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Regional Workshop in Savannah, Georgia

Only a week remaining for Therap Regional Workshop in Savannah, Georgia for 2019. The event will be held on June 27, 2019. The workshop is going to be a one-day event of sessions by Georgia Therap experts and a chance to network with your counterparts from across the state. 

Did you know?

Georgia providers working under the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) are using Therap’s HIPAA compliant software services to meet quality assurance, personal outcomes measuring and person-centered service documentation goals.

The regional conference will be a good place to learn about recent developments in the Therap system, as well as the individual support documentation and reporting, Electronic Health Records (EHR) and training management from the technology leader in the developmental disabilities field. The training intensive event will include beginner, intermediate, and advanced level sessions conducted by Therap experts on various Therap modules. This event is only for Therap customers or prospective customers and other approved or invited guests.

About the presenter:

Jason Laws is a Business Development Consultant at Therap. Prior to joining Therap, he has worked in various capacities including direct support, case management, and program management. Jason has managed projects on workforce development, transitioning from congregate care to individualized models of support, and community integration for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Click here to register.

Click here to know more about the event.

DOL Homecare Rule Webinar

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WEBINAR INFORMATION:

The Department of Labor (DOL) published a Final Rule on October 1, 2013 extending minimum wage and overtime pay protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to most home care workers (who may have job titles such as home health aide or personal care assistant) who provide essential assistance to people with disabilities and older adults.  On August 21, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision upholding the Final Rule.  On Friday, September 18th from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern Time, senior leadership from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Solicitor will hold a webinar to discuss the Home Care Final Rule.  Presenters will provide an overview of the Final Rule as well as the Department’s guidance regarding joint employment in domestic service employment under the FLSA and the application of the FLSA to shared living programs.  Our comments will address questions we have received from states, including about the home care litigation.

TO REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR:

Please click https://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-care-final-rule-implementation-webinar-for-states-registration-18538483102  to register for the webinar.

Once you register, you will receive an email with the information you need to access the webinar.

QUESTIONS:

There will be a question and answer period after DOL’s presentation.  If you would like to submit a question(s) in advance, please email it totatum.laura@dol.gov at your earliest convenience.  During the webinar, we will respond to as many questions as possible.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Information about the Home Care Final Rule is available athttp://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/.

Information about the litigation related to the Home Care Final Rule is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/litigation.htm.

CMS Releases Heightened Scrutiny Guidance for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Rules

Washington, DC (June 26, 2015)

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) issued guidance on how they intend to address “heightened scrutiny” for settings that are subject to the home and community based services (HCBS) rule that went into effect on March 17, 2014.  The guidance restates the standard for settings that are presumed institutional (located in a building that is also a publicly or privately operated facility that provides inpatient institutional treatment, or in a building located on the grounds of, or immediately adjacent to, a public institution).  Additionally, any setting which has the effect of isolating individuals will be presumed to be institutional.  For any of these instances, a state may submit evidence to overcome the presumption and demonstrate how the setting does meet the HCBS standards set forth.  The new rules also offer states the option to develop “tiered standards for residential settings” which will allow states to “close the front door” to some providers while allowing existing providers of the same services to continue.  This means that a state could set one compliant standard for existing providers and set a different, higher standard for new providers.

CMS: New Manged Care and Quality Assurance Standards

The “correct” quality assurance program will always be a question until CMS requires states to standardize their Managed Care processes among MCOs in each state. We all have the opportunity to discuss standardization now, which will not come around again for years. Please see the below information from ANCOR. I encourage people to comment on the CMS proposed rules. CMS Issues

Landmark Proposed Rule on Medicaid Managed Care

On June 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule titled “Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Programs; Medicaid Managed Care, CHIP Delivered in Managed Care, Medicaid and CHIP Comprehensive Quality Strategies, and Revisions Related to Third Party Liability.” The agency states that this proposed rule would modernize the Medicaid managed care regulations to reflect changes in the usage of managed care delivery systems.

Home care providers will want to be aware that the proposed rule proposes to add a definition for long term care support services (LTSS).  The CMS proposal defines LTSS as “services and supports provided to beneficiaries of all ages who have functional limitations and/or chronic illnesses that have the primary purpose of supporting the ability of the beneficiary to live or work in the setting of their choice, which may include the individual’s home, a provider-owned or controlled residential setting, a nursing facility, or other institutional setting.”  CMS states that they intend for community based services within the scope of this definition to be largely non-medical in nature and focused on functionally supporting people living in the community.  Examples of what CMS would consider community based LTSS include Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) delivered through a section 1915(c) waiver, section 1915(i), or section 1915(k) state plan amendments, as well as personal care services otherwise authorized under the state plan.

