The existing Self-Direction model is onerous, complex, and challenging to navigate for families and the individuals we serve. Currently, families and individuals navigate upwards of 10 to 15 service types, all governed by differing regulations and administrative memorandum, using different forms and templates. As a result, a significant amount of provider time is spent developing, obtaining, reviewing, and correcting documents required by the multiple service types including mileage reimbursements, timesheets, vouchers, vendor/contactor invoices, monthly notes, and expenditure reports. It is unreasonable to expect families to understand this complex myriad of system requirements, and it is a drain on provider resources to administer them.
There also continues to be salary disparity between self-hired staff and staff hired by provider agencies. This exacerbates the difficulty providers have recruiting and retaining skilled employees.
The Arc New York is also concerned with the complexity of “joint employer authority” status between an individual with self-hired staff and the voluntary provider. Roles in ensuring employee pay and benefits, training, supervision, and disciplinary actions are often complicated by this joint relationship, and results in provider agencies bearing the full billing and employment risk with virtually no reasonable controls over the individuals and families who participate in Self-Direction.
The Arc New York supports the Self-Direction service model, but believes a simpler model that is easier to navigate and administer is the only way this program will see long-term success and utilization. We advocate that OPWDD simplify all requirements related to programming, payment, and claiming for Self-Directed services.