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: 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.

 

 

Very Important Notice to INW Customers and Brokerage Personal Support Workers

writing-1149962_1280By now, Personal Support Workers and those that employ them should have received multiple communications from a variety of sources regarding a major change to the way PSWs will be paid. TNT’s contract with the State of Oregon as the fiscal intermediary is ending on December 31st and the state is transitioning to an outfit called PCG Public Partnerships LLC (known as PPL). This change requires action on your part – whether you are a PSW or if you are the employer of the PSW. We’re told that PPL has been reaching out to all affected parties via mail, via phone, and when possible via email.

 
If you do not respond to requests from PPL, you/your Personal Support worker will not be paid for services until you do. Once you’ve completed and submitted the paperwork, you should contact PPL to ensure they have received it and labelled it “good to go”. If you don’t take this extra step to confirm with them,  there is a strong chance you/your Personal Support Worker will not be paid for services in a timely manner.
 

What To Do

 

  • Are you a PSW or Employer who has received a packet from PPL? Great. Fill it out and return it.
  • Did you receive a packet and now have questions? Call their customer service line and get help.
  • Do you find the whole thing confusing and need more hands-on help? Attend one of the just-posted information sessions in Portland, Oregon City, or Beaverton. See below.
  • Haven’t received a packet at all? Call PPL and request one. Return it quickly to avoid delay in payment in January. Or attend an information session where they’ll print one for you and help you fill it out. At present, we do not have print capability in PPL’s system. We’re hoping for that soon, but have no promised date.

Here’s what you can’t do: nothing.

 

To date, this transition has been quite bumpy. While all transitions bring challenges, such a small number of people are currently properly enrolled with PPL that we are growing very concerned. We want to be sure Personal Support Workers are paid on time for the work performed for our shared customers.

 

Current data from PPL as of this posting shows that just 5% of Personal Support Workers supporting INW’s customers are up and running in their system. There are about 9% who are currently “in process”. In terms of Employers, right now 13% are complete in PPL’s system, with another 4%  in the pipeline.  Data changes daily, so we’re crossing our fingers these numbers grow considerably in the days to come.
 
If you haven’t received a packet or if you’re not sure if you’re all set, call their customer service line directly or plan to attend one of the newly-scheduled PPL Information Sessions where you can complete all your paperwork with help from one of their staff.
 
Please do not ignore this call to action. Click here to download a copy of the scheduled sessions.
 
Date
City
Location
Hours of Operation
Tuesday, Dec 13
Beaverton
Beaverton Activities Center
15200 SW Allen Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005
9 am – 5pm
Wednesday, Dec 14
Oregon City
Clackamas Community College
McCloghlin Hall
19600 Molalla Ave
Oregon City, OR  97220
12 – 6:30pm
Thursday, Dec 15
Portland
Courtyard Portland Airport Location 11550 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
*accessible via Red Line/Cascade Station Max lines
*parking on site
12 – 7pm
Friday, Dec 16
Portland
Courtyard Portland Airport Location 11550 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
*accessible via Red Line/Cascade Station Max lines
*parking on site
12 – 7pm
 

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 Hosts Community Forum on Future of Disability Services – PCC Portland December 15 and 16, 2015

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.

Who:
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. (Brokerage​s 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.)

When:

  • 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

Where:
Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Moriarty Auditorium, 705 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland.

What:
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 help@211info.org.

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

Resources for PSWs: April 1st, 2015 Changes to Provider Payment for Brokerage Services

Dear Personal Support Workers,

This is just a reminder that all services provided April 1st, 2015 forward must be entered into and paid out of the State of Oregon’s new payment system, eXPRS. You must have both a provider number and an eXPRS login in order to use eXPRS. Additionally, all PSW timesheets and invoices must show time-in and time-out for all hours worked. PSW-Domestic Employees MUST use the state’s new timesheet  and new mileage reimbursement form moving forward. PSW-Independent Contractors must ensure that their invoices continue to meet these guidelines developed by the state. (Note: all ICs are already meeting these requirements to be paid, so there are no new expectations listed here.)

Need training on the eXPRS system? We’re hosting several trainings here at INW on April 9th. Click here for details!

