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Director Jeff Davis Interviews Director Kim Hauck


Director Jeff Davis wraps up his final podcast by interviewing incoming Director Kim Hauck and talking about the future of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. 


Intro  00:02 

You're listening to the official podcast of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities with your host, Director Jeff Davis. 

Director Jeff Davis  00:13 

Hello, my name is Jeff Davis, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and for this, today, we have another guest that I'm just tickled to death to have this conversation with and it is Kim Hauck, our new Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, and that is Hauck with a C and a K at the end, isn't it? 

Kim Hauck  00:36 

It is, yes. 

Director Jeff Davis  00:37 

I finally got that after three years. So, Kim, it's nice to have you with me, I thought it would be a nice treat. One, it's rare to have the outgoing director and the new director and talking about the future, not the past. The future, right? So welcome. 

Kim Hauck  00:53 

Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. 

Director Jeff Davis  00:55 

This is our holiday conversation. So we want to wish everyone out there, the most genuine and wonderful holiday. Whoever you get to share the holiday with, I hope it is a blessing for you, and we look forward to a great new year. But we thought we'd take this opportunity for those of you that know Kim well, and she'll reinforce the gifts that you already know. And for those that don't, we're going to talk a little bit about you. I know that's not always comfortable, but she will get used to it, and we're going to talk about the future. Okay?  

Kim Hauck  01:24 

Perfect. Thanks.  

Director Jeff Davis  01:26 

Alright, so one of the things that, of course, Kim and I have had conversations about the transition, and one of the things that was so impressive to me, has been so impressive, and what I'm so happy about, you know, are some of the individual traits and the gifts that you bring to the table. So why don't we start there, and just talk perhaps about some of the personal characteristics that you value and you think are important for this position? 

Kim Hauck  01:53 

Thanks, Director. You know, I've obviously learned a lot from you, and I think the kindness, and openness, and the transparency that you brought to the department is absolutely something that I look forward to continuing. Meeting with people served in families, and providers, and county boards is obviously something that I'm looking forward to learning from them and supporting them in whatever way we can as a department. 

Director Jeff Davis  02:21 

So you've brought a lot I mean, you've been in our system 30 years? 

Kim Hauck  02:25 

You're not supposed to tell people that. 

Director Jeff Davis  02:28 

Let's talk about your journey because it's one of the things that I bragged about and then I've been so impressed with is just the sheer breadth of your experience. Because we are not just a, we're not just a residential system or adult day, I mean, we are, we cover, we truly do support individuals from birth till death. 

Kim Hauck  02:48 

Yeah, I started my career as a DSP in an ICF, or a direct support professional, and after college, I was able to move and become a Q at the time, I was a QMRP. So I worked at Brookside and St. Joseph Home down in Cincinnati, which is where I've grown up and continue to live. And then started working for the Hamilton County Board of DD in the early 90s. I was a teacher, both primary and intermediate age students, and then moved up through the system there, was a curriculum coordinator and other opportunities, but ended my career there as their program director. So I oversaw early intervention, our school-age programs, and at that time, our adult day centers. So, been here at the department for eight years, Director Martin asked me to come to the department to transition our early intervention program from the health department here to our department, which was a big deal, and really, really exciting, great work, and then was able to move into the policy position with you. 

Director Jeff Davis  04:00 

So maybe a little bit about sort of what subject areas or better yet, what program areas you've had with, you know, as deputy? 

Kim Hauck  04:08 

So obviously, I've kept early intervention in our division. That certainly is a passion of mine. I think it's important to be with families and people early in life and, you know, help them achieve what's important to them from a very early age. 

Director Jeff Davis  04:26 

Touch on that, I mean, talk on, because we don't talk about it as often as perhaps we should. Just briefly, talk about the transition as you brought it over, and then maybe a sense of where we are statewide and where we want to go. 

