Are you thankful for Medicaid?

Author: Lainey Morrow, Medicaid Saves Lives’ Founder

It’s customary this time of year to count our blessings, and there’s one in particular that millions of Americans shouldn’t forget: Medicaid. 

If you’re a recipient (or know a recipient), think for a second what your life would be like without Medicaid.

My little girl qualifies for TEFRA because of her diagnosis, and she’s thriving because Medicaid gives her treatments like therapy and medicines that we simply can’t afford. Medicaid not only helps her day-to-day, but it’s also giving her a future where she may someday be able to live on her own and provide for herself. Because of Medicaid, she can climb stairs, say that she wants a drink, draw a line, feed herself with a spoon, and sit quietly with other students around a table. When I think of life without Medicaid, I see many who would be crushed under personal debt and suffering without hope.

If you’re thankful for Medicaid, please tell those who make our state and national policies, especially if you need to continue receiving it.

This is the perfect time of year to let our lawmakers know that we’re thankful for Medicaid. Why? Because it’s improving and even saving lives! I ask you to take a moment, and write your elected officials a note. Even better, include a photo. Tell them why Medicaid is important to you. If writing several is overwhelming, just start with one. 

You can also post on social media about why Medicaid is important to you using the hashtag #thankful4Medicaid to help others see why Medicaid is so important.

We need to tell everyone the great things that Medicaid does and who it helps. People need to hear this positive message. By sending notes, calling, and posting on social media, we are clearly communicating that we still need Medicaid, and we’re directly asking the people in charge to continue funding Medicaid for us.

Let’s flood our government with letters and calls this holiday season!

Arkansas Only

Contact any elected official in the US!

Independent Assessment: How to Be Prepared

Every single person who is a Tier 2 or Tier 3 and receives Medicaid services for a Developmental disability or a Behavioral health issue will undergo an Independent Assessment. This means you need to understand what it is and what will happen. MSL has gathered some resources to help you be prepared:


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

First of all, you’re probably asking, which Tier am I in? Click the link to find out!

If you are Tier 2 or 3, you will receive a notification letter about your assessment. It may come from a company you don’t recognize, but make sure to look for a letter and read carefully for the words Independent Assessment. Once you receive a letter, you will soon receive a phone call to schedule a meeting.

You are allowed to take people with you in these assessments, such as a parent or provider. The assessment itself can take from one hour to three hours. It is critical carefully consider and answer the questions because they determine your Tier placement.

Once your assessment is finished, you will have to wait to receive results. Once they are compiled, both you and your primary provider will receive a copy.


THINGS THAT CAN HELP

DHS has released the following resources to assist you or a loved one in preparation for these Independent Assessments. MSL has gathered it all in one place for you:

  • Read the full assessment itself in PDF form
  • View a presentation to explain the DDS changes
  • View a presentation on IAs for providers
  • Read the training that has been sent to PCPs

The two power point presentations may be of help what is taking place within the DD service system.  Additional information may also be found at the following website https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/general/programs/passe.aspx.

Click on each image to access the resource.

The Full Independent Assessment people will get:Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 11.34.00 AM


Presentation for Individuals, Families, and Staff:

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Presentation for Providers:

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Training that was sent to all PCPs:

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Previous related MSL posts:

Independent Assessment Manuals

 

 

What Tier Would I Be Placed In?

Certain people who receive Medicaid through Developmental Disability Services and/or Behavioral Health Services will be contacted about an Independent Assessment – only Tiers 2 and 3. Read the following situations to decide where you might fit:

Developmental Disability Service Tiers

Tier 1:
Individual receives DD services under the Medicaid State Plan (DDTCS, CHMS, therapy, etc.), but does not
meet ICF/IID level of care eligibility

Tier 2:
Individual meets ICF/IID level of care eligibility, but does not currently require 24 hours/day of paid support
and services to maintain his or her current placement

Tier 3:
Individual meets ICF/IID level of care eligibility and does require 24 hours/day of paid support and services to maintain his or her current placement


Behavioral Health Services Tiers

Tier 1: Counseling

Time-limited services provided by a qualified licensed practitioner in an outpatient setting to assess and
treat mental health and/or substance abuse conditions

Tier 2: Rehabilitative

Home and community-based services with care coordination including a full array of professional and para- professional services for individuals with higher needs. Services provided by certified behavioral health agency staff members.

