Provider Spotlight: Exceed Enterprises

This week’s Provider Spotlight is Exceed Enterprises in Milwaukie. Exceed works to with adults living with disabilities to find and retain both customized and competitive employment in the Pacific Northwest area. Because they have been around for several decades, they have the experience and expertise needed to make community employment a reality for job seekers all over the Metro Area. Check out their Facebook page here.

Provider Spotlight: Empowerment Services

This week’s Provider Spotlight is on Empowerment Services, LLC. ES delivers individualized employment alternatives and life-skills training to teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. Given the unique behavioral and sensory needs of everyone they serve, support plans are highly customized.

Be sure to check them out on the web at www.empowermentservicesllc.org

Provider Spotlight: Edwards Center Aloha Center

Edwards Center remains one of the best kept secrets in Washington County. Founded in 1972 by a group of parents, this agency puts family front and center. This week’s provider spotlight is on the Aloha Community Center where Edwards takes community inclusion to the next level. A quarterly online catalog is available full of classes and outings for people of all ages and abilities. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/alohacommunitycenter/

Provider Spotlight: Eastco Diversified Services

This week’s provider spotlight is on Eastco Diversified Services. Eastco’s Supported Employment Program places adults with I/DD into integrated jobs, based on individual interest and work experience. Prospective employees are carefully screened to guarantee a successful match of job requirements, individual abilities, and needs. Eastco provides a Job Coach on-the-job until he or she can independently perform the job to the employer’s quality and production standards. To find out more, check out their Facebook page.

Provider Spotlight: Destination Autonomy

Good things come in small packages – that’s what Destination Autonomy founder Rochelle Moore believes. She started her company in 1999 to serve adults with Developmental Disabilities in Washington County. DA provides community activities both individually and in groups, in home and employment supports. Check out the photos of their awesome activities on Facebook.

Provider Spotlight: Community Access Services

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!

Provider Spotlight: Right at Home

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.

Provider Spotlight: Bender Rehabilitation and Consulting

Byron and Kim Bender

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.

 

Provider Spotlight: Arise Mentors

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.

Provider Spotlight: Advocates for Empowerment

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.

 

 

 

 

First of Several Community Provider Focus Groups a Success

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.

Provider Spotlight: Ability Training Services

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.

Provider Spotlight: Cornerstone Inclusion Supports

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.

 

 

Provider Spotlight: Creative Goal Solutions

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!

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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

 

“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

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.

 

A Comment on Changing Rates and Service Definitions from Metro Brokerage Directors to Provider Organizations

Dear Portland Metro-Area Provider Organizations,

We, the six metro-area support services brokerages, wanted to send out a quick note regarding the current status of transitioning service codes, amending plans, and adjusting rates given the potential September 1st changes.

First, we’d like to briefly comment on our current understanding of DSA and Attendant Care services. Based on the DRAFT Expenditure Guidelines we received from the Department of Human Services just last week we believe that provider organizations can perform both Day Support Activities (DSA) as well as Attendant Care services. For details, follow this link to their current work-in-progress: August 2014 Expenditure Guidelines

We have been in talks with the state to request a delay of the September 1st implementation of these changes. Our primary reason for the delay request has to do with the impossible time frames we are faced with as a system to implement this latest sea change. Brokerages need appropriate time to do planning and coordination with customers prior to amending Individual Support Plans (ISPs) and  service agreements, and Providers need time to evaluate the changes and revise their business plans in order to meet the new regime. We hope to hear back from Interim DD State Director Trisha Baxter within the next day or so regarding our request for delayed implementation. (Please note: we are requesting to delay implementation of DSA, but we are not asking for a delay to implementation of Supported Employment changes.)

Our hope is to work with the State on a reasonable timeline for implementation this fall or winter in a thoughtful process that  includes  a stakeholder work group charged with leading and influencing the transition.

As always, we appreciate your patience and partnership as we manage such significant systemic change. Your recent and ongoing advocacy is very much appreciated. Surely, we all agree that a  thoughtful, proactive approach to transition is key to serving our customers and community in the most respectful and productive way possible.

We know there are scores of unanswered questions out there and we are preparing to gain the understanding necessary to respond to them given our limited resources during this transition. Without clarification and without the full participation of our customers, we are not able as of now to amend goals, plans, or service agreements.   Please stay tuned – more details shortly.

Best,

Dan (SDRI), Katie (Mentor), Jennifer (CPI), Larry (INW), Rachel (Inclusion), and Sarah (UCP)