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Jan 15
Rate Increase Implemented

January 1, a much-deserved rate increase went into effect.

The rate increased by 6 percent for Homemaker Personal Care services delivered through the Individual Options (IO) and Level 1 Waivers, and for Ohio Shared Living (Adult Family Living and Adult Foster Care) through the IO Waiver. The 6 percent applies to the entire rate, not just the wage component, therefore agencies also are getting an increase in the parts of the rate that go toward administrative expenses such as supervision, benefits, and bonuses.

Independent providers don't need to do anything – the new rates already are reflected in the system. Agencies will make the adjustment for staff who work for them.

The rate increase helps to recognize DSP's integral role in Ohio's DD system.

"Direct support staff are the ones on the front lines, providing care to the individuals we serve," said John Martin, Director of DODD. "Our system relies on them, and we're excited that the Governor and legislature supported the first notable increase in many years."

Provider agencies are excited to implement the increase.

"Our employees are beyond critical to the individuals and families we serve. I am thrilled to be able to provide a much deserved pay increase to each and every one of our direct care professionals. They are the heart and soul of our field," said Rich Johnson, president and CEO of ViaQuest, Inc. "Thanks to the leadership of the Governor's Office, DODD, the Legislature, and OPRA for giving us a 6 percent rate increase, they can finally receive the appreciation we have always felt for their hard work and dedication."

When planning to implement the increase, much thought went into how to make sure that front-line staff see the rate increase in their pay.

"This was important to the Department, and it was important to the legislature," Martin said. "During the budget process, the legislature repeatedly asked me how we would ensure that direct care staff receive the increase."

That will be done by the Staff Stability Survey. The survey, which is now mandatory for all providers to complete, will be used to quantitatively demonstrate that front line staff are receiving the increase. The results from Calendar Year 2015 (the year before the increase) will be compared to the results from 2016 (the year after the increase).

"Our expectation is a 6 percent increase in staff wages from one year to the next – we just want to see the increase in wages," Martin said.  

When the rate increase was announced at The Arc of Ohio meetings and Family Advisory Council meetings, families were excited that direct care staff were getting a much-deserved rate increase.

"Some commented that they were going to ask the folks who work with their sons and daughters if they are getting an increase," Martin said. 

It's important to note that the rate increase applies only to staff who provide waiver services, not to staff who provide services in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF). ICFs will receive a modest rate increase in July. Some agencies provide both waiver and ICF services.

Jan 15
Helping People Move into the Community

56752.pngA new Rental Assistance Program (RAP) will help people move from larger facility-based settings into the community by removing barriers to paying for housing.

The RAP, which was a part of DODD's FY2016-2017 Executive Budget, will fund up to $750,000 in rental assistance in each of the next two years. It provides assistance to eligible individuals who are moving from a state-operated Developmental Center or a privately or county-operated ICF into a smaller, community home of their choosing with a Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver. The rental assistance is intended to help individuals pay for housing costs until they become eligible for any other local, state, or federal rental assistance funding.

"We're helping people move into the community by removing one of the challenges many people face when starting out," said Ernie Fischer, Capital Housing Administrator. "When combined with other programs such as HOME Choice, the Rental Assistance Program can help make the transition that much easier for people."

The amount of assistance is based on the individual's income and fair market rent, by county, as determined by HUD. Funding is available to persons living in any rental setting where the individual has a lease or rental agreement, and may include for profit as well as not-for-profit landlords. The individual must access HOME Choice funding, and must also apply and be denied for a housing voucher through their local metropolitan housing authority.

More information about the RAP, including eligiblity guidelines and availability, is available on DODD's website. Learn more by attending a webinar on February 17 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. – register online. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have questions, please contact Ernie Fischer at ernie.fischer@dodd.ohio.gov or 614-752-3013.

Jan 15
February 9: Family Advisory Council Meeting

56751.pngThe next Family Advisory Council meeting is Tuesday, February 9, 2016, from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at OCALI, 470 Glenmont Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43214.