Tier 3: Residential

Services provided in residential setting for individuals with the highest need

Providers: Here’s Your DHS MMIS Resources HQ

The new MMIS system, which is what they at DHS use to pay Medicaid claims and more, went live on Wednesday. Since then, many providers have reported issues with the system. MSL is working with DHS to help your comments and concerns be heard. 

Here are all of the resources so far that DHS has shared to help solve your issues.


Here is a training webinar to help you:

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There is a list on their website that you can access.

The following is a list of all the posts that they have done on Facebook collected in one place:

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Watch the Facebook Live in which a team of DHS staff and DXC staff attempted to answer questions live. Lainey with MSL collected provider questions and delivered them to the panel.

They weren’t able to answer questions in detail, and hopefully they will do that in the webinar on the morning of 11/8/17. If you can’t attend the webinar, they are recording it for you to be able to view later.
During the facebook live session, DHS shared the following links:

  • You can learn how to upgrade PES: HERE
  • To reach out to us to address those common syntax error, call the local number is 501-376-2211 and the 800 number is 800-457-4454.
  • Need to know how to get a trading partner ID? Go HERE
  • Hub for MMIS news Click HERE.

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Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 3.37.36 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 3.37.49 PM

Updated PASSE Information

Click the image below to receive comprehensive, updated information on the PASSE systems (as of October 2017). The deadlines have been updated, and if you were wondering what the purpose of the model is, here’s your chance to find out!

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Three PASSEs were officially certified on October 18: Arkansas Advanced Care, ARkansas Total Care and Empower Healthcare Solutions. Read more about them in the image below:

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Input Needed: INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENTS

Next week, our Founder Lainey Morrow will be meeting with DDS Director Melissa Stone, BHS Director Paula Stone, and Optum (the company doing the Independent Assessments).

They are going to answer our questions about Independent Assessments and explain the whole process. What questions would you like for Lainey to ask them?

Also, they plan to provide training on the IA process, so you can know what to expect. They’ve asked for feedback on which method each one of you would prefer. This doesn’t mean they promise to provide it in that way, but they want your input.

Use the form below to send your questions and input. If you don’t see an option that fits you, add your own.

 

Therapy Cap PA Requests: Q & A 


The PT, OT, and SH Association Presidents regularly meet with DHS and AFMC to discuss issues that providers have when requesting Prior Authorizations (PAs) for children who need therapy over the 90-minute cap. These are the results of their latest meeting.

Keep track of your questions and email them to be discussed at the next meeting.


The Recap of ArkSHA, ArPTA, and AROTA meeting with AFMC and DDS on 08-25-17:

The following are issues raised by members of ArkSHA, ArPTA and AROTA, and responses from AFMC and DDS.

Issue: Shifting of Units Between Therapist and Assistant

There are still questions regarding the length of time it is taking to shift units from PT/OT/ST to PTA/COTA/SLPA and vice versa. AFMC reports that following completion of the large number of DMS-640 form validations AFMC received many change requests to prior authorizations. AFMC encouraged their staff to continue to process initial DMS-640 validations and that all changes would need to be checked before processing. Currently, AFMC states that they are about 10 days out on corrections and Jarrod McClain, AFMC Director for Clinical Review, indicated that their staff are working diligently to get the updates made as quickly as possible. The updates to the PA’s flow to DXC each night and providers can start billing immediately upon receipt of the changes.

In addition, Jarrod stated that AFMC is working to decrease the timeframe for corrections but they have to ensure that they are getting the correct request ID modified. According to Jarrod, it takes a few days to check and update the claims data extract file. If providers continue to see a delay, please contact Jarrod McClain at AFMC. He will personally see that his staff checks on the status of their request and get it processed.

