As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 40: Case Management

40.1 Case Notes

(Revised 02/13, 12/15)

40.1.1 Purpose

Case notes document the VR process from the initiation of consumer contact through to the eventual closure of a case. They are written in such a manner to allow the VRC or any DBS staff to have a clear understanding as to consumer interest, informed choice, rationale for decision making, as well as significant interaction between the counselor and consumer and critical steps in advancing the rehabilitation process.

40.1.2 What to Include

(Revised 01/10)

Select the most appropriate title from the drop-down menu for each case note in ReHabWorks. Case notes are used to document:

When preparing case notes, select the appropriate topic from the case note- drop-down menu in ReHabWorks. Record significant information (what, who, when, where) and decisions (what, how and why) when they are not obvious from other case file documentation. Examples of information to include in regular case notes are:

The DARS counselor will provide the Department of Veterans Affairs-Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Counselor (VA-VRE) with copies of case notes in accordance with the approved plan, at least quarterly, for each concurrent case and will document that this process has been completed:

Changes to the disability page screen are captured in the "Reason for Disability Update" section of the disability page and are required whenever the disability page is updated. This information must include justification for the update and references to specific records when applicable. This process will automatically generate a case note in the data system and populate the information as part of the system generated case note.

40.1.3 What Not to Include

(Revised 07/08)

Do not include the following in a case note:

40.1.4 Preliminary Assessment

(Revised 07/09, 04/10, 06/12)

After entering all data and meeting with the applicant, the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) or transition counselor begins the eligibility determination process. The counselor must document the rationale of an eligibility decision and summarize personal observations and any additional assessment reports. This process from application to an eligibility decision may require one or more case notes. The initial contact with the applicant is documented with a case note entitled "Preliminary Assessment" (see preliminary assessments for a complete description). This case note must give:

See examples of preliminary assessment case notes.

SSI or SSDI Status

See Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.3 Presumptive Eligibility for SSDI and SSI Recipients for more information.

40.1.5 Eligibility

The counselor must address all four eligibility criteria in the eligibility case note. See Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.2 Eligibility Criteria for VR Services for more information.

40.1.6 Pre-Eligibility Trial Work

See Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.10 Pre-Eligibility Trial Work for more information.

40.1.7 Comprehensive Assessment

(Revised 04/09, 06/12, 05/13)

After determining that the consumer is eligible, but before developing the individualized plan for employment, the counselor must identify the consumer's vocational rehabilitation needs and the nature and scope of needed services in relation to the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, interests, abilities, capabilities and informed choice. This assessment must be summarized in a comprehensive assessment case note. See Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.1.2 Components of the Comprehensive Assessment.

40.1.8 Active Services

While the case is in Active Services the counselor must document significant issues or problems that arise as well as the consumer's progress or lack of progress toward accomplishing the employment outcome.

40.1.9 Employment

In the case notes, the counselor should note any additional information that has not been placed in the employment section of ReHabWorks, such as:

40.1.10 Closure before Application/Closure after Application

For applicants closed as ineligible, document in an Outcome case note that the consumer was sent DARS5102, DBS Ineligibility Letter—VR or Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (ILS-OIB); or, if the case is being closed because the applicant’s disability or disabilities are too severe for Pre-Eligibility Trial Work, DARS5201, DBS Disability Too Severe to Benefit from Services—VR, informing the applicant that the case is being closed. A DARS5102 is not required for cases being closed from initial contact, since they are being closed before completing an application for services.

40.1.11 Unsuccessful Closure before Plan Initiated/Unsuccessful Closure after Plain Initiated

For cases closed as not rehabilitated (unsuccessful), document in an Outcome case note that the consumer was sent an unsuccessful letter (DARS5203) informing them that the case is being closed.

When either agency (DARS or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) closes a concurrent case, each counselor will notify the counselor of the other agency.

If the closure reason is unable to locate, then refer to Chapter 38: Closure, 38.3.4 Reasons for Unsuccessful Closure/Unable to Locate, or Moved Out of State regarding methods of attempting to locate the consumer. Document these attempts in case notes.

40.1.12 Successful Closure

For cases closed rehabilitated (successful):

When either agency (DARS or the Department of Veterans Affairs) closes a concurrent case, each counselor will notify the counselor at the other agency.

