Adoptedthe Paratransit Eligibility Certification Plan with Modifications, evaluate the Modified Plan after one year, providing results of the evaluation to the CTA for full discussion and further, as part of continuous improvement, coordinate a full discussion with the CTA to evaluate the “Community Plan”; addressed sensitivity issues which may occur during the evaluation process and evaluate current contractor regarding sensitivity and appropriateness of the contractor’s staff skill-sets; place survey cards in Outreach vehicles; consider alternate methods for applicant to request their information other than in writing; provide clarity regarding conditional status; and, increase interview frequency for remote locations, e.g. South County.
Recommended verbiage be added to clarify the confusion with the language in Category Two of the Draft Brochure and Application.
Queried if VTA will have the ability to provide service as outlined in the brochure and if not, how it will impact the people who use the service. Staff stated that ADA is a required service for VTA and if VTA finds themselves in a difficult position, will have to re-establish priorities.
Vice Chairperson Chavez left her seat at 6:57 p.m.
Gary Bertucelli, Mental Health Case Manager, stated it is unfair and unnecessary to put people through more hoops and steps when already deemed disabled.
Vice Chairperson Chavez took her seat at 6:59 p.m.
Kenneth Frasse, CEO, South Clara Valley Blind Center, referenced comments submitted to the Board Members before the meeting, expressed concern regarding eligibility process and restrictions and the applicants not able obtain copies of their records.
Requested staff agendize the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center’s letter dated March 2, 2005 for future discussion under Closed Session as it referenced potential litigation.
Ms. Rhodes, thanked Board Members for considering changes to the eligibility process, requested staff receive direction to give more input to the people going through the process and making the process as user friendly as possible.
Mr. Bradley agreed with Ms. Rhodes’ comments regarding the need to open up the process more for disability eligibility and reiterated the importance of applicants being able to access their records.
David Julian, CTA Member, recommended staff move forward with Attachment A, Comparison of Current and Staff Recommended Paratransit Eligibility Certification Process, stated the transportation system is not totally wheel chair accessible, also stated he questions training and qualifications at Orthopaedic Hospital Staff; noted it would have been nice if the Community Plan could have been reviewed and discussed by the CTA, and encouraged Board Members to attend a CTA meeting.
Ronald Schwartz, San Jose Senior Citizens Commission, expressed concern regarding the hardship that occurs with the eligibility process and urged that the process be simplified and available for all seniors and disabled.
Board Member Gage took his seat at 7:08 p.m.
Board Member Kniss left her seat at 7:08 p.m.
Bob Jaffee, Council on Aging Advisory Board, referenced AB 133 (Alquist) Regional Transportation Plans and Government Code Section 65080, stated VTA has not complied with Federal and State Older American Act mandates or State Law and requested a response as to why the they have not complied.
Sandra Gouveia, Peninsula Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and CTA Member, requested Board Members take note of staff’s tone of voice and the manner the presentation was provided, noted people should be able to receive their records when requested, requested Board Members attend CTA meetings, and thanked the Board Members for their support.
Board Member Kniss took her seat at 7:13 p.m.
Board Member Casas took his seat at 7:16 p.m.
Board Member Gonzales left his seat at 7:16 p.m.
Ms. Applegate stated that the interview process is not a functional assessment, expressed concern that staff from Orthopaedic Hospital is not familiar with cognitive disabilities, drug interaction, spinal cord injuries, and sensitivity to heat.
Rose Deterding, Interested Citizen, stated that she likes the proposal in Attachment A and hopes the Board Members will vote yes, stated that she has gone through a three-year re-classification, expressed concern regarding Orthopaedic Hospital’s interview process and recommended the use of local specialized medical doctors.
Member Gonzales took his seat at 7:19 p.m.
Ms. Medrano stated some people are born with permanent disabilities, which are not obvious.
Ms. Bonilla expressed concern regarding her experience with the interview process.
Dennis Kennedy, Mayor, City of Morgan Hill, requested literature be more widely available, that interviews in South County occur monthly, a bi-lingual interviewer or interpreter be provided, and requested the Board of Directors adopt the immediate recommendations to provide and pay for rides to both the interview and appeals process, if necessary; eliminating the brochure, replacing it with a one-page brochure and provided in multiple languages and accessible formats and requested alternatives in the eligibility program be considered.
Chris Lepe, Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC) thanked the Board of Directors for the changes made to the eligibility requirements and encouraged additional changes that would make the disabled community to feel less disrespected.
Board Member Cortese left his seat at 7:27 p.m.
Darlene Wallach, Interested Citizen, said she was disgusted that some Board Members have made up their minds without hearing from the community, abhorrent that Ms. Applegate was not given the enough time to present the Community Plan, stated VTA should be serving community and not VTA, disgusted the community is always limited as to how much input they are allowed to provide, expressed concern that two minutes is not enough, and recommended the contract with Orthopaedic Hospital should be cancelled.
Board Member Cortese took his seat at 7:28 p.m.
Tessa Hernandez, Health Connection, stated there is need for medical doctors and medical professionals to make medical decisions; stated an applicant who is permanently disabled should not have to go through interviews.
Ex-Officio Board Member McLemore left his seat at 7:30 p.m.
Todd Gardner, Interested Citizen, expressed concern regarding his treatment while riding public transit, using bus connections and recommended automated telephone service for Outreach.
Mr. Grace expressed concern regarding the amount an individual is charged for the purchase of a Regional Transit Commission (RTC) Discount Card if the card is lost.
Ex-Officio Board Member McLemore took his seat at 7:33 p.m.
Davidson Wan, Santa Clara Valley Multiple Sclerosis Society, agreed with Ms. Applegate’s comments with regard to funding and the eligibility process and requested qualified people be used to conduct the interview process; he recommended the interview be recorded.
Queried if staff does any type of customer evaluation after the qualification process.
Recommended a stamped customer service survey postcard be available at the interview to applicants to provide immediate feedback on the interview process.
Apologized for challenges applicants face in qualifying for the Program.
Recommended termination of the contract with Orthopaedic Hospital if insensitivity continues.