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Chris Sparks

I have been working in the field of disability services for nearly thirty years. For the past 25 years (the last 18 as Executive Director), I have been employed by Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI). At EPI we place fundamental importance upon the values of self-direction, community membership, meaningful choice, quality, customer satisfaction, collaboration and stewardship.Continuous learning is important to me. I have earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa and later a Master’s degree in Public Administration - with an emphasis in non-profit management - from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2009 I completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work (Clinical emphasis) from the University of Northern Iowa, became a licensed social worker, and I am doing clinical work part-time with individuals and couples at our local mental health center.Additionally, I have become a certified facilitator of Franklin Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Workshop.

Blog posts by this Author:

  • Celebrating 60 Years

    Reaching a new milestone - our 60th anniversary - causes us to pause and reflect on the experiences and people we've had the good fortune to meet along with way.

  • The Evolution of Disability Service

    As a field we are in the midst of massive and continuous change, each item challenging individually but truly overwhelming when taken as a whole. It is important to note that not all of these are bad, in fact some of them are both welcome and exciting, but they still represent significant challenges that make our professional lives stressful.

  • DSPs of the Year

    Because of my previous work experience, and the impact of DSPs that I see here at EPI every day, I have a deep respect and appreciation for those who choose to work as DSPs.

  • Share Your Experience

    Share your experience with Medicaid Privatization by attending the Cedar Falls Medicaid Listening Post and by taking the online survey.

  • Proposed DOL Overtime Exemption Rule is Simply Solving the Wrong Problem

    Proposed DOL Overtime Exemption Rule is Simply Solving the Wrong Problem Creating new issues in its wake This regulation, threatens to be the straw that breaks the camel's back for many providers like EPI who are already seriously challenged by a myriad of federal, state, and local unfunded mandates.

  • Feds Approve Managed Care Plan, But Not Until April 1

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have approved - with a delay - the IA Health Link managed care program. Coverage will begin for all members transitioning to the IA Health Link on April 1, 2016.

  • Managed Care Delayed 60 Days

    As you may have heard, federal administrators (staff of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have ordered Iowa to wait at least 60 days before implementation of managed care.

  • Action Needed Regarding Enrollment in IA Health Links

    If you haven't already, you should be seeing your IA Health Link enrollment packet very soon. The new IA Health Link program begins January 1, 2016, and will give current Iowa Medicaid members access to coverage through a managed care organization, or MCO.

  • The Emancipation Proclamation for the Disability Community

    People with disabilities have had and still have to work daily to overcome discrimination and unfair treatment. As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, we are reminded that President Bush stated at the signing of the bill, "Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down."

  • Medicaid Managed Care in Iowa

    Last February, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) released a Request for Proposals for Governor Branstad's Medicaid Modernization. This plan aims to improve quality and access, achieve greater accountability of outcomes, and create more predictable Medicaid budgets.

  • How will Managed Care Affect My Loved One?

    We know you and your family have a vested interest in Medicaid – we do too. And, we know for you it's not just about dollars and cents lining up on a page – it's critical to someone you love. While Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI) does not have influence over these Medicaid Modernization initiative decisions, we do want to be a resource for you. We will share what we can as we learn alongside of you.

  • Governor Branstad's Plans for Medicaid Managed Care

    In Iowa alone, Medicaid covers 546,000 people which is 18 percent of the population.

  • What Does Our Money Really Buy?

    EPI's very own Chris Sparks has recently become the President of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) Board of Directors.

  • New Rules for the Home and Community Based Services

    In January the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changed the definition of "community." Since then, they have issued a toolkit including technical guidance for the transition plans. With this in mind, let's continue talking about how this affects persons with disabilities and our organization.

  • Legislators Compromise on MH/DS Funding

    Iowa's mental health and disability services system (MH/DS) has been something Iowa Legislators have been working on for almost two decades. Over the last two years, they have made some very important changes to the way non-Medicaid services are delivered. {source: www.infonetiowa.com}

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