40.1.13 Post-Closure

See Chapter 39: Post-Closure Services for more information.

40.1.14 Outcome—Post-Closure Completed

For cases closed in Post-Closure Completed, document in an Outcome case note that the consumer was sent a letter (DARS5209, Successful Closure with Post-Employment—VR) informing them that their case is being closed.

When either agency (DARS or the Department of Veterans Affairs) closes a concurrent case, each counselor will notify the counselor of the other agency.

40.1.15 Email Messages from Consumers

The list below details recommendations for placement of emails in case notes:

  1. E-mails should be copied and pasted into a case note if there is pertinent information in the e-mail related to the consumer's rehabilitation program.
  2. Title case notes with the specific issue discussed in e-mail and also label as e-mail, that is, “Travel skills-e-mail” or “request for maintenance –e-mail”.
  3. Additional information may need to be added to the case note to clarify information in the e-mail and also to indicate a specific plan of action based on this communication with the consumer.
  4. If there are several e-mails back and forth between staff and consumer, then it is recommended that extraneous data and redundant e-mails be deleted before saving in the case note.
  5. Instead of copying and pasting the e-mail into a case note, the counselor or case worker may summarize the email or emails in a case note.

40.2 Case Folder Organization

(Revised 06/12, 02/13, 12/15)

The purpose of this section is to describe the processes that are necessary for case file uniformity. You are ultimately responsible for the:

The case file system consists of an electronic case file and paper case folder.

40.2.1 Guidelines on Use of Two-Sided or Six-Sided Case Folders

(Revised 07/06, 03/12, 07/16)

Documentation of service delivery, including contact reports and other reports, are maintained in either a two- or six-sided case folder. Each region may determine which type of folder is used. Regardless of which type of folder is used, the folder order listed below must be followed.

Documentation maintained in ReHabWorks should not be duplicated within the case file.

Documentation Order

Each section of the case folder should be organized so that initial documents are on the bottom and most recent on the top unless otherwise specified. As a result of the volume of information often contained in the six-sided case folder, dividers should be used to section off certain areas of documentation. This makes the information easier to access on a routine basis.

Side 1 contains, top to bottom, invoices with references to service authorization (SA) numbers and a copy of the service authorization.

Side 2 (top to bottom) contains the following articles:

Six-Sided Case Folder—Vocational Rehabilitation

Side 1: Basic Information

Basic information is placed in the following order from bottom to top chronologically (most recent on top) and separated by a divider:

Side 2: Medical Information

Medical information—all reports relating to medical information, for example, eye examination results, physician notes, general physical examination, low vision reports, and psychological reports—is placed in the following order from top to bottom chronologically (most recent on top) and separated by a divider:

Side 3: Assessments

Assessments are placed in the following order from top to bottom chronologically and separated by dividers:

Side 4: Education and Vocational Information (Separated by a divider, top to bottom)

Educational and vocational information is placed in the following order from top to bottom chronologically and separated by a divider. For

Side 5: Documentation of Equipment Purchases and General Correspondence

Documentation of equipment purchases and general correspondence are placed in the following order from top to bottom chronologically and separated by a divider:

Note: Flyers and other mail-outs to consumers do not have to be printed and placed in the case folder. A scanned copy of the mail-out can be pasted in case notes or a brief case note can be entered summarizing the mail-out.

Side 6: Service Authorizations

Service authorizations (SA) and invoices with references to SAs are placed in chronological order with the most recent on top and separated by a divider.

Note: A paper copy of the SA is required in the case file. Case file copies of requisitions and vouchers should have a copy of the invoice and/or reader service statement attached before filing. Service authorization numbers should be written on invoices.

Second Case Folder

When the volume of information on a consumer is more than a single case folder can physically hold, a second case folder can be used.

The following information must be transferred to the second case folder:

As a general rule, the original case folder should retain extensive past training reports and pertinent information regarding consumer purchases.

40.2.2 Preparing and Closing the Paper Case Folder

Paper case files must be prepared in accordance with BPM Chapter 13: Records Management, 13.6.1 Preparing Closed Consumer Case Files.

