Core Rehabilitation Services Pre-Bidders Q/A

Question Response

General Contract Questions

1. Will Unified Contracted Services (UCS) end 0ctober 2013and will Core Rehabilitation Services (CRS) start as of October 2013? Unified Contracted Services (UCS) will end 3 months early on 09/30/2013 and Supported Employment contracts will end 1 year early on 09/30/2013. Core Rehabilitation Services (CRS) contracts will begin 10/01/2013. Any current UCS or SE vendor who would like to be considered for a new CRS contract must reapply.
2. What is the duration of the CRS contract? 5 years.
3. Will there be modifications to the contract annually asthere have been with the current UCS contract? Response not finalized at this time.
4. Will this new contract give vendors more consistencybetween ACCES VR offices? ACCES-VR’s goal is to improve the quality of services provided and enhance consistency of services offered across the state. Service definitions have been expanded and clarified. Staff and vendor training are planned.
5. Will the consumer be able to receive other services underCRS if they receive SE or UCS? Consumer services are determined based on the individual’s need and their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
6. Can you provide any more detail on how the SE vs. UCSservices will appear under CRS? Will there still bedistinctions between the SE type services in which aperson must meet certain eligibility criteria vs. UCS inwhich the eligibility criteria are less stringent? Supported Employment is a Core Rehabilitation Service and so will now be included in CRS with other core services currently purchased under the UCS contract. Please refer to the CRS Guide for the list of nine service categories including Job Placement and Supported Employment Services. There are no changes to policy and procedure ACCES-VR uses to determine VR service needs with a consumer. The requirements for SE are set by federal regulation and have not changed. Please refer to the CRS Guide and ACCES-VR Policy and Procedure for any additional information.
7. Does each applicant have to apply to provide all theseservices? Or can one choose to apply to provide onlysome of the services? No. An applicant will indicate on their application the services they are applying to provide, the DO or region where they can provide them and the quantity. Note Applicants will only be considered for services they request; i.e. Job Placement Services; you must indicate the number of units, by case service code, you are able to provide. 
8. Is the $75,000 minimum per contract year or for the 5 year contract? Response not finalized at this time.
9. Providers note that VRCs from different ACCES-VR district offices (DO) and regions have varying interpretations of how to use each case service. Will this be addressed? Yes. The CRS Guide provides more complete descriptions which will help to make service provision more uniform. VRCs all attended an information session and extensive training is planned for later in the spring.
10. With UCS ending 09/30/13, will funding be cut? Funding is not changed but in most cases the contract will be under spent. Local DOs will work with you to transition to the new contract.
11. How will the current UCS and SE contracts be rolled over to CRS? What provisions have been developed to assure provider cash flow will be preserved? Will SE milestone payments be made for consumers who are “in the process”? ACCES-VR is developing a general protocol to transition from existing contracts to CRS. VRCs will develop a specific plan for each consumer. 
12. Authorizing all 6 SE services appears efficient but will it encumber (tie up) a great deal of money?  For contracted services (like CRS) monies are encumbered at the contract level not when consumer services are authorized.
13. Will there be any change in funding for Supported Employment Extended and can any additional slots be provided to vendors? SE Extended funding is fixed and so is not expected to increase. ACCES-VR will base allocations on critical need. 
14. For small agencies with out capacity for a $75,000 contract, will there be exceptions?  Response not finalized at this time.
15. Can performance based rates be negotiated at the provider level by providing factors, such as provider cost information, regional cost variations, and disability groups served? Or are the rates set in stone? No. There will be no individually negotiated performance based rates.
16. Recent college graduates have made good job coaches. Will there be any exception to the Job Coach qualification requiring two years of experience?  Staffing Requirements have been updated for job coaches. College degree & two year of experience or supervised by a masters level counselor. SE vendors are expected to make use of the ACCES-VR funded Supported Employment Training for their job developers and coaches. 
17. Collaborative partnerships - How will ACCES-VR view collaborative partnerships? Partnerships are essential for SE services and providing extended services. Collaboration with schools for Youth Employment Services (YES) will be viewed as enhancing the bid application. 
18. Sub-contracting- Previous contracts have prohibited subcontracting for SE but UCS allowed up to 25%. Will this change with CRS? Response not finalized at this time.
19. WIA Disability Employment Initiatives (DEI) projects have  Response not finalized at this time.
20. Is ACCES-VR actively recruiting new vendors particularly for underserved populations? Yes. ACCES-VR is looking for new providers who address underserved populations as well as vendors from trade organization and our sister agencies’ providers. A Request for Information (RFI) was also posted in the NYS Contract Reporter in order to attract new vendors. 
