Oregon Disability Services Face Cuts – Your Voice is Needed this Saturday in Portland

Oregon is currently facing at a significant budget deficit and in order to deal with the issue, our state legislature is looking at places to reduce, discontinue, or rearrange funding. There are several areas the legislature is considering cuts in the coming months, many of which were outlined in the Governor’s Proposed Budget:

  • A reduction in brokerage and county/CDDP case management funding
  • Elimination of the Family Network program
  • Elimination of Regional crisis services
  • Elimination of the Fairview Housing Trust Fund
  • Partial rate increase to Direct Support Provider wages

You can learn all about the proposed budget cuts and adjustments in this great article by brokerage association director Katie Rose. Remember, these are cuts mentioned only in the Governor’s budget – legislators may be looking at other ways to adjust funding to balance the budget.

How You Can Help

This Saturday, attend the Town Hall at PCC Sylvania in Portland! The Joint Committee on Ways and Means has scheduled a series of Town Hall meetings across the state. Having advocates from the I/DD community show up and give testimony at these public budget hearings is very important.  This is a unique opportunity to tell legislators what your services mean to you and why keeping service networks strong is important for you and your family. We have heard that legislators aren’t getting a lot of feedback from the community on services – please take this chance to make your voice heard.

What to expect if you go? Be prepared for large crowds, and plan to arrive early, especially if you want to sign up to give testimony (at least 1 to 1 ½ hours early). The sign-up sheet for testimony fills up quickly. Even if you don’t plan to give testimony, your presence at these events, wearing or waving something yellow in support of the DD Community, will send the message to legislators that the DD Community is unified in its support of DD programs and services.

RSVP and connect on the event Facebook page here.

When: Saturday February 11th 12 – 2pm (Be there as early as 10:30 or 11:00 if you want to speak!)
Where: Main Mall, Amo DeBernardis CC Building
PCC, Sylvania campus 12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland

To support your participation in these statewide budget town halls, the I/DD Coalition will ensure a host will be on site at the event to provide you with fact sheets, advocacy stickers and more. Please register for this event via Facebook to stay informed and receive the latest information.

Thanks to our friends at the I/DD Coalition and GO! Project for their great work organizing the community and providing the content for this post.

 

Oregon I/DD Director Releases Statement on PPL Transition Challenges, Contingency Plan Extended

Lilia Teninty, Director of Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services released the following statement late Wednesday regarding the PPL transition issues that customers, families, providers, and case management entities have been dealing with the past several months and lays out a plan for the coming weeks:

“I am writing today with an update on the Personal Support Worker (PSW) payroll transition to PCG Public Partnerships LLC (PPL). Personal Support Worker (PSW) and employer enrollment with PPL has not gone as seamlessly as we would have liked. I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone involved in this very difficult process.

CDDPs and Brokerages stepped up to get packets to employers and PSWs and have followed-up with them to get paperwork submitted. As we have worked with PPL to identify gaps in information, CDDPs and Brokerages again worked to fill in those gaps. Individuals and families have worked hard to complete necessary employer paperwork. And most importantly, PSWs have completed packets and tracked down information in the midst of the vital work they do with clients. All of this help has been instrumental, thank you.

Payroll transition to PPL: The payroll transition work began in August 2016. It included several changes to data systems, training and information sessions to CDDPs and Brokerages, and in-person information and enrollment sessions to help PSWs and employers complete necessary paperwork. Even with the extensive preparation, the transition to PPL has not been as smooth as we had expected. We are working with PPL to resolve the problems and have directed them to improve their customer service.

If you got a robocall from PPL: PPL recently did a robocall to notify employers and PSWs about missing paperwork. Some people who got the calls did not understand what they were supposed to do. If you are an employer of record, the call most likely was because of a problem with your Employer Identification Number. If you got the robocall you need to contact PPL right away to find out what is missing and get paperwork issues resolved.

Contingency plan extended: We have extended the contingency plan for payroll through the February 28 pay period. If the PSW and employer submitted accurate Social Security and Employer Identification Numbers, PSWs will get paid during the contingency period, even if other paperwork hasn’t been completed. That contingency plan made it possible to pay 99.2 percent of PSWs on January 18, 2017.Until April, PPL is providing a list to CDDPs and Brokerages of PSWs not paid. If an administrative error caused the error it will be fixed and the PSW paid the next week. If additional information needs to be submitted, the PSW will need to contact PPL to find out what is missing. Please know that after the contingency plan ends, all required information from employers and PSWs will need to be complete and logged at PPL in order to issue paychecks on time.

Direct deposit and W-2s: We know there were issues with direct deposit for PSWs who had not submitted the needed documentation before December 22, 2016 for the first pay period. PSWs that submitted direct deposit documentation before December 22, 2016 should have received direct deposit for the first pay period. Due to legal restrictions, TNT was unable to provide direct deposit information to PPL during the transition. W-2s for work done between January 1 and December 31, 2016 will come from TNT since they were the payroll entity for all of 2016.

For more information: What should you do if you have questions about the information that needs to be submitted? Your first step is to contact PPL’s customer service:

You can also “Follow” ODDS’ Facebook page, the eXPRS page or the Home Care Commission page on Facebook to get updates and helpful information.

Sincerely,
Lilia”

Additional resource: PPL’s Facebook page

ODDS Announces Direct Deposit Issues for Many Personal Support Workers

Important information just posted from the State of Oregon regarding Personal Support Worker pay and the PPL transition:

“The PSW payroll run for the end of Dec 2016 pay period has generated 10,612 checks/direct deposit payments to PSWs. Of those, 1,332 were direct deposit (13%) and 9,280 were physical paper checks (87%).

Due to Federal Banking Regulations ODDS was unable to transfer previous direct deposit information PSWs had with TNT to PPL. As a result, in order to make direct deposit payments, PPL must have a new direct deposit form on file from the PSW.

PSWs who sent PPL their direct deposit information before 12/22/16 had a bank pre-note test done and will receive direct deposit. For the 1,332 payments made via direct deposit, the funds should start showing in PSW bank accounts today (Wed 1/18/17) by 11:00 am PST and be there by 5:00 pm PST.

If PPL received the direct deposit information from the PSW after 12/22/16, the PSW can expect a paper check for this pay cycle.
The paper checks were mailed by PPL yesterday afternoon (Tue 1/17/17) and should be received in 2-3 business days.”

Source: eXPRS Facebook page

ATTENTION PSWs: Time Sheet Due Date Adjusted by State, Now Due Early (December 19th)

The following notice was emailed to all Personal Support Workers working with INW customers on 12/13/2016:

The state has announced that it is shortening the time you have for submitting your time sheets by one day in the next payroll cycle, due to the changeover between TNT and PPL as state fiscal intermediary. In order to receive payment on time, you must have your time sheets in no later than Monday, December 19th, 2016. Brokerage processing time has been cut as well, pretty much eliminating our flexibility on late submissions.

