June 23, 2017: DDD Procedural Clarification on “Fee for Service” by Post 21 Club
If you’re a parent who lives in New Jersey and you care for one or more adult children with Autism, you’re used to changes in the DDD support system every few years. Here’s what you’ve seen, heard, or dealt with: “Self Determination”…”Real Life Choices”….”Self-Directed Services”. Now, “Fee-for-Service” is set for implementation!
What does “Fee-for-Service” mean? Potentially a good thing, as it is coincident with the onset of “Tier Funding”, which for some affected individuals means funding levels more appropriateness to their functioning levels. Funding and provided services are more tightly linked, presumably increasing service value delivered “per dollar”.
Right now there appears to be a gap of understanding. Many Providers and participants think it means that Program and Service Providers need to set staff and resources aside to keep time records taken at 15 minute intervals during each weekday. Nothing can be further than the truth.
“Fee-for-Service” was adopted by the State Division of Developmental Disabilities as a way to facilitate choice and flexibility for Parents, and to foster competition between Program and Service providers. Recently, when asked about the additional burden of keeping records at 15-minute intervals, the DDD desk (at the Phoenix House Provider Fair in Nutley, NJ) clarified that that was not the intention. For example, if a given program lasts for, say, 4 hours, the paperwork is appropriately adjusted so that the Provider does not have file repetitive and redundant paperwork. This is contrary to the current understanding of many Providers.
Indeed, many Program and Service providers are already girding for additional paperwork that would more resemble the arduous internal timekeeping in a busy law firm than the back office of an Autism program or service provider. Providers should circle back with the DDD and re-clarify and confirm proper paperwork procedures under the new Fee-for-Service structure, prior to possibly squandering precious resources under a possible procedural mis-understanding.