Provider Spotlight: Albertina Kerr’s Activity and Recreation Services

Albertina Kerr is pretty well known around the Portland Metro area but did you know that they currently have openings in their day program?

This week’s Provider Spotlight is on Kerr’s Activity and Recreation services, some at Port City in North Portland and elsewhere in the community. One of their groups called Open Signal recently made their own movie! At their gallery called Art from the Heart, Kerr participants have the opportunity to grow creatively through art and make money!

For more information about Kerr’s programs check out their website.

Advocacy Efforts for Oregon Disability Services and Funding Continues in Salem

(L – R) – John Griffiths, Larry Deal, Leslie Sutton, Ross Ryan, Lissa Peterson, Kaaren Londahl, Ryley Newport

INW is proud to be part of the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition advocacy efforts with legislators in Salem. There are two more DD Advocacy Days left during the 2018 short session: Tuesday February 27th and Tuesday March 6th, 2018.

Follow this link  to learn more about how you can make your voice heard by connecting with Oregon lawmakers on issues related to eligibility changes and ongoing funding for home and community based services for Oregonians with I/DD.

Provider Spotlight: Abilities at Work

This week’s provider spotlight is on Abilities at Work who is changing the face of today’s workforce. In partnership with Portland-Metro employers they support wage-based job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. They currently serve over 100 people through Discovery, Job Development & Placement and Job Coaching. On the west side of town they offer computer and job skill classes to help people prepare for a job in the community.

For more information call 503-641-5820. You can also see some success stories on their Facebook page!

Provider Spotlight: Bridge City Mentors

Welcome to PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT, a new series to shine a light on the creative work of our providers in the Metro area. This week’s focus is on Bridge City Mentors.

Bridge City Mentors takes their name to heart by mentoring adults with disabilities to be independent in all activities. Whether that’s in home activities like chores and cooking, or community based activities, BCM offers lots of groups for those with diverse interests. BCM also offers respite for caregivers and is accepting new customers in the Washington County area. Check out some of their amazing pictures on their Facebook page.

Provider Spotlight: Amie’s Community Care

Welcome to INW’s PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT, a new series to shine a light on the creative work of our providers in the Portland metro area. This week’s focus is on Amie’s Community Care.

Founded by Amie Scott, ACC proudly serves 170 people in the Portland area. In addition to in home supports and help with housing, ACC coordinates outings with 9 other agencies so that adults with disabilities can meet up in the community and make new friends. Amie believes strongly in “goodness of fit” and starts off every new referral with a personal meet and greet.

To learn more check out their facebook page or visit their website at www.amiescommunitycare.com.

 

 

Advocates Unite Event in Portland Draws Several Key Legislators to Discuss Disability Supports and Resources

Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer, Rob Nosse, and Carla Piluso meet with disability advocates in Portland to discuss community priorities for the upcoming session.

Independence Northwest is proud to have been a sponsor of last night’s hugely successful disability advocacy event Advocates Unite at Lucky Lab in Portland. Huge thanks to our friends at Urban Advocacy and fellow sponsors Community Pathways Inc., Community Vision, Inclusion Inc., MENTOR Oregon, Oregon Self Advocacy Coalition, and Self-Determination Resources Inc.

Special thanks to legislators Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer, Representative Rob Nosse,  and Representative Carla Piluso for coming out in support of our community!

 

 

 

An Update on the Oregon Needs Assessment (ONA) by ODDS Director Lilia Teninty

On October 30th, 2017, Oregon Developmental Disabilities Director Lilia Teninty released the following statement regarding the Oregon Needs Assessment:

“We’ve reached some important milestones I want to share with you. The summary below reflects a great deal of work done by everyone in our service system – ODDS staff, CDDP and Brokerage staff, providers, people with I/DD and their families. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and your efforts to help us get to this point.

The journey to create the ONA started in 2013. The Legislature told ODDS to implement a single, uniform assessment tool. It would be used for everyone we support, regardless of setting.

We engaged a stakeholder group for the project. We also hired Mission Analytics Group. Mission Analytics’ role was to ensure the ONA is a validated tool for all service settings.

The project team members have been diligent. They worked through technical challenges, revisions to the questions, and more. They conducted hundreds of assessments that were used to test the validity and reliability of the ONA. They managed two rounds of pilot testing.

We are close to rolling out the ONA. All individuals receiving I/DD services will be assessed using the ONA in 2018. We need to start the ONA assessments in January to be able to collect data needed for the Compass Project.

Based on input from advocates and partners, we asked CDDPs and Brokerages to work with us to identify staff to administer the ONA. CDDPs and Brokerages are identifying staff in their entities to perform the assessments. The ODDS assessment team will also assist with administering ONAs in rural areas of the state.