Additionally, the state’s payment system creates monthly utilization caps for the number of hours a customer can receive in a given month. Keep an eye on your mailbox this week for details on how this will affect service agreements with your customers.

If you encounter issues or have questions along the way, please communicate with our office. Working together, we will weather this next set of changes to the system. Thank you for the essential work you provide to our community!


The FAQ below was mailed to Personal Support Worker – Domestic Employees in early March.

When do the changes happen?
PSWs working with Independence Northwest customers must start using eXPRS for hours worked starting on April 1st, 2015. Effective this date, ALL brokerages and counties will be operating via eXPRS.

What do I need to make the transition?
All providers need two things:

  1. A provider number. Without a provider number you will not be able to work starting on April 1st, 2015. There are no exceptions.
  2. An eXPRS log-in so you can enter your hours.

What if I don’t have a provider number or eXPRS log-in?
If you don’t have a provider number, please call Rachel Kroll at our office immediately at 503.546.2950 or email her at rkroll@independencenw.org. If you don’t have an eXPRS log-in, please email dhs.servicedesk@state.or.us or call 503.945.5623.

What is this about time-in and time-out on timesheets?
You will no longer be able to show just the number of hours you work in a given day. Instead you will be required to show exactly what time you worked.

How will I submit my hours?
With your log-in you will be able to enter your time-in and time-out directly into eXPRS. It will do the math for you. At the end of the pay period you can print your timesheet from eXPRS and submit it to INW as you have in the past. All timesheets still require your employer’s signature.

What if I don’t have a printer?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a way to print your timesheet out of eXPRS, you can copy your eXPRS hours onto the timesheet we mailed to you in early March and submit it to us.

What if I don’t have a computer or internet connection?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a computer with an internet connection at your home and don’t have access to a public library, Independence Northwest will have a computer in our office available for you to use. Please contact us if you would like to access this option.

What if I don’t want to use the state’s payment system?
We want PSWs to be empowered to enter and track their own hours. However, if you are unable or unwilling to use eXPRS, an INW Personal Agent is required to perform data entry on your behalf. If you choose this option, you MUST check the box on your timesheets to authorize us to do this work. If you do not enter your own hours and then fail to check the box on the timesheet authorizing INW to do it for you, you will not get paid on time.

 


Additional Resources

INW has set up a webpage just for eXPRS transition resources. Visit www.independencenw.org/psw for links to the following:

  • State of Oregon eXPRS Training Video on YouTube
  • Copies of state-mandated timesheets with time-in/time-out feature
  • Copies of the state-created step-by-step training on how to use eXPRS
  • Links to key personnel to contact when you have questions
  • Links to payroll calendars
  • Links to state transmittals regarding PSW payment and documentation
  • A link to the eXPRS log-in page
  • More!

When Will Personal Support Workers for Independence Northwest Customers Begin Using eXPRS?

By Ron Spence, Independence Northwest Operations Director

As many of you may have heard, the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities (ODDS) has taken a step back from its mandate that all payments to brokerage providers – Personal Support Workers and otherwise – be moved into  eXPRS starting in January of 2015. Brokerages have worked closely with ODDS throughout 2014 to help them understand the risks of moving into the eXPRS system before it’s truly ready and we’ve seen real partnership from state leaders in the last couple months on this issue. ODDS has valid reasons for wanting to get this thing launched once and for all (so does Independence Northwest – more on that soon); it’s a tribute to the new leadership that they listened to our concerns and agreed to develop a more sensible plan based on the realities of the situation, a plan that allows a gradual roll out between now and April of 2015. Some brokerages will enroll PSWs in January, some in February, some in March, and some in April.

Based on our evaluation of the current state of eXPRS, Independence Northwest has made the decision not to move its PSW payments into eXPRS until April of 2015.

If you’d like to learn more about our decision, stay tuned. We’ll be posting a more in-depth article on the topic this week. In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up for one of the eXPRS/PSW trainings happening in January 2015 in the Portland metro area.

 

 

 

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

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

 

Introducing the Personal Support Worker Enhanced and Exceptional Worker Certificate Program

The 2013-15 HCW/PSW Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for a new level of worker and compensation. Enhanced and Exceptional Workers provide services to consumers with certain assessed medical and/or behavioral needs, AND have successfully completed additional training.

The Oregon Home Care Commission will be holding the first pilot Enhanced and Exceptional Worker trainings for both HCWs and PSWs in November/December in the Portland area. If you, or someone you know, are interested in being part of the pilot, follow these steps:

1. Make sure your CPR/First Aid is up-to-date. You will need to send a copy of your certification with the application.|

2. Go to the website: ohcc-training.org. Create an account, then log in to your account. Look under “Courses” for the Readiness Assessment for your work group (HCW or PSW).

3. You are allowed to take the Readiness Assessment one time only, so some study ahead of time will be helpful. It is highly recommended that you review course manuals from the classes you have attended that are listed on the website if you have taken them.

4. Complete the Readiness Assessment. You will be able to review your answers after you finish the assessment.

5. If you pass the assessment with a score of 80% or better, you will be directed to the application. Fill this out and send to the Home Care Commission. These must be received by October 20, 2014 to be eligible for the pilot course.

If you do not pass the readiness assessment, you can use the feedback online to determine which topics to learn more about or courses to attend. The assessment will open again in 2015 the next time the course is offered.

For more information contact:
Joan Medlen
Personal Support Worker Training Coordinator
joan.e.medlen@state.or.us

 

 

 

Important Information About Independent Contractor Payment

Update: TNT has communicated to us that independent contractor checks will go out in today’s mail.

Dear Independent Contractors,

There seems to be pandemonium in the field because independent contractors haven’t been paid. Unfortunately this post isn’t going to clear anything up but I wanted to send something out regardless since we are being inundated with phone calls asking questions we cannot answer. Here’s the short version of what we know and don’t know:

  • Neither TNT nor the state has communicated to us when ICs should or will be paid. We assumed that they would be paid according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
  • We have heard rumors of a problem with payment but there has been no direct communication to us from TNT or from ODDS about this delay.
  • TNT assured us that missing vendor packets would not impact payment this month.
  • We met TNT’s deadline for submission of our bills, which was at 10:00 am on July 8th. It wasn’t easy.

We will update you here as soon as we learn more.

– Ron Spence, Operations Director

Changes to Provider Payments Are Still Planned for July 1st, 2014 – What You Need to Know (And Do)

By Ron Spence, Operations Director

The recent announcement that DHS listened to the community and delayed implementation of the eXPRS data system was welcome news to stakeholders across the state. However, in order to meet the terms of the collective bargaining agreement it made with SEIU, the state must collapse all payments to Personal Support Workers (PSWs) into a “single payment system” by July 1st In order to meet this obligation, DHS is in negotiations to contract with TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services (TNT FI) to make all PSW payments to providers in all DD programs (counties as well as brokerages) statewide.This change affects thousands of providers; brokerages and counties have been charged with making the transition in three weeks and some questions remain unanswered. Time is short and much work will need to be done to ensure every PSW in the state is paid on time in July. Please help us by spreading the word.  We will update the FAQ below as more information comes in. Our top priorities remain uninterrupted services to our customers and uninterrupted payment to their providers. 

Note: While there is much overlap in how things will work for providers working with different brokerages, the information in this post is specific to providers who work with Independence Northwest’s customers. The requirements of the transition to a single payer (TNT FI) are different depending on the provider type.

PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER – DOMESTIC EMPLOYEE Because TNT already processes payroll for domestic employee PSWs who work with Independence Northwest’s customers, this group of providers will experience the least impact during the transition. If you’re a domestic employee, the changes you can expect are the following:

  • Timesheet due dates and pay days may change. Due dates, processing time, and pay dates are part of the state’s agreement with SEIU, but as of this writing the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.
  • Reduced frequency of payroll: Independence Northwest has historically run DE payroll three (sometimes four) times a month. Under the collective bargaining agreement this number is reduced to twice a month. If you are someone who submits timesheets later in the month this may mean you will wait longer to be paid than you have in the past.

DON’T FORGET: You will still need to get a provider number for when the state rolls out eXPRS later in the year. If you don’t have a provider number yet contact the state immediately: 1-800-241-3013 or SPD.ProviderNumber@state.or.us 

PERSONAL SUPPORT WORKER – INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR 

Effective July 1 all payments to PSW independent contractors will no longer originate from INW offices but will be processed by TNT FI from their office in Salem. In order to make this happen, all ICs will need to fill out a TNTFI_VENDOR ENROLLMENT PACKETICs must fill out a separate packet for each customer they work with. Please note that the packet includes a direct deposit form. Unfortunately the direct deposit form you have on file with INW will not transfer to TNT. The packet must be signed by the customer or the customer’s legal guardian. If you want to continue using direct deposit after July 1  you must fill out this new one and provide all the documentation it requires.   Below are some changes PSW-ICs who work with INW customers should expect:

  • Changes to invoice due dates and pay dates: Because INW cuts checks for independent contractors on a weekly basis, we do not expect ICs to adhere to any invoice deadline. However, under the new system, due dates, processing time, and pay dates are determined by the state’s agreement with SEIU, and as of this writing the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.
  • Reduction in pay frequency and flexibility: INW cuts checks on a weekly basis for vendors so that a vendor can invoice us at any time during the month and expect timely payment. Under the collective bargaining agreement payment is reduced to twice a month. This may mean you will need to change the timing of your invoicing in order to avoid delays in payment. With payment no longer occurring in-house, INW unfortunately loses the flexibility to accommodate same-day check runs and other special requests as we have in the past.

PROVIDER ORGANIZATIONS, NON-PSW INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, AND OTHER VENDORS 

Payments to all entities not covered by the collective bargaining agreement (provider organizations, non-PSW ICs) will continue to be paid by INW until eXPRS is implemented. If you are the rare IC who provides both PSW services and non-PSW services you will receive separate payments from TNT FI and TNT FI.

FAQ: July 1 Changes to Provider Billing and Payment

Note: Most of this information is brand new and as such is subject to change. We will update this FAQ as we get new information so please check back frequently.

Q. What is changing about how provider payments are made? A. All payments to Personal Support Workers (PSWs) across the state are being consolidated so that they are paid by a single entity, TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services (TNT FI). This affects thousands of providers.

Q. Why is this change happening?  A. Under the collective bargain agreement DHS made with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the state agreed that it would adopt a centralized payment system for all of SEIU’s PSW members in Oregon.

Q. I thought eXPRS was going to be the payment system. Is TNT replacing eXPRS? A. Yes and no. The state has delayed implementation of eXPRS, in part, as a result of questions about its readiness voiced by the community. However, that delay did not absolve the state of its collectively-bargained mandate to adopt a centralized payment system by July 1. Moving PSW payments to TNT FI is a transition plan to meet that mandate.

Q. Will eXPRS make PSW payments in the future? A. To the best of our knowledge TNT will continue to handle all PSW payments for the foreseeable future because eXPRS lacks the complexity to handle payroll under the brokerage customer-as-employer model. Once implemented, eXPRS will act as a “front-end” interface for billing data entry; TNT will process payments using the data entered into eXPRS.

Q. Is there paperwork I need to fill out for this change? A. If you are a PSW-DE there is no additional paperwork for you at this time. If you are a PSW-IC you need to fill out a TNT FI Vendor Enrollment Packet immediately and return it to INW.

Q. Will my direct deposit remain in place? A. It depends on whether you are a PSW-DE or a PSW-IC. Domestic employee direct deposits will be unaffected by this change. PSW independent contractors will need to fill out the new direct deposit form included in the TNT FI Vendor Enrollment Packet if they want to continue using direct deposit. 

Q. Who do I sent my invoices or timesheets to? A. Nothing changes in the short run. Continue to submit your bills to Independence Northwest as you always have.

Q. Will the day my timesheets or invoices are due change? A. Probably. Due dates, processing time, and pay dates are determined by the state’s agreement with SEIU, and the state has been unable to tell us what those dates are. We will let you know as soon as we know.

Q. Will my pay day change? A. Probably. See answer to previous question and check back here often.

Q. What if I need an out of cycle check or if my check is lost or stolen? A. The state has not yet shared how it plans to handle out of cycle checks and other special exceptions after July 1.

Q. What if I am overpaid or underpaid? A. The state has not yet shared the details of how error corrections will occur after July 1.

Q. Does the July 1 change affect me if I am not a PSW? A. The most current information we have is that non-PSW payments will not change on July 1.

Q. Will INW continue to verify my income and employment for housing and other credit applications? A. Because we are not privy to the details of the contract negotiations between TNT FI and DHS, we are unsure whether this duty will remain with INW or will be taken over by TNT FI. Once we have the answer to this question, we will update you.

Q. Will INW continue to respond to unemployment claims? A. We have not been told by DHS if this will remain our responsibility. Stay tuned.

 

What to Expect Between Now and July 1st, 2014

By Larry Deal
Executive Director

There are just 40 working days left between now and the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2014. Over the past year, that mid-summer date has been a much-publicized target for many changes in the Oregon’s developmental disabilities brokerage system. You’ve no doubt heard many times over: “this, that, or the other has to be done by July 1st”. This includes significant changes such as ensuring all 7,500 or so brokerage customers have been assessed with the new Functional Needs Assessment, ensuring that all providers are signed up in the state’s payment system, and preparing for having the state take over direct payment to all brokerage providers.  In some areas of the state, customers are changing fiscal intermediaries as well. (Here at INW, this is not the case.)

There’s a lot happening. We understand that change can be confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. Sometimes all three. So here’s a cheat sheet for what you need to tend to in the next forty days.

If you’re a customer or a representative designee:

  • Be sure to respond to your Personal Agent’s (or a state worker’s) call to complete the new Functional Needs Assessment. It’s essential these are completed for everyone by June 30th. This allows the state to draw down increased federal funding via the new K Plan. Additionally, be ready to revise your plan to make some language changes. Your PA will help you with that.
  • If you have a provider, be sure that s/he has filled out a Provider Enrollment Agreement. We want to be sure they can continue to get paid after the state takes over payment (currently planned for July 1st.)
  • One great way to better understand the changes is to attend one of INW’s community forums. We have two scheduled in May.

If you’re a provider of brokerage services:

  • Make sure the customers you serve have scheduled a Functional Needs Assessment with their PA (or a state worker.) If they need some support during the assessment and would like you to assist, offer your help.
  • If you have not already, you must apply for and receive a Medicaid provider number. Sign up by filling out the Provider Enrollment Agreement form as soon as possible.
  • If you have already applied for a provider number, but haven’t heard back from the state, please contact them directly at DD-MH.OHCC@state.or.us
  • If we’ve contacted you about updating your Criminal History Check, be sure you respond quickly. All PSWs must have a CHC completed every two years. You cannot be paid without a current check on file.
  • Attend one of the upcoming Personal Support Worker webinars. There are currently three scheduled. The webinars will give you basic details on the state’s payment system (eXPRS) and how the way you’ll be paid is changing. Click here to learn more.
  • Attend one of INW’s community forums.

If there are changes to the deadlines or expectations (and there may be), we’ll keep you updated via additional mailing. In the meantime, keep an eye on the INW blog or our Facebook page for the latest. As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, your family, and this community.

 

 

Provider Training: Learn About the State’s Payment and Changes to How You’ll Be Paid

The Oregon of Office of Developmental Disabilities (the state) is putting on a series of training for brokerage PSW providers. The training is called “Using eXPRS for DD Personal Support Workers and DD Independent Contractor PSWs.”

Per the state, “Use of the eXPRS Payment System will begin July 1st, 2014. This training is a repeat of the April 22nd webinar training session and will cover the information PSW or IC-PSWs need to know to get ready for July 1st. These trainings are online, computer-based trainings.

Training participants will need a computer and internet to view the training materials AND access to a phone to listen to the discussion. Pre-registration for these trainings is required as each session has a limit to the number of participants.”

Once registered, participants will receive an email with the training site link, conference phone number and instructions on how to connect to the training on the date you are registered to participate. If you have questions, contact Julie Harrison at JULIE.A.HARRISON@dhsoha.state.or.us.