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!”

 

 

Metro Area Personal Support Worker eXPRS Training Dates Announced

In January 2015, the Oregon Department of Human Services is putting on a series of trainings on their electronic billing system eXPRS. The trainings are specifically geared toward Personal Support Workers. You may attend a training at any of the sites below, whether or not you serve individuals at the hosting brokerage or county. The Independence Northwest training will be held on January 13th. Be sure to RSVP by emailing ODDS.training@state.or.us.

 

PSWTrainingsJan2014

Some Personal Support Workers Should Expect Fair Share Checks in the Mail this Week

This morning, brokerages received the following information from the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services:

Approximately 400 Home Care Workers and Personal Support Workers checks will be issued tonite and put in the mail tomorrow. These checks are a fairshare correction. Even if a person has direct deposit, a check will be issued for them…

If the HCW or PSW have questions please refer them to contact SEIU at 877-451-0002.

Five Things That Are Working Well in Brokerage Support Services Today

By Larry Deal, Executive Director of Independence Northwest

Over the past year and a half, so much time has been spent deconstructing and reconstructing Oregon’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities system, there’s been little opportunity to sit back and celebrate some of the successes. Here are five things that are currently working well – and that deserve their moment in the sun.

People are getting more services. With the change from 100% Title XIX Waiver to a mix of K Plan and Waiver funding, Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities are getting more services than ever before. This is a wonderful thing. Historically, people in crisis situations had limited resources and little option other than out of home placement (group homes and foster care homes) whether that was their preference or not. In the new system, many Oregonians now have the resources to continue living at home; the current design supports true individual and family choice. The importance of this change cannot be overstated. (That said, there’s still a very real fiscal sustainability discussion that must be had to support these efforts long-term.)

Providers are beginning to expand capacity. This one’s a slower burner, but it’s beginning. Customers, families, and professionals have all been highly concerned about the increase in funding since it came without an ounce of provider capacity expansion planning or incentives. Oregon put the funding before the resources. In recent weeks and months, many agencies have begun reaching out to brokerages and are expanding their services to our community in everything from in-home to employment supports; in 2015, I believe we will see a tangible increase in options for our customer base.

There’s a recent willingness for course correction when things aren’t working. If you haven’t heard of DSA (Day Support Activities,) consider yourself lucky. In short, DSA was an exercise in rushed change implementation. Ultimately, it changed rates, it changed processes, and it changed the definition of certain services. The process upended Brokerage, CDDP (Community Developmental Disabilities Program) and provider organization operations and damaged the integrity of reporting systems statewide. However, collaborative efforts (led by ODDS)  amongst brokerages, CDDPs (counties), providers, and state has made a real difference. Recent changes in leadership have assured a common sense, customer-first approach to problem solving. In other words, there’s strong collaboration happening again in Oregon. This is a very good thing – let’s do more of it.

We’re sticking with our current needs assessment tool. One of the major concerns brokerages have been facing while implementing the still-new functional needs assessment has been knowing full well we’d have to change assessments again at the beginning of 2015. Recent actions from the state suggest that we will be working to make the current brokerage tool (the Adult Needs Assessment) work well into the future. For brokerage customers, this is promising. We need consistency, stability, and some time to do some in-depth analysis on the efficacy of the current tool first. This decision deserves kudos.

Perhaps most significantly, Oregon is focusing on individual goals – again. If you have been working in the system or receiving services for the last year and a half, you’ve no doubt noted the troubling focus on deficits-based language and approach. I remember being in a meeting very, very early on in the K Plan implementation when it was announced by someone with significant influence that “this is no longer about goals, it’s about needs.” Soon, that refrain began to echo. Fortunately, that interpretation is no longer alive and well. What some people didn’t understand early on in the transition process was this: Brokerages have always addressed disability-related support needs. And we have done so while helping people reach their goals. You don’t provide publicly-funded services without making sure needs are documented and necessary. A sophisticated, supportive, holistic system addresses health and safety while placing a premium on the wants, needs, and goals of the individual. We know it can work because we’ve been doing it for thirteen years. I can’t say enough how pleasing it is to hear high-ranking leaders in our state stating that goals matter.