The agenda includes a conversation where families can share their ideas about finding, interviewing, training and retaining providers, a chat with Director Martin, and an update on nursing and the TDD transition.

Lunch is sponsored by the Ohio Association of County Boards (OACB). Lunch is being catered by Freshbox, and is free for families and $5 for agencies. Please RSVP as soon as possible with this order form to make your lunch selection so we know how many lunches to order. RSVP to Michele Kanode at 614-644-0265 or michele.kanode@dodd.ohio.gov.

Jan 15
Disaster Preparedness Training

5675.pngThe University of Cincinnati, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) is hosting two "Disaster & Preparedness Training for People with Disabilities & Their Caregivers" training sessions. This is an opportunity for people with disabilities to learn about local hazards and how they can be prepared for an emergency. Individuals are welcome to bring a family member or caregiver with them to the training. Participants also receive a free Red Cross Emergency Preparedness kit and "Ready Now" packet to create a personal preparedness plan.

Two sessions will be offered:

  • February 20, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Ohio University Innovation Center in Athens – register online
  • March 5, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Sinclair Conference Center in Dayton – register online

This training is intended for individuals with disabilities and their family members or caregivers. This is not a train-the-trainer session, and is not intended for staff or professionals to attend alone.

If you have questions, contact Erica Coleman with the University of Cincinnati UCEDD at 513-803-4399 or erica.coleman@cchmc.org.

Jan 11
How to Submit Overtime Payments

q4.pngJanuary 1, DODD began making overtime payments to eligible independent providers who bill more than 40 hours (or 160 15-minute units of service) provided in a work week. Additionally, a 6 percent rate increase went into effect.

Many independent providers have questions about these changes. Below are some of the common questions DODD is receiving.

Who is eligible for overtime payments?
For dates of service beginning January 1, 2016, independent providers who bill for more than 40 hours, or 160 fifteen-minute units, in a work week are eligible for overtime payments.

A work week begins Sunday at 12:00 a.m. and ends Saturday at 11:59 p.m.    

How do I submit a claim for overtime?
  1. Keep a schedule of your hours worked each week – make sure you write down the type of service provided and the name of the person you provided services to.
  2. Submit your claim – remember, you must submit a separate claim for each kind of service provided.
    1. Submit claims for the first 40 hours of service like you have always done.
    2. Submit a separate claim for hours after 40 – use the new procedure codes to get the higher overtime rate. The new overtime procedure codes are on page 3 of this overtime guidance document.
For example: Here's Lucy's schedule:
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

3-9 p.m.

HPC – Tony, IO Waiver      

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 6/24

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 12/48

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 18/72

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 24/96

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 30/120

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 36/144

6 hours

24 units

Total hrs/units = 42/168


 

Lucy worked 42 hours, so she is eligible for two hours of overtime.  She would bill regular APC for Sunday through Friday.  Lucy would submit two claims for Saturday:

Claims submission for Saturday

ClaimHoursDescriptionProcedure Code
14  hours  (16 units) of regular payHomemaker Personal Care with Tony (IO Waiver)APC
22 hours (8 units) of OT payHomemaker Personal Care with Tony (IO Waiver) - OvertimeAPV

How do I split my claims if I work a shift that covers two work weeks, or two days?

You should log your hours worked on the day and the week they fall, even if it's the same shift.

For example: Lori works Monday through Saturday from 10:00 p.m. - 5:00 a.m.

  • Lori splits each shift between the two days - for the shift she starts Monday night, the first two hours (10:00-11:59 p.m.) are logged on Monday, and the remaining five hours (12:00-5:00 a.m.) are logged on Tuesday.
  • The time after midnight on Saturday (technically Sunday) goes in to the next week.
  • She hits her 40th hour Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. and would receive overtime payments for 10:00-11:59 p.m.
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday

12-5 a.m.

From previous week (the shift startedSaturday night) but actually in defined current work week.

10-11:59 p.m.

12-5 a.m.

 

 10-11:59 p.m.

12-5 a.m. is the rest of the shift started Monday night.

12-5 a.m.