 

 

 

P.S. – If you haven’t followed up on requests to turn your paperwork in to PPL, please do so now. We continue to be concerned about the low number of PSWs who are considered “good to go” in PPL’s system. If you’re not set up properly in the system, there’s no way to get you paid on time.

Click here for the 2017 PSW Submission and Payment Schedule

 

Very Important Notice to INW Customers and Brokerage Personal Support Workers

writing-1149962_1280By now, Personal Support Workers and those that employ them should have received multiple communications from a variety of sources regarding a major change to the way PSWs will be paid. TNT’s contract with the State of Oregon as the fiscal intermediary is ending on December 31st and the state is transitioning to an outfit called PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL). This change requires action on your part – whether you are a PSW or if you are the employer of the PSW. We’re told that PPL has been reaching out to all affected parties via mail, via phone, and when possible via email.

 
If you do not respond to requests from PPL, you/your Personal Support worker will not be paid for services until you do. Once you’ve completed and submitted the paperwork, you should contact PPL to ensure they have received it and labelled it “good to go”. If you don’t take this extra step to confirm with them,  there is a strong chance you/your Personal Support Worker will not be paid for services in a timely manner.
 

What To Do

 

  • Are you a PSW or Employer who has received a packet from PPL? Great. Fill it out and return it.
  • Did you receive a packet and now have questions? Call their customer service line and get help.
  • Do you find the whole thing confusing and need more hands-on help? Attend one of the just-posted information sessions in Portland, Oregon City, or Beaverton. See below.
  • Haven’t received a packet at all? Call PPL and request one. Return it quickly to avoid delay in payment in January. Or attend an information session where they’ll print one for you and help you fill it out. At present, we do not have print capability in PPL’s system. We’re hoping for that soon, but have no promised date.

Here’s what you can’t do: nothing.

 

To date, this transition has been quite bumpy. While all transitions bring challenges, such a small number of people are currently properly enrolled with PPL that we are growing very concerned. We want to be sure Personal Support Workers are paid on time for the work performed for our shared customers.

 

Current data from PPL as of this posting shows that just 5% of Personal Support Workers supporting INW’s customers are up and running in their system. There are about 9% who are currently “in process”. In terms of Employers, right now 13% are complete in PPL’s system, with another 4%  in the pipeline.  Data changes daily, so we’re crossing our fingers these numbers grow considerably in the days to come.
 
If you haven’t received a packet or if you’re not sure if you’re all set, call their customer service line directly or plan to attend one of the newly-scheduled PPL Information Sessions where you can complete all your paperwork with help from one of their staff.
 
Please do not ignore this call to action. Click here to download a copy of the scheduled sessions.
 
Date
City
Location
Hours of Operation
Tuesday, Dec 13
Beaverton
Beaverton Activities Center
15200 SW Allen Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005
9 am – 5pm
Wednesday, Dec 14
Oregon City
Clackamas Community College
McCloghlin Hall
19600 Molalla Ave
Oregon City, OR  97220
12 – 6:30pm
Thursday, Dec 15
Portland
Courtyard Portland Airport Location 11550 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
*accessible via Red Line/Cascade Station Max lines
*parking on site
12 – 7pm
Friday, Dec 16
Portland
Courtyard Portland Airport Location 11550 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
*accessible via Red Line/Cascade Station Max lines
*parking on site
12 – 7pm
 

Oregon I/DD Services Director Releases Statement on Proposed 2017 Budget Cuts and Investments

Lilia TenintyOregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services Director Lilia Teninty released a statement today regarding budget cuts and investments in Governor Brown’s recently-released state budget for 2017 – 2019 related to the intellectual and developmental disabilities community:

Dec. 5, 2016

To: All ODDS Staff and Stakeholders

On December 1, Governor Kate Brown published her proposed budget for the 2017-2019 biennium. The governor noted she had tough decisions to make under difficult circumstances, including a $1.7 billion budget gap. Her budget fills the shortfall with a combination of new revenue, program cuts and efficiencies.

The governor’s budget for DHS is nearly $11.3 billion total funds, a 6 percent increase over the current biennium. It includes investments to balance the DHS budget in a long-term sustainable manner to meet the needs of Oregon’s most vulnerable residents. It also includes reductions that impact DHS.

The Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities system

The Oregon Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) program strives to support choices of individuals with disabilities and their families within communities by promoting and providing services that are person-centered, self-directed, flexible, community-inclusive, and culturally appropriate.

The I/DD system has many critical partners including Community Developmental Disabilities Programs (CDDPs), Brokerages, providers, families, and self-advocates, which support individuals with I/DD to live full lives in their communities. Oregon no longer has institutional settings for persons with developmental disabilities, so all individuals are served in the community. Most of these services are administered under Medicaid waivers and the Community First Choice Option (the K-Plan). The Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU) is also part of this program.

With the implementation of the K-Plan, the I/DD program has experienced and continues to experience increases in caseload and cost per case for individuals served. The 2017-19 Governor’s budget for Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) is $2.7 billion total funds ($893.9 million General Fund).

Governor’s proposed 2017-2019 budget

In order to fully fund increased caseloads and costs, certain tradeoffs had to occur. While continuing to protect eligibility requirements for children and adults to qualify for services, the budget makes some reductions.

  • Community Developmental Disability Programs and Brokerages. Thirty-four CDDPs and 14 Support Services Brokerages provide case management services to approximately 26,000 individuals with I/DD. CDDPs serve as a front door to the I/DD System, responsible for eligibility determinations and re-determinations, protective service investigations, and on-site reviews of foster homes for children and adults. Since implementation of the K-Plan, case management entities have been serving rapidly growing number of individuals with I/DD enrolling into the system and have experienced increasing workloads. This budget reduces equity funding from 95 to 91 percent.
  • Family-to-Family Network program. With the K-Plan, services are available to all eligible children and adults in Oregon. Families take advantage of the Family-to-Family Network to learn about and access other local resources and unpaid supports. This program would be eliminated in this budget.
  • Regional programs. Funding provided to regional programs has been eliminated. These programs are funded by the state but the functions were determined by local CDDPs, ranging from provider training and capacity building to crisis placement, depending on the needs of the area.

The budget also makes significant investments in DD programs.

  • Rate increase to support Direct Support Professionals. To address the need to develop a stable and well-trained workforce, the budget funds increasing the rate structure for non-bargained, agency services with a $22.3 million General Fund increase. This can help reduce the staff turnover rate and help attract and retain qualified workers, increasing safety for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Fairview Trust Fund. The budget expends the $6 million Fairview Housing Trust Fund on services dedicated to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Related investments.

  • Background Check Unit. Additional staff will help eliminate a backlog of background checks for I/DD Personal Support Workers, agency DSPs and other DHS programs, helping meet required staffing levels while maintaining health, safety and financial wellness of Oregonians.
  • Technology improvements. The budget adds $14 million General Fund for two important technology programs. One of those, the Centralized Abuse Management System, will replace a patchwork of solutions for records related to abuse reporting for our programs and others within DHS.

