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Department of Human Services

Introduction to the Iowa DHS Policy Analysis Site
Software Needed to View the Policy Analysis Site
Getting Around the Policy Analysis Site
Searching the Policy Analysis Site
Viewing Policy Manuals and Rules Documents
Working with Other Programs
Assistance for Visually Impaired 
Tips and Tricks
Policy Analysis Newsletter
Frequently Asked Questions
User Guide (PDF)

Introduction to the Iowa DHS Policy Analysis Site

Welcome to the Office of Policy Analysis web site.  The Office of Policy Analysis is responsible for processing the Department of Human Services' administrative rules, policy manuals, and forms.

Policy Manuals  

The Policy Manuals provide instructions for DHS employees and vendors under contract to DHS on how to administer DHS programs.  The DHS Programs are grouped into the categories of Child Support, Mental Health, Income Maintenance, Social Services, and Administration.  Included in this site are the policy manuals themselves and general letters that detail the most recent changes that have occurred in the manuals or will be occurring in the manuals.     

General letter files include a cover letter summarizing the changes that are being made as well as the policy manual pages that are being effected.  Each program has a general letter table which shows the 30 most recent general letters issued for that program.  You can get to this table by clicking on the General Letter book in the appropriate program page.  In addition, the What's New book on the Policy Manual page gives you links to the general letters for each program.  Each row in the table contains the general letter number, date of issue, and subject of the general letter.  You can see a copy of the general letter by clicking on the general letter number.     

A copy of the general letter is also placed at the end of the applicable manual chapter.  Revised pages are placed in the manual after the changes become effective.  For example, if a general letter is issued May 6, with an effective date of June 1, the pages would not be inserted into the chapter itself until June 1.  Manual letters are also included in the general letter tables and are placed into the manuals immediately, regardless of the effective date.  A red note on the first page of a policy manual indicates that a manual letter has been released for that chapter.    

Also included with the policy manuals is the Reference page, which contains:  

  • A list of the manual issued last month
  • A list of the manual issued month before last, 
  • A list of the rules in process,
  • A list of the current circular letters.  
All of these documents are updated monthly.   
Rules  

The rules are the administrative law that forms the basis for departmental policies.  This site contains the Department's administrative rules and rules in process (showing rules that are noticed or adopted before their effective date).  In addition, the site contains a list of scheduled public hearings and comments from the public hearings held in the last six months, along with the Department's responses to the comments.  Although every attempt is made to ensure that the information placed on this site is accurate and timely, the DHS Office of Policy Analysis cannot ensure the accuracy of any rule originating from this site.  You are urged to consult the official printed versions of these publications or to contact legal counsel of your choice.  This site cannot legally be cited as an official or authoritative source.     

Updates to the Policy Analysis Site  

The Policy Analysis Site is updated once a week to reflect the most recent changes to the policy manuals and rules documents.  The Policy Analysis Site is updated before the printed version reaches your office if you are currently on distribution for the printed manual.  If you would like to know if a new or revised manual has been released, you can go to the Policy Manuals What's New page and select the general letter table for your program.  Likewise, you can visit the Rules What's New page to see what administrative rules are being considered by DHS.  You can also subscribe to receive a weekly e-mail announcements that contains information about updates to the policy manuals and rules documents. 

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Software Needed to View the Policy Analysis Site  

This site is best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater or Netscape Navigator 4.0 or greater.  All of the documents contained in this site are saved in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and are best viewed by using Acrobat Reader 4.0.  All of these products can be downloaded free of charge by following the links below.   

Note: If you are a State of Iowa DHS employee, your computer should already have the appropriate software loaded.  If you do not have the appropriate software loaded, please contact your DHS System Administrator.   

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Getting Around the Policy Analysis Site  

The Policy Analysis Site was designed to provide you with a variety of ways to find the policy manuals and rule documents that you are looking for.  The two main ways of doing that are to follow the links provided in the site or to search the site as described below. 

Each page has a set of links located on the left hand side to a major area of the Policy Analysis Site.  These links are explained in more detail below: 

DHS Home This link will take you to the State of Iowa DHS Home page where you can find information about the programs of the Iowa Department of Human Services. 

Policy Analysis Home This link will take you to the Policy Analysis Home page. 

Policy Manuals This link will take you to the Policy Manual Page where you can view the various policy manuals and general letters created by DHS. 

Rules This link will take you to the Rules Home page where you can look at existing administrative rules, rules in process (noticed or adopted prior to their effective date), and public rules hearing information. 

Search This link will take you to the Advanced Search page where you can choose the types of documents you search through and how you would like the results displayed.  See Searching the Policy Analysis Site for more information. 

Links This link will take you to a page containing links to several policy and rules related sites. 

Help This link will bring you to this page.

