A Message from DD Director Trisha Baxter to Personal Support Workers re: July 1st Payment Changes

A Message from Trisha Baxter, Interim DD Program Director:

Dear Personal Support Worker,

As you know, our state is making a number of changes throughout the programs supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  These changes are needed to be in compliance with federal regulations and our collective bargaining agreement, as well as to improve service delivery.  The Department of Human Services has been working collaboratively with SEIU, Brokerages, Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDP), providers and other advocates in making sure these changes do not negatively impact the people we serve or our workers.

The most immediate and direct change, coming up on July 1, is how you will be paid.  Beginning in July, we are moving to a centralized state payment system, with TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services, Inc., with common payroll dates twice a month.  This is going to help streamline eligibility for medical, dental and vision benefits.  As we have previously communicated, there is a delay to other program changes, specifically around the Plan of Care functionality in eXPRS. We will be sharing more information around those timelines as it becomes available.

You may have recently been contacted by the CDDP and/or brokerage that you work with to complete information required for the transition to TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services for the purpose of processing payroll on July 1. Please complete and return any paperwork you have been provided so that we can ensure you are paid timely. Once you have completed and submitted your paperwork you have nothing else to worry about – TNT will contact you, through your CDDP or brokerage, should additional information be needed. TNT has indicated that if paperwork is delayed, they will still do everything in their power to ensure timely payments, even to the point of running an extra payroll cycle if needed. It is important to us that you are paid accurately and timely. You will need to sign a new direct deposit form if you chose direct deposit.  This form was included in the information you received from your CDDP or brokerage. If you need another copy of the form, please contact the CDDP or brokerage, or you can contact TNT directly at (503) 463-0134.

In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, beginning with services provided after July 1, 2014, claims for payment should be submitted to the Brokerage or CDDP no later than three (3) business days (excluding Oregon and Federal holidays) before the eighth (8th) and/or the twenty-third (23rd) of each month.  You will be paid three (3) business days (excluding Oregon and Federal holidays) after the eighth (8th) and/or the twenty-third (23rd) of each month.  Click here to see the full details http://www.seiu503.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/10/files/2014/03/SEIU-OHCC-2013-2015-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement-FINAL-SIGNED-COVER-LETTER.pdf. Payment for June or earlier services will be paid in accordance with current practice.

If you have questions regarding this transition, please contact your CDDP, Brokerage, or TNT. Be watching for additional information over the next couple of weeks, including a calendar outlining payment dates, options for payment, and other information for your reference.

 

On Changes, Resources, and Timelines

At the end of last week, I sent a quick update to folks who have attended INW’s community forums over the past year and thought I’d post some of those details to our blog as well. As always, keep the questions coming and we’ll do our best to keep you updated with the latest info during this time of change. Happy Monday!

  •  The State hasn’t yet released the updated version of the Adult Needs Assessment (which scores for inclusion-type supports) but we’ll let you know once it’s out. In the meantime, here is the version currently being used.
  • If you are a provider and you still have not received your provider number, the DHS Provider Relations Unit is the party responsible for helping sort the issues out. Please call 1-800-241-3013 or email them at SPD.ProviderNumber@state.or.us.
  • The Oregon Home Care Commission has recently updated its website. Check out the new Personal Support Worker forms and training options here.
  • At the end of last week,  the State has posted a brand new eXPRS Payment System Facebook page. This is a good opportunity for you to get information, ask questions, and comment directly in a public format. Visit the page here.
  • The State has rescheduled its eXPRS training sessions for Provider Organizations. Check out the details here.
  • This is a big one: The State is in contract negotiations with TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services to take over payment to all Personal Support Workers (Domestic Employees and most Independent Contractors) effective July 1st. This requires that some providers (namely ICs) fill out additional paperwork immediately. Read about it here in the INW Blog post and FAQ written by Ron Spence. Time is of the essence on this, so be sure you take a few minutes to read the details.
  • The TNT FI change also creates paperwork for some customers. Approximately 90 INW customers will be receiving some fiscal intermediary forms in the mail. If you need help understanding the forms or their purpose, we’re here to help. Give your PA a ring.
  • On the new rates front, there’s a version of Supported Employment and Day Habilitation rates circulating. The final version is due out via State transmittal by the end of the month. If you’d like to view the most recent version of the Expenditure Guidelines, check them out here. Keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page for the final release.
  • And, last but not least – Brokerages and Counties will be trained on the new Supported Employment expectations in July and August. As we get finalized details on changing expectations and processes, we will get those out to you. We look forward to partnering with you to bring the increased employment outcomes our community so sorely needs.