Whenever we are faced with budget cuts — even as we have increases in other areas — it causes a lot of uncertainty and worry. Governor Brown says that state government will tighten its belt and live within its means, but not without painful cuts to critical programs at a level she finds unavoidable and unacceptable. She has presented this budget “ … as the starting place for a broader conversation with Oregonians and legislators about how best to align our resources with our shared values and vision for moving Oregon forward.”

In January, the Legislature will take up the state budget. There will be many opportunities to provide input to Legislators throughout the session. I look forward to working with advocates for the DD system throughout this process and I will provide you with information as the process unfolds.

Lilia Teninty, Director
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

 

PSWs and Customer-Employers: Get Ready for a Change in Who Cuts Paychecks for Brokerage Customers

What’s Changing?

In the last few weeks, Personal Support Workers and brokerage customers should have received information directly from the State of Oregon and/or SEIU regarding an important change just around the corner. For a good many years, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services has issued paychecks for PSWs serving our customers. TNT’s contract with the state ends at the end of 2016 and a new agency, PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL) will be taking over this responsibility. So in the very near future, Personal Support Workers will stop getting payment from TNT and start getting payment from PPL.

 

What does this mean to Personal Support Workers and Customer-Employers?

Generally speaking, it means that Personal Support Workers and employers (be they a brokerage customer or a legal designee) have some paperwork to fill out. Right now, PPL is sending out mailers to three groups of folks:

  • Employers (customers or their designees) who employ PSWs (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 4th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for one Employer (customer or their designee) (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 7th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for two or more Employers (customers or their designees)  (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 8th, 2016)

Customer-Employers and Personal Support Workers can return their packets in a variety of ways: by mail, fax, or secure email.

 

What Help Is Available?

If you’d like some hands-on help, consider attending one of the optional Enrollment Information and Help Sessions for Employers and PSWs. Multiple sessions will be held here at Independence Northwest and there are sessions in all three metro area counties. RSVP for a session by clicking here. If you have received your packet, you can bring it to the session in your area to receive hands-on help. If you haven’t received it by the time the session you want to attend happens, they’ll print a packet for you there and assist you in person.

You can also call PPL Customer Services for help. Their number is listed on this flyer or you can visit this website.The state’s eXPRS Facebook page has a ton of resources related to the change as well.

 

Transition time is very tight on this, so be sure you’re responsive and get the help you need! If packets are not completed and processed by the end of the year, payment for services may be affected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to PPL for help.

INW Hosting Day and Evening Info Sessions on Adult In-Home Services this October

What’s Changing?

In the last few weeks, Personal Support Workers and brokerage customers should have received information directly from the State of Oregon and/or SEIU regarding an important change just around the corner. For a good many years, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services has issued paychecks for PSWs serving our customers. TNT’s contract with the state ends at the end of 2016 and a new agency, PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL) will be taking over this responsibility. So in the very near future, Personal Support Workers will stop getting payment from TNT and start getting payment from PPL.

 

What does this mean to Personal Support Workers and Customer-Employers?

Generally speaking, it means that Personal Support Workers and employers (be they a brokerage customer or a legal designee) have some paperwork to fill out. Right now, PPL is sending out mailers to three groups of folks:

  • Employers (customers or their designees) who employ PSWs (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 4th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for one Employer (customer or their designee) (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 7th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for two or more Employers (customers or their designees)  (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 8th, 2016)

Customer-Employers and Personal Support Workers can return their packets in a variety of ways: by mail, fax, or secure email.

 

What Help Is Available?

If you’d like some hands-on help, consider attending one of the optional Enrollment Information and Help Sessions for Employers and PSWs. Multiple sessions will be held here at Independence Northwest and there are sessions in all three metro area counties. RSVP for a session by clicking here. If you have received your packet, you can bring it to the session in your area to receive hands-on help. If you haven’t received it by the time the session you want to attend happens, they’ll print a packet for you there and assist you in person.

You can also call PPL Customer Services for help. Their number is listed on this flyer or you can visit this website.The state’s eXPRS Facebook page has a ton of resources related to the change as well.

 

Transition time is very tight on this, so be sure you’re responsive and get the help you need! If packets are not completed and processed by the end of the year, payment for services may be affected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to PPL for help.

Important Note to Provider Organizations: Jan 1st 4% Rate Changes in eXPRS

What’s Changing?

In the last few weeks, Personal Support Workers and brokerage customers should have received information directly from the State of Oregon and/or SEIU regarding an important change just around the corner. For a good many years, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services has issued paychecks for PSWs serving our customers. TNT’s contract with the state ends at the end of 2016 and a new agency, PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL) will be taking over this responsibility. So in the very near future, Personal Support Workers will stop getting payment from TNT and start getting payment from PPL.

 

What does this mean to Personal Support Workers and Customer-Employers?

Generally speaking, it means that Personal Support Workers and employers (be they a brokerage customer or a legal designee) have some paperwork to fill out. Right now, PPL is sending out mailers to three groups of folks:

  • Employers (customers or their designees) who employ PSWs (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 4th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for one Employer (customer or their designee) (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 7th, 2016)
  • Personal Support Workers who work for two or more Employers (customers or their designees)  (You’ll get a packet by mail on or around November 8th, 2016)

Customer-Employers and Personal Support Workers can return their packets in a variety of ways: by mail, fax, or secure email.

 

What Help Is Available?

If you’d like some hands-on help, consider attending one of the optional Enrollment Information and Help Sessions for Employers and PSWs. Multiple sessions will be held here at Independence Northwest and there are sessions in all three metro area counties. RSVP for a session by clicking here. If you have received your packet, you can bring it to the session in your area to receive hands-on help. If you haven’t received it by the time the session you want to attend happens, they’ll print a packet for you there and assist you in person.

You can also call PPL Customer Services for help. Their number is listed on this flyer or you can visit this website.The state’s eXPRS Facebook page has a ton of resources related to the change as well.

 

Transition time is very tight on this, so be sure you’re responsive and get the help you need! If packets are not completed and processed by the end of the year, payment for services may be affected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to PPL for help.

Important Message for Independent Contractors Who Work with INW Customers

Please note that this message applies only to contractors who have current contracts with Independence Northwest customers.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between The Service Employees United International (SEIU) and The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) eliminates independent contractors as a support option for brokerage customers effective 03.31.2016. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Behavior consultants are not subject to the collective bargaining agreement and should disregard this post unless they also provide PSW supports.)

Existing independent contractors have two options:

  • Become PSW Specialists: This is a new designation that is limited to currently-qualified independent contractors. ICs who choose this option will become the employees of customers or customer designates.
  • Become Provider Organizations: A provider organization is a business licensed and certified by the state or Oregon.

This post addresses only the process for Independent Contractors who are becoming PSW Specialists.

