Redesign Medicaid in New York State

Balancing Incentive Program´s
Proposed No Wrong Door Structure

Mark Kissinger, Director
Division of Long Term Care, Office of Health Insurance Programs, NYSDOH

June 30, 2014

  • Document is also available in Portable Document Format (PDF)

What is the Balancing Incentive Program?

  • The Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) provides financial incentives to states to offer community Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) as an alternative to institutional care.
    • BIP was authorized by Section 10202 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111–148) and is an optional program which provides enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) to qualifying states.
  • New York State was approved for the program and awarded $598.7 million on March 15, 2013.
  • This funding is contingent upon the State’s ability to increase the ratio of expenditures on community–based care versus institutional care.
  • The BIP requirements apply to all Medicaid populations in need of LTSS and involves four state agencies (Department of Health (DOH), Office for the Aging (SOFA), Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and Office for Mental Health (OMH)).
  • The State must make progress toward identified targets and structural requirements in rebalancing activities to maintain additional aid.
  • When the BIP period ends, the State must have achieved the rebalancing goals by September 30, 2015.

Balancing Incentive Program Overview

BIP requires 3 structural changes:
  • No Wrong Door/Single Entry Point system;
  • Core Standardized Assessment instruments; and
  • Conflict Free Case Management.
BIP involves:
  • Rebalancing the delivery of LTSS towards community–based care;
  • Promoting enhanced consumer choice;
  • Standardizing information for eligibility determination and enrollment processes;
  • Improving access to and expanding community LTSS; and
  • Providing essential services in the least restrictive setting.

What is the Definition of Medicaid Non–Institutional Long–Term Services and Supports (LTSS)?

As defined by CMS for BIP:
  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) under Section 1915(c) or (d) or under an 1115 Waiver;
  • LTSS provided under managed long–term care programs authorized under Sections 1915(a) or 1915(b);
  • Home health care services authorized under Section 1905(a)(7);
  • Personal care services authorized under Section 1905(a)(24);
  • Program of All–Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) under Section 1934;
  • Home and community care services defined under Section 1929(a);
  • State plan rehabilitation services authorized under Section 1905 (a)(13);
  • Self–directed personal assistance services under Section 1915 (j);
  • Home & Community Based Services provided under Section 1915 (i);
  • Private duty nursing authorized under Section 1905 (a)(8) (provided in home and community settings only);
  • Services that may be offered under new program authorities authorized by the ACA (Community First Choice Option under Section 1915 (k), Health Homes under Section 1945, etc.);
  • Case Management Services authorized under Section 1905(a)(19); and
  • Other HCBS under Sections 1115, 1915 (a), 1915(b), 1915 (d) and/or 1929(a) (Prepaid ambulatory health plan, prepaid inpatient health plan, MCO health insurance payments).

Balancing Incentive Program
No Wrong Door (NWD) Requirements

  • This webinar will focus on the NWD structural requirement.
  • The NWD structural requirements are:
    • All Individuals receive standardized information and experience the same eligibility process;
    • A coordinated process that guides the individual through the functional and financial eligibility determination process; and
    • Functional and financial assessment data is accessible to NWD staff so that eligibility determination and access to services can occur efficiently.

NWD Requirements:

  • Deliver standardized information about LTSS options whether an individual seeks information:
    • from a 1–800 number,
    • a website, or
    • a local office that is part of the State’s NWD network.
  • Provide individuals with assistance in accessing Medicaid or non–Medicaid LTSS services.
  • The State’s 2013 work plan identified the need to:
    • Expand SOFA’s NY Connects system statewide;
    • Add an interactive online tool to allow individuals to help identify their LTSS needs;
    • Develop tools and training to provide consistent information about the LTSS available in communities across New York;
    • Standardize information so that individuals experience the same eligibility determination; and
    • Establish the NWD system as the gateway system for LTSS.

