FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OREGON’S NEW FUNCTIONAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENT FOR BROKERAGE CUSTOMERS

For detailed information, check out our blog post: The Needs Assessment for Brokerage Customers – How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

WHAT’S CHANGING?
As a brokerage customer, you are now required to have a Functional Needs Assessment in order to determine which services you are eligible for.

WHAT IS A FUNCTIONAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT?
Basically, it’s a series of questions related to your support needs. The assessment asks questions about what kinds of independent living supports you need, why you need them, and how often you need them. From there, the assessment will determine certain services you are eligible for and how often you can access those services.

WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ASKED?
You’ll be asked questions about needs related to how you communicate, what kinds of support you need for personal care, which medical supports you require, what kinds of medical equipment you use, and more.

WHY IS THIS BEING IMPLEMENTED?
There are two primary reasons for the change. CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has instructed Oregon to implement a more formal needs assessment for all individuals with I/DD receiving services. Secondly, Oregon has chosen to implement the Community First Choice Option (or K Plan,) a new program connected with the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about the K Plan by asking your Personal Agent, checking out our website (www.independencenw.org) or joining us at one of our upcoming forums (see the enclosed flyer.)

WHO CONDUCTS THE ASSESSMENT?
A small number of INW customers will have their assessments performed by state or county staff. The reason for this is that the state and CMS made an agreement to have assessments completed on all brokerage customers by June 30th, 2014. Rather than fund brokerages to perform the assessments, the state has decided to deploy its own personnel or ask county staff to complete the assessments and meet the terms of its agreement with CMS. For Independence Northwest, the state and county staff will complete assessments for a little under 125 people. These customers have already been notified, so if you didn’t receive a letter, your Personal Agent will conduct the assessment. INW Personal Agents will be completing assessments for the remaining 305 customers.

WHY ISN’T INW DOING ALL THE ASSESSMENTS?
Originally, brokerages were given a year to implement this change. We received the assessment tool from the state in November 2013 and we were prepared to make this happen by October 31st, 2014. However, an agreement between the federal and state government shortened that timeline. We learned in February 2014 that all 7,500 brokerage customers statewide must have an assessment performed by June 30th, 2014, sixteen weeks earlier than expected.

WHO ARE THE STATE AND COUNTY ASSESSORS?
They are state or county employees who have been trained to perform functional needs assessments.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE ASSESSMENT IS COMPLETED?
After the assessment is completed, your Personal Agent will contact you and help you revise your plan.

DO I HAVE TO REVISE MY PLAN?
As a result of the needs assessment findings, you may choose to change or add services. Even if you won’t be making any changes at this time, we’re required by the state to do a revision to your planĀ and add some language around how your Case Management/Personal Agent services will occur.

IF I AM SCHEDULED TO HAVE MY ASSESSMENT COMPLETED BY A STATE OR COUNTY EMPLOYEE, CAN I REQUEST THAT MY PERSONAL AGENT COMPLETE MY ASSESSMENT INSTEAD?
We understand that it makes the most sense to have an assessment completed by someone you know and who knows you. Wherever possible, this will be our process. If you believe, however, that you (or a loved one) would be harmed by having someone you don’t know perform the assessment, please contact your Personal Agent so we can develop an alternate plan.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE ASSESSMENT?
Leading up to the meeting, think about what kinds of help you need to be independent. Think about what kinds of support the people around you offer up and where you might need support you’re not currently receiving.

DO I HAVE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS I DON’T WANT TO ANSWER?
Some of the questions in the assessment are personal. If you feel uncomfortable and you don’t want to answer certain questions, you have a right to your privacy. The assessor working with you will be sensitive to your needs and respectful of your rights. If you’d prefer the assessor talk to someone else about certain support needs, just let him/her know.

HOW OFTEN ARE THESE ASSESSMENTS COMPLETED?
Annually.

WHO WILL COMPLETE THEM IN THE FUTURE?
Your Personal Agent will complete them from here on out. The state and county involvement is a one-time situation to allow them to catch up and meet the terms of their agreement with CMS.

WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO ME?

  • Attend one of our Big Changes to Brokerage Services Community Forums
  • Call your Personal Agent with questions