HCAOA also notes that CMS is seeking to amend the existing regulation requiring each state to establish a credentialing and re-credentialing policy that addresses all the providers, including LTSS providers, covered in their managed care program regardless of the type of service provided by such providers.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted through July 27, 2015. A copy of the proposed rule can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CMS-2015-0068-0001

New Hampshire House Passes First-In-The-Nation Legislation To End Payment of Subminimum Wages To People with Disabilities

New Hampshire House Passes First-In-The-Nation Legislation To End Payment of Subminimum Wages To People with Disabilities

Press  Release,  April 15, 2015
CONCORD, NH – Today the New

Hampshire House of Representatives passed SB 47. New Hampshire becomes the first state in the country to repeal statutes that permit employers to pay persons with disabilities less than the state minimum wage simply because they have a disability. SB 47 received unanimous bipartisan support in both the house and the senate.

“SB 47 is a historic policy statement that reflects the current approach to hiring persons with disabilities that has evolved since the 1940’s in New Hampshire – every person with a disability can be competitively employed with the right supports and right job match,” said Chris Rueggeberg, Policy Director for the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Paying people with disabilities subminimum wages is not necessary or helpful for them to get a job. They can be hired on their merits and abilities,” added Rueggeberg.

SB 47 prime sponsor Senator Hosmer has hired people with disabilities at his AutoServ business for the past 20 years. “The people I hire improve the whole culture and working atmosphere for all my employees,” said Senator Hosmer. SB 47 repeals outdated statutes and outdated approaches to hiring persons with disabilities that date to 1949.  Employers in New Hampshire no longer pay persons with disabilities a subminimum wage. Sheltered workshops are closed. Disability rights organizations, rehabilitation professionals, persons with disabilities working at competitive wage jobs and their employers, the NH Labor Department, the NH Department of Health and Human Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for Blind and Visually Impaired in the NH Department of Education all worked to pass SB 47. “I’m very pleased that the House has approved SB 47.  Last year, when I discovered that it is was legal in New Hampshire to pay persons with a disability less than the minimum wage simply because of their disability I introduced legislation to study this issue. The
study committee that I chaired unanimously recommended legislation to ban this practice in New Hampshire, ”  said former State
Representative  Chris Muns.

The New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities is a federally funded state agency that supports public policies and initiatives that remove barriers and promote opportunities in all areas of life. The Council carries out its mission through education, advocacy and the funding of innovative projects that make a difference in people’s lives. Find out more at http://www.nhddc.org.

Court Ruling Related to the DOL Companion – Home Care Rule

This is a follow up to the DOL emails we sent earlier today.  After consideration of the parties’ pleadings, the arguments of counsel and relevant law, and the entire record in this case, plaintiffs’ motion for a partial summary judgment is GRANTED, defendants motion is DENIED, and the Department of Labor’s Third Party Employer regulation scheduled to go into effect on Jan 1, is VACATED.  See below for a summary on the decision.

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has today issued a partial summary judgment on two pieces of a lawsuit filed by the Home Care Association of America and other plaintiffs related to the Department of Labor’s Home Care Rule. Please note that this information is not legal advice, and is shared after a swift and preliminary review of the decision.

The decision notes that after consideration of the parties’ pleadings, the arguments of counsel and relevant law, and the entire record in this case, plaintiffs’ motion for a partial summary judgment is GRANTED, defendants motion is DENIED and the Departments Third Party Employer regulation scheduled to go into effect on Jan 1, is VACATED.

The largest area implicated by this decision is the third party employer regulation, which withdrew the availability of the companionship and live-in caregiver exemptions from third parties.

Companionship Exemption

As you know, the companionship exemption was impacted in two important ways by the Home Care rule. First, the rule established that the companionship services exemption is not applicable when the employee spends more than 20 percent of his or her workweek performing care services. This portion of the regulation is NOT impacted by this decision, so the companionship exemption is available only when this percentage test is met.

Second, the rule set forth that the companionship exemption is not available to third party employers. This portion of the rule, called the Third Party Employer regulation, is impacted by this court decision by allowing third party employers to avail themselves of the exemption. This means that, for situations meeting the definition of and test for companionship, workers can receive straight pay, not overtime for work over 40 hours/week even when there is a third party employer.

Live in Exemption

Like the Companionship exemption, the DOL rule removed the availability of the live-in caregiver exemption from third party employers. This ruling allows third parties to utilize the exemption, enabling straight pay for live-in caregivers, including for those hours worked over 40.  For details on what constitutes a “live-in” domestic service worker and other conditions of the exemption, see Fact Sheet #79B: Live-In Domestic Service Workers Under the FLSA. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs79b.htm

While this is decision is important, this case has not been fully decided (there are other counts to be considered by the court) and there will likely be appeals filed, even on this limited judgment.  As a result, states should remain vigilant in their planning and budgeting in the event that, at the conclusion of these legal proceedings, the original rule will be in full force and effect.