Proposed NWD Structure

The key features of the NWD structure:

  • Will enable a seamless and more timely experience for potentially eligible Medicaid individuals/Medicaid recipients in need of LTSS regardless of age, disability or diagnosis;
  • Will provide comprehensive information and assistance and linkage to services for individuals (whether eligible for Medicaid or not); and
  • Technology will allow the State to create a virtual call center and appropriate data sharing by NWD staff in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, and confidentiality requirements.
  • The draft proposed structure will consist of Hubs and Specialized NWDs.
  • NWD Hubs will provide LTSS information and linkage to community resources, screening assistance, coordination of application for public benefits and/or linkage to the comprehensive assessment process for all populations as appropriate.
  • NY Connects will be expanded geographically and enhanced functionally to cover the entire state as the local NWD Hub.
  • SOFA will contract with 4 to 6 Independent Living Centers (ILC) and/or other disability organizations – together with Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS), these will form the enhanced NY Connects in order to create local NWD Hubs.
  • OPWDD’s Front Door, currently involved with providing information, assisting with enrollment, screening, coordinating and approving assessments and/or care plans will serve as a Specialized NWD organizations for the population it serves.
  • OMH will serve as a Specialized NWD for the population it serves.

What Will a NWD Hub Do?

NWD Hub will:

  • Assist individuals of all ages and populations over the phone or in–person;
  • Provide information about LTSS;
  • Conduct NWD Screen as appropriate;
  • Coordinate and share information with Specialized NWD through secure database as needed;
  • Coordinate applications for public benefits and other services; and
  • Provide information to Specialized NWDs for comprehensive assessments and care planning.

How to Access the NWD Hub?

  • Any individual will be able to access the NWD Hub by:
    • NY Connects website,
    • 1–800 Number, or
    • In–person.
  • The NY Connects website will have an expanded resource directory where an individual can search for services by county without assistance.
  • NY Connects website will also have an optional online questionnaire which will help determine what services an individual may need.

Key Features of the Online Questionnaire

Key Features of Online Questionnaire:

  • Allows people to explore services on the NY Connects website anytime
  • Can be completed by an individual, family member, child or caregiver
  • Only 15 questions that may be answered in as little as 10 minutes
  • Not all questions need to be answered; some questions can be skipped
  • Includes option to also complete a pre–screen with additional questions to find out possible eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits (i.e., SNAP, HEAP, and prescriptions)
  • Provides an optional printed summary that includes:
    • A list of available programs/services and contact information
    • Option to request county specific information and resources
    • Potential eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits
    • Web links to resource directories (NY Connects Service Directory, myBenefits)
    • A 1–800 telephone number and No Wrong Door locations for more assistance with understanding information, resources and screening opportunities
  • Offers individuals the choice to save the answers in order to be able to see or use the information at a later time and reduce repetition of questions.

Online Questionnaire

  • The following few slides will give a preview of the types of information the online questionnaire will seek:
  • Interests: Asks what types of services/programs an individual might like to know more about; for example, services for children, transportation, support groups, benefits for veterans, moving into the community from a hospital or nursing home.
  • Current Living Situation: Asks about the current living situation – alone, with spouse, with family, congregate setting.
  • Activities that a person needs help with: Asks about activities such as personal care activities (bathing, dressing), household chores (cooking, shopping), and skill building (understanding others, completing tasks).
  • Current Conditions: Asks individual to choose from a list to help identify important conditions.
  • Current symptoms or situations: Provides a list to help individuals describe issues; for example, memory problems, anxiety, feeling alone, feeling need to cut down on drinking or drug use, getting along with family or other people.
  • Identifying most important needs: Asks individuals to pick from list what they think are 2 or 3 of their most important needs. People will also be able to describe in their own words what their most pressing need(s) are.
  • Financial: Asks questions about income that will help determine if individual may be eligible to receive benefits; for example, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Social Security Disability and benefits for veterans. This section will also offer people the opportunity to complete the myBenefits pre– screen.