21. Is the “bonus” payment rate determined by which region the consumer resides in or where the vendor’s headquarters are?  The bonus is determined by which region the vendor’s home office is head quartered. For those vendors outside of NYS, the rate for the closest region will be used.
22. Why does Region 1 receive a higher direct placement rate than Region 2 & 3? The rate for direct placement and quality bonus is the same for all regions.
23. Why was the deaf rate removed for SE and CSC 113X vocational evaluation? Some under utilized case service codes were removed from the services available under CRS. Some separate deaf rates were removed due to lack of use and to streamline. There is currently no deaf rate in the current SE contract.
24. Drop-Out Documentation - The ex-felon population is difficult to work with and frequently results in drop outs. What is the drop out rate? Drop-out rates are explained in the CRS Guide; page 5.
25. Will there be a “no-show” rate as there is now in UCS? Will it operate the same; bill once and case is closed?  Yes. Please refer to the CRS Guide page 5.
26. Provide clarification on drop out payments/rates for non-compliant consumers.  Refer to the above response. Note that No-shows are different than Drop-outs; refer to the CRS Guide; page 5.
27. If a vendor bills for a no show, is the case closed with ACCES-VR? If yes, are there exceptions. Upon billing for a no-show, the remaining amount of the authorization becomes null and void. While a ‘no show’ for services may be considered, case closure is not determined based on
28. After the initial contract allocations are made will there be flexibility to move funds within the contract between what has been UCS and SE?  Response not finalized at this time. 
29. How will current contractors who have exceeded their contracts be treated when new contract allocations are made?  Response not finalized at this time. 
30. Will providers who may be under utilized in the final year of the current contract be penalized during the allocation process for the new contract? Response not finalized at this time. 
31. When ACCES-VR allocates ‘units’, is this a dollar amount and will it be based on historical data with the vendor?  Response not finalized at this time. 
32. Will there be a way to ‘grow’ new providers? Response not finalized at this time.
33. Under what conditions will a new vendor be allocated a maximum dollar amount? Response not finalized at this time. 
34. SE Extended: Will SE providers need to “renew” or initiate a new agreements for SE Extended Services with ACCES-VR?  No. If already known to ACCES-VR, no further action is required for ACCES-VR. New providers should refer to the CRS Guide page 26 for additional information.
35. The CRS Guide (pg 26) indicates that to be eligible to provide supported employment the applicant must have an extended services funding agreement in place or have 3 year of experience providing SE. Can a new applicant provide this service if they don’t have an agreement in place or 3 years of experience? No. An agreement for extended services funding or 3 years of experience is the minimum qualification. 
36. Can Quality Outcome Payments be negotiated? I know they are designed to be a "bonus" for higher quality outcomes but some of the enhanced outcomes are difficult at best to achieve based on populations served and our current labor market No. ACCES-VR is committed to improve the quality of employment outcomes for our consumers. The bonus is meant to encourage this. The wage requirements for the SE and direct placement bonuses fall around the 200% of federal poverty level. There is no penalty to providers for not achieving the bonus wage requirement.
37. Is the CRS designed to allow for flexibility? Can people receiving services and their providers choose the components that are necessary to successfully achieve their employment goals? An example of this might be the blending of Work Readiness Services (soft skills training), with Work Experience Development, Coaching supports (not job placement related) and then Supported Employment (Pre-Employment/job development)? A determination of eligibility for VR services is not a guarantee of the provision of specific services or of ACCES-VR's financial support. Although consumers play a major role in determining their vocational rehabilitation programs and ACCES-VR values providers’ input, it is the VRC’s responsibility to review, approve and purchase services included on the IPE. 
38. Will CRS allow for providers to provide services in groups? Yes. Services offered to groups include but are not limited to: Entry Level 1 (Group Orientation), Diagnostic Vocational Evaluation (DVE)/ Community Based Situation Assessment (CBA) CSC 110X, Work Readiness 1 and 2 and Supported Employment when provided in enclaves and mobile work crews. 
39. Does CRS contain incentives for providers to serve individuals who require an intensity and duration of services beyond the norm for a provider? No. SE rates were developed based on the average cost and length of service. Individuals’ services then may take more or less time than the average. Note: The new forms for referral and reporting should help to better identify 4 impediments to employment, consumer’s needs and available supports. Communication with the VRC is encouraged to identify any additional community or VR services.
40. Will any local technical assistance be available regarding the application?  No. State procurement laws prohibit ACCES-VR from speaking to vendors once the RFP is released. General application information will be included in the RFP. Technical assistance can only be provided before the RFP is released. 