How do we get from here to there? There are number of moving parts to this transition and there isn’t a lot of time to get it done. The state expects all paperwork to be completed and turned in by 02.02.2016. That doesn’t leave us many working days to get things done. The state’s transmittal covers a lot of ground and I recommend you read it carefully, but please note that it contains a significant error as well as an important omission. In a moment we’ll walk through what steps an IC needs to take to make sure he or she is ready to go when we get to 04.01.2016, but first I want to offer a correction and an amendment to the state’s memo. Understanding these is crucial to making the transition smooth.

Correction to the State’s Transmittal
The state’s transmittal says “If PSW’s existing PEAA and CHC expires after June 30, 2016, a new PEAA and CHC is not necessary. The documents for renewing PEAA and CHC must be submitted at least 55 days prior to the current credentials expiring.”

The problem with this statement is that it’s true ONLY if the IC has been operating his or her business using his or her social security number and has used that social security number on his or her Provider Enrollment Agreement (PEAA) with the state. Any IC who has used a federal tax ID number (FEIN) in lieu of a personal social security number MUST fill out a new PEAA regardless of when their current one expires.

Omission in the State’s Transmittal
Because a PSW Specialist will now be an employee rather than a contractor, a federal form I-9 has to be completed for everyone making the transition. This is a huge deal because the feds require a face to face meeting to complete this form. That means every person making the transition has to make an appointment to see us. The appointments will only take a few minutes each but we have to do a lot of them before February 2nd.

What You Need to Do

  1. Any IC working with our customers need to fill out a TNT employee packet for each customer with whom you work. You can download the packet here or you can request one from Rachel Kroll in our office. The packet contains the following items:
    • Demographic page (Name, address, employer name, etc.)
    • 2016 W-4 (IRS form for tax withholding)
    • Declaration of Relationship (identifies the relationship between the employer – usually the customer- and you as the employee)
    • Direct Deposit form (Yes, you’ll be filling out these yet again.)
  2. Any IC who has used a Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN) as a contractor will need to fill out a new PEAA (download one by clicking here.) We have no record of who used a Social Security Number and who used an FEIN on their existing PEAAs and neither the state nor TNT has provided us with a list. If you have ANY doubt about it I strongly suggest you fill a new one out using your SSN. I also strongly suggest you turn your PEAA in to us so that we can keep a record of its submission to the state.
  3. All ICs need to make an appointment to come by our office so that we can fill out an I-9 with you. Unfortunately the feds (The Department of Homeland Security to be exact) require a face to face meeting for this. There is no way around it. When you come to the meeting you will need to bring either:
    • An unexpired passport OR
    • An unexpired state-issued ID AND your social security card
    • Please note: All documents must be originals. No copies please.

We have a lot of work to do on the customer side but that shouldn’t affect you as a provider. However, we may ask for your assistance if we’re having trouble getting paperwork returned by a customer you see regularly. Customer paperwork also has a 02.02.2016 deadline.

The contact for all these paperwork in our office is Rachel Kroll. You can reach her by phone or email starting on December 31st at 503.546.2950 or rkroll@independencenw.org

Rachel will be available to make appointments starting on December 31st. Please do not delay in calling to make an appointment. Time is of the essence on this project. Anyone who does not have their paperwork turned in by February 2nd may have to quit working starting on April 1st. The state has been very clear that there will be no exceptions.

Thank you,

Ron Spence, Operations Director

 

 

 

State Hosts Community Forum on Future of Disability Services – PCC Portland December 15 and 16, 2015

Press Release from the State of Oregon:

The Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) is hosting two Community Forums in Portland to discuss the vision for the future of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ensuring the principles of self-determination is the core of our vision.

Who:
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive services and their families, as well as providers, Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDPs) and Support Service Brokerages are encouraged to attend. (Brokerage​s provide services to eligible adults living in their own or their family’s home to help them remain in their homes and be engaged in their communities.)

When:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive services and their families
  • Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1 to 4 p.m., for CDDPs, Brokerages and Providers

Where:
Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Moriarty Auditorium, 705 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland.

What:
There will be a short presentation followed by a group discussion. This is one in a series of Community Forums throughout the state.

For information about upcoming Community Forums: www.oregon.gov/dhs/DD/Documents/ODDS%20Statewide%20Community%20Forums%20Schedule.pdf.

For more information about the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services: www.oregon.gov/DHS/dd/Pages/index.aspx.

If you have a disability and need this document in another format, please send an email to DHS.Forms@state.or.us or contact the Office of Document Management at 503-378-3523;

TTY at 503-378-3523.

To find the closest DHS office, go to www.oregon.gov/dhs or contact 211Info for help. You can contact 211Info by dialing 2-1-1, visiting 211info.org online, texting your zip code to 898211, or e-mailing to help@211info.org.

Policy Change Announced: Limit on PSW Hours on a Per-Customer Basis Beginning This Fall

The State of Oregon Department of Human Services has announced another change planned for disability services in our state.

Starting September 1st, 2015, Personal Support Workers may not be newly authorized to provide more than 50 hours per week of services to a single individual receiving brokerage services. For those currently working more than 50 hours per week, their allowable work hours will be reduced at the time of the customer’s annual ISP. (Note: PSWs may still work more than 50 hours across multiple customers, just not for the same customer. The cap is at the ISP level, not the provider level.)

In a Policy Transmittal released at the end of June, the Oregon Department of Human Services explained that the policy “is being implement to position Oregon for anticipated regulation changes associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Historically, domestic workers have been exempt from overtime. The FLSA changes that.

INW will be contacting affected customers and providers quarterly, prior to the customer’s annual plan renewal.

If you are interested in reading about the changes in the meantime, please read the transmittals listed below.

*This post was updated   09.12.2015 to reflect the most recent information related to the change.

 

 

INW Celebrates 8 Years as an Oregon Support Services Brokerage!

eight yearsToday marks the eighth anniversary of Independence Northwest as a support services brokerage serving Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities! We couldn’t be more proud of the people we support, the services we provide, and the organization we have become.

In the summer of 2007, a small group of people with a vision to provide the best possible home and community based services to the Portland metro area I/DD community came together. We rented an old dilapidated firehouse on Alberta and MLK in NE Portland and spent weeks dusting out the cobwebs, painting the walls, and creating a grassroots space. We developed a mission, brought in fresh talent to the I/DD field, and enrolled 450 people into services in a very busy first year and a half.

A lot has changed in the eight years since, but what hasn’t changed is our values, our purpose, or our service to the community. We still very much believe in the principles of self-determination, in the right of self-direction, and in the power of customer and family-led services.

Entryway to Original INW Building

The historic 1920s firehouse on MLK and Alberta where INW started up. The building was demolished a couple of years back.

I’d like to acknowledge the folks responsible for eight years of INW. Huge gratitude and respect goes to my co-founders Erin and Spence, our inaugural team of board members and staff (Martha, Rita, Maggie, and Beri), our senior employees (Rob, Jess, and Carie), and our tremendous staff (Finch, Rachel, Brenda, Chris, Dana, Angie, Jenny, Jamie, Hans, Lindsay, and Melody.) Thanks for your dedication, passion, and resilience – particularly over the past couple of years.

