I wanted to talk about the responsibilities you have as an employer of your personal care attendants if you self-direct your Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in Kansas.
I talked about some of our rights when we self-direct our personal care attendants in last month's article which are so important for us to know. But it is equally important for us to know what our responsibilities are when we receive KanCare HCBS and self-direct our attendants or Direct Support Workers (DSWs). Self-direction allows you to have more control over who is providing your services, but it does take more work on your part, although some providers can help or guide you along the way. But you are the employer when self-directing.
First we are responsible for hiring our attendants or DSWs. Many providers like SKIL can help you to recruit applicants but you are ultimately responsible for the hiring. After being approved to receive services on one of the HCBS waiver programs, you will receive a Plan of Care which tells you how many hours your attendant or DSW can work and what tasks they should be helping you with. For example if you get two hours of housecleaning, then it is your responsibility to work with your attendant on what housecleaning tasks they will do in those two hours. You are responsible for deciding the tasks under each category on your plan of care although some tasks may be specific on your plan. For example with bathing, your plan may detail that you need help with transferring if that is what is determined when you visit with the Care Coordinator from your Managed Care Organization (Aetna, Sunflower, or United). You are responsible for also training your attendant or DSW which gives you the ability to make sure things are getting done the way you want it done. This is so important to me in that I can make sure my personal care and housecleaning is done my way, rather than the way another employer may have trained my worker. You also need to make sure your employees know how to use the Authenticare system, so they are clocking in and out correctly and their work hours are being recorded accurately.
Of course since you are the employer, you manage and supervise your employees as they work in providing you assistance as approved. Be sure to treat your employees (attendants or DSWs) with respect and dignity as they should also treat you the same. While managing and supervising your employees, you should maintain control and watch to make sure to prevent fraud and abuse. If you suspect your employee is committing fraud, such as reporting work hours when not working, or if you feel fearful that you are being abused in any way, you should report it immediately.
You should also make certain that your employees know what their responsibilities are when working for you. They should be on time. They should treat you with respect, as you should your employees. They should follow your direction on tasks that need done, which should follow your plan of care as stated earlier. You must work with your FMS provider or payroll agent, like SKIL, to get any paperwork that you as the employer and your employees or DSWs need completed on time, employee hours and attendance are accurate, and other things required by the State and needed by your providers are done.
It may seem like a great deal of responsibilities to self-direct sometimes, but if you want control of who comes in your home to work for you, this is the way. If you have never been an employer or supervised employees, you can learn. And the skills you learn could help you in other situations in your life. SKIL is always available if you have questions or need help. Do not hesitate to reach out to us.
I wanted to let you know that the 2020 KS Legislative session starts January 13th. I will be writing about some things we will be working on this session to improve life for Kansans with disabilities. I hope that I can get your support on some of these issues.
By Lou Ann Kibbee, Systems Advocacy Manager at Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL) Resource Center.