Entry Services

1. How is the ‘group’ defined for Entry Service 1?  This is ACCES-VR’s ‘Group Orientation’ session provided to individuals who are not yet active with ACCES-VR. Payment is made after submitting a roster of individuals who participated in the session.
2. Will Entry Services Level 1 or 2 be authorized to vendors who are awarded this service? In the past contract awards were not actualized with authorizations and vendors were unable to tap into this revenue source. Utilization of particular services is based on the district office and consumer need. 

Assessment Services

1. Was the Functional Capacity Evaluation eliminated? Functional Capacity Evaluations are used frequently by some providers with consumers with significant orthopedic conditions (especially workers comp) to determine appropriateness of employment goals or ability to perform certain jobs. Currently under UCS, ACCES-VR uses CSC 109X. What is the Specialty Medical Exam that was referenced at the info session? Under 109X vendors had been receiving $128/hour. No. FCE is still available but not as a Core Rehabilitation Service. FCEs are considered a specialty medical exam or comprehensive functional appraisal and funded through regular authorization at the Medicaid rate. Recommended to use CSC 052X Functional Appraisal, Comprehensive. 
2. Staffing qualifications appear to require advanced education and experience for the DVE (110X) and CBWA (112X), which will be costly to the vendor for the rate given for the service by ACCES VR.  Staffing qualifications for Evaluators were established in the NYS Commissioner of Education regulations and so can not be changed by ACCES-VR.
3. What is the core difference between Level I and Level II Assessment services? Level I Assessment is typically provided in a group setting for up to 15 days while Level II Assessment is individualized and authorized for 10- 20 hours. Refer to the CRS Guide pages 11- 14.
4. DOL provides access to CareerZone and JobZone. Will ACCES-VR consider directing mandatory use of these tools? No. ACCES-VR will not purchase an assessment that is available to the general public for free.
5. Was the Community Based Work Assessment eliminated? No. The Diagnostic Vocational Evaluation (DVE)/Community Based Situational Assessment (CBA) 110X was re-defined and CSC 111X was eliminated. Community Based Work Place Assessment (CBWA) 112X is still available. CSC 110X or 112X can be used to help determine if SE is the most appropriate service but is not required or expected to be used routinely for this purpose. 
6. Is CBWA available to consumers who need supported employment? CBWA is available based on the VRC’s determination and is not expected to be routinely provided for determining supported employment need. 
7. How flexible will ACCES-VR be regarding staff qualifications for the provision of CBWA?  The NYS Commissioner of Education Regulations defines the minimum requirements for individuals providing assessment services and is not expected to change.
8. For Assessment Level III, the service is to be provided at 'up to 10 hours'. Presently, this service has been capped at 5 hours. Will that continue to be the case or will the full 10 hours be allowed if needed?  The number of hours authorized will be determined by the VRC based on the consumer’s need. Expectations are that authorizations will be for 10 hours.
9. Regarding the Specialized Evaluation-Substance Abuse Evaluation under the level III Assessment, should consideration be given to separating that as a separate line of service? The ACCES-VR referral and/or service work sheet will provide more detailed information regarding the service requested. 
10. Is there a deaf rate for any assessment services? No but ACCES-VR provides an interpreter referral service when necessary. 

Work Readiness Services

1. CSC 620X Soft Skills Training - What is the rate for a 12 week Soft Skills Training program? Payment for 620X Soft Skills Training service is one half day with a standard authorization of up to 10 days at the rate of: Region 1- $50.00; Region 2- $50.00; Region 3- $50.00; Deaf Service Rate- $71.00 per day for Regions 1, 2 & 3 There is no 12 wk Soft Skills Training program. The standard authorization period for Work Readiness 3 is up to 60 days. Authorizations for consumers who have previously participated in Work Readiness 1– Soft Skills and/or Work Readiness 2– Skill development services with the same provider should not total more than 60 days when combined.
2. Please elaborate on plans to increase WAT services? Does this mean ACCES-VR will encourage VRCs to authorize for this service more frequently? Does this mean VR is interested in purchasing soft skill development services for consumers? We believe many of our consumers are unsuccessful in maintaining employment due to poor "soft skills" Consequently, we have sought to enrich this service to enable providers to offer this service in a more cost effective manner. It is our belief that as the service becomes more available it will be utilized by our counseling staff.
3. Are Work Readiness services meant to be linear? Work Readiness services are not linear. A vendor may offer 1, 2 or 3 of the Work Readiness services. A consumer is not required to participate in Work Readiness 1 or 2 to participate in Work Readiness 3.
4. Work Readiness 620X - Ex-felons require more time than the CRS Guide allows for this service. They also need anger management.  Standard authorization for 620X Work Readiness 1- Soft Skills Training is up to 10 days. Anger management is better addressed through community mental health services and not VR.
5. Work Readiness 620X- Can this service include basic computer, internet and email training, etc? No. Basic computer training, etc. may be offered under CSC 625X Work Readiness 2- Skill Development. 
6. Will CRS allow a vendor to hire former student’s part time to provide 620X Soft Skills Training? Yes. As long as employees meet the qualifications listed under ‘Staffing’ outlined in the CRS Guide; page 17. 
7. Can a vendor use work readiness services prior to supported employment? There may be instances when work readiness may be provided prior to supported employment based on the consumer’s need and VRC decision. SE is viewed as a place and train methodology and ACCES-VR would not routinely use work readiness with supported employment.
8. Can a person be enrolled in two services simultaneously, i.e. can soft skills 620x be used prior to supported employment referral. Can we use this as a decision maker to identify if the referral is appropriate? A consumer can receive multiple services under CRS. Based on the consumer’s need a VRC may request Work Readiness Soft Skills Development but it is unlikely it would be simultaneously with supported employment. Work Readiness is also not an Assessment Service and would not typically be used to determine the need for supported employment services.

