Issues caused by lag in timely information during transition
HARRISBURG (Jan. 10, 2013) – PCG Public Partnerships, LLC (PPL) is committed to Pennsylvanians who count on home-based services to live independently, and also to their direct care workers.
PPL was contracted through a competitive bidding process by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help modernize its participant-directed services program that provides home and community-based assistance for Medicaid enrollees. In doing so our goal has been to conduct a transition that is as efficient, effective and seamless as possible. PPL began its work with the state on January 1.
PPL is working aggressively to resolve issues and so far has been able to pay more than 10,000 direct care workers who faced hold ups and has had 89,050 conversations with Pennsylvania participants and direct care workers over the course of more than 13,360 customer service staff hours.
Another major goal of the change in the way the program is handled is to make certain participants have more choices in their care, enabling them to hire, train, and set the wage rates for their attendants within the Commonwealth’s rules.
We aim to make the program consistent across the Commonwealth and to ensure that it meets all federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. In addition, the program is being redesigned to make all of the rules transparent to participants, giving them 24/7 online access to their personal care attendant account. By making these improvements, PPL will help ensure the long-term viability of this program in Pennsylvania, supporting its growth and accountability.
To meet the January 1 deadline to begin managing payroll services for the program, PPL had to quickly incorporate data files from 37 former fiscal/employer agencies (F/EAs) into our system. The transition period has been a challenge for many of these F/EAs. Some had difficulty turning over data by specified deadlines. Many did not have the systems capability to transfer electronic files. Some agencies have flat-out refused to hand over their data to PPL. And much of the data PPL received did not conform to the required specifications. All of these issues caused some delays in our transition plan, but PPL has been working diligently to go through the data it has received, with the primary goal of ensuring that all participants are enrolled with accurate information and that their attendants can be paid accurately and on time.
We recognize that this has been a challenging transition period for 20,000 Pennsylvania program participants who are experiencing change. We also know it has been difficult for the direct care providers.
PPL has been notifying participants that it is hosting multiple weekly in-person information sessions in each region on the changes. These sessions will continue through January. PPL customer service phone line hours extend beyond the Commonwealth’s requirement of 40 hours per week to 64 hours per week: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To assure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible for participants, we have developed a Transition Advisory Group with the Department of Public Welfare to include the input of consumers, service coordinators, Area Agencies on Aging, and Centers for Independent Living as we work through this process.
PPL commends its client, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), for undertaking this large, complex project despite the potential for short term delays. Ultimately, the modernization of this program will give participants more choice, will allow the DPW to manage public funds more efficiently, and will ensure the long term viability of a program that is critical for many Pennsylvanians.