File the following documents from bottom to top on the left side of the case file in the order received for all cases. All financial documents must be grouped together, including:

Exception: Documents associated with billing for multiple consumer purchases must be placed in a centralized file in the field office.

40.2.3 Reopening a Case

When starting a new file on a case that was previously active, copy significant documents from the closed case file for placement in the new folder. Do not remove forms, reports, and other data from the old folder.

40.2.4 Maintaining Closed Case Files

Keep all documents, including financial records, in the closed consumer paper case file, which is stored for five years.

Field offices store files for cases closed in the current and preceding fiscal year.

Ship all other closed consumer paper case files to the DARS Records Center in accordance with procedures in Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 13: Records Management, 13.6 Closed Consumer Case Files.

Retrieve closed consumer paper case files from the DARS Records Center in accordance with policy (see Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 13: Records Management, 13.7 Records Retrieval).

40.3 Time in Status

(Revised 02/13, 12/15, 05/16)

40.3.1 Information on the Report

The Detail Time in Status report in ReHabWorks (RHW) assists in tracking consumer progress toward achieving the employment goal. This report is located in the main RHW menu under Reports.

ReHabWorks can provide system-generated actions requiring the counselor to document that the action has been completed or canceled. It benchmarks the cases that have exceeded the recommended time in a particular status. These benchmarks are not intended to limit services in any particular status, but rather to assist the counselor to help consumers make progress in the rehabilitation program.

40.3.2 Benchmark Time Frames

(Revised 10/12)

Status Benchmark Time
Status 00–Initial Contact with Case Assignment 30 days
Status 02–Application 60 days
Status 10–Eligibility and Plan Development 90 days

40.3.3 Required Actions

(Revised 06/11)

When a case exceeds the time recommended by a benchmark, the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) must review the case to determine whether:

The VRC must create a service justification case note to document all decisions made about case status.

40.4 Guidelines for Referral and Transfer of Cases

40.4.1 Introduction

(Revised 10/10)

This section provides guidelines for referring and transferring cases between some internal programs and external agencies, including

40.4.2 Transfer of Case Folder to Another VR Caseload

(Revised 10/10)

Case folders are usually transferred because there is

40.4.3 Procedure for Transfer

(Revised 7/3/06, 04/08, 01/09, 10/10, 11/13, 07/14)

The transferring and receiving region will each have 10 business days to complete a case transfer.

Transfer to the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center and/or to another region

When transferring a case to the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC), refer to Chapter 11: Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, 11.5.1 Case Transfers to the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center.

Use the following procedure to transfer an active case to a different region.

  1. Upon receipt of the request to transfer, the sending counselor:
    • documents the request to transfer, including the reason for the transfer and consumer's current contact information in the electronic case management system;
    • files supporting documentation in the case file, if applicable; and
    • notifies his or her vocational rehabilitation (VR) supervisor or coordinator of the request for transfer.
  2. Within five workdays of receiving the request to transfer, the transferring VR supervisor or coordinator completes a partial case review and emails the PDF version of the completed case review to the receiving VR supervisor or coordinator.
  3. Within three workdays after completing the case review, the transferring VR supervisor or coordinator:
    • verifies the case review has been validated;
    • documents that the case review was completed in the electronic case management system; and
    • mails the paper case file.
  1. Within three workdays after receiving the case, the receiving VR supervisor or coordinator:
    • assigns the case to the receiving counselor in ReHabWorks;
    •  enters a case note verifying that the case was received and assigned; and
    • notifies the counselor that the case was assigned.
  1. Within three workdays, the receiving counselor contacts the consumer to schedule an appointment to review and continue services.

Each step in the transfer should be completed promptly to avoid delay or disruption of services to the consumer. Corrective actions identified in the case review should be completed as quickly as possible before sending, in order for the transfer not to be delayed. Transfer the case in ReHabWorks and mail the folder only when all corrections have been completed.

If the VR supervisor or coordinator cannot agree on the case transfer, he or she refers the issue to the appropriate field directors.

For detailed procedures on transferring a case using ReHabWorks, see the ReHabWorks Users Guide, Chapter 9: Other Case Management, 9.3 Case Transfer.