Youth Employment Services

1. Will secondary students be eligible for YES between their Junior and Senior year? The individual services that make up the YES service group are not meant exclusively for transition age youth. But YES services for consumers in high school is recommended to be provided in the final year prior to exit from high school. 
2. Is YES a seasonal service or can it be offered year round? YES services can be offered year round but if the consumer is in school, services must accommodate the student’s academic program.
3. Can YES be provided during the school day? Yes but YES provision should accommodate an academic calendar as necessary. The school district will continue to be responsible for providing transition 7 planning and services. The inclusion of transition services in the Rehabilitation Act was not intended to shift the responsibility of service delivery from school districts to vocational rehabilitation during the transition years. 
4. How will ACCES-VR ensure no overlap between YES and those services mandated by the school district? And will CRS services be funded prior to students last semester? VR service is NOT intended to shift the responsibility of service delivery from school districts to VR during the transition years. VR services are provided based on eligibility. For VR, transition age youth are those individuals who apply before the age of 25. Eligible individuals may include special education students (above) but also students with 504 Plans, students who meet disability criteria under ADA, drop outs, etc. as long as they meet VR’s eligibility criteria. 
5. Is YES only for supported employment providers? No. An applicant should apply for all services they are interested in providing and meet the minimum qualifications.
6. Can the Transition Age Youth Codes be used for adults?  Services offered under the Youth Employment Services category may be available to all eligible ACCES-VR consumers and are not exclusive to transition age youth.
7. Career Assessments have been considered a valuable part of the transition process. BOCES students were routinely referred until two year ago when discontinued due to lack of funding. How does ACCES-VR determine which students receive career assessments and can this service be provided to BOCES students? YES services are available to all ACCES-VR eligible individuals. Eligibility is not a guarantee of a specific service or vendor but will be determined by the VRC based on the individual’s needs. YES is not intended to shift the responsibility of service delivery from school districts to vocational rehabilitation during the transition years. As per NYS Special Education, all students classified with a disability who are between the ages of 12.0 and 14.0 years of age as of September 1 of a given year will receive a Level 1 Career Assessment. First time students to special education over the age of 12 will also have a Level 1 performed regardless of their age. Level 2 and 3 Career Assessments are not mandated by regulation.
8. Is there a quality bonus for Coaching Supports 959X? No. CSC 959X Coaching Supports can be provided along with CSC 559X Work Experience Development. The Work Experience can be provided as a stand alone service or may be packaged with other placement services; i.e., WTO, OJT, work study or internship/externship. This service is not typically meant to result in long term employment. 
9. What is the difference between CSC 958X Provider-Assisted Community Work Experience and the work programs schools send students to?  CSC 958X provides the mechanism to provide a paid work experience for an individual when the employer is unable or unwilling to add the individual to their pay roll. Work experiences during high school have been found to result in better post 8 secondary employment outcomes. ACCES-VR and the school districts may help to provide work experiences. The inclusion of transition services in the Rehabilitation Act was not intended to shift the responsibility of service delivery from school districts to vocational rehabilitation during the transition years. 
10. CSC 958X Provider-Assisted Community Work Experience- $10 will not cover the cost of student wage, job coach support, guidance, administration to oversee the program and fees to maintain the program. $10 is only meant to cover the cost of the consumer’s wage (paid at minimum wage), withholding, employers fees and administrative costs. Job development can be funded under Work Experience Development 559X along with CSC 959X Coaching Supports if needed. 
11. The CRS Guide prohibits temp agencies but can a temp agency be used if the consumer is placed first to assess and then placed by a temp agency?  The CRS Guide restriction prohibits temp agencies from contracting with ACCES-VR to provide placement services for a fee when they would also and ordinarily collect a fee from an employer for hiring an individual. But as a community provider, you are not prohibited from using temp agencies to place consumers. 
12. For IJDs who want to provide YES, must they apply to provide all services?  No. An applicant is not required to provide every service but must check on their application every service they are interested in providing. 

Job Placement Services

1. How is “training” defined under CRS? CRS services are specifically designed for individuals with disabilities. Training available to the general public is not included under CRS. 
2. Can ACCES-VR pay for training on the job rather than through BOCES? ACCES-VR may provide on the job training (OJT) CSC 560X but some professions have specific training requirements that can not be met through an OJT. OJT is not a CRS service. 
3. Is OJT required to result in employment? While ACCES-VR hopes that apprenticeships, OJT and WTO may result in employment, they are not required to. But OJT is not part of CRS.
4. Work Experience Development 559X- How can unpaid work experience be offered? The individual must be paid or earn school credit or they will not be covered by the employer’s liability. CSC 559X is not a new service. Vendors must be aware of DOL requirements. ACCES-VR prefers paid work experience.
5. If a consumer’s case is closed and then reopened will the vendor receive a new payment for 921X Direct Placement Intake?  921X can not be re-authorized if the consumer was served within the last 12 months or the consumer has received training or work-readiness services from that vendor.
6. If a provider works with a consumer for some time and despite the best effort of both it does not work out, is there any payment for the provider? In this case the provider may receive payment for Direct Placement Intake 921X and Job Seeking and Job Development 929X when required reports are submitted. 
7. Under what circumstance can Job Seeking and Job  VRC’s decision; ½ unit of 929X may be authorized in the event that the 9 consumer loses his or her job at any point before 90 calendar days have been reached. Refer to the CRS Guide page 24. 
8. Direct Placements-(931X) Will there be any flexibility in the 35 hour week placement requirement? 35 hours per week is a standard. Number of work hours per week should be based on the individual’s employment factors, consumer choice and should be discussed with the VRC at referral.
9. Job Placement- Can you provide clarification on services “as defined by the consumer’s employer”? The consumer will have to have completed at least three work days. Work days are determined by the employer and so may include shift work and weekend work assignments. 
10. Provider Assisted Community Work Experience 958X - Will be more difficult for IJDs although they provide a quality service. Will they be able to provide this service? IJDs are not likely to be able to provide this service unless they work with another contracted provider or a payroll service. 
11. Coaching Supports (for employment) 959X Can this be coupled with SE Core Milestones?  No. Coaching Supports is provided for individuals who do not require on going supports like those provide through supported employment extended services. 
12. Why was the deaf service rate for Coaching Supports (959X) eliminated?  The deaf service rates for Coaching Supports (for employment) (959X) will remain in place. The deaf service rates for Adjunct Coaching Supports (not job placement related) (791X) have been eliminated. An error was made when preparing the crosswalk, which has been adjusted.
13. What are the requirements to provide direct placement services and be eligible to receive the deaf service rate? Refer to the CRS Guide; page 21- 26 for the service descriptions under Job Placement Services. In addition for deaf services, the vendor must provide a qualified interpreter as per NYS Commissioner of Education regulations.
14. Quality Bonus 933X - How does the vendor obtain 4 pay stubs (required deliverable) if consumer does not share due to privacy? It is the vendor’s responsibility to obtain verification of the consumer’s wages using either pay stubs for the last 4 weeks or other documentation from the employer of wages and hours worked. 
15. Quality Bonus 933X - How was the Direct Placement hourly rates established for upstate and down state?  Based on information developed by our Data Unit and review of NYS average wage for each County with in the two regions. 

