IPS: Roles and Responsibilities

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a type of supported employment practice that is based on research. It is important that all parties involved in implementing IPS understand their roles and responsibilities to ensure high-quality services are delivered to every participant. 

Parties involved for high-quality IPS

  • State IPS team: This team includes a representative from the Department of Health Services, Division of Care and Treatment Services; a representative of the Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR); and IPS trainers from the UW-Madison, Department of Psychiatry.    
  • County or tribal mental health agency: Mental health director, supervisor, and case management staff. (This may include a contracted mental health provider agency.)
  • Employment service provider: IPS supervisor and IPS employment specialist(s), if applicable.
  • Local DVR staff: Workforce Development Area (WDA) director, DVR supervisor, and DVR vocational rehabilitation counselor(s).

The roles and responsibilities for each party vary based on the phase of the program. Learn more about each phase and the roles and responsibilities for each party during that phase by selecting an option below.

Prior to implementation

This is the stage prior to referrals of consumers and the delivery of IPS services. At this stage the parties are preparing and planning for the initiation of IPS services, establishing referral procedures, identifying billing and reporting expectations, and determining a start date for the partnership to begin. 

State IPS team:

  • Provide information about available sources of revenue for IPS supported employment.
  • Facilitate a meeting (upon request) with the county or tribal mental health agency, DVR staff, employment service staff (if applicable), and the state IPS team to discuss possible implementation of IPS and partnership expectations.
  • Provide initial training, technical assistance, and resources to IPS service providers.

County or tribal mental health agency:

  • Contact the state IPS team to express interest in implementing IPS.
  • Contact the local DVR director to discuss plans for implementation.  
  • Request and attend a meeting with the employment service staff (if applicable), local DVR staff, and the state IPS team to discuss possible implementation of IPS and partnership expectations.
  • Select a contracted employment service agency or identify existing mental health agency staff to provide employment services reimbursed by Medicaid.
  • Determine if the county or tribal mental health agency or the employment service provider will enter into a service agreement with DVR to facilitate payment for IPS services funded by DVR. 
  • Identify baseline information and training needed for the delivery of IPS services with the state IPS team. 
  • Participate in assigned training and technical assistance activities related to the delivery of IPS services.

Employment service provider

  • Attend a meeting with the county or tribal mental health agency, DVR staff, and the state IPS team to discuss possible implementation of IPS and partnership expectations.
  • Work with DVR to enter into a service agreement, if applicable.
  • Participate in assigned training and technical assistance activities related to the delivery of IPS services. 

Local DVR staff

  • Attend a meeting with the county or tribal mental health agency, employment service staff (if applicable) and the state IPS team to discuss possible implementation of IPS and partnership expectations.
  • Review staffing availability.
  • Discuss local referral process and service delivery policies. Assist in the processing of the service agreement for IPS services.   
  • Participate in assigned training and technical assistance activities related to the delivery of IPS services. 

Implementation

Implementation is the timeframe from the initial referral for IPS services until the first fidelity review report is delivered to the site.

State IPS team

  • Sign confidentiality agreements provided by the agency(s) if requested. 
  • Provide technical assistance and support for agency kickoff.  
  • Schedule the baseline IPS fidelity review.