For cases being transferred from a transition vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) to an adult VRC, see Chapter 33: Transition Services, 33.10.3 Transfer to Adult Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

When a consumer requests a case transfer, the VRC or rehabilitation assistant must ensure that:

Note: Providers must be notified if a service authorization is closed without payment. The receiving unit issues new service authorizations when the case is received for ongoing services, when applicable.

Transfer within the same region

A formal case review is not required for cases that are transferred within the same region. However, the VR field director, supervisor, or coordinator must enter a case note to verify that the transfer has been completed in ReHabWorks.

40.4.4 Procedure after Transfer

(Revised 10/10)

Within three days of receiving the paper case file, the receiving vocational rehabilitation supervisor or coordinator assigns the case to the receiving counselor in ReHabWorks and gives the paper copy to the receiving vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC). The assigned VRC and rehabilitation assistant should contact the consumer in a timely manner to schedule an appointment for the consumer to meet with the assigned VRC to resume services.

The receiving counselor:

40.4.5 Supervisory Action

(Revised 10/10)

If there are any discrepancies in the case folder, the field director or his or her designee determines whether to

40.4.6 Referrals from the Children's Program

(Revised 10/10)

All referrals from BCVDDP go to a transition counselor. For more details on those procedures, see Chapter 33: Transition Services.

40.4.7 Transfer of College Students to College-Based VRC

(Revised 07/07, 01/09, 10/10)

When a consumer attends a college or university where a full-time DBS counselor is assigned, the field counselor is strongly encouraged to transfer the case to that counselor according to the guidelines in Chapter 6: Academic, Vocational, and Technical Training, 6.1.3 Transfer to College Caseload.

40.4.8 Transfer of Other College Students

(Revised 01/09, 10/10)

The best interests of the consumer determine whether the case is transferred to the district office where the college is located or it remains on the caseload of the original counselor. Justification for the case remaining with a field counselor is documented in a case note.

40.4.9 DBS/DRS Agreement for Serving Consumers

(Revised 10/10)

Refer to Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.13 DBS/DRS Agreement for Serving Consumers for detailed information.

40.4.10 Referrals from the ILS-OIB Program

(Added 08/11)

Referrals from ILS-OIB to VR go to a VRC who covers the area where the consumer being referred lives.

The ILS-OIB worker (ILS-OIBW)

  1. reviews the case with the ILS-OIB coordinator or ILS-OIB field specialist;
  2. discusses the referral with the VRC;
  3. provides available case documentation including eye medical reports to the VRC;
  4. sends a request to the ReHabWorks administrator to open a VR case in referral status; and
  5. initiates a joint meeting with the VRC and the consumer, if needed.

After the referral to VR is completed, the VRC

  1. proceeds with the application and preliminary assessment,
  2. makes an eligibility determination, and
  3. informs the ILS-OIBW.

If the consumer is eligible for VR services, the ILS-OIB case is closed. If the consumer is ineligible, the ILS-OIB case continues.

40.5 Adjusting the Phase of a Previously Closed Case

(Revised 02/13, 12/15)

40.5.1 Phase Adjustment

Phase adjustment reestablishes a case from closure phase to active phase (plan initiated). Only 26 and 28 closures can have their phases adjusted. This adjustment includes removing closure information and changing the closure flag on employment information from "yes" to "no."

Unsuccessful Case Closure

  • If after initiation of an individualized plan for employment, the field director approves phase adjustment of a case that has been closed one year or less, then:
    • adjust the phase (back the case to active status); and
    • enter a case note of explanation and approval action delegated to the field director.
  • When either agency (DARS or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) closes a concurrent case, each counselor will notify the counselor at the other agency.

Successful Case Closure

  • If (status 26) is in error and field director approves the phase adjustment, then
    • adjust the phase (back the case to plan initiated), and
    • enter a case note of explanation and approval action delegated to the Field Director.
  • When either agency (DARS or the VA) closes a concurrent case, each counselor will notify the counselor of the other agency.