At the top of the Policy Manuals page, you will notice a bookshelf graphic that contains several different books.  If you click on one of these books, you will be taken to a page with links to all of the documents for that particular policy area.  You can also get to those pages by clicking on the links underneath the bookshelf graphic. 

Once on a specific policy area page, for example Income Maintenance, you will notice that there is another bookshelf displaying the various areas that make up Income Maintenance.  Clicking on one of those books will take you to a list of documents that pertain to that particular aspect of the policy area.  When the document names are navy blue and underlined they are currently available in PDF format by clicking on the name of the document.  If the name of the document is in regular text, that document is not currently available in PDF format.  To get back to the bookshelf, you can:

  1. Use the horizontal scroll bar to go back up to the top of the page.  
  2. Hit the up arrow key on your keyboard until the bookshelf graphic is displayed.
  3. Click on the [Back to Bookshelf] link at the bottom of the list.
The Rules area is organized in much the same fashion as the Policy Manual area. 

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Searching the Policy Analysis Site  

Another way of finding the documents that you are looking for is to use the search features of the Policy Analysis Site.  There are two ways you can search this site, Quick Search and Advanced Search.  Also in this section are some Search Tips that will make your searching easier and more useful.   

Quick Search  

Located on the left hand side of every page is a Quick Search box where you can type the word you are searching for, hit return or the Go button, and the resulting pages with your search criteria will be returned.  The Quick Search  by default will search all of the policy manual documents, provider manual documents, administrative rule documents, and rule in process documents.  If you would like to search other sets of documents, or limit your search to a specific type of documents, you can use the Advanced Search feature.   

The Search Results page lists the documents containing your search criteria.  To view one of the documents, click on the document title.  The document will open up at the first location of your search criteria with the word or words highlighted.  You can move to the next location where your word appears by clicking on the next page button in the Acrobat Reader tool bar. See Viewing Policy Manuals and Rules Documents.    

Advanced Search  

The Advanced Search Page allows you to pick which types of documents to search as well as determine how the results are displayed.  The choices of document types to search are: Policy Manuals, Provider Manuals, Rules, Forms, Rules In Process, and Letters.  By default the search engine will search the Policy Manuals, Provider Manuals, Rules, and Rules In Process.  You will notice that when the Advanced Search page is initially displayed, these choices are selected.  You can deselect these choices and select others by clicking in the appropriate check box prior to hitting the Search button.   

You can also pick other settings to help narrow the results that you receive and better organize the search.   

Score Threshold 

When the search engine performs a search, it scores the results with respect to the fit of the document to the criteria that you provided.  The score can range from 0.0 to 1.0, with 1.0 being the the highest score possible.  By setting the Score Threshold at a certain number, you can limit the number of results that are returned.  For example, if you change the score threshold to 50, no results will be supplied where the document score was .49 or lower.  The default score threshold is 25.   

Sort By 

The Sort By settings allow you to determine how the results of your search will be returned.  There are two drop down boxes with selections that you can make to determine how the results are displayed.  The first drop down box lets you pick the category you wish to order by and the second drop down box allows you to pick the order in which they are displayed. The following table explains the choices you have.

Category
Score Orders the results by the score that is returned from the search engine.
Title Orders the results alphabetically by the document title. 
URL Orders the results alphabetically by the URL, or path of the file.

Order

Desc Orders the results in descending order according to the category selected.
Asc Orders the results in ascending order according to the category selected.
Search Tips  

Following are some tips that will make searching the Policy Analysis Web Site more useful.   

If you would like to find a legal reference, use the following format: To search for sub-rule 78.1(2) type 78.1(2).   

If you do not care what case the results are in, enter your search terms in all lower case or all UPPER CASE letters.   Example: Typing automobile or AUTOMOBILE as a search term will bring back documents that have the following: automobile, Automobile, and AUTOMOBILE.     

If you mix case, only documents matching that case will return.  Example: Typing Automobile as a search term will only bring back documents with Automobile.   

If you type in a single word, the search engine will return documents with that word or stemmed variations of that word (such as plural forms). Example: Typing auto will bring back documents with the words auto, or  autos.   

If you enclose your search terms in "double quotes" the search engine will return documents with the exact words that you placed in quotes. Example: Typing "auto" will only return documents with the word auto.   

If you would like to search for specific phrases, you can enter a variety of words and phrases separated by commas.  This will find documents with at least one of the words or phrases specific and rank them according to the "the more of these found, the better" principle. Example: Typing federally funded grant, welfare reform will return documents with either the phrase federally funded grant or welfare reform in it.   

If you would like to find documents that contain at least one word, you can use the word or in your search terms.   Example: Typing federal or grant will return any documents that contain federal or grant.   

If you would like to find documents that contain all of a series of words, you can use the word and in your search terms.  This will have the effect of limiting your search to documents that contain all of the words. Example: Typing federal and grant and welfare will only return documents that contain all three words.   

