AIRS 2015 Conference Archives

AIRS Annual Conference and National Aging and Disability Symposium

I&R Annual Training & Education Conference

Dallas, Texas – May 27-30, 2015

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) held the Annual I&R Training and Education Conference, "AIRS: Branding I&R Excellence," in Dallas, Texas, from May 27th to 30th, 2015, in collaboration with ADvancing States, the National Aging and Disability I&R Support Center, and military family support specialists.

The National Aging and Disability Information & Referral/Assistance Pre-Conference Summit, held Wednesday, May 27, focused on business acumen. Presentations from the pre-conference summit are available here. Presentations from the three-day conference are available below.

AIRS Conference Aging and Disability Track Sessions - See more at:

AIRS Conference Aging and Disability Track Sessions

A-1: National Policy Updates: Aging and Disability I&R/A

Presenters shared the latest updates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL); ADvancing States; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). These updates provided a comprehensive review of current trends and developments in aging and disability policy, financing and service delivery.

Sherri Clark, Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS, Washington, DC; Martha Roherty, ADvancing States,  Washington, DC; Sandy Markwood, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), Washington, DC; Lindsay Baran, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL),  Washington, DC

ACL Presentation

ADvancing States Presentation

n4a Presentation

NCIL Presentation

A-2: Riding the Waves: The Trials and Tribulations of Getting California’s First VDHCBS off the Ground

This session focused on participant direction services and FMS models, particularly how they pertain to a veteran directed HCBS program. Presenters illustrated how they navigated obstacles to get the program off the ground and described the day to day operations of the  program. Presenters also discussed the differences between an Employer Agent FMS model vs an Agency with Choice model, and why a switch was made from one to the other in regards to this program.

Ben Davidson, Premier Healthcare Services, Culver City, California; Mollie Murphy, National Resource Center for Participant Directed Services, Boston, Massachusetts; Victor Lira, Premier Healthcare Services, San Diego, California



A-3: Building the Business Case: I&R/A and Delivery System Reforms

With the dizzying array of delivery system reforms and the move toward integrated care in many states around the country, where does information & referral/assistance fit in? How can I&R/A providers prepare themselves to be part of these efforts? This session provided participants with information on national, state, and community organizations that are working together to assist aging and disability organizations in acquiring the necessary business skills to partner and ultimately contract withintegrated care entities such as health plans, accountable care organizations, health systems, and more.

Patricia Bordie, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Austin, Texas; Sandy Markwood, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), Washington, DC; Marisa Scala-Foley, Administration for Community Living, HHS, Washington, DC

n4a Presentation

ACL Presentation

A-4: Improving Aging Services for LGBT Older Adults

Participants obtained information on LGBT friendly referrals and resources, as well as LGBT outreach and working with the LGBT community.

Tim R. Johnston, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders), New York, New York



A-5: Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need to Know and What You Can Do

With over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 15.5 million providing their care, the need for educational, financial, and emotional support have never been greater. This session shared information on how the Alzheimer’s Association provides nationwide education and support through a variety of telephonic, online and local services.

Mariam Schrage, Alzheimer’s Association, Chicago, Illinois


A-6: Staying the Course: How to Be a Compass on the Path to Self-Direction

Self-directed service models are constantly changing. The intersection of these changes to LTSS policy and waiver programs shape the design and service delivery models in a self-directed program. This workshop engaged attendees in their roles and relationships to a self-directed consumer and their program.

Amanda Cavanagh, iLIFE, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


A-7: Building a ‘No Wrong Door’ System from the Bottom Up: Functions, Innovation and Technology

The session, intended for managers and developers, provided an advanced look into Minnesota’s “no wrong door” approach to it aging and disability resource centers. Since 2003, the network has grown to 1500 users and 300 agencies that use a multimedia presence tool called Revation LinkLive®. Presenters described the process behind building a network, methods to engage new partners and the innovation which allow the Senior LinkAge Line® to grow to handling over 265,000 contacts annual from seniors and

Krista Boston, Minnesota Board on Aging, St. Paul, Minnesota; Elissa Schley, Minnesota Board on Aging, St. Paul, Minnesota


A-8: Making Medicare Affordable: Finding, Screening and Enrolling Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries in Programs to Help Pay the Costs of Prescriptions and Medicare

Since 2008, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) allows grant money to states and territories (AAAs, ADRCs, and SHIPs) to promote Medicare Preventive Services and enroll low-income beneficiaries in subsidy programs. I&R specialists play a key role in screening callers for program eligibility and referring them for help. This session reviewed results from a National I&R Support Center Membership survey of I&R specialists, and reviewed eligibility rules, benefits, and promising practices for screening and referral.