Supported Employment Services 

1. QA/Monitoring Unit - Will the monitoring review process change? Yes. ACCES QA/Monitoring will share the revised process when available. ACCES-VR is in the process of reviewing forms and aligning with the new process.
2. Is the QA/Monitoring Unit review a fiscal review?  The QA/Monitoring Unit’s review is focused on program improvement. However, SED may conduct a fiscal audit by what ever means they deem necessary.
3. With the reporting changes, will the monitoring standard change? Yes. The ACCES QA/Monitoring Unit is working on updating the process and tools used to monitor. 
4. Will there be a better mechanism or process for providing feedback to the VRC? Yes. The new reporting system is less cumbersome and will facilitate communication and sharing of meaningful information. 
5. Did the research that went into developing the SE milestone model include input from consumers and will there be post input? Yes. Input from consumers was included for the initial process. ACCES-VR will consider how to obtain post implementation input form consumers. 
6. Which 4 states were reviewed for rate comparisons?  Alabama, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.
7. For new vendors, how should they determine the number of consumers to offer services for?  Should be based on the vendor’s capacity to provide SE services as described. You may also talk to the district office about their needs, un-served and underserved populations.
8. Was a formula used to develop the current and new SE rate?  Yes. A cost analysis was used and identified a 30% cost differential between upstate and downstate. The proposed rates maintain this differential. 
9. How were the base rates for the milestones established? Research was completed through the following methodologies:
  1. Qualitative interviews with other states
  2. Existing archival data bases
  3. Quantitative review of surveys with providers
  4. Review of the literature for existing programs
  5. Multiple Simulations run on the data listed above within the context of a variety of Milestone designs

In addition to research, an Agency budget, estimated service numbers and achievement levels were used to establish base rates. 

10. It seems that the amount of time to provide job development and onsite coaching prior to stabilization is cut down since the 90 day clock starts with the first day of employment. Did you consider this when developing the rates? Yes. We looked at how many hours the milestones equated to during this time period, and found that in comparison to the funding in 2010-2011, the projection for payment (in dollars or hourly equivalent) is appreciably higher in the new Milestones SE design notwithstanding the change in the start time for extended services.
11. Rates - What are the SE group rates? Group rates are reduced to ½ the rate for placement in enclaves and mobil work crews.
12. Are the SE rates for deaf services the same? There is no differential rate for deaf services in supported employment. 
13. By combining UCS and SE in one contract, will SE now be available to all consumers?  No. SE is only available to most significantly disabled individuals who meet criteria for SE. CRS Guide descriptions are not meant to change ACCES-VR policy. 
14. For SE, how does situational assessment factor in? Situational Assessment is the same as other CRS services- provided based on consumer need. It is an available too but not required. 
15. Intake 571X - If a vendor completes the consumer’s DVE No. Intake 571X will not be authorized though if the provider has served the 11 consumer within the last 12 months; or, the consumer has received any training or placement services from the vendor.
16. Intake 571X - What if the consumer is referred to the VRC by a liaison mental health agency where the consumer has been going to their day treatment program or PROS or is receiving therapy and is known to the vendor, do we still pay the vendor the intake fee? Intake cannot be authorized if the placement vendor has: served the consumer within the last 12 months; or, the consumer has received any training or placement services from the vendor. 
17. Intake 571X - Given multiple features of this service, can an exception be justified so the provider can be authorized for this service even though previously served if there is a change in age, maturation, experience, lifestyle, natural supports, etc. that may impact outcome.  No. These changes may be identified through the Pre-Employment/Job Development Core 1. 
18. NYSSE requires a service plan. Would it be possible to use the same form for SE? ACCES-VR is collaborating with OMH and may be able to meet program needs for both NYESS and ACCES-VR SE with one form. Goal is to reduce paper work.
19. Pre-Employment/Job Development 572X- If less than 5 hours of service is provided in a given month after the plan has been developed and billing processed, will there be a consequence? What is the process for reporting hours? What happens if the service extends beyond 9 months?  The new SE design is a performance, outcome based system so the vendor will not receive another payment until Core 2 Placement. Refer to the CRS Guide for additional service guidelines and deliverables. 
20. Since CRS will combine supported employment and UCS, what will the documentation requirement be? At least 2 face-to-face visits a month on-site and one contact with the employer as it currently is with Extended Services? Supported employment is one service category under CRS. The requirements for supported employment intensive and extended have not changed and are established in federal regulation.
21. Will a waiver still be required for off-site visits? Yes.
22. Pre-Employment/Job Development - Can a vendor use volunteer work to assess an individual under Core 1? Yes if discussed with the VRC and the volunteer service can be utilized if it is beneficial in reaching the job goal. However, Core 2 Job Placement can only be billed (Day 5) after the individual is placed on a paid job they are expected to maintain.
23. Pre-Employment/Job Development - What happens when the vendor asks for more time to work with the consumer? And if more time is granted should 572X be authorized a second time? The new SE design is a performance, outcome based system so the vendor will not receive another payment until Core 2 Placement. There may be possibilities for re-authorization that are described in the CRS Guide. 
24. Attachment 3-There are group rates for the Core  Supported Employment services provided in enclaves and mobile work crews 12 are individualized services but paid at a group services rate. 
25. Job Placement - If the consumer quits on day 6, day 46, or loses their job through no fault of their own or it just doesn’t work out, do we authorize this payment again to the vendor to place them? Re-intervention – In the event that the consumer loses his or her job at any point before 90 calendar days have been reached the counselor may choose to continue services with the same provider of supported employment services and re-authorize ½ unit of Core 1 Pre-Employment Assessment/Job Development Services. Core 2 or Core 3 payments will not be reauthorized. But they will remain available to the provider from the original authorization. 
26. Transitioning current consumer to the new contract- at the time the new contract goes into effect, how will consumers who are already in a job for less than 90 days be viewed?  Under the CRS contract the vendor may be eligible for the 45 day Core 3 if the consumer is employed less than 45 days on 10/01/2013 and will be eligible for the Retention Core 4 if the consumer is successfully closed (Status 26) and the enhancement bonuses if the hour and wage criteria is met at closure (Status 26) or 6 months after Status 26 date with appropriate documentation. 
27. Where does onsite coaching supports fit for SE?  Coaching supports will still be provided as before but instead of documenting each hour of service on the VR-416 for payment, the vendor will be paid as milestones are attained.
28. Is it expected that Pre-Employment/Job Placement 572X will be provided over a period of time not to exceed nine months?  No. However there is a standard and guideline for 572X. See the CRS Guide, page 28-31.
29. Will there be job coaching supports for Intensive as there is for UCS under Coaching Supports 959X?  No. Supported employment services means on-going support services and are The services that are needed to support and maintain an individual with the most severe disabilities in supported employment.
30. Will 91 hours for job development, placement, and stabilization, per consumer, be realistic?  The current SE Milestones design rates will raise the average cost for job development, placement and stabilization by 30% over the amount currently vouchered for each individual who was rehabilitated successfully in FFY 2011. Furthermore, average cost per rehabilitation (all SE dollars vouchered, divided by all consumers rehabilitated) will be raised with the new design by 27%. 
31. Does this mean that once a provider actually starts job development they have a maximum of 6 months to obtain a successful closure (90 days post placement)? No. Six months is a guideline.
32. Stabilization - What is the criteria for stabilization? ACCES-VR policy on stabilization has not changed but practice has. An individual must be stable prior to closing their case. Stabilization is no longer considered just to determine transition but through out the individual’s employment. Criteria will be provided in the final, Core 4 report so that we are all considering the same information for determining an appropriate successful closure. 
33. When is the individual ‘transitioned’ to employment?  The 90 day count starts on the first day of employment that is intended to be the individual’s permanent employment. Extended service begins once the case has been closed successfully in Status 26 and not prior to 90 days. 
34. SE Job Retention - If the consumer moves to extended services and Status 26, can we request the extended service plan be submitted with request for payment? The Extended Service Plan and the completed SE Job Retention form are required deliverables the vendor must submit prior to processing payment. 
35. Transition - Because the % of rehabs compared to stabilizations is lower. Will this result in reduced OMH funding for non-PROS consumers if they are no longer required to provide long term extended funding given that many will not achieve this outcome within 90 days? There should be no overall loss in funding during the time period. Milestones are designed to cover costs at a much higher rate than extended services. Rate development also included consideration of those individuals who did not achieve all the Core milestones. 