Issue: Use of evaluations from preschool programs to kindergarten

There was concern from many members as to how long their evaluations will be valid in a schools setting. The consensus is that if the evaluation utilized is an evaluation conducted by a non-educational agency, or by a provider who is not contracted by an educational agency, then the evaluation is good for one year. If an educational agency or a contractor of the educational agency conducted the evaluation, then the evaluation falls under the school-based evaluation criteria of every 3 years.

Issue: Some prior authorizations were only approved after sending in a cover sheet restating information included in the evaluation.

AFMC was aware of this issue and is working to improve their processes for approval. In the meantime, providers are encouraged to highlight justification for medical necessity in the evaluative reports, including statements about how the services recommended are under accepted standards of practice to treat the patient’s condition, how services are complex and will require the skilled services of a qualified therapist, and a statement about therapy prognosis (See Medicaid Manual Section II). Though a cover letter outlining these justifications is not required, providers are encouraged to consider using a cover letter attached to the evaluation to make these medical necessity statements more salient for reviewers.

Issue: Are reviewers actually reading the evaluations or just looking for technical language?

AFMC assured us that they are reading all evaluations. They perform both technical and administrative reviews in order to ensure that all requirements of the evaluative reports are included, as well as a medical necessity review to ensure that justification for medically based services is included.

Issue: I heard that AFMC was using nurse reviewers and not experienced pediatric therapists in each discipline. Is this true?

AFMC utilizes registered nurses to perform the initial reviews of all PA requests. If a request is denied than the request is assessed by an experienced licensed therapists specific to the discipline. If the therapist agrees with the denial it is then sent to a board certified pediatric physician for final review. If a provider does not agree with the denial or would like to request reconsideration they may do so by resubmitting the request.

Issue: What about beneficiaries who receive services from multiple providers for the same service?

AFMC and DDS continue to emphasize the need for care coordination for beneficiaries with multiple providers of the same modality (physical, occupational or speech therapy). Dr. Chad Rodgers, AFMC Medical Director, attended our meeting and reported that the pediatricians and PCPs he has been in contact with are interested in understanding what situations justify the appropriate signing off on multiple prescriptions. He asserts that although he can’t speak for all physicians he personally looks at every request for therapy services before signing them. He recognized that it is difficult to for most physicians to understand why a child needs multiple services. He and assistant director of DDS Elizabeth Pittman stated that it would be beneficial to state on the DMS-640 the specific need for a particular service and that the beneficiary will need the services of multiple therapists. AFMC and DDS are considering a change to the DMS-640 forms in the future to accommodate the different services provided within one discipline. Elizabeth Pittman reported that the new MMIS system (which has an anticipated implementation of summer of 2018) will be less burdensome on providers and will have the ability to disclose is the beneficiary is receiving services from other providers. Until then, providers need to ask during the intake process if the recipient is receiving therapy services from any other provider, and then coordinate as needed. According to Jarrod McClain, only 10 providers have bumped into challenges with the multiple provider issues thus far.

Issue: For short term scripts (i.e. ortho docs who write for 2-6 weeks) that then need an extension once the patient has had a follow-up recheck. What is the most efficient way to keep PA’s from having to be unnecessarily done?

Providers can simply go into Review Point, and click the extend button. The codes will be transferred over and the new prescription can be uploaded. Information about the progress of the patient and continued medical necessity should be included with the extension.

Issue: It has come to the attention of AFMC and DDS that some facilities are sending notices to parents that they should not allow services for their child in the school due to the need for a PA if the school and independent facility are both treating the beneficiary.

Although Medicaid is a “medical” assistance program, it recognizes the importance of school-based services. The federal Medicaid program actually encourages states to use funds from their Medicaid program to help pay for certain healthcare services that are delivered in the schools, providing that federal regulations are followed. The associations stand with AFMC and DDS that sending notices to parents regarding billing for services between schools and independent clinics is not recommended. IDEA laws require schools to provide services to beneficiaries if needed for educational purposes. Schools also must provide therapy that is medically necessary. Therapy services outside of the school setting should not replicate services provided by therapists contracted or working with the school.

Issue: A representative at DHS has stated that physical therapy re-eval codes are no longer a valid code as of July 1st. Has anything changed in the recent rule change?

