Our Faces of Independence Northwest photo project by Portland photographer Shelby Brakken continues. This time, INW customer Robert and his Personal Agent Jenny are the featured subjects.
The following is a short FAQ document to help customers of Independence Northwest understand upcoming changes to both Personal Support Worker wages and brokerage customer plan benefit caps. Customers will be receiving paper notifications via mail regarding these changes as well.
Personal Support Workers (PSWs,) the majority of providers serving Independence Northwest’s customer base, are receiving a 1.25% increase to their wages effective April 1st, 2013.
Brokerage customers are receiving a 1.25% increase to their benefit cap (how much they are eligible for) effective April 1st, 2013. You may view the state’s newly published Benefit Level Matrix here. (This excludes those who are at Full Base Plus + ADL funding. They will not receive an increase to their benefit cap.)
Why Is This Happening?
This pay increase is a result of House Bill 3618 and the 2011/2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Oregon Home Care Commission and SEIU. The House Bill and CBA require that no loss in service occur for our customers as a result of implementing this increase.
Will My Plan (ISP) Need to be Revised?
No. The State has created a revision form that will be attached to your ISP, allowing for the increase in funding to both your Personal Support Worker(s) and your benefit cap. This will happen at Independence Northwest’s office and will not require any action from you or your legal representative.
Do I Have to Give My PSW a Raise?
Yes. It is required. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact either SEIU or the Oregon Home Care Commission since this is their Collective Bargaining Agreement. Independence Northwest is required by contract to carry out the terms of the agreement.
How Do I Know If My Provider is a Personal Support Worker?
Most providers are considered PSWs. Certain providers who perform services such as Behavior Supports are not PSWs and will receive no increase. You may learn more about who is/isn’t a PSW by reviewing this state transmittal.
Does This Change How Much PSWs May Make Permanently?
Yes. The State has published a new set of Rate Ranges, effective 04.01.2013. Click here for details.
Will the Provider Organization I Contract with Receive an Increase?
No. This increase is specific to those under the PSW designation. Provider Organizations will not receive an increase and the rate ranges will not be adjusted up for them.
Have Additional Questions?
Check out the State’s transmittal for all known details. If you still have questions, please call your Personal Agent at 503.546.2950 and we’ll do our best to get you answers or connect you with those who have answers.
An important message from FACT’s (Families and Community Together) Executive Director, Roberta Dunn:
On behalf of Family and Community Together, I would like to invite you to become a part of FACT’s Parent to Parent [P2P] Mentor Program!
As you know, sometimes raising a child experiencing disability can be overwhelming, and may leave you feeling like the only person in the world facing these challenges. FACT P2P parent mentors share their experiences as parents and what they have learned – that having a child experiencing disability is just a part of a whole life… A life that will be beautiful, messy, smooth, and bumpy, just like most lives are. Mentors also listen with an empathetic ear because they have “been there.”
FACT’s parent mentors are a special group of volunteers who are trained to help support caretakers, whether they are parents, grandparents, siblings, or anyone else who has a family member experiencing disability. Parent mentors can be extremely helpful when someone is navigating through special education; with this in mind, FACT is particularly interested in identifying parent mentors available to support a family in preparing for and participating in their child’s IEP.
FACT believes that families are our greatest resource! Indeed, it is your personal experience and understanding of the particular challenges, joys, and milestones that come with raising a child experiencing disability that makes you such a powerful ally to a parent, whether s/he is just starting out in this journey or is further along. Because we know parenting does not stop at age 21, FACT continues to provide parent mentors who can assist others across a person’s lifespan.
As a parent mentor, you will join hundreds of other parents who are providing support, information, and resources to others across the country. FACT P2P is the Oregon chapter of the national Parent to Parent USA organization which has roots dating back to 1971. Parent to Parent USA now has chapters helping families in 27 states.
If interested, please see the P2P Mentor Application for the Parent Mentor application (available in English and Spanish). Parents with prior experience supporting families in the IEP process as an IEP partner are highly encouraged to apply!