Update on the Consumer-Directed Employer program

In 2018, the State of Washington enacted DSHS-request legislation that would move individual providers to a new private employer called the “Consumer-Directed Employer” (CDE). Moving to this model will allow case managers to focus more on client care and less on paperwork and will create one place for caregivers to go for employment questions. The CDE doesn’t change the ability of IPs to serve family members, doesn’t change client hours, doesn’t change the ability of clients to hire and supervise their own care, and doesn’t change any caregivers’ tax exemptions. Wages and benefits will continue to be set by the union contract we just negotiated. This transition is scheduled to take place in early 2021.

Since that legislation passed, the State has undertaken a process to choose who the vendor or vendors would be to act as the CDE. The State sought formal feedback on the selection process from a “Strategic Development Group” that included Parent Providers, IPs, advocates for people with disabilities, self-advocates, and SEIU 775.

The State of Washington announced there will be two CDE vendors: Consumer Direct Care Network (CDCN) and Public Partnerships Limited (PPL).  Public Partnerships Limited (PPL) will serve Area 1, and Consumer Direct Care Network (CDCN) will serve CDE Area 2. The geographical division will keep AAA coverage areas intact while not splitting any counties. See the map below for the coverage areas.

The SEIU 775 Executive Board, comprised of our four full-time officers and 33 rank-and-file caregivers from across the state, believes both vendors meet the criteria we established for our support for any potential CDE vendor, including that the vendors will:

  • Maintain consumer direction
  • Abide by the terms of our union contract and continue to raise wages, benefits, and other working conditions for home care workers
  • Give workers a voice in decision-making
  • Improve on technical systems, including the payroll system
  • Respect home care workers as professionals

We are working with members of the state’s decision-making team and the companies to make sure caregivers’ rights are respected and will let you know more when we know more. We will continue to monitor progress toward implementation in 2021 to ensure our principles are adhered to.

Map of Washington state

FAQ:

Will EVV mean the government is tracking me? 

EVV (Electronic Visit Verification) is a new federal requirement Washington has to implement and will not involve tracking caregivers. It is a mandatory federal requirement that the state has decided to roll out with the new employer(s). DSHS says there is NO requirement to have video, audio, or GPS tracking as part of this system. We are actively working on the implementation of CDE and oppose any video, audio, or GPS tracking of caregivers.

What is CDE?

Case workers are pulled in multiple directions and too often don’t have time to meet the needs of caregiver or clients. Caregivers are often confused about who to call and get passed from one place to another. Through CDE the State will contract with a professional private entity to take over payroll and administration. This will simplify the system and create a single place to go for employment-related questions. It will free up caseworkers to address client needs, and will professionalize and improve payroll and administration.

Does the Union support CDE?

  • The SEIU 775 Executive Board voted to support the CDE legislation as long as it meets certain criteria, including:
    • Maintain consumer direction
    • Abide by the terms of our union contract and continue to raise wages, benefits, and other working conditions for home care workers
    • Give workers a voice in decision-making
    • Improve on technical systems, including the payroll system
    • Respect home care workers as professionals
  • If done correctly, CDE could fix delays and errors in paychecks, free up time for busy caseworkers to help clients and family members, and streamline employment functions.

How did the State decide on these vendors?

DSHS had competitive bidding process to determine the Consumer Directed Employer.  These two bidders were the only ones to complete the full bid.  The State felt that there was a better guarantee of quality and stability if it went with two companies rather than just one.

How will EVV work for live-in/family/parent providers?

We understand there are unique challenges for family providers and other live-in providers when it comes to EVV. Earlier this month, the Federal Government said that states do NOT have to apply EVV requirements to live-in providers.

Will SEIU 775 become an employer? 

SEIU 775 WILL NOT become an employer. The Consumer Directed Employer is a completely separate entity from SEIU 775. Our interest is making sure caregivers can continue to have a strong Union, the vendor is pro-worker and pro-Union, and Parent Providers, advocates for people with disabilities, and self-advocates are supported. SEIU 775 will continue to represent Individual Providers as their union and negotiate contracts with the Consumer Directed Employer.

Does this impact taxes for IPs? 

CDE will not impact the tax status of Individual Providers. IPs who qualify under the Difficulty of Care income exemption may continue to exclude income from federal income tax reporting. IPs who are currently exempt from FICA and FUTA will continue to be exempt.

Overtime

CDE will make some small improvement to overtime. The legislation that passed in Washington State kept the overtime limit at 65 hours/week (if the bill didn’t pass the limit would have gone down to 60), and it gives DSHS more flexibility to approve and create exceptions to the overtime limits.

Strikes?

Home Care Aides have never gone on strike. CDE won’t change that. There are already 8,000-10,000 Home Care Aides who are employed by private home care agencies and represented by SEIU 775. Technically these Home Care Aides have the right to strike, but in 20 years there has never been any discussion of even considering a strike. There’s just no way to imagine that parents will go on strike against their children, or that any family member will go on strike against their loved ones.

The Freedom Foundation

The Freedom Foundation is opposed to CDE because their mission, in their own words, is “destroy and defund” SEIU. They are funded by wealthy donors who want to keep their tax breaks and don’t want caregiver to make a living wage and benefits.

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