Special thanks to our board of directors for their guidance and support – we couldn’t do it without you, Marsha, Diann, Corinne, Linda, and Kaaren. Additionally, great appreciation goes  to our partners in the field: Personal Support Workers, Independent Contractors, Behavioral Consultants, provider organizations (large and small!), our fellow brokerages statewide, local county and Region 1 staff, school and local VR colleagues, and our policymaking and legislative partners in Salem.

We make this happen together.

Thank you for allowing Independence Northwest to be part of Oregon’s intellectual and developmental disability history.

Best to you and yours,

– Larry Deal, Executive Director

 

Heads Up, PSWs: Early Billing Date in July

Please note that in accordance with the State PSW Payroll Calendar, the PSW submission date in July 2015 is Thursday, July 2nd.  That’s really early. Monthly due dates have been pushed earlier and earlier in the past couple of years, and the Fourth of July holiday has historically caused a bit of a squeeze on billing timelines even in the best of times. Those two factors have combined this year to create the first time in brokerage history that providers have been asked to have their timesheets and invoices to us by the second of the month.

We no longer have any control over due dates or pay dates, so we want to do everything we can to publicize this very early due date to ensure that everyone gets paid on time. Please help us spread the word about the July 2nd due date by sharing this information with your PSW friends and colleagues. We rely on our community partners to help us communicate and you always come through for us. We appreciate it!

 

 

 

We Need Your Help: Brokerage Case Management Funding Faces Reduction Next Week

Dear Customers, Family Members, and Providers,

I’m writing you to ask for your help.

On Monday, Legislators meet to make final budget decisions and Brokerages statewide may receive cuts to our administrative and case management funding. Your support can make all the difference in making sure that doesn’t happen.

If you have a spare couple of minutes between now and Friday, we would greatly appreciate your support. A quick email to the legislators listed below or just a call to their offices will go a long way. Ask them to support “funding of the Workload Model at 95% and no less!”

I have come to know many of you over the past couple of years as INW has done outreach to the community, educating hundreds and hundreds of community members on the systemic changes, specifically the K Plan (Community First Choice Option). While the K Plan has brought a lot of funding into the system to pay for direct services, it has not added a penny to our administrative budgets. Personal Agents who were supporting 45 people historically managed about a half million dollars in Medicaid funds on behalf of customers and providers. Today, many manage double, triple, and quadruple that. Think about the way you’ve seen your plan or the plans of others change over the past two years and multiply that by 7,800, the number of people brokerages serve statewide. The change has been huge. Add to that the Adult Needs Assessment requirement, the unfunded burden of the eXPRS payment system implementation, our Personal Agents now entering timesheets on behalf of many providers, the state’s change to a much longer and more complicated ISP, and enormous systemic shifts, and we are in no place to take a statewide reduction in funding. I believe that some lawmakers may be confusing the K increase with an overall funding increase and it’s just not the case.

I have included a couple of example letters you might use as a template for your email or as a script for your phone call. If you could contact the legislators listed below (whether you live in their district or not) it would be great! If you’re interested in additional details about the Workload Model issue, check out this in-depth explanation: Brokerage Reductions at 90%.

The importance of your support is immeasurable to us right now. I wouldn’t ask for last-minute action if I didn’t believe it could change the future. Your voice will make all the difference between a continued move toward better and more person-centered services versus a world where we may be looking at increased caseloads and a reduction in overall quality for a system known for its innovation, responsiveness, and vision. Our system has taken enough hits this past biennium.

Best to you and yours and thank you again for your support and the opportunity to serve this community.

Larry Deal
Executive Director

 

Legislators to Contact

Representative Deborah Boone Rep.DeborahBoone@state.or.us 503-986-1432
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer Rep.AlissaKenyGuyer@state.or.us 503-986-1446
Representative Nancy Nathanson Rep.NancyNathanson@state.or.us 503-986-1413
Representative Andy Olson Rep.AndyOlson@state.or.us 503-986-1415
Representative Duane Stark Rep.duanestark@state.or.us 503-986-1404
Senator Alan Bates Sen.AlanBates@state.or.us 503-986-1703
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us 503-986-1717
Senator Jackie Winters Sen.JackieWinters@state.or.us 503-986-1710


SAMPLE LETTER FROM CUSTOMER/FAMILY MEMBERS

Dear LEGISLATOR,

I am a customer of OR a family member of a person who receives brokerage services for people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) here in Oregon. I understand that you are making budgetary decisions next week regarding funding for case management. PLEASE FUND BROKERAGES AT THE 95% WORKLOAD MODEL LEVEL – AND NO LESS.

While the Community First Choice Option (K Plan) brought more services to me/my family, it did not add any additional funding for brokerages to administer double and triple the services they have administered historically. We need to know that our brokerage Personal Agent will be responsive when we need him/her. If you reduce funding, we know that increased caseloads are likely. That means we won’t have access to the services we need as quickly. Some of the services I receive right now are: __________________________________. The time I need my brokerage support the most is to help me ______________________________.

Statewide, brokerages have experienced huge increases in workload related to the K Plan, the state’s much more complicated ISP, the eXPRS payment system, and all the paperwork changes. I rely on these services to live an independent life in the community. Please fund brokerages fairly in the next biennium – 95% and no less.

Thank you for your consideration and your service.

YOUR NAME

_________

SAMPLE LETTER FROM PROVIDER/PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER

Dear LEGISLATOR,

I am a Personal Support Worker/Employee/Provider of services for a person who receives brokerage services for adults with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) here in Oregon. I understand that you are making budgetary decisions next week regarding funding for IDD case management. PLEASE FUND BROKERAGES AT THE 95% WORKLOAD MODEL LEVEL – AND NO LESS.

While the Community First Choice Option (K Plan) brought more services to the people I serve, it did not add any additional funding for brokerages to administer double and triple the services they have administered historically. We need to know that the brokerage Personal Agents we work with will be responsive when customer needs arise – including processing payment to providers like me. If you reduce funding, we know that increased caseloads are likely, meaning slower response time for getting essential needs met. As a provider, I rely on the brokerage for ___________________________________________.

Statewide, brokerages have experienced huge increasing in workload related to the K Plan, the state’s much more complicated ISP, the eXPRS payment system, and all the paperwork changes. The people I support rely on these services to live an independent life in the community and my livelihood is reliant on this program. Please fund brokerages fairly in the next biennium – 95% and no less.

Thank you for your consideration and your services.

YOUR NAME

 

State to Hold Info Call for Families Re: Entry into Sheltered Workshops (06.17.2015)

The Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) will be holding an informational phone call about the upcoming policy changes for entry into sheltered workshops for individuals and their family members/support people on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 from 9:00 – 10:00 AM.

