DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Gallaudet Alumni House
(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space.)
Meeting called to order at 12:29 PM.
Voting Members – quorum achieved
- Claude Stout, TDI
- Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
- Bernie Palmer, ALDA
- Marcia Zisman, GUAA
- Neal Tucker, RID
- David Bahar, CSD
- Barbara Raimondo, CEASD
Dr. Christian Vogler
- Jayne Tubergen Magneson
- Jan Nishimura
Approval of Minutes
- The minutes for the amended November 2016 meeting and the February 2017 meeting both stand as read.
Special Session with Dr. Christian Vogler
- He prefaced his remarks with a brief explanation of what the interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (iTRS) Numbering Directory is and how it works in recognizing which calls are point-to-point calls and which calls are routed to VRS call centers.
- On January 18, the FCC granted a waiver to VTCSecure to allow it to obtain ten-digit numbers from the TRS Numbering Directory for customer service centers that wish to provide direct video calling (DVC) for American Sign Language users.
- Then on February 17, Sorenson filed a petition to request a modification of the waiver order to require that DVC customer support service numbers entered in the TRS Numbering Directory be separate and distinct from the numbers used by hearing persons to call customer support services in order to ensure that VRS users have the choice of using VRS or making a point-to-point video call.
- We all agree consumers should have choices but the question is how? First option is to set up a separate phone number as in having two phone numbers. One would be for DVC and one would be the main phone number accessed through VRS. Second option is to set up one phone line for everything then you can “press 1” for DVC or “press 2” for VRS.
- There are pros and cons to both options. For the first option, the main number is typically easy to find while the DVC number could be hard to find and buried in the entity’s website. They might not advertise it in obvious places. So consumers that do not know they have DVC will end up using VRS. Education/outreach would be needed.
- For the second option, it could be technologically complicated, as pointed out by David. He suggested a simpler method for call flow in that the consumer could have the option of connecting to VRS first then giving them the phone number. Dr. Vogler responded why is “technical complications” the consumer’s problem? If it is the best solution, we can figure out how to make it work. Whatever you decide, we need flexibility. And not a lot of consumers know how to connect to VRS without inputting the phone number first and how to bypass that.
- Claude added that he agrees with Dr. Vogler on everything except one area. He is of the opinion that the first option is better than the second option. Our draft ex parte mentions two phone lines for the DVC entity. He feels limited if we have to press 1 or press 2 when he wants to reach a particular extension. Can we accomplish the same goals?
- Zainab then asked Dr. Vogler how it would work for extensions. Dr. Vogler responded that it is a good question. We agreed that Zainab will check with VTC Secure to find out.
- Zainab feels that two phone lines would put the onus on the D/HOH consumer to know what is available and what is not and to find out both phone numbers. That is not functionally equivalent.
- David responded that companies already tend to have different phone numbers for different departments. But the DVC phone number would be secondary and consumers may not even know it exists. Companies may do different things and it would not be standardized. In the hearing world, some companies publish Spanish numbers on their websites while some companies use a tree. We need tech standards/guidance from the FCC.
- Claude commented that we will likely end up using a hybrid of Dr. Vogler’s “press 1/press 2” suggestion and David’s “connect to VRS first” suggestion. We retain the right to connect through VRS and give them the phone number but also can access “press 1/press 2” by calling the DVC number directly. This is in line with Zainab’s comment that the burden should not be on the consumer.
- Dr. Vogler added a caution that the system should not be complicated for the consumer.
- Marcia asked whether DVC staff who answer the phones are qualified. Claude responded that FCC has authority over the database, not over staff. Zainab added that the NAD advocates that these entities hire deaf people (in line with the need to increase employment of D/HOH people) who are knowledgeable in the topic at hand.
- Claude ended the discussion by explaining that we will not file the ex parte until he, Dr. Vogler, Zainab, and David have explored this further and reached a conclusion.
Chair’s Report (Claude)
- Claude sadly reported that Michele Mulligan has cancer and is in Florida at the moment although the interpreting situation is better here in the D.C. area. Zainab was very helpful in sending advocacy materials to Michele to ensure that she received communication access in the hospital in Florida. Michele sends her regards to you all.