Kim Hauck  04:41 

Yeah, so we've really been able to develop that team here at the department, as well as statewide. So all 88 county boards support early intervention. I'm really proud to say that, and we have a better sense of our training and professional development across the state in EI. The department has spent a lot of resources on ensuring that our professionals have access to professional development that really will help them support families. And, you know, our ultimate goal and what we're working towards is that every family has access to a core team, and we are, we're really close to that across the state, and that really excites me a lot. Governor DeWine fully supports early intervention, and even doubled our allocation, our first budget, yes. So we've been able to use those funds to more fully support our service coordination across the state. We know we still have a ways to go but certainly, we're able to increase our allocation to our counties, to our admin agents.  

Director Jeff Davis  05:57 

It's always a journey. It's been a pretty from my view, it's been a pretty remarkable transition, and certainly within the speed that it's been accomplished. But what's, what's sort of next there? 

Kim Hauck  06:09 

I think, you know, continuing to build access to teams. You know, we have providers from, 90 some percent of our providers are at our county boards of DD, and we know that county boards aren't able to fully fund all services. So to continue to bring private providers on who will provide services in that evidence-based way that we're looking for, it's really important to us.  

Director Jeff Davis  06:38 

And during the pandemic, we still, I mean, we were still able to touch families in different ways.  

Kim Hauck  06:43 

Absolutely. We actually, with the help of Cuyahoga County, were able to put together videos that were used not just in Ohio, but across many other states on how to provide services for families virtually, and how to continue to do that in a meaningful way. 

Director Jeff Davis  07:04 

One of the bigger steps, I think that the department is taken in the last 10 years was successfully bringing over EI, you know, under our umbrella, where it should be. And I think that's proven itself out. So, I'll certainly always be grateful for that, and your involvement in that. So, not at the expense of all the other things under your division previously. 

Kim Hauck  07:29 

So, you know, another really fun area for me has been multi-system youth, because again, it's getting involved with youth and families earlier in their journey, right? So Tina Evans and her team has done a great job of working with kids and their families and trying to problem solve and help families stay intact. We issued a white paper last year, and I think we made it really clear that the department believes, and I certainly believe that youth belong in a family home whenever possible. And we believe that it's possible in a lot more instances than then we give, maybe credit to. But, we also know that sometimes that isn't possible, and so serving kids outside of a home and, and really, you know, looking through that trauma-informed lens and supporting kids across the age span, but again, earlier in life, to get that earlier fresh start.  

Director Jeff Davis  08:37 

Well, we know the governor from the onset of his administration is focused on youth in a variety of ways, but it's probably fair to say that at the state level, we've never seen the type of coordinated effort. I mean, it's a, it's another journey, because for a variety of reasons that people know well, I mean, these children have such challenge. You have to embrace it from a number of different points, I mean you do. But I've been very impressed with this concerted effort and the passion that accompanies that. 

Kim Hauck  09:15 

The cross-system work that we've been able to do under Governor DeWine has been amazing, working with Medicaid and mental health, and all of our other partners, you know, really helping to support these youth has been incredible, and the governor has really dedicated lots of funds towards those efforts as well. We're excited about a couple new projects coming up, our multidisciplinary team project as well as our resiliency coaches. You know, those two projects in partnership with OCALI, again, really looking how we can support families and providers. We know some of these youth coming to us have some pretty significant needs and challenges. Being able to support them in their community is really important. 

Director Jeff Davis  10:05 

Sure, they do, in in heartbreaking ways. There's no doubt. So out of home private provider capacity, including our developmental centers. Next steps on this path. 

Kim Hauck  10:17 

So we're continuing to look at our ICF providers, and we're hopeful that they will be able to help support more youth, as well as looking at other creative ways, whether it's waivers or other services and supports that kids might need to be successful. Being highly engaged in the Ohio Rise project with Medicaid under Maureen Corcoran's direction, you know, that has been an amazing, I think it will be, an amazing support to our families. 

Director Jeff Davis  10:53 

So, technology under your leadership? 

Kim Hauck  10:58 

Stacy Collins and her team, Technology Employment First, really looking at the adult day array. You know, there's some real exciting opportunities there. We know, there are workforce challenges, obviously, we hear about those every day, and we experience them ourselves in our developmental centers. And so, we really are hopeful that we can problem-solve together and really look at technology in different ways and how it can support people we serve, to be more independent, to be more self-reliant. And I think, you know, we've had this conversation a lot publicly, that we're not looking to replace DSPs, and we aren't trying to scare people away from trying new technologies, but we do think it would be, you know, a great enhancement and just a different way. 