The purpose of this call is to discuss:

  • Upcoming changes to entry into sheltered workshops
  • How these changes will affect you or your family members/support people
  • Effects on those already working in a sheltered workshop
  • Effects on those not working in sheltered workshops
  • Other employment services that are available
  • Answer your questions

To call in please use this conference line:  800-260-0702 and enter guest code 361647

Additional Resources:
Entry into Sheltered Workshops: Upcoming Policy Changes FAQ
Watch a Video of ODDS Director Lilia Teninty Answering FAQs About the Changes
Governor’s Executive Order

 

Meet Kelly Quinlan – Independence Northwest Customer Stories Project #2

Kellly has been an INW customer since 2008.

Kellly has been an INW customer since 2008.

Kelly Quinlan has a first-hand understanding of how Oregon brokerage services help in establishing and maintaining a good quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities. A prolific writer, with over 50 short stories and author of a self-published book of personal memoirs, Kelly is a vivacious 36-year-old woman known for her bubbly personality and unique style of dress, which includes wearing legwarmers year-round. She loves spending time with her best friend, playing board games and making movies to post on youtube. Energetic, with a great sense of humor and a variety of interests, Kelly says, “There is a lot of flavor in my life right now!“

But about 7 years ago, Kelly’s life was different. She was on a waiting list for brokerage services, and though she was connected with some social services like Section 8 Housing and Social Security Income, she did not have access to individualized supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities. “There was not a whole lot going on–working on my stories—but that was it. I was lonely without having any friends,” she recalled. When she entered brokerage services in 2008, Kelly was surprised at the variety of supports available, and pleased with how dramatically her life was enhanced. She now receives training in independent living skills, assistance with communication due to hearing impairment, support with social skills, and help with medical management. She uses two independent contractors and contracts with a day support activities provider organization for community inclusion.   She describes her life as balanced and thriving, quite different from her adult life before receiving services. “If I just had funding for one thing, I don’t know what I would do. I would have to advocate and say, I need more funds for this,” Kelly says as she recounts her providers and lists her goals and support needs.   “It would be hard if I didn’t get help.”

Kelly has found the design of brokerage services flexible enough to access services catered to her specific support needs. Kelly has severe food allergies, so was thrilled to find a provider who helps her shop, read food labels, find recipes, and cook. In the past, if she accidentally ate something she was allergic to, she said, “I would get really sick. And it does take me a while to get back on my feet after I am contaminated with the food that I am allergic to.” A favorite recipe she discovered with her provider is a gluten-free vegan clam chowder that “tastes like the real thing, only with coconut cream and sweet rice flour.” This brokerage service “really helps me out,” she says. Another unique service Kelly has access through the brokerage is the ability to attend the national Turner Syndrome conference each year.   “I have Turner’s. I like to go to these conferences that happen every year. And the brokerage pays for that, which is really nice.” While Kelly saves money to afford a plane ticket and hotel room, her brokerage service plan covers the cost of her conference registration so that Kelly can network with hundreds of people affected by Turner syndrome and go to workshops and presentations given by healthcare providers and other professionals. Another part of her brokerage plan that Kelly states is very valuable to her is transportation services that allow her to get places she cannot access independently. The individualized services outlined in Kelly’s annual support plan are entirely unique, and as Kelly points out, different from other brokerage customers. “I live out on my own—not everyone I know lives on their own. Not everyone that I know has food allergies, not everyone I know has Turners, or the same kind of medical conditions. I don’t know anybody else that gets the same kind of services that I get,” Kelly says.

Part of Kelly’s busy schedule includes working at her uncle’s restaurant, Cheryl’s on 12th, where she spends about 15 hours per week.   “I’m a dishwasher, that’s basically my title,” says Kelly, laughing.   “I sometimes come out and help with washing down tables, bus tables, and sometimes I’m a hostess.” She says that she loves “working along side the people that work here…. to work with people that I’m familiar with. Most people know that I’m Eddie’s niece, so sometimes that’s when they really straighten up. And sometimes I do chuckle about that!” She prides herself on “the sense of accomplishment” that comes from helping at the restaurant. When asked what she likes most about her employment, she said, “Working. Just having a job. Being out in the community and contributing what I can do. And helping my uncle.”

Kelly is an avid user of social media. “I like posting all the stuff that I do, posting activities with On-the-Move, saying what I did at work… my family likes that I post things on Facebook so that they have a good sense of what’s going on.” She also posts personal memoirs and original creative writing on a self-publishing internet site, and makes short movies that she posts on her youtube channel. She observed that her interest in communicating her experiences through these different media increased as she has become more involved in her community, particularly through her community inclusion program. “When I started going to On-the-Move I thought, that’s interesting… this part is interesting to ME. And it’s something special that happened to me.” Having interesting, novel experiences that are independent from her family give her rich experiences that Kelly defines as key to a good quality of life.

When Kelly heard, in the spring of 2015, that there were possible cuts proposed that would negatively impact her brokerage and services, she decided to go to the state capitol to speak to her legislators directly. “It was really interesting, the building gave off the impression that I am big, large, and I mean business. I had never been there before. But inside it was more low-key and it felt like you can address your problems and someone will listen to you.” While there Kelly spoke to her representative about the importance of having people with disabilities present in the community, and how important it is to have community inclusion supports. “It’s good… being in the community with other people that are disabled. If you cut our programs, there’s not going to be any community living for people with disabilities.” She says she felt the advocacy effort was effective. “Oh, I definitely got some people’s attention. I was talking to a group of people!”

kelly3 capitol 225x300 kelly

Excited to continue with advocating for individualized services and support for adults with intellectual disabilities, Kelly has already planned another trip to Salem and is joining the Board of Directors of a local Portland nonprofit. She said she would make the following recommendations to anyone just entering the brokerage system: “I would definitely tell them about On-the-Move, I would tell them that if they have any medical issues then tell your PA. If you need assistance with financials, speak up, don’t be shy, because that’s what they’re there for. When I first started, I wasn’t quite sure what to ask, or what was even available. I wasn’t quite sure if I could get help with learning how to cook, and what kinds of things would help me out when it came to community, things like that. The medical stuff is especially important,” Kelly says, referencing transportation services, adds, “and going to places that I cannot get to.” Having access to services that are uniquely individualized to her specific needs and circumstances has been life-changing for Kelly. “Yes, it’s really important!” she says.

You can read Kelly’s stories on fanfiction.net (fanfiction.net/u/37688/kellyQ) and wattpad.com (wattpad.com/user/kellyq204) and see her videos on her youtube channel (youtube.com/user/kellyq204).

– Text by Molly Mayo

 

“Did You Get My Timesheet?”

Since the State of Oregon Department of Human Services began taking on Personal Support Worker and provider payment through its eXPRS system, one of the most common questions brokerages have received from providers is “Did you get my timesheet?”

There’s a relatively easy way for providers to access this information via eXPRS. ODDS’ Julie Harrison and her team have created a How To guide entitled “How to Find/View Plan of Care Service Claims”. Check out the guide by clicking here. You’ll learn how to read the eXPRS screens and determine where your payment claim is in the process. Be sure to bookmark this guide for future reference. (Of note: eXPRS refers to hours or miles keyed into its system as SDEs – Service Delivered Entries.)

