This week’s provider spotlight is on Community Access Services. CAS is a private nonprofit organization that provides residential, community, and employment services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live and work in our community. CAS has a personal commitment to those they serve and are one of the best in the business. If you’re looking for top-notch service, check them out!
Right At Home may be a national agency but that won’t prevent you from experiencing great, local customer care. Serving the Metro area, Right at Home caregivers provide services for almost any family and practically any situation. Right at Home will tailor care to your unique situation through a Custom Care Plan. They have lots of caregivers on standby so they are also a great option in a pinch.
Small but mighty. That’s your take away from this week’s Provider Spotlight. Bender Rehabilitation and Consulting is a family run business that focuses on helping people with disabilities get jobs in the community.
Ask your VR Counselor or your Personal Agent about their job development, placement, and coaching services or visit them by clicking here.
Assisted Community Ties is an active provider organization focused on helping people make friends and learn social skills. Based in Washington County, ACT offers community engagement 1:1 or in groups. Check out their Facebook page to learn more!
Business partners Rex Goode and Drew Stinson didn’t realize that flexibility would be their new middle name when they founded Arise Mentors. Arise Mentors is this week’s provider spotlight because they currently have capacity to take on new customers. They focus on independent living and inclusion in the community with an aim for utmost flexibility and creativity. Learn more at their website www.arisementors.com.
This week’s Provider Spotlight features Advocates for Empowerment.
AFE provides in-home, community inclusion, and job services for both adults and children. This values-based organization makes a strong commitment to matching families with the right provider upfront. They even publish biographies of all their employees on their website. Check them out here.
Independence Northwest is a proud sponsor again this year for the exceptional All Born (In) Conference. Registration is open now!
The annual All Born (in) Conference is an exciting day for parents, caregivers, and professionals working to end segregation in neighborhood schools and the community. It’s a day of celebrating community and learning how to use Universal Design for Learning and Best Practices to reach and teach every child. Share, learn and make connections so that we can all go forth to open the eyes of the wider community to the fact that our children are all born “in”. The Conference was founded by Northwest Down Syndrome Association in 2006 in partnership with Portland State University’s joint certification program and the Center on Inclusive Education. It has grown to be a cornerstone resource in the Northwest region, engaging many innovative parents, professionals, and community partners to embrace the gifts of every learner.
Brokerage customers with Family Training written into their ISP can use support services funding to pay customer and non-paid caregiver conference costs. Please contact your Personal Agent with any questions.
Full details about the conference can be found here.
Last night we held our first of three Focus Groups for our provider community and it was a great success! Huge thanks to Jessica Leitner for facilitating a lively, engaging, and community-building conversation.
Thank you to Compass Career Solutions, Advocates for Empowerment, Eastco Diversified Services, EQC Home Care, Trellis Inc., Arise Mentors, Hosanna Homes, Community Access Services , Mentor Network and Pacific Opportunities for giving us your time and energy to help make our community stronger.
News on upcoming focus group coming soon.
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Ability Training Services.
If you live in Washington County then you should check out Ability Training Services. This amazing group not only supports people with training, activities and learning based retreats, they help coordinate a central calendar with other agencies in order to help friends meet up in the community! ATS believes that everyone deserves encouragement, motivation and the tools necessary to grow.
These include adaptive equipment for eating (utensils, trays, cups, bowls that are specially designed to assist an individual to feed him/herself), and specially designed clothes to meet the unique needs of the individual with the disability (clothes designed to prevent access by the individual to the stoma, Velcro closures, specially designed zippers, etc. which could allow the person to dress/undress with less support).
Contact your Personal Agent for more information. Learn more by checking out the Oregon Expenditure Guidelines.
This Week’s Provider Spotlight: Looking for quality in home care and respite? Then check out Cornerstone Inclusion Supports. Focused on highly individualized supports, staff from CIS will meet with you to help you (and your family) to determine your needs. In addition to traditional supports, CIS also supports small groups to meet up in the community, mostly just friends who want to hang out together.
For more information, check with your Personal Agent.
This message includes two timely topics important to the I/DD community: DD Awareness Month and the 2018 legislative session wrap-up.
The Oregon Legislature holds its short session in even-numbered years. Short sessions usually include re-balancing budgets and a limited number of policy items. This year’s session wrapped up last Saturday.
Here are highlights of the ODDS-related items:
- The Legislature approved an investment for the Background Check Unit (BCU) to cover the costs of providing background checks, as well as to increase staffing levels to reduce the current backlog and waiting time.
- Funding for 10 positions for the Children’s Intensive In-Home Services (CIIS) and Children’s Residential programs that were included in the workload model for 2017-19.
- Our plan to achieve the required $12 million overall budget reduction was approved. We expect to meet the full reduction through administrative and management actions, including reducing contracts, taking steps to maximize federal funding, and maintaining cost per case. The plan is designed to prevent reductions in services, eligibility or rates in the current biennium (through June 2019).
- ODDS’s significant legislation includes SB 1534. It directs DHS to collaborate with the Home Care Commission to establish minimum training standards for home care workers and personal support workers. More than 30,000 home care workers and personal support workers serve more than 25,000 vulnerable Oregonians each month. Developing a highly trained, culturally appropriate, and person-centered workforce requires an investment in training opportunities to enhance the safety, stability, and quality of life for those served in-home through the Aging and People with Disabilities and ODDS programs. This bill is waiting the governor’s signature.
March is Developmental Disability Awareness Month!
Every March, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) takes the lead in helping Oregonians recognize and celebrate DD Awareness Month. OCDD’s 2018 #BetterTogether photo rally will celebrate people with disabilities as valued members of their communities and highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
We encourage you to participate by sending photos to OCDD of people with I/DD with friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors or other members of the community. You can also post pictures on the Council’s Facebook page. Use the hashtag #BetterTogether18. Details are online on the Council’s website.
Lilia Teninty, Director
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services
This week’s Provider Spotlight is Creative Goal Solutions – they’ve made a BIG SPLASH in Clackamas and Washington counties with their awesome community activity schedule. Groups from CGS attend festivals, concerts, museums and more! There are groups focused on sports, outdoors and nightlife as well as music and dance.
Sometimes there is a waitlist because groups fill up fast so be sure to sign up at their website or visit the event page on their Facebook page for more!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
“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.”
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:
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 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.
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.
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:
- Spanish: 1-888-419-7720
- Russian: 1-888-419-7724
- email: PPLORFMAS-CS@pcgus.com
Additional resource: PPL’s Facebook page
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
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.