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12-PI-01 NYConnects Reporting System Updates and Improvements

DATE: January 3, 2012 12-PI-01 In PDF Format

TO: NY Connects Programs

SUBJECT: NY Connects Reporting System Updates and Improvements

ACTION REQUESTED: Compliance with NY Connects Reporting Requirements for Program Year 6 (Oct. 1, 2011 - Sept. 30, 2012).

RESPONSE DATE: Quantitative Reports are due quarterly and Qualitative Reports are due semi-annually. (See Reporting Schedule section for details.)

PURPOSE: This correspondence provides guidance on the new web-based reporting system that will be implemented in January 2012, introduces content updates to the Qualitative and Quantitative Reports, and outlines the transition plan to move from aggregate to client level data reporting on the provision of Information and Assistance (I & A).

BACKGROUND: To demonstrate achievement of required NY Connects deliverables, local programs submit a semi-annual Qualitative Report that contains narrative progress updates on designated key program areas and a quarterly Quantitative Report that measures the provision of I & A. These reports have previously been completed using Microsoft Office software (MS Word and MS Excel) and submitted via email attachment to the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). However, there were several barriers inherent to this system (i.e. variations in how data was collected and reported, limited use of data for program evaluation, etc). For Program Year 6 NYSOFA is implementing a reporting system improvement project that will better standardize collection of local data, enhance its accuracy, streamline the submission process, and improve use of the data to demonstrate program outcomes. To accomplish these improvements, the following changes will be implemented.

New Online Reporting System
Effective January, 2012, NYSOFA will expand its web-based reporting system to include NY Connects Reporting requirements. This web-based system will replace the prior method of submitting report forms via email attachment. It will enable local program staff to enter all required data and program narratives directly into a NYSOFA hosted website.

The new online system will allow for both the quantitative and narrative data to be reported via one user friendly interface. To further streamline data submission, NYSOFA has also taken steps to accept the quantitative data through an automated file format that is generated by local software. The method for this submission has been provided to the software vendors and to the counties maintaining their own systems. Further information on this method is described below.

The website that will be used for NY Connects reporting is part of the existing NYSOFA Budget and Reporting Systems page and can be accessed directly at http://www.reporting.aging.ny.gov/ (or through the AAARIN website at http://www.aaarin.ofa.state.ny.us/index.cfm). Please note that these sites are best viewed using Internet Explorer 7.0 or greater.

NYSOFA has instituted a secure system for individuals to access the reporting website. The user name and password first established for use with the AAARIN resource website will be used for this reporting interface. For those who do not have a username and password, please send an email request to your Long Term Care Coordinator.

Local programs will be introduced to the system in early January, 2012 at which time they will be able to access and begin utilizing the web-based reporting system.

Program Year 6 Report Form Updates

Qualitative Report Updates:
The following new questions have been included to capture activity described in the Year 6 grant application:

  1. Please describe how NY Connects program staff currently assists individuals with applying for publicly funded benefits and support (i.e. Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps, etc.). If involvement with this process is fairly limited, are there plans for expanding the role of NY Connects to formalize a connection with appropriate staff from partner agencies to better streamline access (e.g. Department of Social Services/Department of Health)? If so please specify.
  2. Please address how the NY Connects program currently collaborates (or plans to collaborate) with existing or newly developing care transitions programs in your locality.
  3. Please summarize the process and findings from the case study analysis plan that was described in your grant application for Goal 1, Objective 1.3. Address each of the three NY Connects target populations (older adults, individuals with a disability, and caregivers), describe how the case study was conducted and any resulting Long Term Care Council recommendations that were proposed based on the findings.
  4. If applicable to your program, please describe how Options Counseling is provided to individuals. Include an update on its integration as a formal program function and address any encountered successes or barriers.

Quantitative Report (Screening/Intake Updates):

The following changes have been made and were distributed to software vendors/local data managers and AAA Directors in October, 2011.

Under Part A 1). Mode of contact:

Under Part A 6). Contacts made by anticipated primary payor source:

Under Part C 1) Nutrition Specific & Wellness, wording has been changed from "Food Stamps" to "Food Stamps (SNAP)" and "Wellness Programs" has been added.

Under Part C 8) Other, seven fields have been added:

The duplicate category of "Other" under Legal has been deleted.

PROGRAMS AFFECTED: NYConnects

Under Part D, Assistance Provided, four new categories have been added:

The Transition to Client Level I & A Data Submission

In addition to the new web-based platform that will simplify and improve the overall report submission process, NYSOFA is also working to reduce/eliminate manual data entry of the Quantitative I & A Report while simultaneously expanding the utilization of the I & A data that is collected. The existing Quantitative Report is effective in measuring the magnitude and scope of program utilization, but it was designed for aggregate reporting and does not capture client level tracking of individual outcomes (i.e. one unique record for each individual served).

This new web-based reporting method will enable the tracking of individuals from point of entry into the NY Connects program to service connection. Initially, the system will be limited to tracking those services that are typically offered by the AAA network (e.g. individual connected with home delivered meals, personal care, case management), but will allow for some tracking to the point of referral to agencies and programs outside of the AAA. It will allow NYSOFA to create an individualized profile of the client capturing their age, ADL/IADL information, racial/ethnic characteristics, chronic disease, service use, etc. After review and analysis of these initial system improvements, NYSOFA will explore expansion to other NY Connects partner agencies. This data will be invaluable to program evaluation and policy development at the state level.

NYSOFA is encouraging the adoption of data transfer via a fixed width delimited file format. This file format has been employed for the last ten years by many Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and can be generated by using a feature in software programs and existing data systems. Many local NY Connects programs already have this capacity, but are not aware of it or do not know how to use it. This new format will allow for the automated submission of data and will enable the compilation of the data through a server maintained by NYSOFA. This will facilitate the generation of many various reports and analyses.

To initiate the roll out of local transmission of I & A data in a fixed width delimited file format, NYSOFA distributed correspondence to software vendors, local data managers, and AAA Directors in October, 2011 in order to allow local programs to begin making the necessary modifications. Programs using locally created software will need to work with their IT department to explore whether or not the fixed width delimited file format can be generated. NYSOFA will work individually with these programs and those that operate the NY Connects out of other agencies (i.e. local Department of Social Services).

Regardless of program structure or software system, the transition to a fixed width file format will be a gradual process and although encouraged, will not be mandatory for programs. Programs that do not have this capacity will continue to submit the I & A data file in aggregate format via the previously described NYSOFA Budgeting and Reporting Systems website.

Programs that have the capacity can begin submitting the new file format as soon as its available within their software program (as early as the first report due on January 30, 2012). The file can be submitted through the following secure website:https://reporting.ofa.state.ny.us/. This site is also available as a link within the main NY Connects reporting interface on the new online system for quick access.

Reporting Schedule

The reporting schedule for NY Connects Program Year 6 is as follows:

Attachments Included: PY 6 Quantitative and Qualitative Report

PROGRAMS AFFECTED: NYConnects

CONTACT PERSON: Erin Verdile - NY Connects Senior Long Term Care Coordinator
TELEPHONE: (518-474-8973

Due to formatting, please print pages 7-14 from the PDF document.