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Help for deafblind described in new trainings

The DHS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division has created two new online trainings for consumers and providers on Support Service Providers, which are often referred to as SSPs.

SSPs act as the "eyes and ears" for people who are deafblind to help them lead more independent lives by providing visual and environmental information so the person can live more independently.

SSPs:

  • Usually work with only one person at a time
  • Can be hearing, deaf, or blind
  • Can be paid or a volunteer
  • May be trained to communicate in ASL.

To complete the trainings, go to:
Support Service Provider 101: Working with People Who are DeafBlind
SSP 101: Using Support Service Providers

Report calls for improvements in deaf services

Recommendations to improve deaf and hard of hearing services in Minnesota are included in a recent DHS report to the Legislature.

The 2015 Legislature asked DHS to conduct an analysis of services provided through the DHS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division. The division and the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans established a steering committee to guide the work. DHS has developed a strategic plan in response to two studies: one, a study of services and programs offered by the division; and another, a study of the Telephone Equipment Distribution program.

DHS and the commission are working to implement several recommendations and in addition have asked the Legislature to consider:

  • Improving availability and affordability of high-quality broadband and cellphone services in all areas of the state;
  • Updating the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Act to give DHS more flexibility in designing service delivery;
  • Ensuring that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division has adequate funds to deliver statewide services.

Governor Mark Dayton is proposing that the 2017 Legislature approve funding to sustain and improve deaf and hard of hearing services.

New diversity training opportunities available for the public

DHHS offers free diversity trainings on topics related to deafness and hearing loss that are available to the public. Please see our trainings page for more information.

MNsure navigators fluent in sign language, available

MNsure offers free face-to-face application and enrollment assistance, called brokers or navigators. Brokers provide face-to-face enrollment assistance and advice to help you select a private health plan. Navigators offer free face-to-face application and enrollment assistance, and specialize in Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care application assistance. Certified brokers and navigators are available throughout the state to help you with enrollment.

You can find an assister near you or who speaks ASL (or other languages) using the MNsure Assister Directory. If there are no assisters who speak ASL near you, you can contact MNsure’s Accessibility and Equal Opportunity (AEO) office to request an interpreter or other communication access. You can contact the MNsure AEO office at: AEO@MNsure.org, or by calling the MNsure Contact Center at 1-855-366-7873.

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