County or tribal mental health agency

  • Establish IPS unit meetings and allow an IPS state trainer to participate to help the team develop strategies based on the IPS approach. An IPS state trainer may attend at least one IPS unit meeting every month during the first six months of implementation.  
  • Allow an IPS state trainer and employment service provider staff to participate in mental health treatment team meetings to help practitioners consider employment for people who are not working and to help improve integration of services. An IPS state trainer may attend at least one mental health treatment team meeting every month during the first six months of implementation. For best practice, employment service staff attend weekly. 
  • Ensure IPS supervisor and employment specialists (if applicable) are available to work alongside the IPS state trainer while developing employer relationships. An IPS state trainer may help with employer contacts monthly or quarterly depending on the needs, and employment outcomes, of the IPS team.
  • Establish a steering committee and allow an IPS state trainer to participate in the quarterly meetings.  
  • Establish outcome goals (number of placements, hours, wages, etc.) and allow an IPS state trainer to review IPS program outcomes with the IPS supervisor and agency leaders in order to develop plans for improved outcomes. 
  • Ensure agency personnel are available for training at the agency. Training for employment specialists and the IPS supervisor is typically three to four days during the first year.  
  • Training for mental health practitioners and supervisors is one half-day during the first year. Agency leaders and the assigned IPS state trainer may decide to have additional training as needed during the implementation process as well as ongoing needs based on plans for improvement or requested training.
  • Maintain communication with DVR and employment service provider (if applicable).
  • Ensure that employment specialists, IPS supervisors, and the assigned DVR counselor(s) have access to training and ongoing education in IPS.

Employment service provider

  • Process referrals for IPS services and complete career profiles and other IPS services as needed.
  • Contact local businesses to connect IPS consumers to high quality jobs in their area of interest. 
  • Complete necessary reporting and data collection for reporting to IPS, Medicaid, and DVR.
  • Attend unit and mental health team meetings to encourage referrals to IPS and contribute information to the team. 
  • Maintain communication with DVR and county or tribal mental health agency.
  • Ensure agency personnel are available for training at the agency. Training for employment specialists and the IPS supervisor is typically three to four days during the first year.  

Local DVR staff 

  • Process referrals for IPS services, determine eligibility, and process consumer case information.
  • Maintain communication with members of the IPS team. 
  • Review reports submitted to DVR. 
  • Attend unit and/or mental health team meetings, as schedule allows, to encourage referrals to IPS/DVR, and assist with existing consumer case progress. 
  • Develop local referral procedures. 
  • Assist the county or tribal mental health agency and employment service provider (if applicable) in the logistics and protocols for the delivery of DVR IPS services. 
  • Ensure DVR staff are available for IPS training.
  • Take the online DVR counselor training from the IPS Employment Center.

Ongoing IPS service delivery

This is the time following the first fidelity report and ongoing IPS services.  

State IPS team

  • Provide facilitation and problem solving strategies for issues related to ongoing partnership, billing, and program outcomes.
  • Monitor submitted IPS data, trends, and outliers.  
  • Identify IPS state trainer contact to provide training and technical assistance as requested for the site.  
  • Provide IPS fidelity reviews for the purpose of improving employment outcomes for clients.
  • Maintain state learning collaborative for IPS. 
  • Assist with collaborations between IPS programs and vocational rehabilitation offices.

County or tribal mental health agency

  • Establish a diverse steering committee to guide the strategic goals for the program and invite the assigned IPS state trainer to attend.  
  • Allow the assigned IPS state trainer to review IPS program outcomes with the IPS supervisor and agency leaders in order to develop plans for improved outcomes.
  • Track and update program outcome goals. 
  • Share IPS successes via public forums.  
  • Allow employment specialists and IPS supervisors to attend annual IPS conferences.
  • Allow IPS supervisors to attend quarterly supervisor meetings.
  • Allow employment specialists to participate in quarterly consortium webinars.
  • Allow IPS staff to enroll and participate in IPS practitioner and supervisor online trainings from the IPS Employment Center.
  • Ensure a copy of the most recent version of “IPS Supported Employment: A Practical Guide” is available to each IPS staff. This book is can be found on the IPS Employment Center website.
  • Display IPS handouts and posters to increase accessibility throughout the agency.
  • Provide IPS services as identified in the DVR technical expectations and seek out assistance in understanding requirements and identify areas for improvement and training needs.