- Regarding the cradle to grave document, Claude sent the document last week to Megan Perez at Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s office as well as the two co-chairs of the Congressional Deaf Caucus (Rep. Kevin Yoder and Rep. Mark Takano) to share with their members. He also sent the document to the two co-chairs of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (Rep. David McKinley and Rep. Mike Thompson). He has not heard back from them yet but the ball is rolling. Once he hears back, the seven chairs will have meetings on the Hill.
- Election for new Treasurer will be tabled to the next meeting.
Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)
- He received an email from Linda Drattell, former President of ALDA. She asked him to ask Claude if we could share position papers with her for a similar coalition in California for smaller groups. They want a model to follow. Claude agreed that we will send Linda materials.
Secretary’s Report (Zainab)
- The minutes have been approved.
Treasurer’s Report (Tom)
- Education (Barbara Raimondo):
- Capitol Hill Advocacy Day was a success. 150 people attended the event from 29 states and around 100 meetings took place.
- We had many wonderful presenters, including Rep. Cartwright.
- We were able to get more co-sponsors as a result but we are still facing obstacles in the Senate in finding Republican sponsors. We have Democrats lined up ready to support but it needs to be bipartisan.
- We have a call to action in PA, WY, and FL to call their Senators to find Republican sponsors.
- Supreme Court update:
- In Endrew F., the Supreme Court rejected a standard (developed by Neil Gorsuch) of “merely more than de minimis” educational benefit.
- Civil Rights Protection and Enforcement (Zainab Alkebsi):
- NAD, along with cross-disability groups including NDRN, PVA, NFB, and ACB, filed joint comments to the Department of Justice regarding its Section 504 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. NAD urged the Department to consider many issues, such as the inappropriate use of VRI, auxiliary aids and services and videophones in prisons and jails, and other communication access topics.
- Employment (David Bahar):
- Our legislative efforts are on hold for now in regard to the 3% goal for disability-owned businesses and accessible resources.
- We are also reaching out to other organizations for support, such as NAD, ALDA, and so forth.
- We also reached out to Mark Richert and Parnell Diggs, NFB, but no luck yet. Zainab offered to make e-introductions if necessary.
- We are just waiting for Congress to pick up again in two weeks. Hopefully, a draft will be ready around then.
- Telecommunications (Claude Stout):
- The second term of the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) had its first meeting on March 21st. Its co-chairs are Lise Hamlin and Sam Joehl (SSB Bart). The subcommittees met in the afternoon following the plenary (Video Programming, Emergency Communications, Relay and Equipment Distribution, and Technology Transitions).
- On March 23, the FCC had its monthly Open Meeting and voted the VRS item through:
- Report and Order:
- Trials for skills-based routing, CDIs, and at-home interpreters.
- Comparison Shopping – The FCC will publish VRS providers’ speed-of- response data on its website to help consumers make informed choices.
- Direct Calling with Hearing Signers – Videophone (VP) numbers will be made available to hearing people who use ASL so that we can communicate directly with loved ones who sign.
- Notice of Inquiry:
- Establishment of performance metrics for quality of service
- Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
- New 4-year rate structure
- Funding for Research and Development
- Scam calls/swatting
- Report and Order:
- Claude added that Chairman Pai is his own person, not a Trump person, and we will see some good results.
- Claude then opened the floor up to our guest, Ruthie Jimenez. Last December, Ruthie met with Emilio Gonzalez at Verizon. She explained to him that Verizon gives us limited data, which is not enough for video communications. We need unlimited data. She said it was a good, open discussion. He helped her with her family plan. Zainab added that NAD and TDI continue to advocate with carriers regarding deaf-friendly plans.
There were no reports for Housing, Transportation, and Health Care due to absent members.
- TDI Conference will take place July 27-29 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel. We will announce the program in two weeks, including our own Zainab’s presentation.
Next Meeting Date
- Wednesday, May 3, at Gallaudet Alumni House.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:05 pm.
Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary