iCircle Services - Supporting Individual Choice and Empowerment
July 2013



Provider Input Survey

iCircle is committed to including input from our provider network as we work to finalize the development of a Central New York based DISCO. Please take the time to complete this electronic survey that will offer critical and valued input on how best to develop areas of implementation and design for iCircle. We look forward to your responses and input by July 30, 2013. Thank you for your feedback!

The Journey to Become a DISCO:                        A Reflection on iCircle Services

This week for Provider Network News we decided to do something a little different from our typical format and instead offer a look back at the formation of iCircle Services. With so many new providers, we felt that it was important to share our roots and why we are developing a Central NY based DISCO.

The Central New York area has boasted a dynamic history of high quality service providers for people with developmental disabilities. This region is fortunate enough to have an extensive knowledge base, expertise and innovation when it comes to offering opportunities for people to become more independent in their respective communities. Most importantly, individuals supported by these providers deserve the chance to have their voice heard when it comes to planning, choosing, and accessing the services they need. This was, and still remains, the backbone for the vision and creation of iCircle Services.

iCircle has grown extensively over the past year, so we wanted to take the time to reflect upon our history and share where we started from and what we have accomplished up to this point. iCircle was developed by a group of leading provider agencies in Central New York who share impressive commonalities such as: recognized high quality service delivery, innovation, diversity, and growth. We wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the founding leadership of iCircle:


With more than 35 years of experience offering high quality services, CDS Monarch remains a leading provider in the Rochester area. CDS Monarch is an OPWDD Compass Agency, recognized for excellence in service delivery and promoting valued outcomes for the people they serve. In addition, CDS Monarch’s Unistel employment services divisions holds the highest level of Safe Quality Food certification, which is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system (i.e. Wegmans). Unistel has also been recognized each year as an outstanding VetCom approved company for the US Military worldwide, and has received multiple awards for outstanding performance as a preferred contractor. About four years ago, CDS Monarch diversified services and opened their doors to help seniors obtain high quality, affordable housing and to help Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury regain their lives and transition successfully back into their civilian communities.


Happiness House was created over 40 years ago and remains the leading provider of services to children and adults with developmental disabilities in the in Finger Lakes region, serving: Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Wayne counties. At the forefront of change and innovation, Happiness House has been integral in developing exemplary services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, many of which have become models for statewide programs. Their leadership, expertise and outstanding quality service delivery has resulted in their selection as a case study agency for the new Coordinated Assessment System being developed as part of the transformation to managed care. Happiness House has responded to the growing need for services in their community by expanding their offerings to include an Article 28 Clinic, services for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and their newest addition - transitional apartments for young adults with developmental disabilities and TBI.



For over 40 years, Lifespan has led the way for high quality, innovative advocacy services for seniors and their caregivers in Western New York. Providing information, guidance, and services that are meeting the growing needs of our aging population, Lifespan is constantly bringing new service opportunities to our community. They remain focused on the issues that face older adults and their caregivers and bring an extensive amount of expertise and advocacy to our region. Lifespan has been leading the way in partnering with health care systems and Center for Medicaid Services to improve healthcare, reduce costs and hospital readmissions, develop a high quality care system that helps seniors transition from hospital to home settings, and breakdown the silos of care that exist between health care systems and community agencies. Lifespan brings valuable knowledge and expertise on managed long-term care to the iCircle network.


Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC), has been an leading expert in the independent living service sector in Broome County for 30 years. STIC has done an extraordinary job of promoting independence, inclusion, and community integration for individuals with disabilities. STIC has operated on the fundamental principles of people with disabilities having the right to choose where they live, having a competitive job at a fair wage, planning their own activities, voting, using public transportation and having adequate supports to live the lives they choose in their community. Being the first Community Independent Living (CIL) center to join iCircle, STIC has provided a knowledge base that has helped shape a transition to community based services. iCircle is fortunate to have the expertise of many CIL’s both on the board and in the network, as they have been the pioneers of community-based, inclusive services for people with developmental disabilities.


The iCircle Board grew rapidly to include a group of providers committed and dedicated to serving all people with developmental disabilities and to have a strong emphasis on those who are underserved. We are grateful to have a strong representation from agencies such as Urban League, Ibero, and the Settlement Houses who are leading the way to help support the underserved and minority communities. We are grateful for agencies, like Stepping Stones, who are the leading experts with services to school-aged children and agencies like Grace Community Services and Catholic Charities who were founded on strong faith-based principles to help support people in the community. Within the past few months, iCircle expanded to welcome some wonderful providers from the Syracuse region, OCL and Exceptional Family Resources who represent the leadership in creativity, innovation, and efficiency for service delivery to people with developmental disabilities in that area.


“I am proud of the richness and diversity of the agencies who are involved with the iCircle Board,” stated, Sankar Sewnauth, Board Chair for iCircle. “This leadership group is a reflection of our extensive and highly skilled network of providers serving Central New York. I appreciate all of the amazing work that has been done already for iCircle and look forward to continuing on the path to becoming an OPWDD DISCO serving people in Central New York.”

Since forming a formal corporation, iCircle is proud to report the following accomplishments in our network and prospective membership:

  • Formed Work Groups Consisting of Individuals, Family Members, and Providers to Develop Critical Pieces of the DISCO
  • Conducted Focus Groups with a Sample of Individuals and Families Served
  • Built an extensive network of 80 providers throughout a 22 County region
  • Implemented a Regional Approach that Ensures Local Access for Members and Providers
  • Developed 10 Field Offices
  • Kept Decision Making Local to Each Unique Community
  • Developed an Advisory Council Structure for Prospective Members
  • Selected an Electronic Management Information System that Encompasses all Areas of Managed Care
  • Have completed all things necessary to operate a Managed Care Organization, i.e. marketing, IT, documentation, governance, licensure and finance

In the next coming months, we anticipate:

  • Recruiting Prospective Members to Serve on the iCircle Board of Directors
  • Formalizing and Implementing Regional Advisory Councils
  • Continued Focus Groups with Individuals and Families Throughout Region
  • Finalizing the Request for Application upon its release from OPWDD
  • Continued Communication with Providers
  • Hosting Educational Forums for Individuals and their Families
  • Continued Collaboration with our Network

We appreciate the work everyone has done to help iCircle get to this point. We look forward to a lasting partnership with each of you!

Thank you for your Support!

iCircle Services

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Mission: iCircle Services is a service portal where individuals with developmental disabilities and their families can self-direct, advocate, and secure the supports and services that best fit their needs. We are guided by individual choice, inclusion, diversity, cultural competence, respect, community, learning and empowerment for those we serve.

Vision: iCircle Services will establish a comprehensive, sustainable, trusted, and compassionate system of supports and services that will help empower families and individuals with developmental disabilities to promote their happiness, independence and inclusion as productive members of our community.

Contact Us:
Phone: 1-855-775-3778
Email: info@icirclefl.org
Website: www.icirclefl.org

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