Ark Regional Services
Facilitating opportunities for people to live, learn, work, and play since 1963.
Click here to make a general donation to Ark Regional Services.
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The 63rd Wyoming Legislature adjourned the 2016 Budget Session on March 4, 2016. It was a challenging budget year as Wyoming revenues continue to fall and expenses continue to rise. The Legislature had difficult decisions to make, and had to prioritize a number of important projects.
While the discussions were sometimes grim, the overall outcome for the disability system in Wyoming was extremely positive. The original $6 million that was included in the Governor’s budget made it through all committees unscathed. An additional $1.8 million for the biennium (including the State and Federal match) was negotiated in the conference committee, so the disability system will actually see a small increase over the next two years. This means the disability system in Wyoming will keep the $3 million that was added last year as a one-time payment, and receive an additional $900,000 for each of the next two years. We are unsure of how the money will be allocated, and the funding does not fix the overall financial difficulty, but in an environment in which other programs received significant cuts, this is an extremely positive result.
During April – June of 2015, providers were asked to participate in a cost rebasing study. The information from this study was used to determine new provider rates for the Home and Community Based Waiver. However, there has been some concern regarding the accuracy of the results of that study, which were presented to the Joint Labor, Health, and Social Services committee in December. Due to these concerns, the Department of Health has been directed to conduct a new study, which we hope will be more closely monitored by the legislative committee. The amendment focuses on competitive direct support compensation, which we believe is imperative to providing a living wage for direct support staff in future years.
The final piece of legislation we felt was important was House Bill 105, the ABLE Act, which would have allowed people with disabilities to open 529 trust accounts and save up to $14,000 annually without the savings causing financial ineligibility for other needed services. While the bill was ultimately rejected, families will have the ability to go across state lines to enroll in similar trusts. We will continue to provide information on how that can be accomplished as it becomes available.
On Saturday, Ark participated in the annual Relay for Life event here in Laramie. Our team had a fantastic time and even won some awards, Best Baton and Best Bro Bra! It was great to see so many of our staff and people we support participating in such an important cause. Participating in Relay for Life is just one example of what it truly means to be a member of this community. Ark will never be a big fundraising partner for events like this, but we can provide something that is almost as important, people. There is always a direct connection between participation and fundraising. When potential donors see people involved, having fun, and supporting a cause with their time, they are more likely to give financially. Our staff and clients can have a huge impact on these types of events by simply being there!
The great thing is…Ark, our staff, and our clients benefit as well. First, it feels great! Giving your time to a really important and worthy cause feels awesome. Some would say there is no greater feeling then giving your time to something that helps other people! Second, Ark sees benefits. When businesses and other individuals see us participating in an event like this, it does wonders for our reputation and our own fundraising. And lastly, our clients benefit. The people we support deserve opportunities to truly make a difference in the community in which they live. The people that joined Relay for Life were equal to every other person there. Disability didn’t matter. You can walk your laps, roll your laps in a wheelchair, or even rock your laps in a rocking chair. We were all there for the same reason. It was a perfect example of true community contribution and inclusion. Plus, the whole day could be documented as CIS.
At Ark we value Commitment to Community, and it feels great!
Spotlight On - Leadership
After spending over half her life working for Ark Regional Services, Shirley Pratt is moving on to new challenges and new opportunities. From receptionist to CEO, Shirley has made an enormous impact on our organization over the past 25 years. We will miss her knowledge, her leadership, and her unwavering commitment to ensuring the highest quality services for the people we support. We greatly appreciate everything that Shirley has done for Ark, and we wish her great success in her future endeavors.
With Shirley leaving, we wanted to take a moment the update everyone on the changes in Ark’s Leadership Team. The Leadership Team fills a very important role in the achievement of Ark’s vision and mission. Leadership Team responsibilities are centered on 3 core areas; long range strategic planning, financial security, and addressing issues, needs, and concerns that effect the organization as a whole.
Your Leadership Team consists of…
Bob Sell, Interim CEO
Ami Egge, VP - Community Resources
Kayc DeMaranville, VP - Education
LeRoy Martin, VP – Finance
Tim Pratt, VP – Technology
Hillevi Hafner, Director of Client Services
Angela Mosley, Program Integrity Manager
Change is inevitable in a large organization like ours, and Ark has been very fortunate over the years to have so many dedicated and extremely talented administrators, managers, supervisors, and staff. We are a strong organization, and we will continue to be for many years to come. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about Ark’s Leadership Team, organizational structure, or any other issues relating to your job, please contact any of the people listed above. Thank you all for your time, talent, and commitment.
1150 North 3rd Street, Laramie, Wyoming 82072 ~ 307-742-6641 ~ 1-855-282-7753 ~ TDD:1-800-545-1833 ext. 308 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org