Employment service provider 

  • Continue to process referrals for IPS services and complete career profile and other IPS services.
  • Contact local businesses to connect IPS consumers to high-quality jobs in their area of interest. 
  • Complete necessary reporting and data collection for reporting to IPS, Medicaid, and DVR.
  • Continue to maintain communication with DVR and county or tribal mental health agency.
  • Attend unit and mental health team meetings to encourage referrals to IPS and contribute information to the team. 
  • Establish and monitor progress towards employment goals for the IPS program. 
  • Collect quarterly employment or education outcomes and share with the Department of Health Services, Division of Care and Treatment Services, and Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. These outcomes are shared with the Westat/IPS Employment Center and Wisconsin agencies that are implementing IPS. The purpose of sharing outcomes is for program leaders to learn from one another. Use the Outcome Reporting Tool on the IPS Employment Center website
  • Allow employment specialists and IPS supervisors to attend annual IPS conferences.
  • Allow IPS supervisors to attend quarterly supervisor meetings.
  • Allow employment specialists to participate in quarterly consortium webinars.
  • Allow IPS staff to enroll and participate in IPS practitioner and supervisor online trainings from the IPS Employment Center
  • Ensure a copy of the most recent version of “IPS Supported Employment: A Practical Guide” is available to each IPS staff. This book can be found on the IPS Employment Center website
  • Display IPS handouts and posters to increase accessibility throughout the agency.
  • Provide IPS services as identified in the DVR technical expectations and seek out assistance in understanding requirements and identify areas for improvement and training needs.
  • Comply in submitting additional data as requested by Department of Health Services, Division of Care and Treatment Services, and Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Local DVR Staff

  • Continue to process referrals for IPS services, determine eligibility, and process consumer case information.
  • Maintain communication with members of the IPS team. 
  • Review reports submitted to DVR. 
  • Attend unit and/or mental health team meetings, as schedule allows, to encourage referrals to IPS/DVR, and assist with existing consumer case progress. 
  • Participate in local and state IPS trainings, service improvement opportunities or collaborations.

IPS fidelity reviews

The purpose of IPS fidelity reviews is to improve employment outcomes for clients. The review is not an audit. The review focuses on quality improvement. Fidelity reviews are conducted twice each year until good fidelity is achieved, and annually thereafter. A team of fidelity reviewers will visit the agency for two days to learn about agency services and develop a report highlighting areas of good fidelity including suggestions for improved fidelity.

State IPS team

  • Identify reviewers, work with the program to develop a schedule, and complete the review.
  • Provide a copy of the review report to the county or tribal mental health agency, employment service provider, and DVR following the review.
  • Using the review report, follow-up with the county or tribal mental health agency and/or employment service provider and identify next steps, technical assistance, and training opportunities to improve program fidelity. 

County or tribal mental health agency

  • Make agency personnel available for interviews and other methods of information gathering by the fidelity review team.
  • Allow access to client records and documentation by the fidelity review team.
  • Allow members of the fidelity review team to observe mental health team meetings and the IPS unit meeting.
  • Make employment specialists available to conduct employer contacts during the review so that reviewers can determine what strategies are used in job development.  
  • Invite IPS clients and some family members to be interviewed by the fidelity review team.
  • Allow agency leaders (executive director, clinical director, and quality assurance director) to be available for a short interview with the fidelity review team.
  • Review the fidelity review report with all partners and in the established steering committee to identify strategies for improvement.
  • Develop, along with the assigned state IPS trainer, a written plan for improved fidelity that includes input from the agency IPS steering committee.

Employment service provider

  • Assist the county or tribal mental health agency with fidelity review requests
  • Provide data requested from the IPS state team ahead of the visit.
  • Review the fidelity review report with all partners and identify strategies for improvement. 
  • Allow the trainer to review IPS program outcomes with the IPS supervisor and agency leaders in order to develop plans for improved outcomes. 
  • Review results for the fidelity review report with all partners and in the established steering committee to identify and implement strategies for improvement. 

Local DVR staff

  • Participate, as requested, in the fidelity review interviews.
  • Review the fidelity review report with all partners and in the established steering committee to identify strategies for improvement.

 

Contact the IPS state team with questions or concerns about these roles and responsibilities.

Last Revised: November 17, 2020