Here’s to a great week!

-Larry Deal, Executive Director

Changes to Provider Payments Are Still Planned for July 1st, 2014 – What You Need to Know (And Do)

By Ron Spence, Operations Director

The recent announcement that DHS listened to the community and delayed implementation of the eXPRS data system was welcome news to stakeholders across the state. However, in order to meet the terms of the collective bargaining agreement it made with SEIU, the state must collapse all payments to Personal Support Workers (PSWs) into a “single payment system” by July 1st In order to meet this obligation, DHS is in negotiations to contract with TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services (TNT FI) to make all PSW payments to providers in all DD programs (counties as well as brokerages) statewide.This change affects thousands of providers; brokerages and counties have been charged with making the transition in three weeks and some questions remain unanswered. Time is short and much work will need to be done to ensure every PSW in the state is paid on time in July. Please help us by spreading the word.  We will update the FAQ below as more information comes in. Our top priorities remain uninterrupted services to our customers and uninterrupted payment to their providers. 

Note: While there is much overlap in how things will work for providers working with different brokerages, the information in this post is specific to providers who work with Independence Northwest’s customers. The requirements of the transition to a single payer (TNT FI) are different depending on the provider type.

PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER – DOMESTIC EMPLOYEE Because TNT already processes payroll for domestic employee PSWs who work with Independence Northwest’s customers, this group of providers will experience the least impact during the transition. If you’re a domestic employee, the changes you can expect are the following:

  • Timesheet due dates and pay days may change. Due dates, processing time, and pay dates are part of the state’s agreement with SEIU, but as of this writing the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.
  • Reduced frequency of payroll: Independence Northwest has historically run DE payroll three (sometimes four) times a month. Under the collective bargaining agreement this number is reduced to twice a month. If you are someone who submits timesheets later in the month this may mean you will wait longer to be paid than you have in the past.

DON’T FORGET: You will still need to get a provider number for when the state rolls out eXPRS later in the year. If you don’t have a provider number yet contact the state immediately: 1-800-241-3013 or SPD.ProviderNumber@state.or.us 

PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER – INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR 

Effective July 1 all payments to PSW independent contractors will no longer originate from INW offices but will be processed by TNT FI from their office in Salem. In order to make this happen, all ICs will need to fill out a TNTFI_VENDOR ENROLLMENT PACKETICs must fill out a separate packet for each customer they work with. Please note that the packet includes a direct deposit form. Unfortunately the direct deposit form you have on file with INW will not transfer to TNT. The packet must be signed by the customer or the customer’s legal guardian. If you want to continue using direct deposit after July 1  you must fill out this new one and provide all the documentation it requires.   Below are some changes PSW-ICs who work with INW customers should expect:

  • Changes to invoice due dates and pay dates: Because INW cuts checks for independent contractors on a weekly basis, we do not expect ICs to adhere to any invoice deadline. However, under the new system, due dates, processing time, and pay dates are determined by the state’s agreement with SEIU, and as of this writing the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.
  • Reduction in pay frequency and flexibility: INW cuts checks on a weekly basis for vendors so that a vendor can invoice us at any time during the month and expect timely payment. Under the collective bargaining agreement payment is reduced to twice a month. This may mean you will need to change the timing of your invoicing in order to avoid delays in payment. With payment no longer occurring in-house, INW unfortunately loses the flexibility to accommodate same-day check runs and other special requests as we have in the past.

PROVIDER ORGANIZATIONS, NON-PSW INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, AND OTHER VENDORS 

Payments to all entities not covered by the collective bargaining agreement (provider organizations, non-PSW ICs) will continue to be paid by INW until eXPRS is implemented. If you are the rare IC who provides both PSW services and non-PSW services you will receive separate payments from TNT FI and TNT FI.

FAQ: July 1 Changes to Provider Billing and Payment

Note: Most of this information is brand new and as such is subject to change. We will update this FAQ as we get new information so please check back frequently.

Q. What is changing about how provider payments are made? A. All payments to Personal Support Workers (PSWs) across the state are being consolidated so that they are paid by a single entity, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services (TNT FI). This affects thousands of providers.

Q. Why is this change happening?  A. Under the collective bargain agreement DHS made with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the state agreed that it would adopt a centralized payment system for all of SEIU’s PSW members in Oregon.