One additional note: If you are sending invoices or timesheets via email, please be sure to use the billing@independencenw.org email address. If you are faxing invoices or timesheets, please be sure you receive a return confirmation that the fax was received.

Thanks for your continued partnership through the ongoing systemic changes. Your work is very much appreciated.

didyougetmytimesheet

PSWs: Did You Receive a Notice from the State Regarding Expired PEA or Criminal History Check?

The following mailer was just sent to all Personal Support Workers on file at Independence Northwest. We are posting it on our blog and Facebook page to ensure all PSWs are aware of our practices around expiring qualifications.

 

Dear PSWs,

DHS sent out a notice this week informing PSWs that one of two documents is set to expire:

  • The Provider Enrollment Agreement (PEA)
  • The criminal history check (CHC)

It appears that the state had some errors in their source data because we’re being inundated with phone calls from providers who got expiration notices  even though none of their credentials are near expiration.

Independence Northwest tracks PEA and CHC expirations and sends out reminders of our own to all PSWs whose CHC or PEAA is near expiration.  If you haven’t heard anything from us, you should be in good shape. DHS may update eXPRS in the future so that PSWs can view their own credentials, but until then feel free to call us if you’re unsure when your documents need to be renewed. Our goal is to give everyone plenty of lead time to do renewals so that no one experiences lapses in service or payment.

– The INW Team

 

 

Meet Henry Meece – Independence Northwest Customer Stories Project #1

This is the first of the Independence Northwest Customer Stories Project, an effort we’ve recently begun in collaboration with disability community leader Molly Mayo. We believe that hearing/reading the life stories of those who receive our services will deepen community understanding of the uniqueness of essential home and community-based brokerage services. As our system continues to wrestle with changes, we must keep the principles of self-determination front and center. There’s no better example of someone taking services and running with them than INW customer Henry Meece. You may recognize Henry from many of INW’s promotional materials. His face graces our Facebook page and several of our published documents. Henry is living quite the life and has a memorable story to tell!


 

Henry Meece has been brokerage customer since 2009. He uses brokerage dollars to purchase Day Support Activities/Attendant Care, Supported Employment and Relief Care. His Personal Agent is Carie Shumway.

Henry Meece has been a brokerage customer since 2009. He uses brokerage dollars to purchase Day Support Activities/Attendant Care, Supported Employment and Relief Care. His Personal Agent is Carie Shumway.

Henry Meece, a 25-year-old customer of Independence Northwest brokerage, can be found jam-skating at the local rink, paddling on a dragon-boat, competing in Special Olympics sports, snowshoeing, and snowboarding– when he’s not riding his skateboard to work. In March 2015, Henry was interviewed on ESPN after winning a gold medal in the 2015 X Games in the first unified dual slalom race, and in 2013 Henry’s athleticism took him to his birthplace of Korea for the Special Olympic World Games where he won a gold medal in slalom snowboarding. Henry has completed three marathons. He is proud of his athletic ability, and the interesting life that he leads. He thrives on a rigorous day-to-day schedule that he has shaped with the help of his mom, his brokerage, and his providers. He says his brokerage supports give him “something to do” and help him “stay active, make friends,” and lead an “independent life.” His mom says, “I would say of all the people we know, Henry is the most active.”

Henry was adopted by Nancy Newell and Ted Meece in 1990. His parents knew that Henry, an orphan from Korea, would probably have a disability. He began early intervention services at age 18 months and was in special education throughout school, graduating with a modified diploma when he turned 21. Although frequently in segregated classrooms, Henry experienced true inclusion in sports programs and “competed right alongside his peers” his mom states. But once school ended, without regular, structured activities, the family at first had no idea what Henry was going to do.

“Once a person is done with public school—there is nothing,” says Nancy. “It’s a very bleak outlook.” Luckily, due the advocacy of his mom and through the adult services he receives through  Independence Northwest brokerage, Henry is gainfully employed and leads an active, stimulating, and productive life, which includes participation in two different community-based Day Support Activity programs. “Henry is active and integrated with these programs, but if there weren’t these programs… where is the natural inclusion?” Nancy asks. She said that policymakers should be educated about the lack of resources for adults with intellectual disabilities. “I know people that don’t live in the Portland area,” Nancy says. “These programs don’t exist in other parts of the state, there isn’t an On-the-Move, there isn’t a Creative Goals Solutions—and it’s not just Portland that has people with disabilities. It’s alarming!” And 10% of people experience a disability, she points out. She wants policymakers to understand that funding for services is vital to the life of people with disabilities after high school. “Without the funding there are no programs. Even if you could private pay, what would be out there?”

Brokerage-facilitated supports have been instrumental in matching Henry to meaningful employment. Using supported employment services, Henry has been able to gain significant experiences building an employment resume, and as a result successfully obtained two part-time jobs. He has worked at a nonprofit brew pub for three years, and at a fitness center for the past year and a half. “I like everything,” Henry says about his jobs, which total about 10 hours per week and pay minimum wage. “I want to get the money,” he says, to put into a savings account.

Nancy and Henry appreciate how brokerage supports are uniquely individualized to each person. But such open-ended options have at times made the system challenging to grasp. “It’s great to have individualized systems, but there is no uniformity,” which can make things confusing, says Nancy. “It’s a wonderful system, but how do you know about it? We’ve learned as we go along, and the information can be very difficult.” Nancy has found dealing with employment issues especially challenging, because when Henry earns an income, it affects his Social Security benefits and requires detailed documentation. “Everyone should work if they want to, and everyone should work if they can. But there are a lot of reasons not to work,” says Nancy, referring to the complex rules around earning money while receiving Social Security benefits. Before Nancy had a clear understanding of the needed documentation, which requires writing a letter to Social Security and submitting all of Henry’s pay stubs each month, she says, “I felt like a fool—the college educated mom! …You know we are doing just a bit more than waving goodbye—we’re orchestrating. We’re like an air traffic controller keeping everything in the air and trying to have everything land smoothly. So I think it is very hard to carry all this information around… and if you have one lapse,” there can be dire consequences, Nancy points out, such as the entire loss of eligibility for much-needed benefits.

Nancy and Henry describe their experience with Independence Northwest brokerage as smoothly functioning and “highly efficient. Everything behind the scenes works. The relationship between the brokerage and the providers seems to work really well. I have never had to be involved in a billing issue. Henry has never been turned away because papers weren’t signed. The relationship between the brokerage and the providers has been very strong.” Additionally, Nancy adds, “the PA [personal agent] will sit down with Henry in a way that he understands. I can be involved or Henry can get to the PA independently.” Henry has chosen to use Independent Contractors, small local agencies, and larger organizations for various services as his needs have changed throughout the years.