If employment information is obtained on a consumer with a case previously closed unsuccessful after provision of services,

40.6 Quality Assurance Improvement Methods (Quality AIM)

(Revised 01/08, 12/15)

DARS has a responsibility to consumers to provide the best services possible in order support them in achieving their employment goals. Values-based decision making should also encompass considerations of DARS financial and ethical responsibilities to taxpayers to use state and federal funds and resources appropriately and within the parameters established in the federal regulations. Case reviews are one of the key tools that the Division for Blind Services (DBS) uses to measure how well it is meeting those responsibilities and to identify areas where additional training might be needed.

Quality assurance improvement methods (Quality AIM) are the systematic monitoring and evaluation of service provision in order to ensure that DBS consumers receive high-value services.

DBS applies the Quality AIM system to measure both compliance and quality.

40.6.1 Overview

The case review process should:

The Division for Blind Services (DBS) has created a case review process that evaluates:

The DBS case review process identifies the decisions that affect the stability in process and helps counselors understand the interdependencies of the various levels as they create an integrated process. The process is expected to result in ongoing improvement in the overall quality of services.

The process allows reviewers to rate compliance separately from quality. This allows the reviewer to identify policy issues and areas for improvement in decision-making in order to provide targeted coaching for increased quality of services.

40.6.2 Key Terms

(Revised 05/16)

Quality Assurance Improvement Methods (Quality AIM)—describes the quality assurance system and monitoring processes applied to conduct case reviews in response to areas of highest risk and includes regional quarterly case review plans and action plans to address monitoring results.

Case Review Guide—describes and defines compliance and quality and describes the ratings system for each. The guide also contains a reference list of documentation that does not add quality or value and suggests alternative ways to present more useful information.

For compliance ratings, the guide lists the various requirements for each decision point, including Vocational Rehabilitation Manual references, which are color-coded to clarify the basis of the policy, whether the policy derives from federal regulations, Texas state requirements, or established best practices. Supplemental guides address compliance with policies specific to several individual services.

For quality ratings, the guide contains:

The lists of indicators are not all-inclusive and should not be used as a checklist. High-quality casework will vary from case to case and from situation to situation. Reviewers can use the quality indicators as reference points and reminders, but there might be signs of quality in any given case that are not included in the lists. When a case undergoes a risk-driven review, answer questions that are pertinent to the identified risk.

Additional Ratings

In addition to the compliance and quality ratings that apply to the overall vocational rehabilitation (VR) process, counseling and guidance are areas that warrant specific review of both compliance and quality. Level of significance is reviewed for compliance only. The same rating system is used for all of them.

Performance Management within Quality AIM requires that managers and field directors be mindful of performance and give careful consideration to potential performance concerns, evaluations, or trends. Managers should decide how many cases to review for each caseload and how to work with counselors. Managers are responsible for reviews of high-risk cases based on counselor caseload where performance issues have been identified. Managers should also identify issues that might be contributing to limited success in certain populations and coach counselors, with the goal of improved outcomes.

Case Reading Review—A review that allows users to quickly review a case, or a specific aspect of a case, when a more detailed case review is not necessary. Refer to the TxROCS User's Guide for instructions on entering a case reading review in TxROCS.

Compliance—Adhering to the federal and state laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications that are outlined in this manual and in the Business Procedures Manual (BPM), DBS Standards Manual for Consumer Services Contract Providers (SMCSCP), and DARS Procurement Manual (DPM). A case is compliant if it meets all of the requirements. For information about evaluating compliance, refer to vocational rehabilitation risk assessment and TxROCS User's Guide.

Compliance and Quality Review (C&Q)—C&Q Review—A stand-alone C&Q review. C&Q reviews can be performed to meet local needs. When you initiate this review, you can select an "Entire" C&Q review or a "Partial" C&Q review in TxROCS. If you select Entire, the system ensures that you complete all sections of the review. If you select Partial, you decide which section(s) to complete. For example, you might perform a Partial C&Q Review on a case which has not yet reached the individualized plan for employment (IPE) phase, or when you want to look at only specific parts of cases, such as in the eligibility phase.

Full Review—A compliance and quality (C&Q) review of all parts of a case that has reached at least IPE, and a technical and purchasing (T&P) review of information in the electronic and paper case record and of specific purchasing requirements. All sections of both the C&Q and T&P must be completed in a Full Review.

