allow both states to exchange ideas. Everyone who attended, expressed gratitude that an open and honest dialogue was helpful in improving the procedure to process claims.  


“We are always excited to share with others how Ohio is using innovative strategies to process claims more accurately, faster and more efficiently,” said DDD Deputy Director Erik Williamson. “We certainly learned from Indiana’s leadership and hope they went away with ideas that can help them.”


Did You Know? There is an International Chess Committee of the Deaf

Azerbaijan is currently hosting the 42nd Chess Olympiad involving 182 teams. One team is from the International Chess Committee of the Deaf, consisting of top deaf players from all over the world. They may not know each other’s sign language to communicate, but they are allowed to communicate in chess-talk, a first for these competitions. For live streaming video and additional details, click here. 

OOD By the Numbers

Vocational Rehabilitation

                                                               Current                     FFY2016


Individuals in Job Ready Status:            3,001                        6,145

(For county level information

& map visit our website)


Individuals Employed:                             2,355                        6,611

(Employed, not yet

successfully closed)


Successful Closures:                                                                6,274

(Employed for over 90 days,

case closed successfully)


Disability Determination

(FFY2016 as of 09/9/2016 – Week 50)


Applications Received:                                                           188,360


Determinations:                                                                       191,387


Productivity Per Work Year (PPWY)                                          369.8

(Total number of cases processed divided

by the number of work years funded)

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