There are many issues we must continue wrestling with: the eXPRS payment system and pending Personal Support Worker entry, the monthly versus annual services issue, the ongoing review of Behavioral Supports, changes to supported employment, and many more. But as we inch ever closer to the new year,  it’s safe to say that we all hope for continued positive developments in the Oregon I/DD service delivery system. We’re a resilient, engaged, and growing community. Fingers crossed we can focus the coming year’s efforts on enhancing, expanding, and enriching the lives and experiences of the individuals, families, and communities we support. Oregon was once at the forefront of community-based services in our country; with continued focus, effort, and partnership there’s no reason that can’t be a reality again.

 

State/UCP Connections Offer Personal Support Worker Training for Billing in eXPRS

UCP Connections, a fellow support services brokerage, recently began a field testing of the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities‘ upcoming transition to paying Personal Support Workers (both Domestic Employees and Independent Contractors) through its payment system (eXPRS.) Effective January 1, 2015, all PSWs will be paid directly through the state’s eXPRS payment system. As part of the field testing,  UCP and ODDS’s Julie Harrison are offering up trainings for Personal Support Workers  They have opened up these opportunities to PSWs throughout the metro area. Please see dates below. 

To register: contact Maggie Deeks at maggied@ucpconnections.org or (503) 546 2991 ext 358.

PSW Training
Monday, December 1st at West Linn Public Library, 1595 Burns Street, West Linn, 97068

  • Session #1: 10:00am to 11:30am
  • Session #2:  1:00pm to 2:30pm
  • Session #3:  3:30 to 5:00pm

PSW Training
Monday, December 15th at UCP Connection, 305 NE 102nd Ave, Suite 100, Portland, 97220

  • Session #1:  10:00am to 11:30am
  • Session #2:  1:00pm to 2:30pm
  • Session #3:  3:30 to 5:00pm

Provider Organization Training
Monday, December 15th at UCP Connection, 305 NE 102nd Ave, Suite 100, Portland, 97220

6:00 pm to 7:30pm

 

An Update on Systems Vision and Direction from Brokerage Association President Margaret Theisen

On Monday, November 10, 2014, Kathryn Weit, OSSA Executive Director and I participated in a vision and values discussion organized by the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. Later in the day I stopped on the way home for groceries and when asked how my day was by the clerk, I said my day was excellent.  I can’t recall the last time I said that about work!  I surprised myself with that comment.

We spent an entire day discussing and refining the language for the values and vision statements that will be used to guide the system that provides services to people with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities. The people attending the meeting represented all parts of the DD system, including State staff, and all were highly engaged, respectful and positive. It was the first meeting with a constituent group in my recent memory that was not dominated by complaints, whining, and finger pointing.

We don’t have final outcomes on vision or values statements, but within a week we will have the vision statement and we will have values work after that.  I feel very inspired by the day, and I am eager to see the final vision product by the work group.  When that is done later this week, final definition of the values statements we worked on will go forward.  I am on that work group with 6 people including Lilia Teninty, the State DD Director. Finalized, these statements will be shared widely and used to guide future decision making.

Next steps include scheduled discussions on Medicaid and the K Plan with Robin Cooper, an expert on these issues from The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services in Washington DC. Once we increase our knowledge base with, and understanding of Medicaid and K, Lilia plans to pull together groups to address specific topical areas beginning with case management.

I think Lilia is very much on track and as always, Bill Lynch’s facilitation was important and focused.  While our work didn’t address many of the day-to-day issues we are struggling with, I feel more confidence in our direction than I have in over two years!  I think Monday was a great start to a different/better future!

Margaret Theisen, OSSA President

%d bloggers like this: