August marks the end of two exceptions that were put in place to prevent payment problems during the transition from Public Partnership Limited (PPL) to Tempus Unlimited (Tempus). As we have been reporting, Tempus became the Community HealthChoices (CHC) financial management services vendor on July 1st. This is the date that Tempus began issuing paychecks to direct care workers for CHC participants using the self-directed model of care.
During the transition period, the CHC Plans allowed two exceptions to the Electronic Visit Verification rules that the federal government requires state Medicaid programs to follow when paying for in-home care. The first exception was allowing people to submit paper timesheets. The second exception was allowing payments to be made even if the Common Law Employer (CLE) - typically the CHC participant or a representative - had not “locked” (approved) the shift recorded by the direct care worker.
These exceptions ended on August 21st. CHC plans, mainly through Service Coordinators, have been reaching out to participants to ensure they can use Tempus’ electronic or phone systems to record and approve time for payment.
Paper Timesheets: Moving forward, paper timesheets may only be used to record and approve shifts worked if the CLE individual has received approval from their CHC Plan. Paper timesheets submitted without approval will be set aside for additional review by Tempus. This will delay payments to direct care workers. Individuals who are not able to use the electronic or phone system to record and approve time can contact their Service Coordinator to request approval for ongoing use of paper timesheets.
Locking Shifts: For direct care workers to be paid, the CLE must lock the shift by the Monday after the end of the pay period. This signals that the CLE has reviewed and approved the shifts recorded by the direct care worker(s). When CLEs do not lock time, there will be a delay in payments to the direct care worker while Tempus or the CHC Plan follows up with the CLE to get the necessary approvals. Payroll schedules are available here.
In addition to these two exceptions ending, here are some other updates:
- Changes have been made to improve the phone system to record and approve time (called IVR). The speed of the speech used in the system has been slowed. When CLEs approve and lock time, they will hear the familiar worker identification number instead of an internal number that caused confusion. CHC participants, direct care workers, and advocates continue to urge additional improvements to this system.
- Tempus adjusted its call center hours to Mondays through Fridays from 8:30am until 4:30pm.
- Paystubs are mailed to all employees. There is also an online portal for direct care workers (only) to get their paystubs. There is a message on this portal that says it will be available to CLEs in the near future.
- CHC Participants should contact their Service Coordinator regarding any outstanding payment problems that occurred before Tempus took over on July 1st for help resolving them. The CHC Plans have a process set up to handle carryover issues from PPL to Tempus.
People still having problems with payments for shifts worked in June, July, or August should contact Tempus at 1-844-983-6787. CHC Participants whose workers have not been paid or have not been paid the correct amount should contact their Service Coordinator. CHC participants should also contact their Service Coordinator for help getting registered with the electronic systems to record and approve time and for help enrolling new direct care workers. Tempus’ website has the current schedules for trainings and helpdesks where people can get one-on-one help as well as training materials and other information.