Overall Comments—No rating is required. Provide comments and coaching on the overall process as it unfolded in the course of the case. Do not reiterate comments – especially negative ones - that were made earlier in the review. Comment specifically on how all the individual components of the process (Eligibility, Assessing & Planning, Services, Closure) worked together to produce the outcome. Use the opportunity to coach regarding "results received" versus "results hoped for."

Partial Review Approach—A case review approach that allows the reviewer to complete and finalize a case review without answering all of the questions in the review. The approach can be used for compliance and quality reviews or technical and purchasing reviews. It cannot be used for full reviews.

Quality—The characteristics of the level of services and other forms of support provided to the consumer throughout the life of the case. High-quality casework demonstrates values-based decision making, active participation by the consumer, and the application of all required policies and standards. Quality is assessed based on a thorough review of all related casework and documentation. Quality is rated as "exceeds expectations," "meets expectations," or "needs improvement." For more information about quality assessments, refer to the vocational rehabilitation risk assessment and TxROCS Case Review Guide.

Technical and Purchasing Review (T&P)—A stand-alone T&P review. T&P reviews can be performed to meet local needs. For more information, refer to the TxROCS User's Guide.

TxROCS Users Guide—A technical guide that explains how to navigate through the TxROCS application. The TxROCS User's Guide is not a policy manual.

TxROCS User Role—A distinct role that defines what the user is allowed to use in TxROCS. User roles prohibit reviewers from viewing case reviews and reports that are not within the reviewer's assigned management unit. For more information about user roles, refer to the TxROCS User's Guide.

Corrective Actions—A corrective action is a step that a counselor must take to remediate errors in procedure and/or performance. For more information, refer to TxROCS User's Guide.

Follow Up—The procedure that the reviewer follows after the counselor has taken corrective actions.

40.6.3 TxROCS

(Revised 03/16)

All reviews of vocational rehabilitation cases must be entered into TxROCS. The reviews are maintained in TxROCS for a minimum of two state fiscal years.

The case review process is audited each state fiscal year. TxROCS captures and organizes data from case reviews that are conducted statewide. It improves the efficiency and accuracy of recording data from the case review process, creates one repository of information instead of many separate repositories, and results in timely and accurate reporting at all organizational levels. TxROCS allows DARS to quickly and accurately provide auditors with a comprehensive list of vocational rehabilitation cases that have been reviewed.

The Division for Blind Services also uses TxROCS data to examine statewide activity and trends and to respond to ad hoc requests requiring case review data.

Responsibilities and Roles in TXROCS

The field director:

Exceptions to standard user role require the approval of the director of Programs Management.
Reviewers (or designees):

After completing a review, the reviewer enters a case note in the consumer's electronic file to document the type of review conducted. Specific findings and assigned corrective actions are not entered in the case note.

Caseload carrying staff members (or designees):

40.6.4 Compliance

A case is compliant if it meets all of the requirements of the federal and state laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications that are outlined in this manual and in the Business Procedures Manual (BPM), DBS Standards Manual for Consumer Services Contract Providers (SMCSCP), and DARS Procurement Manual (DPM).

In following federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) regulations and Division for Blind Services (DBS) policies, vocational rehabilitation requires vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRC) to determine eligibility within 60 days. Eligibility must be determined within 60 days unless the consumer has agreed to a specific extension of time, which has been documented in the case record. For more information, refer to Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.4 Compliance Requirement—60-Day Rule.

*You must determine a consumer's eligibility for the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program by the 60th day after the date that the application is signed, unless you:

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.41(b)(1)

*When you cannot determine eligibility by the 60th day after the date the consumer signs the application:

*Based on 34 CRF Section 361.41(b)(1)(i)

The VRC must also:

*Recipients of Social Security disability benefits (that is, SSI and/or SSDI) are:

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.42(a)(3)(i)

For more information, see Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.3.2 Documentation of Benefits, and 40.1.4 Preliminary Assessment.

Reports That Monitor Compliance

Reports that monitor compliance are on the Compliance page of the VR database. They include:

All counselors and rehabilitation assistants should have a shortcut to the VR database on desktops. Counselors should contact the VR coordinator for help accessing the VR database.