NASDDDS will continue to closely monitor developments and keep you apprised.

To read the court’s decision, visit:

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2014cv0967-21

 

Therap Services Wins South Carolina DDSN Contract for Statewide EHR

South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Selects Therap Services as the Statewide Reporting System:

Electronic Documentation Software Solution for Intellectual and Developmental Disability Providers Wins Competitive Bid as the SaaS for SCDDSN

WATERBURY, Conn., Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Therap Services, leader in electronic documentation software for Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability Service Providers, announces it has been selected as the statewide Software as a System (SaaS) Reporting System for South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN).

“Therap Services is excited to work with the state of South Carolina as the electronic documentation and communication solution for the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.” Stated Justin Brockie, Therap Services COO. “We are honored to have the opportunity to bring Therap’s secure transparency to South Carolina’s state teams, DSN Boards, providers, and citizens.”

“The new partnership between SCDDSN and Therap is an exciting and vital step in improving the quality of care and services for thousands of individuals with disabilities in South Carolina.  The benefits are multifold from both the individual perspective and the statewide level,” commented Dr. Beverly Buscemi, SCDDSN’s State Director.  “Therap offers us a comprehensive system to facilitate communication between caregivers, support professionals, specialists and families to better meet the needs of an individual while simultaneously enhancing our ability as the state’s system to collect, track and report sensitive information to meet state and federal requirements.  This new venture will move us forward in providing quality services.”

Barry Pollack, Southeast Regional Director for Therap Services, states “The partnership between Therap Services and South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is a remarkable stride in its provision of the highest quality care to individuals. In its commitment to increase communication and maintain stellar documentation through use of Therap Services, SCDDSN remains on target with their mission to assist people with disabilities and their families in meeting needs, pursuing possibilities and achieving life goals.”

Therap Services applications and certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) provide the documentation components needed by Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability Service Agencies to maintain their focus while adapting to a changing environment within the Human Services industry.  State and federal agencies and standards, including CMS and HIPAA, mandate strict requirements on accurately tracking incidents, including those reports of abuse and neglect and prevention of Medicaid fraud. Therap’s customers can complete and monitor documentation efficiently across secure domains, enabling them to focus on providing higher quality services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Therap is used across disciplines in the I/DD field per the CMS home and community-based services (HCBS) requirements. Therap applications include over 70 modules ranging from documentation of service provision through a daily note, to person centered planning tools, incident report management, health assessments and individual care plans, an electronic MAR integrated with an industry-standard drug database, an individual referral process for state and multi-provider systems, a comprehensive report library for internal and external audits, to electronic billing direct to Medicaid through a secure, HIPAA 5010-compliant method.

About Therap Services, LLC

Therap Services provides secure, web-based documentation, communication and electronic billing services to over 1400 intellectual disability providers across the United States as well as for twelve state government ID systems of care.

This includes a certified EHR, HIPAA compliant Medicaid and private billing, service documentation and secure communication and data sharing between all stakeholders including families and self advocates.

Therap’s software-as-a-service solution is used in HCBS Waiver, ICF/IID and other services to document residential and community based supports, employment supports, case management, incident reporting, management of staff training records and for electronic billing claim submissions directly to Medicaid.

Learn more at www.TherapServices.net.

 

Apple iOS “Masque Attack” Technique

NCCIC / US-CERTNational Cyber Awareness System:

11/13/2014 09:17 AM EST
Original release date: November 13, 2014

Systems Affected

iOS devices running iOS 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, and 8.1.1 beta.

Overview

A technique labeled “Masque Attack” allows an attacker to substitute malware for a legitimate iOS app under a limited set of circumstances.

Description

Masque Attack was discovered and described by FireEye mobile security researchers.

[1] This attack works by luring users to install an app from a source other than the iOS App Store or their organizations’ provisioning system. In order for the attack to succeed, a user must install an untrusted app, such as one delivered through a phishing link.

This technique takes advantage of a security weakness that allows an untrusted app—with the same “bundle identifier” as that of a legitimate app—to replace the legitimate app on an affected device, while keeping all of the user’s data. This vulnerability exists because iOS does not enforce matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier. Apple’s own iOS platform apps, such as Mobile Safari, are not vulnerable.

Impact

An app installed on an iOS device using this technique may:

  • Mimic the original app’s login interface to steal the victim’s login credentials.
  • Access sensitive data from local data caches.
  • Perform background monitoring of the user’s device.
  • Gain root privileges to the iOS device.
  • Be indistinguishable from a genuine app.

Solution

iOS users can protect themselves from Masque Attacks by following three steps:

  1. Don’t install apps from sources other than Apple’s official App Store or your own organization.
  2. Don’t click “Install” from a third-party pop-up when viewing a web page.
  3. When opening an app, if iOS shows an “Untrusted App Developer” alert, click on “Don’t Trust” and uninstall the app immediately.

Further details on Masque Attack and mitigation guidance can be found on FireEye’s blog [1]. US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

References

Revision History

  • November 13, 2014: Initial Release

ACL: Request for Applications – Targeted Technical Assistance to Build Business Capacity for LTC

Request for Applications – Targeted Technical Assistance to Build the Business Capacity of Community-Based Aging and Disability Organizations for Integrated Services Partnerships

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is announcing an opportunity for up to ten (10) networks of community-based aging and disability organizations to participate in a learning collaborative and receive targeted technical assistance related to business acumen. Applicants must be seeking to build their business capacity and align their service capabilities in order to contract with integrated healthcare entities to provide community-based long-term services and supports and/or evidence-based preventive health programs and services.  ACL is particularly interested in working with networks that include a diverse mix of organizations that serve people with disabilities and older adults.  No direct funding will be provided through this initiative; rather, this collaborative will receive targeted technical assistance through a variety of different means, as noted within the announcement.

Applications must be submitted electronically via email toLauren.Solkowski@acl.hhs.gov by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on Monday, December 8, 2014.

14c Subminimum Wage Certificates-Talking Points

FARF-Rework-PRINT-REGSuzanne Sewell, President & CEO , Troy Strawder, Board Chair

On July 22, 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  The bill addresses unemployment across the spectrum – from vocational training, resume writing and English as a second language, to laid-off workers, disabled veterans and Americans with disabilities – the legislation casts a wide net through a host of federal government programs.  In terms of Americans with disabilities, the bill is aimed at helping to prepare a new generation of young people with disabilities to succeed in competitive employment and predominantly impacts individuals with disabilities who are 24 years old and younger.  This “new generation” will be required to first try vocational rehabilitation services before they are permitted to work in jobs paying less than the federal minimum wage.  The bill is compatible with Florida’s Employment First Initiative which Florida ARF supports.

Meanwhile, Congressman Gregg Harper of Mississippi is sponsoring the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 (HR 831), that if passed, would phase out 14(c) special wage certificates under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 over a three year period.  The bill has 94 sponsors and additional members of congress are poised to sign on.  In Florida, six members of the congressional delegation have already signed onto the bill – Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor, Ander Crenshaw, Alcee Hastings, Daniel Webster, and Dennis Ross.

Now more than ever, the insights and viewpoints of Floridians with disabilities and their representatives are essential to the policy discussions going on at the national level.  As we know, one size does not fit all.  Many Community Rehabilitation Provider Agencies serve diverse constituencies and it is imperative that we make sure our congressional leaders are provided with a balanced perspective on the concerns and merits of center-based work experiences and 14(c) certificates and the need for more oversight of the programs at the federal levels.  A number of variables play into the current equation including funding mechanisms, appropriate budget allocations and limits to disability compensations making it imperative that our congressional leaders recognize the true complexity of these issues.

We believe employees with disabilities and their representatives are the ones who should explain their experiences and tell their personal stories and that their representatives will hear and understand the complexities of the pending policy issues best when it comes from their own constituents.

Congressional Education Campaign

Florida ARF will be assisting its member agencies and interested parties with a campaign to educate members of the Florida Congressional delegation about the long-term implications of the policy decisions they are currently addressing.  We encourage recipients and community rehabilitation providers to demonstrate real-life examples of how the proposed legislation to phase out 14 (c) would impact Floridians with disabilities in each congressman and woman’s district.

Collecting Authentic, Florida Stories

First and foremost, the campaign will involve telling the stories of employees throughout the state about their experiences in center-based employment environments and 14(c) employment opportunities and what they and their caregivers would be doing if the programs were eliminated.

Even though we support federal legislation and Employment First trends for younger employees with disabilities for youth transitioning out of school, we still need to feature current employees that would not be served outside of their current environments so that every individual with a significant disability has employment options.  Therefore, we have developed a form to help your staff document the unique stories of the individuals they serve who receive 14 (c) subminimum wages.

Developing the Packet and Case Statement

With collaboration and final approval from each participating agency, staff will develop a packet of the top stories.  The packet will also include white papers from appropriate sources, a Florida ARF position paper, and other relevant materials developed in collaboration with staff from a member agency.

Schedule Visits to Congressional District Offices

The Florida ARF Grassroots webpage contains information on how to set up Congressional appointments and a link to each US Senator and Representative serving Florida.  Whenever possible, these visits should include employees with disabilities, their families, and other stakeholders on the scheduled visit to the congressional office.  Remember, the purpose of the visit is to ensure that each congressional office hears directly from the community that will be impacted by the pending policy changes and what repercussions it will have on both the employee and the employee’s caregivers’ quality of life.

Let’s make a difference nationally and empower all Floridians with disabilities to validate the current merits of their employment!