From January through June, staff will use both the ONA and the current assessment tool. In July, the ONA will be the official assessment. The ODDS assessment team will train the CDDP and Brokerage staff who will use the tool. The team will also provide technical assistance and quality assurance. They will do this to ensure the tool is administered consistently across the state.

The ONA will be administered by a staff person who is not the person’s case manager.

Benefits of separating case management from the assessment include:

  • Removes real or perceived conflicts of interest.
  • Improves objectivity and consistency.
  • The case manager may still take part in the assessment. The case manager will not be responsible for the results of the assessment itself. Instead, the case manager can support the person and provide information to inform responses.

Our journey to create the ONA is reaching its destination. Thank you to the many people who are making it possible.”

 

Brokerage Services are Medicaid Services and Funding is at Risk

You may have heard that Brokerages and CDDPs/counties are facing serious cuts.

Locally, we expect a pretty significant hit to disability services, primarily in the case management and crisis arenas. At the federal level, not only is case management in the cross hairs, but so are your in-home brokerage supports. When you hear politicians talking about healthcare reform, it’s not only about medical care with your doctor or at a hospital. It’s important to understand that Brokerage services are Medicaid services. Most county/CDDP services are Medicaid services. The K Plan is a Medicaid service. For the past four-plus years, the vast majority of services for thousands of children and adults with disabilities in Oregon has been funded through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – a Medicaid program. And the Senate proposal (now called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017) led by Mitch McConnell directly targets the reduction of home and community based services for people with disabilities (including brokerage services.)

This message is a simple ask: please contact your legislators and tell them your story as soon as possible. You can send an email or make a call. A vote is possible following Independence Day.

The great folks at the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition have created easy-to-use advocacy instructions to help you get started. This is a key moment in the history of services for people with disabilities. Please take a moment to share your story and let your voice be heard.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Everyone has a story, and there is power in sharing it. If Medicaid matters in your life, NOW is the time to share your Medicaid story with members of the United States Senate. They need to understand the positive impact Medicaid has in lives of millions of Americans with disabilities each and every day.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

  • I am your constituent.
  • I am a person with a disability [or I am a family member of someone with a disability or I am a professional in the disability field].
  • “Please do NOT allow cuts or caps to Medicaid.”
  • “Because of Medicaid, I have healthcare and supports to live in my community. For example, I use my services to _____________________________________.”
  • “If I don’t have these Medicaid-funded supports, my life will be harder because _____________.”

HOW TO CONTACT UNITED STATES SENATORS
Oregon’s Senators, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, are both very supportive of the disability community and will not be voting for this bill. However, they still need to hear your story because they can share it with their Senate colleagues and they are keeping tallies of the contacts they have with their constituents so each contact you make is extremely important. Even if you have reached out to them already, please share your story again and ask for their support in stopping this legislation that would have a devastating impact on the disability community. Reach out to them by phone or email or via their website or on social media – whatever modes work best for you. Make calls to their offices in Washington DC at 202-224-3121

Send them an email at:

Share your personal story about Medicaid in their story banks: www.merkley.senate.gov/share-your-aca-story and www.wyden.senate.gov/trumpcare-story

Reach out to your family and friends across the nation to support your advocacy efforts to save Medicaid by contacting their United States Senators and urge them to vote NO on the BCRA! Please encourage your family and friends to call their United Senators via the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reject the current draft of the BCRA.

We want all U.S. Senators to be urged to reject Medicaid Cuts & Caps, including:

  • Alabama:  Shelby
  • Alaska:  Murkowski & Sullivan
  • Arizona:  Flake
  • Colorado:  Gardner
  • Florida:  Rubio
  • Georgia:  Isakson
  • Indiana:  Young
  • Louisiana:  Cassidy
  • Maine:  Collins
  • Missouri: Blunt
  • Montana:  Daines
  • Nebraska:  Fischer & Sasse
  • Nevada:  Heller
  • North Dakota: Hoeven
  • Ohio:  Portman
  • Pennsylvania:  Toomey
  • South Carolina: Graham
  • South Dakota: Rounds & Thune
  • West Virginia:  Capito
  • Wisconsin: Johnson

Thank you for your continued support and advocacy for essential services for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities! And thank you to the I/DD Coalition for the materials to share.

 

 

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

 

 

 

2016 Provider Payment Calendar Posted

Click here to see the 2016 Provider Payment Calendar, published by the Department of Human Services Office on Developmental Disabilities: http://independencenw.org/2016-provider-payment-calendar/

2016_first_half

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

 

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