 

10-11:59 p.m.

12-5 a.m.

 

10-11:59 p.m.

12-5 a.m.


 

10-11:59 p.m.

12-5 a.m.

 

10-11:59 p.m.

The time after midnight Saturday (technically Sunday) goes in to the next week.

Running total: 5 hoursRunning total: 7 hoursRunning total: 14 hoursRunning total: 21 hoursRunning total:  28 hoursRunning total: 35 hoursRunning total: 42 hours

Are rate add ons included in overtime payments?

Rate add ons must be applied to the Overtime input rate by the provider

How do I need to bill for the 6 percent rate increase?
The new rate must be submitted on your claims as your UCR (input rate) for service dates effective January 1, 2016. See appendix A to rule 5123:2-9-30 for the rates effective January 1, 2016, for routine and On-site On-call Homemaker Personal Care (HPC) services (APC, AOC, FPC, FOC, EPC, EOC).

Where can I get more information?
Learn more in this overtime guidance, including how overtime payments will be calculated. Also, see the December 15, 2015, Overtime Guidance Memo (PDF).
Jan 11
Grants Leverage Expertise from the Field

q3.pngOne of the best ways to uncover best practices and identify new ways of doing things is by leveraging the experience of the people doing the work every day. To help Ohio's DD system move forward, the FY2016-2017 Executive Budget funds several grant programs. The grants, which are open to organizations working in the grant's area of focus, are designed to improve services and opportunities to participate in the community. The learnings from the grants will be shared so that they can be applied broadly.

Three grants recently were awarded:

  • Integrated Community Supports Grant: This grant will help DODD-certified providers to transform from facility-based to community-based services, with a focus on community-based employment and adult day services for individuals with complex needs. Strategic plans and other resources developed by these grants will be used as models to help facilitate transformations across the state. Four proposals were selected. The selected proposals are: Abilities in Action, Ability Works, Easter Seals Tri-State, and Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati.
  • Intermediate Care Facility Grant: This grant aims to facilitate the transition from facility-based to community-based services, with a focus on community-based employment and adult day services for individuals with complex needs. Outcomes and strategies from these pilots will be shared and act as models across the state. Three proposals were selected. The selected proposals are: Champaign Residential Services Incorporated, The Arc of Medina County, and Sunshine.
  • Supporting People with Complex Needs: This grant aims to expand opportunities for Ohioans to receive trauma‐informed interventions by enhancing efforts for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) agencies to become competent in trauma informed practices. Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an approach that explicitly acknowledges the role trauma plays in people's lives. TIC means that every part of an organization or program understands the impact of trauma on the individuals they serve, and promotes cultural and organizational change in responding to the people served and their families. Five proposals were selected – the proposals were from HCBS residential provider agencies who have adopted and implemented a trauma‐informed approach and are willing, able, and committed to serving people with complex support needs using this approach. Five proposals were selected. The selected proposals are: Community Supports, Inc., Wood Lane Residential Service, Rose-Mary Center, Buckeye Community Services, and Champaign Residential Services, Inc.  

Watch for more information about the projects from all three grants.

Find information about current competitive grant opportunities on the Initiatives and Partnerships page of DODD's website.

Jan 11
Pipeline Quarterly: The Many Faces of Employment

q2a.pngEmployment looks different for everyone. For some, it's a full time job in a local restaurant. For others, it's part time work in a national drug store chain. And for some, it's running their own business. The one thing that remains the same is the commitment of the individuals and employers, and the recognition that employing people with disabilities just makes good sense.

The winter edition of Pipeline Quarterly features the stories of individuals who have found different types of employment opportunities that are suited to their interests and skills. It also features a variety of employers who have made a commitment to hiring people with disabilities – this commitment is integral to helping people with disabilities succeed. You also can learn more about the many resources to help individuals prepare for and find employment opportunities. Resources are geared toward individuals and families, staff who work in the DD system, and companies.

Check out the Winter edition of Pipeline Quarterly today!