Q. I thought eXPRS was going to be the payment system. Is TNT replacing eXPRS? A. Yes and no. The state has delayed implementation of eXPRS, in part, as a result of questions about its readiness voiced by the community. However, that delay did not absolve the state of its collectively-bargained mandate to adopt a centralized payment system by July 1. Moving PSW payments to TNT FI is a transition plan to meet that mandate.

Q. Will eXPRS make PSW payments in the future? A. To the best of our knowledge TNT will continue to handle all PSW payments for the foreseeable future because eXPRS lacks the complexity to handle payroll under the brokerage customer-as-employer model. Once implemented, eXPRS will act as a “front-end” interface for billing data entry; TNT will process payments using the data entered into eXPRS.

Q. Is there paperwork I need to fill out for this change? A. If you are a PSW-DE there is no additional paperwork for you at this time. If you are a PSW-IC you need to fill out a TNT FI Vendor Enrollment Packet immediately and return it to INW.

Q. Will my direct deposit remain in place? A. It depends on whether you are a PSW-DE or a PSW-IC. Domestic employee direct deposits will be unaffected by this change. PSW independent contractors will need to fill out the new direct deposit form included in the TNT FI Vendor Enrollment Packet if they want to continue using direct deposit. 

Q. Who do I sent my invoices or timesheets to? A. Nothing changes in the short run. Continue to submit your bills to Independence Northwest as you always have.

Q. Will the day my timesheets or invoices are due change? A. Probably. Due dates, processing time, and pay dates are determined by the state’s agreement with SEIU, and the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.

Q. Will my pay day change? A. Probably. See answer to previous question and check back here often.

Q. What if I need an out of cycle check or if my check is lost or stolen? A. The state has not yet shared how it plans to handle out of cycle checks and other special exceptions after July 1.

Q. What if I am overpaid or underpaid? A. The state has not yet shared the details of how error corrections will occur after July 1.

Q. Does the July 1 change affect me if I am not a PSW? A. The most current information we have is that non-PSW payments will not change on July 1.

Q. Will INW continue to verify my income and employment for housing and other credit applications? A. Because we are not privy to the details of the contract negotiations between TNT FI and DHS, we are unsure whether this duty will remain with INW or will be taken over by TNT FI. Once we have the answer to this question, we will update you.

Q. Will INW continue to respond to unemployment claims? A. We have not been told by DHS if this will remain our responsibility. Stay tuned.

 

State Delays eXPRS Implementation and Employment Rate Changes to Fall 2014

Late Friday afternoon (05.30.2014), Interim DD Director Trisha Baxter released the following statement to the I/DD community:

“As you are aware we have many priorities that we are focusing on, all with a July 1 implementation date. We have heard from many of you that these converging priorities are causing angst, stress and strain on you, and on the system. We, as well, are discovering the complexities of handling so many moving parts all at once.  As such, based upon feedback from many of you and weighing our internal priorities and commitments with SEIU, CMS and others, we have come up with the following strategy to delay portions of the work and to stage implementation in a more manageable way.  Additional information will be coming out over the coming weeks about the details behind these strategies so please pay close attention to emails and other communications over the coming days.

First, July 1 is a milestone for new employment services to be offered. These services are included in the Medicaid waivers that will be submitted for approval with a July 1 effective date. These new services will still be offered as of July 1. July 1 was also a targeted date for implementation of a new rate structure for employment services for both the comprehensive and support service system. The new rate structure will be finalized next week, however, at the request of multiple providers, we will hold off on implementation of those rates, with the exception of the rates for the new services, until September 1, 2014. The new services, which include Discovery and Job Development will be paid at the new outcome based rates. All other services will continue to be paid at the current, daily rate. This additional time will allow providers of employment services an opportunity to analyze how the new rates will apply to their service arrays. Additional information about the rate transition schedule, and expectations for tracking, billing and reporting of services provided during July and August will be coming shortly.

Additionally, we have been challenged to provide training to the large number of personal support workers, CDDP and Brokerage staff, and other providers on the new plan entry and claims process within the eXPRS system. In order to allow more time for training and other associated activities, we are delaying the implementation of Plan of Care functionality to September 1, 2014 as well. We will be working with partners, including SEIU and providers, to develop an implementation plan from September 1 forward, beginning with employment services. The delayed schedule and restaging of activities is important to assure successful implementation, but it does not deter or alter the strategic or programmatic outcomes the changes are designed to achieve.

There is much work to be done over the upcoming months to ensure that individuals experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities continue to receive services and that those providing the services are paid accordingly. We thank all of you for your continued work with us as we pull together plans for full implementation. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.”  – Trisha Baxter

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