40.6.5 Quality

An assessment of the level of services and other forms of support is provided to the consumer throughout the life of the case. High-quality casework demonstrates ethical decision making, participation by the consumer, and the application of all required policies and standards. Quality is assessed by means of a thorough review of all related casework and documentation. The quality of a service is rated as follows: the service exceeds expectations, it meets expectations, or it needs improvement.

At the caseload level, quality is measured by:

Reports That Monitor Quality

The vocational rehabilitation (VR) database contains the quality measures page and can be used to access the following reports:

The VR performance measures production report is posted on the Division for Blind Services Program Statistics page, and includes information on:

40.6.6 Quality Assurance Improvement Methods (Quality AIM) Risk Areas

Each quarter a spreadsheet (Quality AIM Quarterly Dataset) will be posted on the intranet (DBS VR Quality AIM) to indicate the vocational rehabilitation (VR) cases that present the four risks stated below. Field directors, VR supervisors and coordinators, field specialists, and others tasked with conducting case reviews will be responsible for selecting cases from the list and conducting case reviews in TxROCS (full or partial as indicated below). The risk assessment conducted for the Division for Blind Servicers (DBS) VR indicates that the following risks are included DBS VR Quality AIM.

Financial Risks—Requires Full Review (a single Technical and Purchasing and Compliance and Quality review.

Operational Risks—Requires Full Review (a single Technical and Purchasing and Compliance and Quality review)

Strategic Risks—Requires minimum of C&Q Partial Review

Compliance Risks—Requires minimum of C&Q Partial Review.

Specific Guidance

Use the Quality AIM Quarterly Dataset provided by Program Reporting and Analysis (PRA) and uploaded to the intranet by central office. Each quarter you must:

Note: When conducting performance management reviews, choose cases from the quarterly dataset when possible. For example, to review cases of counselor John Doe, select that counselor's cases that appear in the dataset when possible.

If the case is listed in the quarterly dataset, choose the corresponding risk(s) in the TxROCS VR Risk Assessment section and continue with the appropriate type of review (full, partial).

Performance and/or Rehabilitation Rate Below 70 percent

Field directors, VR supervisors, and coordinators must be mindful of performance, including whether the rehabilitation rate falls below 70 percent. This includes management being aware of and giving careful consideration to all potential performance concerns, evaluations, or trends. In addition to ensuring that 10 percent of the region's cases are reviewed, managers should assess how many cases to review for each caseload and how to work with counselors. As necessary, managers should:

Federal and State Law Related to Release of Information

All case reviews should include a review to ensure that all appropriate consent and release of information forms are signed, current, and are included in each case.

Case Reviews are Relevant to ReHabWorks

Case reviews focus on information available in ReHabWorks and documentation currently available in case folders.  Historical case information prior to TWorks implementation, and therefore not available in ReHabWorks, will not be considered or reviewed.

Case Reviews Align with Agency Policy and the TxROCS User Guide

Case reviews adhere to agency policy and are conducted using the Texas Review, Oversight, and Coaching System (TxROCS) data base and associated user guide.

Service Authorizations

The expectation is to review a minimum of 10 service authorizations. For cases identified as "costs exceed $20,000," it is important to review enough service authorizations (for items such as readers, technology, and maintenance) to ensure that expenses are justifiable.

40.6.7 Compliance and Quality Reviews

The compliance portion of a compliance and quality (C&Q) review is used to evaluate whether specific elements of a case adhere to the federal and state laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications that are outlined in this manual and in the Business Procedures Manual (BPM), DBS Standards Manual for Consumer Services Contract Providers (SMCSCP), and DARS Procurement Manual (DPM).

The quality portion of a C&Q review is used to assess the level of services and other forms of support provided to the consumer throughout the life of the case. High-quality casework demonstrates values-based decision making, consumer engagement, and the application of policies and standards. It is based on a thorough review of all related casework and documentation.

Compliance and quality (C&Q) reviews are documented by completing DARS3456, Compliance and Quality Case Review—VR in TxROCS. Only directors, supervisors, coordinators, program specialists, and designees may complete a C&Q review. Compliance and Quality reviews may not be completed by administrative support staff. TxROCS case review guide is available as a reference when completing a case review.