Jan 11
Town Hall on Autism

Don’t forget to register for the virtual town hall on autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), on January 20 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

The online town hall will give attendees an overview of ASD Strategies in Action, a new online training program that offers tools and information to better equip those who interact with individuals with autism – parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, medical professionals, and more – to support the people in their lives. The new program, which is FREE to all Ohioans, launched last month. This is a great opportunity even for those who have been working with individuals with autism for many years – County Board staff and providers are encouraged to attend so they can get a preview of the program so they can share this free resource with parents. 

Join us January 20 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. You can join the town hall from your desk, and there is no cost to attend. Register online.

Jan 04
5 Tips for a Healthy New Year

In January, many people are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and what goals they have for the coming year. Your health is one of the most important things you have, so why not make your well-being a priority for the New Year? Consider these tips to kick off a healthy 2016!

1. Drink More Water

If you normally drink a lot of sodas and sugary beverages, consider cutting back and drinking more water. Water helps control your calorie intake because it helps to curb your appetite, and it may increase your metabolism.

Experts say that switching from soda to water, without making any other lifestyle changes, will result in immediate weight loss.

2. See Your Doctor for a Physical Every Year

The best way to prevent illness is to be proactive and see your doctor at least once a year. By getting a regular exam, you can nip health problems in the bud. If your doctor spots an odd-looking mole, it can be removed before you have problems with skin cancer. If your blood pressure is too high, your doctor can suggest a diet and fitness plan to help reduce it before you have a heart attack. Think about it! Most people won’t let their car go 5,000 miles without an oil change…yet they don’t think it’s important to see a doctor once a year.

Make an appointment today!

3. Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the most dangerous and unhealthy habits you can have. It offers no health benefits, and greatly increases your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. Smoking is one of the most difficult habits to break, but it is worth it. Talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Quit today!

4. Walk for 30 Minutes Every Day

Many people make a New Year’s resolution to join a gym. However, you can get in better shape without even going to the gym – just walk! Walking helps control your weight, lowers your blood pressure, reduces your risk for heart disease, and reduces stress. And it doesn’t require any special equipment. You can walk anywhere outside. If it’s too cold outside, walk at a mall, an indoor recreation facility, or go up and down stairs in your home.

Any exercise is good exercise.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep Every Night

Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more sleep to add more years to your life. Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells. The minimum amount of sleep people should get is about six hours, and experts believe that eight hours is ideal.

Plan to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

And here’s a bonus tip: Spend your time with people who make you happy, and who you care about!

Your body will produce less stress chemicals (cortisol, epinephrine) in your bloodstream, and you’ll feel better.

Jan 04
OADSP Winter Training Schedule

The Ohio Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) has announced its winter training schedule. OADPS's mission is to provide high quality training to elevate the professionalism of the direct support workforce. Offerings include:

Provider Certification Training: All providers must complete eight hours of training prior to applying for certification, and annually thereafter. Topics covered include Unusual Incidents/Major Unusual Incidents (UI/MUI), the rights of Ohioans, self-determination, and Positive Culture. There is no charge to attend. Sessions will be held in different areas across the state:

DSPATHS Credentialing Certification Training: This one day seminar will certify and prepare individuals to become a DSPATHS Instructor, Portfolio Grader, and Skill Mentor. Those eligible to attend include CIP/CAP graduates, current Portfolio Graders, active CIP/CAP instructors, and Skill Mentors. The session is February 26 in Westerville. Get more information and register online.

The Maureen Corcoran Award is given to a PATHS-credentialed Direct Support Professional who demonstrates the competencies of the Community Support Skill Standards, upholds the NADSP Code of Ethics through his/her daily interactions with people with disabilities, and exhibits exemplary professionalism in all aspects of his/her job. The 2015 Maureen Corcoran Award Winner was Robert Lash.

12331.jpg

Left to right: Jerri Elson-Executive Director of Muskingum Residential, Inc., and President of the Board for OADSP; Bethany Toledo-Executive Director, OADSP; Robert Lash-Direct Support Professional, Welcome House, Inc.; and Mark Davis-President, OPRA


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