Reevaluation codes are not currently and haven’t been a reimbursable code. The two billable codes for physical therapy services are 97001 and 97110.

Waiver Waiting List – Important News for “the 500”


In February 2017, DHS notified 500 people that they would be receiving the funding to come off of the waiver waiting list this year. They sent paperwork for each recipient to fill out. In July, they sent another letter.

As of today, barely 250 people have responded, and the rest are in danger of losing their chance to come off the waiting list.

Our state DHS had to request the additional 500 slots from a federal agency, and that agency, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, finally granted it on August 22, 2017. In the meantime, DHS sent another letter this summer in order to reach the rest of the people who have not yet responded. They also began working on plans of care for those who have responded. Once a person responds, it will take 60-90 days to set up the Independent Assessment, the staff required for the plan of care, supplies, and possible residencies. 

If you have already been communicating about your plan of care, you will most likely see some progress in September to October. It is important to note that the federal approval was holding up progress. If you had chosen the company who you’d like to work with, please know that they were only notified as soon as the federal approval came through. You should be hearing from them soon.

 Those of you in the 500 who were notified in February should receive DHS’ final letter in the coming days. If you have not yet responded to DHS about your spot in the top 500, they will also attempt to reach you by phone. If they can’t reach you by phone, they will remove you from the list of 500 and move on to the next people waiting. 

If you have questions about this, you can’t simply call any office. You must call these specific people:

– For the status of applications:
Merinesa Morris
(501) 683-0571

– For all other questions:
Regina Davenport
(501) 683-0575

If you are a person on the waiting list, a caregiver, or a provider of someone on the list, please share this to ensure that this information gets to the correct people.

Here is a copy of the letter that will be going out:


Public Comment: New 0-5yo Screener

A new developmental screener will now be REQUIRED to determine if a child is eligible to go to rehabilitation centers like Easter Seals, Access, the Allen School, Peds Plus, etc.

Public comment ends tonight on this rule change – August 12, 2017! Take this chance to comment on rules that affect you! Read the manuals for things that might affect you, and then send your comments and questions to Shelby.Maldonado@dhs.arkansas.gov. Make sure to tell her which documents below you’re commenting on. If you need any help, just watch a video tutorial below.

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Here are the important Screener Rule changes that you might want to read:

DDS Standards for Certification, Investigation and Monitoring – Redline DDS-Stnds-Redline.doc DDS STANDARDS for Certification, Investigation, an Monitoring for Center-Based Community Services  1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info
CHMS-2-17 Provider Manual Update CHMS-2-17up.doc CHMS Manual mark up with changes. 1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info
DDTCS-2-17 Provider Manual Update DDTCS-2-17up.doc DDTCS Manual mark up with changes. 1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info

 


 

EXAMPLE OF COMMENTS SENT:
My public comment on the new screen:
DDS-Stnds-Redline.doc – Section 502.R, 504.A
CHMS-2-17up.doc – Section 203.100 C2, 217, 218.300, 241.000 B6, 242.000 A,
DDTCS-2-17up.doc – 202.000 B

I am concerned about the lack of details, such as what type of screen this will be. How can a short screen determine whether my child’s functionality would benefit from day habilitation? Also, I ask for the credentials of the people performing the screen to be qualified clinicians.

I’m concerned that parents and physicians need training to ensure that disruption in services does not occur.

My public comment on the Opt in/Opt Out:
CHMS-2-17up.doc – Section 206,
DDTCS-2-17up.doc – 203.000, 204.000, 214.131A, 214.132, 215.100D,

I am concerned that in Opting out, a parent must relinquish the child’s IDEA rights for as long as the child attends that center and/or as long as that center chooses to be opted out. Ok top of that, I’m concerned that services could be disrupted, especially if a parent chooses not to relinquish those rights and must find another place of service. Also, this may remove the freedom of choice for the parent if there is not another place of service nearby. Last, I’m concerned that disruption of services might occur as a child is transitioned into the school system.

I’m concerned that parents, therapists, educators, and advocates need training to ensure that disruption in services does not occur.


Use this form below, and it will go to the correct DHS representative.