NWD Screen

  • The online questionnaire is optional. An individual may just call or come to a NWD Hub to access information.
  • BIP does require a screen that includes a series of basic financial and functional questions that indicate whether a person may be eligible for Medicaid and/or community LTSS.
  • This screen is referred to as the No Wrong Door (NWD) Screen.
  • The individual or caregiver will be assisted (in–person or by phone) by a trained professional through a guided conversation where the worker will gather information on what services may be needed.

Key Features of NWD Screen

Key Features of NWD Screen:

  • Allows people to receive support in discussing needs and available resources
  • Offers personalized guidance from a trained NWD staff person
  • Can be completed over the telephone or in–person
  • Family member or caregiver can help with providing information
  • Conversation considers the entire person and needs
  • Option to provide consent to share information from the NWD Screen between the NWD Hub and Specialized NWDs to reduce duplication of questions
  • Offers assistance in completing a pre–screen to find out possible eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits (i.e., SNAP, HEAP, and prescriptions).
  • Enables NWD staff to assist an individual with:
    • Available services and supports the individual can access now
    • Next steps and direction to the most appropriate service agency for further evaluation and assessment
    • Options for individuals to leave after receiving the information, assistance or referrals that they need
  • Highest level of security available for storing personal information in database
    • Allows secure sharing of information between Hub and Specialized NWDs and reduces frequency of individual being asked the same information again and again.

NWD Screen

  • The following few slides will give a preview of the types of information the NWD screen will seek:
  • Basic Financial Information: Indicates whether a person may likely be eligible for Medicaid and/or other public benefits.
  • Current Services: Asks what types of services the individual is receiving now from agencies, providers, and organizations.
  • Current Conditions: Asks the individual to identify conditions such as chronic or ongoing health conditions and Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities.
  • Activities the person needs help with: Asks about activities such as personal care activities (bathing, dressing), household chores (cooking, shopping), skill building (understanding others, completing tasks) and using a wheelchair or cane.
  • Maintaining basic needs: Asks about basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety.
  • Current symptoms or situations: Asks about issues individuals may be experiencing or the NWD staff perceives during the conversation such as memory problems or problems making decisions.
  • Communication: Asks individuals what communication difficulties they may be experiencing or the NWD staff senses during the conversation, such as expressing ideas or understanding conversation.
  • Relationships: Asks about relationships or conflicts with family, neighbors, teachers, that individuals may be having or the NWD staff senses.
  • Mood and Behavior: Asks individuals about issues they may be experiencing or the NWD staff perceives during the conversation such as depression/anxiety or behavior problems.

What Happens after the NWD Screen?

  • NWD Hub staff utilizes the NWD Screen to help identify:
    • Whether a person is likely eligible for Medicaid or LTSS.
    • The options and services available for LTSS regardless of payer source.
    • The need for an appropriate comprehensive assessment.
      • The comprehensive assessment will determine programmatic eligibility and access to services.
      • The comprehensive assessment leverages the Uniform Assessment System (UAS–NY) which is being expanded across populations (Intellectually Disabled/Developmentally Disabled, Mental Health/Behavioral Health).

How to Access a Specialized NWD?

  • An individual will be able to access a Specialized NWD by:
    • Contacting a NWD Hub,
    • Accessing the NY Connects website for locations,
    • Phone, or
    • In–person

What Will an OPWDD Specialized NWD Do?

The following are functions of the OPWDD Specialized NWD:

  • Population specific
  • Provides OPWDD specialized expertise
  • Coordinates with Hub
  • Assists people accessing the OPWDD “Front Door” system with NWD Screen
  • Consults on completed Online Questionnaires and NWD Screens
  • Reviews completed NWD Screens shared with OPWDD through secure database
  • Utilizes available information for comprehensive assessment and care planning

What Will an OMH Specialized NWD Do?

