If you pay attention to the news you will notice that Governor Cuomo is on a self congratulation tour for an on-time state budget. However, what is not mentioned in his self congratulation is the systematic dismantling that is occurring with the State's Early Intervention program and the devastation to social service programs that is left in the wake of his policies.
Families need to be aware because as of April 1 there are many providers around the State who are no longer sanctioned to be early intervention providers. Additionally, for those who have elected to remain in the system, there has been an absolutely dysfunctional last minute document cram to get contracts in place and according to the Bureau of Early Intervention it seems that many providers were not even aware of the whole process. Some of us have been blogging and talking about this for over a year - but the reality is that apparently there were a lot of providers who were not tuned in and had no idea that this was all coming. The Bureau of Early Intervention has asked counties to 'get the word out' so that there are no disruptions - and they are reportedly accepting faxed signatures on contracts - hardly the way for a government to be conducting business.
Additionally, the billing and payment system for the entire program has been changed - with virtually no notice to providers and agencies who rely on at least some degree of cash flow to continue offering services for this program.
Look at what your tax dollars buys you: This email instructing providers how billing in the NEW early intervention program will work was sent out at 5:34pm on March 29th.
New York State Department of HealthBureau of Early Intervention Electronic Mailing List
Early Intervention Interim Billing and Claiming Process
The purpose of this communication is to introduce EI Providers to the interim billing and claiming process effective as of April 1, 2013.
This is the first in a series of communications bulletins intended to coordinate EI Provider migration to the new process. The planned set of communication bulletins will include:
· How to Submit EI Billing after 4/1/2013
· How to Enter Paper Insurance Remittances/EOB
· How to Resolve Workable Rejections & Denials
· How to View the Status of CLAIMS A New Website
A new website https://www.EIBilling.com has been developed. Access to the billing functionality at this website requires proper login credentials. Those credentials are being emailed to EI providers separately. This website will serve as the focal point for Providers, Counties, DOH, and the interim fiscal process. NYEIS Billing There is no change to enter billing for children enrolled in NYEIS. If a provider uses the NYEIS data entry screens to enter billing, simply continue to do so. If a provider uses in-house software or 3rd party software to electronically transmit billing to NYEIS, simply continue to do so. The interface from NYEIS to the interim fiscal process is seamless. KIDS Billing
For services provided to children enrolled in KIDS, there are three (3) options for entering billing. First, the ability to process a KIDS “disk billing” file has been preserved. Those providers who have been using KIDS “disk billing” can continue to do so. Second, the interim fiscal process will offer an EXCEL template that can be used to enter attendance off-line. Third, web based attendance entry is available at the new website.
Training Details of how to navigate this new website will be depicted in a training webinar. A link to this training webinar will be emailed to providers in the very near future. In the coming weeks there will be webinars on these interim procedures so that the reimbursement process can continue.
This is how little the NYS government cares about this program. They dreamt up and negotiated and then legislated these changes TWO BUDGET CYCLES AGO and they are giving providers a document dump on how to navigate the new system the weekend before it is supposed to go live - and in actuality there is no training available at all.
Imagine being asked to go to work on Monday but being told that your boss is still developing a mechanism for how and when you are going to be paid. Don't worry though! NY State has it all under control!!
Providers hear words like 'seamless' and promises that 'claims will be processed faster than before' but anyone who believes that has obviously never seen a government try to implement a new process.
The unfortunate reality is that there is no trade association to stand up to this nonsense, and the children and families who receive these services are all isolated in their own homes with no central mechanism to communicate to each other or to even really know that all this is happening. At least with the proposed OPWDD cuts there are vocal advocates and organized groups. Early Intervention has no such champion.
And that is why the government gets away with it.
To the degree that the Early Intervention system trips through the next several months, I want to tell you who to thank. Thank your providers, who have blindly signed contracts and are getting last second instructions on how the billing system will work. Thank your providers for their willingness to stick it out even though they don't really know when they will be paid.
Please save your most special thanks for your government - and show them how much you appreciate their stewardship at the next election.