The Rural Contracted Services project explores state Vocational Rehabilitation agency access to job development services provided by vendors in rural communities. The project includes three studies. Using qualitative interviews with VR informants, Study 1 examines current VR agency purchasing practices for job placement and development services, current provider availability within each state and region, and agency strategies for delivering services when providers are not present. Study 2 is informed by study one to examine how different payment methods affect competitive employment outcomes using RSA 911 data. Study 3 examines vendor decision-making regarding service delivery to rural areas, including the advantages and disadvantages of different payment arrangements such as fee-for-service or milestone payments to overcome geographic risk. We will conduct qualitative interviews with both small and large vendors operating under a variety of payment arrangements.
Results from these three studies will serve as a basis for developing VR practice recommendations. The recommendations will outline effective third-party payment arrangements that promote access for rural consumers. These findings are important because third party providers often provide the bulk of job placement and development services. When these services are not available for purchase, VR counselors provide them. For rural consumers, this can significantly delay case progression because many counselors visit out-locations infrequently and are unable to provide timely services (Rigles, Ipsen, Arnold, & Seekins, 2011). Additionally, VR offices indicate that lack of access to community rehabilitation programs “impedes positive consumer outcomes” (U.S. Department of Education, 2005, p. 35).
- Project dates: 2013-2018
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B130028
- Principal staff: Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Becca Goe, M.A., Mary Olson, MSW
- Related projects: