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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Ron Spence, Operations Director
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.
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. (Brokerages 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.)
- 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
Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Moriarty Auditorium, 705 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Legislators to Contact
SAMPLE LETTER FROM CUSTOMER/FAMILY MEMBERS
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.
SAMPLE LETTER FROM PROVIDER/PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER
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.
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
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
Since the State of Oregon Department of Human Services began taking on Personal Support Worker and provider payment through its eXPRS system, one of the most common questions brokerages have received from providers is “Did you get my timesheet?”
There’s a relatively easy way for providers to access this information via eXPRS. ODDS’ Julie Harrison and her team have created a How To guide entitled “How to Find/View Plan of Care Service Claims”. Check out the guide by clicking here. You’ll learn how to read the eXPRS screens and determine where your payment claim is in the process. Be sure to bookmark this guide for future reference. (Of note: eXPRS refers to hours or miles keyed into its system as SDEs – Service Delivered Entries.)
One additional note: If you are sending invoices or timesheets via email, please be sure to use the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. If you are faxing invoices or timesheets, please be sure you receive a return confirmation that the fax was received.
Thanks for your continued partnership through the ongoing systemic changes. Your work is very much appreciated.