Director Jeff Davis  11:51 

Yes, I mean, there's no doubt in my mind, none. The opportunities that technology brings to a system like ours if you just start with the individual, just start with the individual and the independence and autonomy. And of course, I've said this many times, but the dignity that accompanies control over one's life, and technology probably offers that in ways, not probably, most certainly offers it in ways that I've never seen, never seen in 30 years. So, I am very excited about that. 

Kim Hauck  12:25 

And it's fun to hear providers talk about the different creative things that they're doing all the way from smart homes, to less technical things like Google homes, and things like that. So it's really fun to hear what they're, but they're trying to support people with. 

Director Jeff Davis  12:42 

Yeah, so maybe a little bit on next steps in that as you head into the new year? 

Kim Hauck  12:46 

We're continuing with the Technology First workgroup, which is a group of people from across the state, state agencies, vendors, that sort of thing, getting together and really problem solving and being creative. And we know that we need a new Tech First rule that should be rolling out soon. We also know that there will need to be other changes to help people be successful. Funding, you know, we've got some really creative, innovative grants out there that people are trying out new things for us. We have the new rapid response portal that went online a few weeks ago, and we've already had two counties have successful experiences with that. So we're excited to see where that takes us. 

Director Jeff Davis  13:34 

Yeah, I think it is, it's, you know, again, it's a comprehensive approach, kind of a holistic approach. So I think there'll be a lot of partnerships, alliances, we certainly have excited and invested technology vendors out there. And you know, we've got providers, as, as you said, that have dip their toe in and those that have immersed fully in it, and it's, it's just a game-changer in a lot of ways. So, been a tough couple years for everybody, you know, with the pandemic and emerging into all the uncertainties, and workforce shortage, it's not an uncertainty. But people naturally, you know, as you try to return to some sense of normalcy or something, you know, that is stabilized. Give a sense of where you see hope. 

Kim Hauck  14:25 

We had an opportunity, some of the staff here at the department had an opportunity to go visit counties and talk with families, providers, and county boards. We call them hotspot visits, they visited with a couple association partners. But we learned a lot from those visits, and we learned from families, you know, what they, what they need, and I think we can continue to learn from families and people we serve. And sometimes it's small changes, and I'm hopeful that we can really step back and look at, you know, we hear a lot about simplification and I'm not always sure what that means, but I think we can learn from people we serve, exactly what needs to happen, to make our services more accessible, and more readily available, and, and just easier. 

Director Jeff Davis  15:18 

So you've experienced just in the last week, you know, already the sort of demands on the requests for your time and the demands on your time and all as it should be, but maybe chat a little bit about your own style, you know, how best to interact with you how to best support you. And then just what to expect. 

Kim Hauck  15:41 

So I've been with the department for eight years, so I hope most of the people listening know me and know that the old saying my door is always open, and that's absolutely true. I want to meet with people, I want to talk to people, or I want to hear your big ideas, and I also want to hear your really concrete suggestions and approaches, because we're open, we're open to change, and we're open to really listening to what everybody on the ground needs to be successful. Excited about the waiver work that we're going to be doing in the next year, you know, really trying to simplify and add more, maybe more depth to our services. You know, under your leadership, we've already really taken a deep dive around transportation, and we always hear that's a huge issue. So, you know, looking at that, Uber or Lyft type service that should be coming online here in the next several months and so that's just one example of something that I think is really exciting that's coming up, 

Director Jeff Davis  16:49 

You know, as we emerge out of the holidays, and, you know, the first of the year rolls around. Priorities, perhaps? 