36. What do we do if at 90 days the consumer, employer, VRC, family and provider agree that additional intensive services are required as defined by SE guidelines? The case should remain open and the provider will not bill for the final core 4 service until the consumer meets ACCES-VR’s criteria for a successful employment outcome consistent with the ACCES-VR Status 26 Closure Procedure. 
37. Extended Services - There is a finite amount of monies for extended services, can we assume that each vendor will only have two ACCES-VR slots?  ACCES-VR Extended Services are allocated as FTEs and are based on the size of the program, consumer and regional need. ACCES-VR is exploring enhanced use of natural supports, graduation and intermittent funding in order to meet our consumer’s extended services needs. 
38. Extended Services - How will a consumer transition to Extended after 90 days?  There is no significant policy change but procedure- stabilization is no longer identified as a specific date in time but should be addressed continuously through out employment. Extended services starts after 90 days. 
39. Extended Services - If a vendor bills for Core 4 and they are paid for Extended; isn’t that double billing? How will extended services fit with the milestone structure?  No. A vendor will bill for Core 4 SE Job Retention once the consumer reaches achieves Status 26; the vendor will bill for SE extended services there after. Funding- there are no changes; funding is fixed. Contract- similar to the current contract. Each milestone will be listed with its own case service code like each tier in direct placement. One line will be provided for extended services.
Services- the 90 day count in employment will start with the first day of employment. Extended services will start after Status 26 closure. Intensive services and extended services can not be billed at the same time. 
40. Extended Services - When using intermittent Funding can  No. Federal guidelines require a minimum of two visits per month. 
41. Extended Services - Does OPWDD and OMH know about the proposed change, i.e., stabilization? Yes. Partner state agencies have been included in discussion and invited to information sessions. 
42. Will ACCES-VR pay vendors to coordinate the OPWDD eligibility process if consumers don’t come with pre-determined eligibility and the ACCES-VR VRC believes this to be the appropriate extended funding source? No. Providers must work directly with the source of extended service funding to obtain such resources. Refer to the 2012 SE Guidelines for additional information. 
43. How will ACCES-VR manage referrals for supported employment intensive when vendors have limited extended funding available? ACCES-VR is encouraging the use of natural supports, graduation and intermittent funding in order to optimize extended services as well as careful allocation of fixed supported employment extended funding.
44. Provide more information on how extended services will work. Refer to the CRS Guide page 27 and 31-32.
45. Re-intervention - Please clarify re-intervention and re-authorization of services when a job is lost? Core 1 can be re-authorized at ½ units. Core 2, 3 and 4 will not be reauthorized. During the life of the case however, the previous authorization for these core areas remain available for utilization on the original plan. Reauthorization is the same as current ACCES-VR policy 1310.00 Supported Employment Policy and Procedure. 
46. SE Quality Bonus Hours per Week - An updated Core 4 report can be submitted within 6 months of the consumer’s start date of employment reflecting that the consumer is working 30 hours per week. It was indicated that payment may be processed by Central Office and not a VRC. Please verify? To qualify for the bonus for hours per week, the vendor must provide copies of 4 pay stubs or employer certification, documenting hours worked per week. The documentation can be provided at two different times but each bonus can only be paid once; when the consumer achieves a Status 26 (successful employment outcome) or 6 months after Status 26. It is the responsibility of the vendor to provide the documentation to the DO for the quality bonus. 
47. SE Quality Bonus- Hourly Wage - Can this be authorized within the 6 months time frame as well or is this only applicable with in the first 90 days.  The Intake, four Core services and two quality bonuses will be authorized on the same IPE. The quality bonuses can be earned by the vendor one time each; at Status 26 or 6 months after Status 26 when the vendor provides appropriate verification of 4 weeks of hours &/or wages. 
48. SE Quality Bonus - One bonus is given when a consumer attains employment exceeding 6 months at 30+ hours per week. Most Supported Employment services are 20 - hours per week and at minimum wage. These consumers prefer this as they will retain their benefits and be engaged in meaningful employment. Based upon this, good placements to part time minimum wage jobs which are appropriate for the persons they serve.  The SE bonus for hours and wages can be paid when the case is closed 26 or 6 months later. This is to encourage the provider to assist the consumer to advance in their employment and not just maintain. 30 hours was selected since 30 hours is a quality indicator for SE services. Most benefits are not available until an employee is working more than part time. The bonus is offered in order to encourage quality placements and continued supports necessary for advancement. It is not expected that vendors will earn the bonus for every successful closure. Consumers may be more ready to end benefits if they have better paying, full time work. 
49. SE Quality Bonus - How were the bonuses determined? They will be difficult to achieve. VR data utilized. Acknowledge it is not easily achieved. Incentive for quality job placements.
50. SE Quality Bonus - How will the vendor obtain 4 pay stubs (required deliverable) if consumer unwilling to provide due to privacy?  It is the vendor’s responsibility to document the hours and/or wages for the last 4 weeks with either pay stubs or employer certification. Appropriate documentation may be available through the NYSES system. 
51. SE Quality Bonus - Can consumers in group services qualify for the quality bonus if they work 30+ hours/week or earn $10.50 or $9.50, respectively? No quality bonus will be paid for job placements paid at the group service rate when the individual’s employment is comprised of more than 50% NISH or NYSID contracts. No extended service funding will be provided for individual’s Retained in employment comprised of NISH or NYSID contracts.
52. SE Quality Bonus - Was the bonus included when the vendor payment was calculated?  Not every consumer is expected to achieve the criteria for a wage or hourly bonus. While the bonus is included in the budget based upon a historically calculated achievement level, it is not a penalty. No loss to the provider if the bonus is not achieved. 
53. SE Quality Bonus- Why is the North Country in the same Region with Albany and Syracuse when the job markets are not comparable? Not an achievable goal; individuals with college degrees can’t find employment with 30 hours and $9.50/hour in the North Country.  The quality bonus is an incentive to reward employment outcomes with better wages or 30 hours or more per week. It is not expected that all or even most consumers’ employment outcomes will meet the criteria for a quality bonus. 
54. SE Quality Bonus- Can a vendor earn the quality bonus at placement, or day 45 milestones?  No. The quality bonus can only be paid at 90 day or 6 months after a successful employment outcome (closure). 
55. Which milestone will a consumer fall into when the current contract rolls into the new contract?  Consumers who have received 25 or more hours of SE intensive without job placement will not receive Core 1 Pre Assessment/Job Placement under the new contract but can receive Core 2, 3, 4 and Quality Bonuses. If placed, then only Core 3, 4 and Quality Outcome Bonuses will be authorized. If employed longer than 45 days, authorizations will be for Core 4 and Quality Bonuses. Quality Bonuses can be authorized for consumers closed prior to the new contract if closed successfully on April 1, 2013 or later; (i.e., within 6 months of the new contract) continue to be employed; and have documentation as required for either or both bonuses.

