Quality Assurance and Monitoring

The Quality Assurance and Monitoring Unit (QAMU) was created in 2004 to implement a comprehensive monitoring system of ACCES-VR’s compliance with federal and State regulation, terms and conditions of federal awards, and effectiveness of internal controls.  QAMU is committed to long-term, continuous improvement in the delivery of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services by setting the standard for effective, efficient, and responsive provisions of services, measuring performance and accountability, and supporting the delivery of the highest quality VR services to the people of New York.

QAMU strives to accurately evaluate the quality of ACCES-VR services through a variety of monitoring activities designed to provide an objective quality assurance process independent of ACCES-VR.  QAMU is tasked with conducting external reviews of ACCES-VR’s vendors as well as internal case record and financial reviews.  These reviews are integral to maintaining the effectiveness of the Unit’s comprehensive monitoring system as part of a continuous quality improvement process.  QAMU staff also assist with external audits and monitoring of ACCES-VR. 

Mission

QAMU’s mission is to:

  • Develop, evaluate, and strengthen the effectiveness of ACCES-VR’s internal controls.
  • Identify and analyze areas of risk in the provision of VR services.
  • Identify internal and external performance outcomes.
  • Detect incidents of noncompliance with federal and state laws, regulations, ACCES-VR policies, case management procedures, and Department initiatives, and share recommendations for corrective action.
  • Improve the quality of the services provided to individuals that they require to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.
  • Monitor service delivery against established standards to identify trends, areas for improvement, and effective practices.
  • Ensure fair resolution of disputes through the administration of ACCES-VR’s due process program.
  • Provide technical assistance.

Contact Information

Toll Free: 1-800-222-JOBS (5627)

Main Unit Phone: 518-474-1711

Fax: 518-473-7466

Email: ACCESADM@nysed.gov

Address:

New York State Education Department
Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
Quality Assurance and Monitoring Unit
89 Washington Avenue, Room 560 EBA
Albany, New York 12234

Quality Assurance & Monitoring Unit Staff

Central Office

  • Monica Toye-Smith, Manager
  • Connie Glover, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Patrick Nagle, Senior Administrative Analyst

Field

  • Michelle Harap, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • David Morgan, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  • John Quain, Administrative Specialist 1
  • Malgorzata Zegarska-Sanders, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Unit Activities

Due Process (Appealing an ACCES-VR Decision)

As required by federal regulation, ACCES-VR has implemented procedures to ensure that any applicant or recipient of services,(including potentially eligible students with disabilities, who are dissatisfied with a determination made by ACCES-VR that affects the provision of VR services, may request a timely review of that determination.  QAMU is responsible for administering the due process program and ensuring procedures are applied fairly. 

An individual has the right to appeal a decision within 90 calendar days of the disputed decision or event.  An individual may request due process by submitting a VR-711 Request for Due Process form (preferred method) or submitting a signed and dated written request.  Once a signed written request is received by either the District Office or QAMU, an impartial hearing will be scheduled within 60 calendar days.

Petitioners have the option of  resolving their disagreement more quickly and in a less formal setting by participating with the District Office in Informal Dispute Resolution and/or Mediation.  Participation in either of these options is voluntary.  If the issue is resolved through Informal Review or Mediation, the formal hearing may be canceled. If the issue is not resolved through these means, the impartial hearing will proceed without delay.

Additional information regarding the appeals process can be found in the ACCES-VR Due Process Rights Brochure

Resources (Due Process):

Vendor Reviews

QAMU is tasked with conducting vendor reviews to monitor, investigate, advise, and report on their delivery of services, compliance with regulation and contract provisions, financial and operating practices, and program performance.  QAMU vendor reviews are planned, systematic, and utilize review instruments developed in partnership with stakeholders.  These reviews are conducted periodically statewide by qualified QAMU Program Monitors. 

Prior to conducting a review, QAMU Program Monitor(s) review available program information including contract specifications and reports of previous reviews. All vendors, contractors, and service providers must make all pertinent records, books, reports, computer programs, and files available to the QAMU Program Monitor upon request for the purpose of review.  QAMU Program Monitors begin each review with an opening meeting to address any initial questions or concerns and provide an overview of the monitoring process with the Chief Officer(s) of the provider organization and their staff, as well as District Office and funding agency staff, as appropriate. 

Participant records are examined by QAMU Program Monitor(s) using a review instrument developed to address compliance requirements and quality measures. An exit meeting is held upon completion of the record review with relevant vendor, District Office, and funding agency staff, during which the Program Monitor will share preliminary findings and provide an opportunity for discussion of issues, concerns, and program requirements. 

Post-review, QAMU issues a summary report and corrective action plan to the vendor, District Office, and appropriate funding agencies.  The vendor will submit a completed, signed corrective action plan that addresses any areas found out of compliance with-in 30 calendar days of receipt of QAMU’s report. QAMU Program Monitor(s) will review and approve completed corrective action plans and provide recommendations, as appropriate, to support implementation of the plan.

District Office and Statewide Case Reviews

Case reviews are our primary method for measuring internal compliance with federal and state regulation, NYS purchasing requirements, and ACCES-VR policy and procedure.  Reviewing and monitoring case records is part of the Unit’s comprehensive monitoring system and continuous quality improvement process. Case reviews are used to assess the accuracy and completeness of records of service, for the inclusion of appropriate documentation to support decisions made, verification of data elements and actions taken.  The complete case record is reviewed and includes the physical or scanned file, electronic case management record, and the finance folder.  The financial portion of the review may include monitoring internal control activities related to procurement and payment for goods and services.  QAMU staff also review aggregate data to provide reports with descriptive data and trends.

QAMU conducts District Office reviews on a 3-year cycle with five (5) District Offices reviewed each year. A statewide review is conducted annually, for which QAMU samples 10 case records from each of the 15 District Offices.  QAMU’s annual statewide review consists of a general review of key compliance requirements accompanied by a more comprehensive review of a focused topic, such as CDL services, college services, RSA-911 data reporting, data documentation, and case closure.  Targeted and ad-hoc reviews may also be conducted by QAMU based on need or request by ACCES-VR leadership.  The methods and standards utilized for the review along with the review form are provided to the district office(s) prior to review.

QAMU’s case review instrument was developed over several years by qualified staff to effectively measure key data elements.  The goal is to improve validity and inter-rater reliability, ensure that compliance standards are being accurately measured, and that the questions are designed so that each Reviewer understands them in the same way.  Case reviews are conducted by qualified QAMU staff and may also include Guest Reviewers from District Offices statewide.

Following the review, QAMU issues a comprehensive case review report to District Office management and ACCES-VR leadership.   The purpose of the report is to provide findings, data analysis, measures of progress and recommendations that may inform agency decisions regarding program planning, implementing initiatives, delivery of services, policy and procedure, and need for training.

Toll Free Automated General Information Line

QAMU maintains the toll-free (1-800-222-5627) information line. Individuals can call the toll-free line to obtain general information about ACCES-VR or speak directly to a QAMU staff member regarding services and/or complaints. The toll-free line is staffed Monday through Friday (Weekdays) from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Messages left on voicemail after hours will be returned the next business day.

ACCES-VR General Email Account

QAMU maintains the general email account for inquires pertaining to the vocational rehabilitation program. Inquires can be directed to ACCESADM@nysed.gov. A QAMU staff member will respond to email inquiries as soon as possible.