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VR Services in Response to COVID-19

After a careful analysis of foot traffic and the health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Human Services moved to appointment-only for in-person services (including Vocational Rehabilitation services) beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

VR offices remain open and are providing assistance to customers over the phone and by appointment. To find information on local offices visit https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/ds/office-locator-trc-ttap.html.  These changes will remain in effect indefinitely until the COVID-19 state of emergency is reduced.

The delivery of some VR training services have been impacted by COVID-19.  In accordance with the Governor’s March 13th guidance for Mass Gatherings, Schools, State Employees, and the State Capitol Building, the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center at Smyrna (TRC Smyrna) and the seventeen (17) community Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers (CTRCs) suspended their on-site training programs.

TRC Smyrna - At this time, campus is closed to students and visitors, including tours.  If you have questions about TRC Smyrna, please contact the program admissions office at (615) 223-8031.

Community Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers - At this time, no work training or job readiness classes are being conducted at the CTRCs.  If you have questions about CTRC programs, please contact your local TRC using the contact information provided in the link above.

VR staff are continuing to work and support VR customers by working remotely.  Customers may contact their VR Counselor directly by phone or email.  If they do not have their VR Counselor’s contact information, they are urged to contact the VR Office in their region to be connected with their Counselor.  New customers and general inquires, may contact the local office or the main state office at (615) 313-4891.

Community Rehabilitation Providers

Many of the services offered by VR are provided through local Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs).  VR has requested that CRPs notify the VR Contracts office of any impacts to their service delivery through the following survey:

https://stateoftennessee.formstack.com/forms/covid19_questionnaire.

Additionally, VR has issued written guidance to CRPs on the use of electronic signatures and flexibilities in service delivery to include telephonic and web-based services.  Community Rehabilitation Providers must maintain records and documentation to support all charges to the Tennessee Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Electronic Signatures - Electronic signatures from Community Rehabilitation Providers and VR customers will be accepted for services reports. For information about using electronic signatures, CRPs and customers were directed to the following link to learn more: Signing Documents Using Adobe Reader.  If a customer is unable to provide a signature electronically, VR will accept verification from the customer through documented communications with the counselor.

Remote Service Delivery - To the extent permitted by law and rules, VR encourages Community Rehabilitation Providers to use electronic communications to provide services that can logically be accomplished remotely. 

On-line Service Delivery - To the extent permitted by law and rules, VR encourages Pre-Employment Transition Service Providers, including Transition School to Work (TSW), to use electronic mediums to provide Pre-ETS that can logically be accomplished remotely. For a list of available online resources, please see: http://www.wintac.org/content/resources-distance-service-delivery. Online Pre-ETS curricula or activities must be approved by the VR Transition Director prior to being provided to students.