Kim Hauck  16:57 

You know, my, my first priority is to have a seamless transition. I don't want people to be nervous that our priorities are going to be changing. We are still going down the path that you've set forward. So, you know, we'll still be looking at the single assessment and single ISP, I think that's really important, and you've made a lot of progress in that area. I know you aren't where you hoped we would be at this point but certainly, we are on a path that we're going to continue. You know, I am really excited to start the waiver work and we plan on getting an RFP out right after the first of the year to look for that expert that can come in and help Ohio. You know, look at that. I know that was done 15 years ago, and I know it was pretty painful at the time. I'm really hopeful that this time is maybe not as painful, and we can make some, you know, needed changes to that. And then, of course, you know, we have talked a lot about, internally and externally, our blueprint for adult day. So that obviously is high on my priority list as well. We've spent a lot of time talking about employment services and where we want to go. And we've made a lot of progress over the years in employment. And so now it's time to really look at our adult day array and services for folks that have some pretty complex needs, and what can that look like? You know, those are a few of the things that I think we'll start the new year off running with. 

Director Jeff Davis  18:45 

The continual challenge around workforce. 

Kim Hauck  18:48 

Absolutely. We have, as everybody probably knows, we have the Workforce Task Force. Our plan is to continue that and continue to develop priorities from that group with input from families, and people served, and county boards and providers who are all represented on that group. 

Director Jeff Davis  19:11 

All leading into our next budget. Priorities that emerge there. Well, Kim, what have we missed? 

Kim Hauck  19:19 

I can't think of anything that we've missed for today. Except for to, you know, wish you well in your retirement. And, you know, do you have any words of advice for me or for the field? Or, you know, what are you most excited about that happened, that's happened over the last three years? 

Director Jeff Davis  19:39 

I think there are paths. I think that if I'm allowed to use the word proud, I really am sort of and this big picture. You know, this, this virus pandemic that we went through, you know, was brutal, but yet our system did. It did rally together in so many different ways, with significant challenge, and in all the ways that you tried to provide supports during, you know, really continuing time like that, but it was reinforcing to me to see a system do, you know, as best as it could together during a time like that, and at the same time, continue on its path. At the same time, it's not easy to do, you know, continue on its path with some of the sort of ways in which the future was going to play out. Technology is certainly a piece, continue conversations around the adult day arrays you talked about. We also continue those efforts around the single assessment and the single plan and appreciate you mentioned that there's no, there's no doubt in, in my own mind, if we invest in that, like I expect it will over 5-10 years, when that is fully ingrained, that will have a fundamental, make a fundamental difference for our system and those we support. And there are a number of other things, obviously, we did. But you know, it really does all come back to, doesn't it at heart, it's how you do your basics, how you do the fundamentals. And I said it in the first weekend, I'll say it here in the last is it really is about how you treat people, you know, that common decency and respect in a system like ours, to me, that's essential, that's essential, that's an obligation on the part of professionals to, to continually think about that. And then I'm really proud of our department. I'm biased, but I am in the ways that the department, our own team, you know, have thought about their role, particularly their role over the last three years, the role during the virus and the pandemic, and the role in direct operation of service and all of it. But you know, how you think about what customer service and customer focus really means, and the pieces of the puzzle that come with that and how you try and help people, and I feel like we have and I feel like we've tried very hard to be like that. So I have no doubt that, that effort because it's always a maturation and evolution will continue under your leadership. One of the reasons why you're sitting right here is because, you know, we have to be about, we have to be about those we support, and the people who support them. So, I will always be grateful for that. 

Kim Hauck  22:23 

Well, I'd like to, you know, publicly thank you for, personally the opportunities that you've given me over the last three years. And thank you from the system for your leadership, your calm approach, your ability to, you know, help us through the pandemic and just be that that force that was always there for all of us. So we're very, I'll use your term, very appreciative of you and, and what you've done for all of us over the last three years. 

Director Jeff Davis  22:56 

Thank you, very nice. Alright, so this will be my last podcast and for those of you that have listened over the years, I hope we've provided some interesting conversations. And it has been every bit of my privilege and honor to be with you. Thank you. 

Outro  23:16 

You've just listened to another episode of the official podcast of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. If you've enjoyed this episode, please like and share with others. For more news and information from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, please visit dodd.ohio.gov. You may also subscribe to our monthly publications and follow DODD on social media and connect with us in our Facebook forums.