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

 

 

 

“Did You Get My Timesheet?”

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

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

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

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

didyougetmytimesheet

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

 

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