Erin White, ADvancing States, Washington, DC; Maggie Flowers, National Council on Aging, Arlington, Virginia; Melissa Simpson, National Council on Aging, Arlington, Virginia


A-9: Bringing Transportation into the Conversation: A Holistic Approach to Individual Needs

Transportation is not always included in the I&R conversation when it should be. The National Center for Senior Transportation believes that access to transportation and the availability of transportation options counseling is a critical piece in ensuring holistic aging support in a community. This session explored how to bring transportation and mobility counseling into I&R conversations and provided examples of transportation programs that have successfully incorporated I&R mobility counseling into seemingly separate community programs.

Eileen Miller, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging/National Center on Senior Transportation, Washington, DC; Melisa Lopes, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging/Eldercare Locator, Washington, DC; Thelma Samuel, Harris County Area Agency on Aging, Houston, Texas


A-10: Mission Accessible

This workshop included an overview of the history of disability rights, disability rights laws and most importantly keys to a better understanding of how to work with people with disabilities. Special attention was paid to disability culture and what are best practices for callers with disabilities.

Ericka Reil, Vermont Center for Independent Living, Montpelier, Vermont; Mary Margaret Moore, Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann, Salem, Massachusetts


A-11: Improving the Oral Health of Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities

This workshop addressed the importance of oral health and the lack of access to care for many older adults and persons with disabilities. The session began with a video depicting the very real consequences of poor oral health followed by a presentation of research findings regarding the oral health status of older adults and persons with disabilities. National efforts underway to improve the oral health of these underserved populations were also described.

Patrick W. Finnerty, DentaQuest Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts; Martha Roherty, ADvancing States, Washington, DC

DentaQuest Presentation

ADvancing States Presentation

A-12: Health Insurance Jeopardy in Year 2 of Open Enrollment: Double Jeopardy

People with disabilities who lack health insurance face many options under the ACA. I&R specialists assisting these uninsured individuals need to make sure they are asking the right questions when providing this assistance. This session, a follow-up to last year’s presentation on “Health Insurance Jeopardy,” focused on assisting those with specific disabilities like Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Multiple Sclerosis, Paralysis & Veterans.

Karl D. Cooper, American Association on Health and Disability, Rockville, Maryland


A-13: Going Our Way? Shared Solutions Towards a ‘No Wrong Door System’ of Access: Building Successful ADRC and 211 Partnerships for Streamlined I&R/A and Referral Management

Strong partnerships between Texas Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) and 211 Area Information Centers are essential to providing a true “no wrong door” system of access. This session addressed the Texas experience enhancing streamlined, person-centered information and referral services with respect to the Texas Balancing Incentive Program grant. State level and local ADRC and 211network partners highlighted new state level initiatives and successful “best practice” models for outreach and referral management.

Patricia Bordie, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Austin, Texas; Beth Noah, Aging and Disability Resource Center of Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas; Vicki Mize, 211 Texas/United Way of Tarrant County, Arlington, Texas

DADS Presentation

211 Presentation

A-14: Three Tools to Help Older Adults Save Money

Many benefits programs exist to help older adults save money on their healthcare, household costs, and more. But for those who may not qualify for benefits programs, did you know that there are other resources that may be able to save them money? Presenters shared three free, online tools that older adults and the professionals who serve them can use to find budgeting tools, jobs, benefits, and more.

Maggie Flowers, National Council on Aging, Arlington, Virginia; Melissa Simpson, National Council on Aging, Arlington, Virginia


A-15: Aging and Disability I&R/A: Findings from the Field

In 2015, ADvancing States, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), conducted a national survey of I&R/A agencies in the aging and disability networks. This survey gathered data on key topics including referrals and service needs, use of social media, partnerships and system building, standards and quality assurance, training and certification, private pay, and Medicaid services. This session shared high-level findings from the survey data.

Nanette Relave, ADvancing States, Washington, DC; Lindsay Baran, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), Washington, DC


A-16: The Roles of Case Managers in Self-Direction: Empowering Independence

Self-directed programs provide essential services to vulnerable populations. ADRCs play a pivotal role in explaining self-directed program options within and alongside Managed Care LTSS. When new program models are compared to traditional long-term care supports, it is clear that the role of case managers is changing. This session evaluated the key paradigm shift shaping the role and identified considerations for consumers choosing self-direction.

Gerianne Prom, Centers for Independence; Milwaukee Center for Independence, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Danielle Skenadore, Centers for Independence; iLIFE, Milwaukee, Wisconsin