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  • Join me in celebrating our MSC Department!

    Sep 19,2017

    Empowering all people facing challenging times to live with dignity, hope and strength is the mission of Jewish Family Service. This mission expresses itself in an array of programs. We work with many people facing challenging times. One of the agency’s oldest programs is that of “Medicaid Service Coordination.” This program operates under the rules and regulations of the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, or “OPWDD” for short! The definition of a Medicaid Service Coordinator or MSC is: “A professional, selected by the person or family from an approved list, who helps the person access supports and services.”

    There surely are many, many guidelines to follow when it comes to putting this valuable role into action. In simple terms, MSC’s ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities lead a meaningful life, living in a home that is clean and comfortable, having proper nutrition, healthcare, socialization, stimulation throughout the days and evenings, medical care and access to the community. Choice is key in all of the decisions. We take a “Person Centered” perspective, following the people we serve. There is no one size fits all when it comes to doing the work we do.

    The “C” of MSC is critical. Coordinating all of the people in a person’s life, including the various agencies that help to serve people with disabilities is critical. It includes documenting every phone call, email correspondence, meetings, getting signatures and following through.

    We are grateful that we are not alone. OPWDD offers us oversight. They have trainings, webinars and yes, there are regular audits. At least once a year, a thorough review is conducted. Earlier this week, we had one such survey.

    Let us keep in mind that the State Surveyors are paid not only to keep us on our toes, but to find mistakes! They pay attention to every detail, and like an archeologist will dig and dig. If they read about a conversation that transpired regarding medical testing, they will continue to turn the pages to find out that the testing was done. What are the results? What about the treatment? And follow up, how is the person now? Not a pebble is left unturned. Typically, surveyors are in our office for eight full hours and they do not take a moment’s break.

    At the exit interview, we sit with the surveyors to hear how we stand. How can we improve? We are offered a “Statement of Deficiencies”. You get the picture. Notes are written on a six page template, with space after space for deficiencies noted. When hearing of the places that we need to improve, we need to submit a “Plan of Corrective Action”. Yes, you guessed, at a later time, we will be checked to see if we followed through with our “Plan”.

    On the “Statement of Deficiencies” we had five blank pages! As much as she dug, there was not one deficiency that our auditor found. She could not make one single recommendation! Here are her notes:

    “Records are clean and concise. All required forms are easily located. SCOR reports [Service Coordination Observation Report] are routinely done. ISP [Individual Service Plans] reports are comprehensive and complete. MSC notes are detailed, relevant, personal and specific. The MSC conveys a clear interest in each individual. Face to Face and home visits exceed the minimum requirements.“

    I cannot help but celebrate the phenomenal work of our MSC Department. They shine in ways that go beyond the roles mentioned above. Our auditor would like Marjorie Faber, the Director of Medicaid Service Coordination, to train others throughout the field. She always puts the person first, will sing songs to some people to greet them, advocate for simple, but important things like a haircut and staunchly advocate for those she works with, when needed.

    We do not advertise our MSC Department; according to regs, we cannot do so. We can simply let people know that we offer the service, along with many other service providers throughout the county. In spite of our lack of outreach, our phone rings all the time, looking for MSC’s to offer this service to their loved ones. They come to JFS Orange due to our outstanding reputation. Now you have a sense why.