Narrowing the Gap 10-9-19

DRI’s Annual Narrowing the Gap Event is here!


If you are a person with a disability who wants to get into the fashion/retail industry, or an industry professional who wants to learn more about hiring employees with disabilities, Narrowing The Gap will facilitate conversations and connections! 

This year’s event will start with an adaptive fashion expo and mingling opportunity at 5:00 p.m. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with keynote speaker and disability fashion styling expert Stephanie Thomas to speak at 7:00 p.m. closing remarks will end the event at 8:00 p.m.

Guests should arrive between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to sign in and observe adaptive fashion design, materials, clothing, and assistive dressing technology. 

The Iowa DD Council has granted us 50 free tickets for people with developmental/intellectual disabilities and their families. If you have any questions, or would like to inquire about sponsored tickets for students with disabilities, email or call (515)-278-2502 x 34

To donate the cost of tickets so that students with disabilities and their families can attend visit: 

DRI is Hiring!

Job Opening



Opening Date:   September 3, 2019

Closing Date:   Monday, September 30, 2019 (This position is open until filled, but applications submitted by 5:00 p.m. CT on September 30, 2019 will be considered for the first round)

Job Type:  Full Time, Non-Exempt

Pay Range:   $32,000-$36,000/year depending on experience

Benefits:  DRI offers a comprehensive benefit plan for eligible employees. Benefits include health insurance, dental insurance, basic life, short-term and long-term disability insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan, and flexible spending accounts. Flexible spending accounts feature reimbursement for both medical and dependent care.

Time-off: DRI offers a generous holiday time off, paid sick time and vacation accrual package to full-time employees.

Agency Description:  Disability Rights Iowa (DRI) is a well-established innovative, non-profit, legally-based organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Iowans with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness.   DRI is the federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities in Iowa. Disability Rights Iowa works to achieve fairness and justice for people with disabilities through quality legal representation, advocacy, investigations of abuse and neglect, peer/self-advocacy services, community partnerships, legislative and regulatory advocacy work, education and outreach.  DRI”s legal work includes individual and impact litigation. For more information, go to

Intake Specialist Job Description:  The Intake Specialist handles all initial requests for assistance received by DRI and works with an Intake Team consisting of an attorney and advocate to staff all requests, initial screening for eligibility, opening cases when appropriate and providing Information and referral.  


Job Responsibilities:

  1. Interviews callers with requests for assistance to obtain basic information, determine nature of the problem and desired resolution.
  2. Participates in twice weekly Intake Team meetings to staff all requests for assistance.
  3. Provides information and referral assistance to callers when issue and/or caller are not eligible for full intake.
  4. Maintains data base on callers and requests for services.
  5. Ability to deal with clients who are in crisis or in stressful situations.
  6. Develops a resource bank for the agency.
  7. Use Microsoft Office software on a personal computer.
  8. Other duties, as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:  (Applicants must meet each of the qualifications to be considered for an interview)

  1. Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in Social Work, Education, Psychology, Rehabilitation Counseling, Disability Studies or another related field of study;
  2. A minimum of one year previous experience working with people with disabilities and/or mental illness;
  3. Strong and effective writing and verbal communication skills, including the ability to do so in a concise manner, even when doing so regarding complex issues;
  4. Strong organizational skills;
  5. Excellent interpersonal , relationship-building and collaboration skills to be able to work with others inside and outside of the organization
  6. Ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative solutions;
  7. Ability to maintain thorough and complete records; and
  8. Ability to work independently with appropriate supervision.

Desirable Qualifications:  

  1. Experience with or sensitivity to individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness;
  2. Bilingual
  3. Experience with or sensitivity to individuals from ethnic or language-distinct communities; and
  4. Knowledge of laws, rights and services as they pertain to individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness.

Equal Opportunity Employer.

Disability Rights Iowa is an Equal Opportunities Employer. It is the policy of Disability Rights Iowa to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to afford equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants, without regard to race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, medical condition or genetic information, veteran status, national origin, disability, marital or other protected status.

E-mail cover letter and, resume to: 

Katie VandeVorde, Operations Manager, Disability Rights Iowa at

No phone calls please.

Disability Rights Iowa Statement about UHC Leaving Iowa


April 1, 2019

DRI Statement on UHC Leaving Iowa’s Privatized Medicaid

(Des Moines, Iowa) – March 29, 2019, UnitedHealthcare notified the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) that they would be leaving the private managed care system. For right now, Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) recipients are able to receive their services as usual until June 30, 2019. This change means that some LTSS recipients will soon be on their third Managed Care Organization (MCO) in three years. This level of upheaval and uncertainty has been a trademark of the privatized system since its inception.

In DRI’s experience, a state-run system for Iowans receiving Medicaid LTSS worked better than a private managed care system. We saw a significant increase in cuts to services when managed care started in 2016. Now, people live in fear of more cuts, service providers leaving the system because of lack of adequate and timely payment, and a constant state of change and uncertainty for members. The continual stress of advocating for necessary services and supports is especially exhausting for Iowans with disabilities who are trying to live their best lives. We hope that UnitedHealthcare members will be able to keep their service providers, but the future is unknown as of this moment.

The Future

The Iowa Department of Human Services should be sending out updated enrollment letters soon, since the ones that were recently sent are now obsolete because of the loss of UnitedHealthcare as an MCO. DRI will make sure to stay on top of this developing situation and keep everyone informed via our website and social media.

Managed Care Organizations should be held accountable to performance measures, and we hope that the state of Iowa keeps this as a priority when negotiating with the newest MCO, Iowa Total Care. Medicaid recipients deserve to receive adequate and continuous services from qualified providers without being confronted by cuts and inconsistent care. LTSS recipients deserve to be served by competent managed care providers. Service providers deserve to get paid for the work that they do. The state needs to make these realities the pillars of all future negotiations.

Steps to Take

For now, please refer to DRI’s guide to navigate managed care in Iowa for immediate steps to take. This guide covers how to be your own best advocate when dealing with MCOs and can be found on our website under the Resources > DRI Publications tab. If you receive an individual written notice of service cuts, contact us and we can help with the appeal process, regardless of which MCO is cutting services.

In addition to all of the work that DRI is doing to help individual LTSS recipients, we also want to help boost your voices and opinions on privatized managed care. In order to do that most effectively, we are going to revive our #IAmMedicaidIowa social media campaign. If you would like to participate in this campaign, please send or post pictures of you or a loved one who uses managed care holding a sign with #IAmMedicaidIowa. Along with the photos, please share a story using #IAmMedicaidIowa in the text of the post to amplify the campaign. DRI will share and repost your stories so that they can reach the widest possible audience. Your voices and stories deserve to be heard, MCOs should know the impact that their actions have on real Iowans who need services and supports to live a full, community involved life.

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Disability Rights Iowa aims to defend and promote the human and legal rights of Iowans who have disabilities and mental illness. DRI promotes safety, opportunity, access, and self-determination for all Iowans.

For more information call (515)-278-2502 x 20 or visit: