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 PACKET. ICs 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.