There are big changes ahead for the elderly and disabled in Arizona, and the organizations that support them in providing their care. Dara Johnson, AHCCCS’s Long-Term Care Program Development Manager confirmed, “The implementation of the system and operational changes to allow for the use of Independent Contractor business model by direct care service agencies is planned for January 2018.”

When it comes to taking care of our most vulnerable population, Arizona is leading the nation in innovation and action. Wendy Swager, CEO of Soreo, Southern Arizona’s largest provider of In-Home Support Services to Medicare and Medicaid recipients added, “This is an exciting time for providers and agencies in Arizona as AHCCCS rolls out new policy and regulations that accommodate the use of direct care workers who elect to be independent contractors.”

Julie Pace, Senior Member of the Cavanagh Law Firm, named as one of America’s and Arizona’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor and Employment Law, further emphasized Arizona public policy is, and should remain, that Arizona state government agencies provide fair treatment of individuals and businesses who choose to utilize independent contractor business models for a variety of legitimate reasons. The Governor has supported and the Arizona Legislature has enacted multiple bills in recent years to clarify, confirm, and expand the flexibility and choice exercised by individuals and businesses to achieve the mutual benefits of independent contractor relationships. 

Those benefits can include:

  1. Greater income and flexibility for direct care workers
  2. Greater ability for businesses to operate within the payment parameters of AHCCCS
  3. More cost-effective delivery of services for taxpayers
  4. Superior services for clients, due in part to the ability to attract and motivate service providers who can be economically successful while providing the challenging services expected of direct care workers

Below are specific policy updates that took effect on October 1, 2017, impacting the Independent Contractor business model. For more details on these revisions, you may refer to an AHCCCS memo share on September 20th regarding the AHCCCS Medical Policy Manual (AMPM).  

Chapter 1200, Policy 1250-D, Respite Care
AMPM Policy 1250-D was revised relative to the ALTCS EPD Contract effective 10/01/17. Policy changes were made to accommodate the use of the Independent Contractor business model, align with AMPM 1240-A, and adopt new fingerprint clearance and background check requirements. Lastly, technical corrections were made to standardize and align terminology across AHCCCS policies, adopt new formatting and improve clarity.

Chapter 1200, Policy 1240-E, Habilitation Services
AMPM Policy 1240-E was revised to align with the FY 2018 ALTCS EPD Contract, accommodate the use of the Independent Contractor business model and adopt new fingerprint clearance and background check requirements. It was also modified, with input from the ASD Advisory Committee, to reflect person-centered language, as well as to streamline and clarify content.

Chapter 1200, Policy 1240-G, Home Health Services
AMPM Policy 1240-G establishes criteria for medically necessary home health services for ALTCS members. Substantive policy changes were made to align with the ALTCS EPD Contract effective 10/01/17, accommodate the use of the Independent Contractor business model by DCW Agencies, and revise to streamline, clarify and reorganize content.

With a powerhouse organization such as AHCCCS behind the Independent Contractor model, we anticipate seeing major changes in the industry that may breathe new life into care providers in Arizona.

Independent Caregiver Management Tools

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When Mosaic, an organization serving people with intellectual disabilities, decided to incorporate independent caregivers, the senior leadership team knew about the labor shortages, minimum wage issues, and health care reform challenges facing home care agencies and host home providers. But Mosaic was mainly thinking about its clients. Read how Mosaic addressed their pressing need to adopt a modern technology platform to help dramatically streamline operations while delivering high-quality member care.