The following are functions of the OMH Specialized NWD:

  • Population specific
  • Provides OMH specialized expertise
  • Assists people accessing the OMH system with connecting to NWD screen
  • Consults on completed Online Questionnaires and Screens
  • Reviews completed NWD Screens shared with OMH through secure database
  • Provides information to Behavioral Health providers for comprehensive assessment and care planning

What is NY Connects?

  • Why is the State choosing NY Connects as the proposed Hub?
  • The State wants to leverage the NY Connects system which is currently comprised of the local AAA and LDSS.
  • There are 53 NY Connects programs covering 54 counties.
  • The NY Connects organizational structure varies by county and many have co–located staff from both these agencies or are "virtually" connected.
  • The NY Connects local agencies are required to have a Memorandums of Understanding/Agreement specifying roles and responsibilities.
  • Each existing NY Connects program adheres to State Standards on operations and implementation protocols. These standards will be updated to reflect the NWD system.
  • The existing NY Connects involves a variety of local partners that serve on the Local Term Care Council, most include Community Based Organizations (CBOs) serving people with disabilities, such as ILCs. Additional partners will be added.
  • SOFA will issue a competitive Request for Applications (RFA) to contract with 4 to 6 additional partners to enhance NY Connects. The RFA will be open to ILCs and other appropriate CBOs representing individuals with disabilities to achieve statewide coverage.
  • This RFA will provide ILCs and CBOs the opportunity to formally become part of NY Connects to assure a strong local partnership referral, information and assistance resource for individuals with disabilities.
  • Work is already underway by SOFA to bring the non–participating counties formally into the NY Connects program.
  • If a county decides not to participate in the program, a RFA will be issued to select an entity to administer the NY Connects program in that area.
  • NY Connects is set to achieve 100 statewide percent coverage by 1/1/2015.

Next Steps for Hub and Specialized NWD

Next Steps for Hub and Specialized NWDs:

  • Agencies becoming part of the NY Connects network (Hub) will need to transform their business model to conform with the operational standards.
  • Agencies will have to learn new technology systems in order to provide general information and be accessible across all populations.
  • Agencies will need to have staff trained on the new system, enhanced functions, and the interpretation of screening results.

Benefits of the Proposed Structure

  • This Hub and Specialized NWD model uses technology to create a streamlined, user–friendly experience for individuals seeking LTSS in order to avoid duplication and inefficiencies.
  • Supports an individual’s access to appropriate community LTSS.
  • Leverages the existing coordinated process already in place for NY Connects, such as AAA and LDSS, which will be expanded functionally and geographically. Formally adds State contracted CBOs serving individuals with disabilities as a NY Connects partner.
  • Includes the specialized knowledge of the OPWDD and OMH without having these organizations serve additional population groups, thus avoiding additional stress to their overtaxed systems.
  • Utilizes UAS–NY technology already in place.
  • Promotes cross agency sharing of expertise, resources and data.
  • Standardizes eligibility determinations.

Challenges of the Proposed Structure

Challenges of the Proposed Structure:

  • Complexities associated with development/integration and coordination of several database systems.
  • Assuring accessibility.
  • Time factors associated with restructuring and development.
  • Sustainability.

How Will the State Assist NWDs?

  • What tools will be made available by NYS to assist the Hub and Specialized NWDs?
  • The State will:
    • Develop/expand program specific protocols across agencies.
    • Develop the training curriculum and integrate the new software training.
    • Develop a transition guide for NWD organizations.

Will this System Work?

  • In order to help determine if this proposal will work, please respond to the following questions by typing in the chat area (indicate Question 1 then response, and so on).
    1. Does this proposed structure make access to information and services easier?
    2. Does this proposed structure make it harder to access information and services? If so why?
    3. Have you heard of NY Connects before today?

Questions and Feedback

  • The feedback from this webinar allows the State to test the proposed process, identify issues, and make any necessary improvements.
  • We will now take some questions.
  • The phone line will remain open so that individuals can answer these 3 questions and to submit additional questions on the proposal.
  • You can also submit questions to

Contact Us:

Mark L. Kissinger


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