Assistive Technology/ Rehabilitation Technology Services

1. Assistive Technology/Rehabilitation Services (165X and 167X) - Can you provide clarification on staff qualifications to provide this service?  Refer to CRS Guide page 33-34. 

Driver Rehabilitation Services

1. Do consumers who have cognitive, perceptual or learning needs but no physical limitations and require specialized training techniques delivered by a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist qualify for Adaptive Driver Training services 880X? Yes. Adaptive Driver Training 880X may be available to individuals with significant physical or cognitive limitations and who require modifications, specialized training and/or adaptive equipment because of their disability. Training is based on the evaluation report of the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.

Adjunct Services

1. Benefits Advisement services- Can a vendor still bill for this service after a consumer transitions to SE Extended Services? Unlikely a vendor could bill with out the consumer having an open case. ACCES-VR is looking to increase the use of this service when the case is open. 
2. Benefits Advisement (175X)-Can you provide clarification about what the ongoing in-service training requirements are for staff providing the service?  Refer to CRS Guide page 40 under Staffing.
3. Mobility Training- Is this a new service?  No. This service was included in the current UCS contract but can not be used for Supported Employment.
4. Can an individual receive mobility training simultaneously with supported employment Core services?  No. A consumer can not receive mobility training services while receiving intensive supported employment services.
5. Mobility training (Case Service Support Code “M”). Can this service be provided in groups? No. This is an individualized service.
6. Can an individual receive mobility training if receiving supported employment extended services? Ordinarily and individual’s ACCES-VR case must be open to receive services like mobility training. This service could be provided after the case is closed if required and provided as a post employment service. 
7. For Level II Transportation, is round trip from home to worksite eligible for this service if the consumer’s case is open?  Yes. The vendor provides round-trip rides to facilitate the consumer’s ability to participate in core services.
8. Transportation 2 (Case Service Support Code“T”)-Can you provide clarification or examples for how this service can be used?  When public transportation is unavailable, is not cost-effective, or the consumer is unable to use pubic transportation, ACCES-VR may purchase transportation from community rehabilitation programs.

Performance Indicators / Rubric

1. What happens if a vendor does not achieve the established performance indicator? Is there a process? Response not finalized at this time.
2. Performance Rubric- How will these ratings be obtained consistently between offices and Counselors? How will you ensure that ratings are completed objectively? How will you communicate timely to vendors so that issues can be corrected promptly? Effective January 2013, ACCES-VR will begin statewide review of all reports received electronically using the rubric described in the CRS Guide on pages 6-8. The reporting format allows ACCES-VR to review internal consistency within district office and between VRCs. Formative feed back will be shared in regular DO/ provider meetings. 
3. A question regarding the length of 929x services and consequence if they extend beyond 9 months. I am concerned that it will reflect negatively on my placement statistics which may be a factor in rating my next bid for services.  Nine months is provided as a standard. Services that extend beyond this time due to a consumer’s need will not reflect negatively on the provider. 

Reporting

1. Will there be any changes to the way payments are processed / entered into the system? For instance will both the 370's and 416's still be separate reports? Even if a provider is providing both services, the way they are now. All CRS services will be billed on the VR-370 except SE Extended services and Entry Service I (which is billed on a standard voucher). 
2. Will the new format for monthly reports for job development be applicable for UCS or just supported employment? Yes. The new monthly report form will be used for both SE 572 Core 1 and Job Development 929X Tier 2. 
3. It is my understanding that with the new contract, vendors are expected to send their deliverables (reports), electronically encrypted and compressed, via a computer program called WinZip; however, in the guide, it never mentions the program. WinZip costs $29.95. The RFP #13-00X will address technology requirements and specifications. The vendor may use encryption software like WinZip or compatible software.
4. Attention should be given to establishing an electronic reporting system that reduces the ‘6’ week turn around time between developments and reports to the VRC. For many CRS services, a deliverable (i.e., complete report) is required prior to processing payment for the vendor. Vendors are requested to provide reports as they are completed. Instructions on the VR-370 will reflect new instructions that shorten the time to bill for services provided.
5. For electronic reporting, is ACCES-VR working with a specific company or software?  ACCES-VR is expanding electronic reporting. WinZip or compatible program will be required for secure transmission of electronic documents.
6. What’s the time frame to implement electronic billing?  There is no electronic version of the VR-370 for billing yet. Electronic billing is being developed and may be implemented sometime during the 5 year contract.