If you would like to exclude words from your search, you can use the word not in your search terms.  This will result in documents that have the word or words before the not, but do not have the word after the not. Example: Typing federal not grant will only return documents that contain the word federal and do not have the word grant.   

If you are not quite sure how to spell a word, you can use a couple of punctuation marks that will ask the search engine to fill in the missing letters.  You can use ? to indicate any one character.  You can use * to represent one or more characters, except for at the beginning of a word. Example:  Typing mich??l will result in documents containing the word Micheal or Michael.  Typing auto* will result in documents containing the word auto, automotive, or automobile. 

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Viewing Policy Manuals and Rules Documents  

Policy manuals and rules documents are saved in the PDF file format and can be viewed using the Acrobat Reader plug available for free download from the Adobe website.  The PDF version of the file looks exactly like the printed manual.  To view the document, click on the link to the document located in the policy area pages.  Acrobat Reader will automatically open and display the document inside the browser window.  For more information about the different views available for the documents, see the User Guide.   

When you have the document open, you can use several features in the Acrobat Reader to move through the document.  If you are viewing a policy manual document, you can use the bookmarks that are displayed in the left hand window to go to specific areas of the document.  You can also use the toolbar features in Acrobat Reader to navigate through the document.  You will notice that when you run the mouse over the buttons in the tool bar that text boxes pop up with a short description of what each button does.  You can find detailed instructions on using these features in the User Guide.     

The Policy Manual documents also contain several hyperlinks to other points within the same document and to other documents.  These links are marked by blue boxes around text.  When you click on text surrounded by a blue box, you will be taken to the location referenced by that text.  Refer to the User Guide to see more information about using the links inside PDF documents.   [Back to Top]

  Working with Other Programs  

To switch to another program without closing the Policy Manual Site, simply press ALT+TAB. Hold the ALT key down while pressing the TAB key repeatedly will allow you to cycle through Icons representing all of the applications (programs) you currently have running. Start a new application as you normally would through the Windows Start button in the lower left or by clicking on any tool bar you may have displayed.   

You can also work with other programs by minimizing the Browser window by clicking the bar icon in the upper left hand corner of the screen. 

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Assistance for Visually Impaired  

Visually impaired individuals can view the policy manual and rules documents through the use of a service called Access.adobe.com that converts PDF documents into a format that is readable by screen readers.  You can use this service in one of three ways:

  1. Submit the URL of the PDF document that you would like to have converted using a web based form.  Click here for instructions.
  2. Submit the URL of the PDF document that you would like to have converted via email.  Click here for instructions.
  3. Add a plug-in on your computer. Click here for instructions.
If you would like more information about assistance for the visually impaired on the web, visit the Access.adobe.com site.   

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Tips and Tricks  

You can use the following shortcut keys in Internet Explorer to navigate through the pages in the Policy Analysis Site.

Press This:
To Do This:
TAB Move forward through the items on a page, the Address bar, and the Links bar.
SHIFT+TAB Move back through the items on a Web page, the Address bar, and the Links bar.
ALT+TAB Shift to another application already running on the computer.
UP ARROW Scroll toward the beginning of a document.
DOWN ARROW Scroll toward the end of a document.
PAGE UP Scroll toward the beginning of a document in larger increments.
PAGE DOWN Scroll toward the end of a document in larger increments.
HOME Move to the beginning of a document.
END Move to the end of a document.
CTRL+F Find on this page.
F5 or
CTRL+R
Refresh the current page only if the page has changed on the server since it was last loaded into the browser.
CTRL+F5 Forces a refresh of the current page regardless of whether the page has changed on the server since it was last loaded into the browser.
ESC Stop downloading a page.
CTRL+O or
CTRL+L
Go to a new location.
CTRL+N Open a new window.
CTRL+W Close the current window.
CTRL+P Print the current page or active frame.

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Announcement of Changes  

The Office of Policy Analysis sends out a weekly e-mail announcements about changes to the rules and policy manuals.  You can subscribe and unsubscribe to this newsletter on the Policy Analysis Home page, the Policy Manual page, and the Rules Home page.  

