Americans with Disabilities
Plan for Continued Compliance
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services recognizes and affirms that all Montanans and visitors to the state have a right to access all government services and programs. All citizenry with disabilities have the right to equal access guaranteed by Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The following is an outline of the steps the Department of Public Health and Human Services has taken and continues to take to examine their programs and establish a plan for continued compliance with the law.
STEP ONE: Designate a Responsible Employee
The department designated an ADA Coordinator to ensure ADA compliance. An ADA liaison has also been appointed to represent each division in the department.
STEP TWO: Provide Notice of ADA Requirements
An updated notice (Attachment #1) stating that the department has a nondiscrimination policy in provision of services and/or employment practices was distributed to all DPHHS office locations to be posted on a public bulletin board on October 28, 1999.
Nondiscriminatory language is included in all contracts with service providers.
Notices for public meetings have statements indicating that accommodations will be provided as long as the agency has appropriate notice of the accommodation required. This language is also included in the departments web page.
The department conducts quarterly training (and upon request) to department employees on ADA requirements and sensitivity and awareness of accessibility and diversity.
STEP THREE: Establish a Grievance Procedure
The department has a Complaint Resolution Procedure (Attachment #2) in place for current state employees, state applicants or members of the public, who believes that he or she or a specific class of individuals with disabilities has been subject to unlawful discrimination on the basis of that disability by DPHHS. The procedure was last revised August 1998 following a compliance review and recommendation from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Public Health & Human Services. This procedure is a DPHHS personnel policy (#110) and has been posted at all DPHHS office locations throughout the state.
STEP FOUR: Conduct a Self-Evaluation
Before the reorganization of the department in 1995, a self-evaluation was completed for each of the five agencies that now make up the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Since that time programs, functions and physical locations have changed, which makes it necessary for the department to update its self-evaluation. Given the size of the department, this will be a lengthy and ongoing process. Timelines for updating the self-evaluation are indicated below.
The department continues to monitor its employment policies and practices to ensure that applicants and employees receive no discriminatory treatment. The State Personnel Division, Department of Administration also reviews state personnel policies to ensure that they are nondiscriminatory.
The department continually monitors contracts to ensure that non-discriminatory language is in its contracts and that the non-discriminatory portions of the contracts are being complied with.
The departments vacancy announcements, selection criteria and tests are reviewed by the Human Resource Office to ensure no criteria are included that would discriminate.
The department does provide reasonable accommodation when needed and requested. All vacancy announcements published by the department have the following statement: "Under State and Federal law, qualified applicants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Modifications or adjustments may be provided to assist applicants to compete in the recruitment and selection process, to perform the essential duties of the job or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment available to other employees. An applicant must request an accommodation when needed. If you need any such accommodation, contact Personnel Services at (406) 444-3136."
Nondiscrimination in Programs and Activities
A thorough review of both the formal written policies and the actual operating practices of each program, service or activity in relation to the general prohibitions against discrimination contained in Title II will begin in 2000 and may take a full year to complete. The agency ADA coordinator will coordinate the review with the assistance of the ADA liaisons and participation of persons with disabilities when possible. First, a list of all programs within each division and the staff person within each responsible for self-evaluation activities will be developed. Program staff will be requested to complete a worksheet to be used to review the written policies and actual procedures of each program and activity to identify potential discriminatory practices. Legal counsel will develop a worksheet to be used for this purpose. Attachment #3 is a sample of a worksheet.
Notices for public meetings are required to have statements indicating that accommodations will be provided as long as the agency has appropriate notice of the accommodation required. Employees with communication disabilities are asked for their help in determining what accommodations are needed. The agency has provided interpreters, large print documents, video screens, assistive listening devices, etc. upon request.
Lists of interpreters and accessible meeting rooms are available by contacting the ADA Coordinator.
Program and Facility Accessibility
Surveys of program and facility accessibility were completed for all offices and facilities prior to 1995 and are on file with the ADA Coordinator.
The department has begun reviewing and updating surveys when deemed necessary. A checklist (Attachment #4 ) to be used in identifying barriers that limit access and use of facilities was sent to all lessors that have a rental agreement(s) with the department on November 2, 1999. The lessors were requested to return the to the ADA Coordinator no later then November 29, 1999.
The ADA Coordinator is in the process of reviewing the self-evaluations for all of the facilities (MT State Hospital, MT Developmental Center, etc.) and other state owned buildings in the department. This review should be completed by January 2000.
The department responds immediately to any requests for accommodation or modifications for accessibility.
STEP FIVE: Develop Transition Plan
Transition plans are in place from the self-evaluations that were completed before the reorganization in 1995.
Once all of the data has been collected and analyzed from the above-mentioned surveys, an updated transition plan will be developed. The transition plan will identify barriers that must be removed, the specific structural changes required, cost estimates and the proposed completion date of modifications. This will be accomplished during the first part of 2001. If any policies and/or practices are identified as exclusionary or discriminatory, they will be modified as soon as possible.
Page last updated: 09/14/2006