40.6.8 Technical and Purchasing Review

The technical portion of a technical and purchasing (T&P) review is used to evaluate whether all required information is included in the electronic and/or paper case file.

The purchasing portion of a T&P review is used to evaluate whether the appropriate purchasing policies and procedures were followed and documented, as required by the applicable federal and state laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications that are outlined in the Vocational Rehabilitation Manual (VRM), Business Procedures Manual (BPM), Standards Manual for Consumer Services Contract Providers (SMCSCP), and DARS Procurement Manual (DPM).

Technical and purchasing reviews are documented by completing DARS3399, Technical and Purchasing Case Review—VR, in TxROCS. Directors, supervisors, coordinators, program specialists, and designees may complete T&P reviews. Designees may include management support staff; however, managers must review a designee’s work to ensure that the designee accurately represents the findings.

All directors, supervisors, and coordinators are required to monitor the operation of the assigned units. Case reviews are a required part of this monitoring. To identify the type and quantity of required reviews, directors, supervisors and coordinators, refer to the unit’s monitoring plan for the current fiscal year.

The field director and designated regional office staff members are responsible for the oversight of each unit in the assigned region, including monitoring of case review activities and ensuring implementation of recommendations.

The director of Programs Management or director of Consumer Services Support (CSS) manages and oversees the case review process statewide to ensure that the process is applied consistently. All questions about the case review process and unit monitoring plan should be directed to the CSS program director or to a designee.

Refer to the vocational rehabilitation (VR) risk assessment case review guide to access the unit monitoring plan and to identify required activities and reporting for unit, regional, and central office roles and responsibilities.

40.6.9 Case Review for Transfer of an Active Case to Another Region

Use the Quality AIM Quarterly Dataset provided by Program Reporting and Analysis (PRA) and uploaded to the intranet by Central Office and take the following steps each quarter:

Note: When conducting performance management reviews, choose cases from the quarterly dataset when possible. For example, to review cases of a particular counselor, select that counselor’s cases that appear in the dataset when possible.

Note: If the case is listed in the quarterly dataset, choose the corresponding risk(s) in the TxROCS VR Risk Assessment section and continue with the appropriate type of review (full, partial, etc.).

If the case is in pre-eligibility trial work, the reviewer:

40.7 Completing a Caseload Inventory

(Added 12/11, 12/15)

A caseload inventory differs from an individual case review in that it is not completed on a specific form but is a document created for a specific caseload using data from ReHabWorks. Staff members can use the caseload inventory to manage and review their caseload and to identify needed corrections. The professional support staff from each DBS office has been trained to create a caseload inventory. If additional support is needed, contact the Consumer Services Support Unit at (512) 377-0589.
Typically, the coordinator, with help from a rehabilitation assistant, completes a caseload inventory annually. The caseload inventory:

A caseload inventory generally includes the following information:

For more detailed instructions and a blank caseload inventory, see Caseload Inventory Format.

If a caseload inventory shows a need for corrective action, the counselor and the field director work together to develop an individual plan and schedule.

40.8 When a Consumer Requires Special Attention

(Added 12/11, 12/15)

When a DARS employee or other reliable source is aware of or observes a consumer's behavior that could pose a threat to DARS staff members or providers, it is important to capture this information as specifically and factually as possible in the consumer's case file by creating a case note.

A DARS employee creates a case note:

The employee enters the case note in the electronic case management system, under the topic "Other" and then in "add to topic," writes "Requires Special Attention."

A case note must include as much factual information as possible about the incident, including:

When other DARS staff members refer to the consumer's online case record, the case note alerts them to use caution when working with the consumer. Additional case notes must be entered as needed to maintain an accurate record of potential risks or of changes to the circumstances.

Although it is important to alert staff to potential risk, DARS employees must exercise extreme care in using the case note titled "Other." When you use "Other," write "Requires Special Attention."

Incidents affecting the security of a DARS employee or DARS property must be reported to:

If local law enforcement is involved, the DARS employee places a copy of the police report in the paper file.

For more information on reporting an incident, see the Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 36: Incident Reporting.