Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Person Centered, Person Driven: Key to the Success of MLTSS

Gerianne Prom
VP, Long Term Care Services

Over 10 Million Americans with disabilities use Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) to assist in their self-care, engage in their community, and achieve their goals of living independently. 

Medicaid is the primary funding source for most people receiving services. Each state has its’ own pathway for people to access LTSS.  With increasing frequency, states are moving to Managed Care models.

The movement towards Managed Care is driven by the need to contain costs, ensure quality, and mitigate risk.  Keeping enrollees central to the focus ensures that a quality management system will meet the unique needs of the population being served.  Consumer engagement initiatives also allow for the understanding of quality from the perspective of the people who are being served.

Managed Care programs have long served people with disabilities.  One such Managed Care program in Wisconsin is Family Care. Family Care enrollees have moved back into the community safely after spending years living in institutions, while other enrollees have achieved new levels of independence by living and working in their communities. Most enrollees can boast vast improvements in overall health. These successes are achieved by two principles that are the hallmarks of Family Care: person-centered planning and disability services expertise.

We are at a unique juncture: paralleling the movement towards Managed Care has been the growth and popularity of Participant Directed Programs.  It strikes me that bridging two key aspects—person-centered planning and quality management—might result in a delivery system with improved results. 

I look forward to working on just that.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Employer Authority

Danielle Skenadore
Human Services Manager

The Wisconsin Transition Conference is an annual opportunity for educators, professionals, families, and transition age youth to come together to share best practices. I have the wonderful opportunity to present “Who’s the Boss: Transition Age Youth and Employer Authority” at the 2015 Wisconsin Transition Conference in the Wisconsin Dells.

What is Employer Authority?
In a self-directed program, participants or members are granted the decision-making authority to recruit, hire, train, and supervise caregivers of their choice. The participant or member is the boss!

Why is Employer Authority so Important?
When we think about transition age youth, most of our discussions focus on community-based employment, independent living, and higher education. But for many, success in these arenas is directly connected to reliable caregiving. 

Young adults who choose to self-direct their supports take on a big responsibility.  Case managers and consultants can provide some guidance, but the real work lies with the individual or family.  

Educators, parents, and professionals must acknowledge the learning curve that exists and encourage young people to develop their Employer Authority skills early on by discussing things like personal care needs, caregiver preferences, activity schedules, and job descriptions. 

I am very excited to work together with young people, families, and educators to identify the tool kit, skills and support that will empower success in a self-directed program. 

Check out the slide below for a sneak peak of my presentation. 

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Embracing Technology

Todd Breaker
iLIFE Participant Liaison

Confusing.  Exhausting.  Time-consuming.

For people that self-direct their support services, paperwork and administrative duties can bring out these feelings.  However, there is another solution.  Technology offers quick and accurate ways to get these tasks done.

One of the ways iLIFE uses technology to help the people we serve is offering online timesheets.  Caregivers submit their timesheets online for approval by their participant employer.  Caregivers get paid timely and accurately without having to fax, mail, or email paperwork.

Sounds easy, right?

When I tell people about this resource, the common response I get is that they are not good with computers.  These are sincere feelings from our participants that I always respect.  The reality is they face other barriers to technology, as well, including limited internet access, high costs for home internet service, or not owning a computer.

Despite these hurdles, there are also success stories.  One example is from a caregiver that had issues with time cards every month.  After they and their employer signed up for online timesheets, this person came to my office and thanked me.  This tech tool helped make their life easier.

I have heard from many participants that self-direct and use online timesheets who never want to see a paper time card ever again. Embracing technology can help participants and their caregivers achieve success through self-directing programs.

So, how can we encourage people to start using technology?  Start a conversation with the people you serve.  Teach, listen, and learn.  It is important to keep in mind we have to offer many different options and allow people to use the methods that work best for them.

Because ultimately, as financial management service providers, we want these emotions to come through:

Timely. Accurate. Trusted.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Building Better Caregiver Relationships

Matt Queen
Communications Manager

As I meet with people that receive long-term care services and supports, I am shocked to hear the number of people that say they do not get along with their caregiver.

Sometimes it is a family member or a friend.  Other times it is somebody they hired from an agency or found in their community.

Part of what we do at iLIFE is educating people about what they should expect from their caregivers.  Employer authority is an emerging topic and an important skill for people who want to self-direct their care. Making expectations clear to caregivers from the start creates a solid foundation for a good working relationship.

In partnership with the Wisconsin Long Term Care Workforce Alliance, we met with two caregivers and their employer to learn more about creating positive relationships.

Our entire three-part film series on caregiver best practices is on the iLIFE YouTube channel.  Share with your colleagues to help improve caregiver relationships.

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