Nancy and Henry have begun to talk about Henry living somewhere other than his parents’ home in the near future. “These are not journeys that other people I know have taken, and the move might look different for everyone,” with options such as living in an apartment, finding a roommate, moving to a group home, or discovering other supported living opportunities.” When asked what he thought about living somewhere else, Henry said, “Good, because my girlfriend is talking about it.”

“All clients, all families are different,” says Nancy. It is clear that Henry’s unique challenges and talents could not be met with generic, non-individualized services. “It’s frustrating and complicated, yet I think it’s wonderful that all these supports are in place.”

– Text and photo by Molly Mayo

 

 

State I/DD Director Recognizes Work of Brokerage Personal Agents in Latest Service Status Report

In her latest weekly message, Oregon Developmental Disabilities Services Director Lilia Teninty acknowledged the work of Personal Agents and Service Coordinators statewide:

“I would like to say thank you to all of the Service Coordinators and Personal Agents supporting people with I/DD and their families. Your hard work you do and your dedication to the people and families that you serve is greatly appreciated. You have been patient and persistent implementing all of the changes that have come your way and have managed to work through them while ensuring that the people you serve have the services they need to live in their communities.

The work that ODDS does would not be possible without you. You are the foundation of our system! You all truly make a huge difference in the lives of Oregonians with I/DD.

For those of us who benefit from the dedication of a specific Service Coordinator or Personal Agent, please be sure to convey your thanks and appreciation to them, too!”

 

 

Upcoming Public Hearings in Gresham and Portland Re: Potential I/DD Service Cuts

Oregon is well on its way to crafting a final budget for the next two years.  Right now, the word is that there will be cuts to programs for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). As part of the process of gathering public input, the Ways and Means committee is traveling around Oregon in a roadshow, holding public hearings and inviting people to come speak to their priorities for state funding.

The Ways and Means committee needs to see the I/DD community, they need to hear the I/DD community, and they need to walk away from that roadshow knowing that people all over Oregon value services to people with I/DD!

We encourage anyone who is concerned about the future of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities to make attendance at these events a high priority!

See this press release from the Oregon Legislature to find a hearing location near you:

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/courtney/Documents/JWMadvisory_LO.pdf

In the tri-county area, mark your calendars for:

Thursday April 16th in Gresham – Mt. Hood Community College 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Tuesday April 21st in Portland – PCC Rock Creek Campus 7:00 – 8:30 PM

We hope to see you there! Your voice matters!

Via Katie Rose, Executive Director of Oregon Support Services Association

 

Everyone Communicates! A Training for PSWs – April 27th, 2015 in Portland

Introducing “Everyone Communicates: A New Training for Personal Support Workers,” from the Oregon Home Care Commission. Learn strategies and techniques to promote communication partnering between individuals (of all ages and stages) who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities and their Personal Support Worker.

Topics Covered:

  • Communication is a basic human right.
  • Communication is key to self determination.
  • Your role in communication.
  • Communication is more than “speech.”
  • “Behavior” is communication.
  • Communication partner strategies.
  • Making it work: a take home activity.
(Note: This class focuses on communication. Use of low tech to high tech strategies is introduced.)

When:  Monday, April 27, 2015

Time:  9:00 – 1:00

Where: NW Portland

Holiday Inn Express
2333 NW Vaughn St

Portland, OR

Register Today!
Register Online through the Registry (OR-HCC.org).

Or by calling  1-877-867-0077  Option 2
Or send an email to Training.OHCC@state.or.us
 
Questions?  877-867-0077  Option 2

 

Resources for PSWs: April 1st, 2015 Changes to Provider Payment for Brokerage Services

Dear Personal Support Workers,

This is just a reminder that all services provided April 1st, 2015 forward must be entered into and paid out of the State of Oregon’s new payment system, eXPRS. You must have both a provider number and an eXPRS login in order to use eXPRS. Additionally, all PSW timesheets and invoices must show time-in and time-out for all hours worked. PSW-Domestic Employees MUST use the state’s new timesheet  and new mileage reimbursement form moving forward. PSW-Independent Contractors must ensure that their invoices continue to meet these guidelines developed by the state. (Note: all ICs are already meeting these requirements to be paid, so there are no new expectations listed here.)

Need training on the eXPRS system? We’re hosting several trainings here at INW on April 9th. Click here for details!

Additionally, the state’s payment system creates monthly utilization caps for the number of hours a customer can receive in a given month. Keep an eye on your mailbox this week for details on how this will affect service agreements with your customers.

If you encounter issues or have questions along the way, please communicate with our office. Working together, we will weather this next set of changes to the system. Thank you for the essential work you provide to our community!


The FAQ below was mailed to Personal Support Worker – Domestic Employees in early March.

When do the changes happen?
PSWs working with Independence Northwest customers must start using eXPRS for hours worked starting on April 1st, 2015. Effective this date, ALL brokerages and counties will be operating via eXPRS.

What do I need to make the transition?
All providers need two things:

  1. A provider number. Without a provider number you will not be able to work starting on April 1st, 2015. There are no exceptions.
  2. An eXPRS log-in so you can enter your hours.

What if I don’t have a provider number or eXPRS log-in?
If you don’t have a provider number, please call Rachel Kroll at our office immediately at 503.546.2950 or email her at rkroll@independencenw.org. If you don’t have an eXPRS log-in, please email dhs.servicedesk@state.or.us or call 503.945.5623.

What is this about time-in and time-out on timesheets?
You will no longer be able to show just the number of hours you work in a given day. Instead you will be required to show exactly what time you worked.

How will I submit my hours?
With your log-in you will be able to enter your time-in and time-out directly into eXPRS. It will do the math for you. At the end of the pay period you can print your timesheet from eXPRS and submit it to INW as you have in the past. All timesheets still require your employer’s signature.

What if I don’t have a printer?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a way to print your timesheet out of eXPRS, you can copy your eXPRS hours onto the timesheet we mailed to you in early March and submit it to us.

What if I don’t have a computer or internet connection?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a computer with an internet connection at your home and don’t have access to a public library, Independence Northwest will have a computer in our office available for you to use. Please contact us if you would like to access this option.

What if I don’t want to use the state’s payment system?
We want PSWs to be empowered to enter and track their own hours. However, if you are unable or unwilling to use eXPRS, an INW Personal Agent is required to perform data entry on your behalf. If you choose this option, you MUST check the box on your timesheets to authorize us to do this work. If you do not enter your own hours and then fail to check the box on the timesheet authorizing INW to do it for you, you will not get paid on time.

 


Additional Resources

INW has set up a webpage just for eXPRS transition resources. Visit www.independencenw.org/psw for links to the following:

  • State of Oregon eXPRS Training Video on YouTube
  • Copies of state-mandated timesheets with time-in/time-out feature
  • Copies of the state-created step-by-step training on how to use eXPRS
  • Links to key personnel to contact when you have questions
  • Links to payroll calendars
  • Links to state transmittals regarding PSW payment and documentation
  • A link to the eXPRS log-in page
  • More!

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