Subscribing
  1. Click on the Subscribe button
  2. An email message form is displayed.  Make sure that the body of the message only displays the words "subscribe policyanalysis."  If there is a signature files in the body of the e-mail, delete it.
  3. Click on the Send button.
  4. When the listserver receives your e-mail, it processes your request and returns an introductory e-mail welcoming you to the list.  Be sure to save this message as it has important information about the list.
  5. You are now subscribed.  You will receive updates whenever they are mailed out by the Office of Policy Analysis.
  6. listserver@iowaccess.org and enter "subscribe policyanalysis" in the body.
Unsubscribing
  1. Click on the Unsubscribe button
  2. An email message form is displayed.  Make sure that the body of the message only displays the words "unsubscribe policyanalysis."  If there is a signature files in the body of the e-mail, delete it.
  3. Click on the Send button.
  4. When the listserver receives your e-mail, it processes your request and returns a confirmation email.
  5. You are now removed from the list.
  6. AOL Users: click on this e-mail address listserver@iowaccess.org and enter "unsubscribe policyanalysis" in the body.
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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I copy text in a policy manual or rule document?
  2. When I click on a link to a policy manual document or rule document, I get an error message and the Acrobat Reader does not open.
  3. When I view PDF documents using Acrobat Reader, the lines appear blurry.
  4. When I click on an Email address, I get a Microsoft Outlook error saying, "Can’t create this item."
  5. How do I save a policy manual or rule document to my hard drive?
  6. What’s the difference between a "plug-in" and a "helper application"?
  7. Can I still use Control - F to find words in PDF documents when I have them open in my web browser?
How do I copy text in a policy manual or rule document?  

When you are viewing a policy manual or rule document in PDF format, you can select and copy text to paste into another file. With the PDF file open that you would like to copy from:   Click on the Text Tool button in the Acrobat Reader toolbar. This is the button with the T on it. Select the text that you want to copy in the PDF document. Click on the Copy button in the Acrobat Reader toolbar. This is the fifth button over from the left showing the two pieces of paper on top of each other. You can now paste the text into another file.   

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When I click on a link to a policy manual document or rule document, I get an error message and the Acrobat Reader does not open.  

Make sure that you have Acrobat Reader 4.0 installed on your machine.   You may have had an earlier version of Acrobat Reader 4.0 installed on your machine. You will have to uninstall your current version of Acrobat Reader, delete the registry keys of the earlier version of the browser and then reinstall Acrobat Reader 4.0. 

For more information see Adobe Support Database file 1c53e.htm.   

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When I view PDF documents using Acrobat Reader, the lines appear blurry.  

To correct this problem, open Acrobat Reader and do the following:

  • Select the File Menu
  • In the File menu, select Preferences and then General.
  • In the Display area of the General Preferences box, click on the Smooth Text and Images button to deselect that box.
  • Click OK.
  • Exit from Acrobat Reader.
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When I click on an Email address, I get a Microsoft Outlook error saying, "Can’t create this item."  

If you are using Microsoft Outlook as your email program, you may need to reinstall your E-mail services. For more information, see Microsoft Support Document Q191093.   

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How do I save a policy manual or rule document to my hard drive?  

Saving the policy manual and rule documents to your hard drive is not recommended as these documents are frequently revised.    To save the document without viewing it:

  • While on a page with a list of documents, select the document you would like by clicking on the right mouse key.
  • In the menu that appears, click on Save Target As…
  • The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the directory in which you want to save the file and the name you wish to use. Click OK.
  • The file will be saved to that location. This may take some time based on the size of the file that you are downloading.
To save the document while you are viewing it in Acrobat Reader:
  • With the document open in Acrobat Reader, click on the File button in the Acrobat Reader tool bar.
  • The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the directory in which you want to save the file and the name you wish to use. Click OK.
  • The file will be saved to that location. This may take some time based on the size of the file that you are downloading.
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What’s the difference between a "plug-in" and a "helper application"?  

Both are terms used to define Acrobat Reader’s relationship with the web browser. "Plug-in" means that Acrobat Reader is set up to open automatically inside the browser window when a link to a PDF document is clicked. Acrobat Reader is set by default to be a plug-in to the default browser installed on your machine.   "Helper application" means that when a link to a PDF document is clicked, Acrobat Reader will open up as a separate window and will not open inside of the web browser.   To switch Acrobat Reader from a plug-in to a helper application, open Acrobat Reader and do the following:

  • Select the File Menu.
  • In the File menu, select Preferences and then General.
  • In the Options section, look at the checkbox labeled Web Browser Integration. If the checkbox is checked, Acrobat Reader is setup to be a plug-in to your default browser. If it is not checked, Acrobat Reader will be a helper application. To change the settings, click on the checkbox.
  • Click OK.
  • Close Acrobat Reader.
  • The next time you click on a PDF link in a web page, the File Download box will appear.
  • Select Open this file from its current location in the dialog box.
  • The document will be displayed in a separate Acrobat Reader window.
Note that if you have Acrobat Reader set up as a Helper Application, the following features of documents from the Policy Analysis Site will not work:
  • External links to other PDF documents
  • Highlighted text generated by searches from the Policy Analysis Site.
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Can I still use Control - F to find words in PDF documents when I have them open in my web browser?

Clicking <CTRL> and <F> activates the web browser find function instead of the Acrobat Reader find function if you have a PDF document open inside the browser window. If you would like to find a word in a PDF document, click on the Find button in the Adobe Toolbar. This is the button that has the picture of the binoculars on it.  

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