Project HIRE is the oldest and largest provider of supported employment in New Jersey. Since 1985, Project HIRE has assisted thousands of people with disabilities in finding successful, independent employment.
Company Size: 30 employees
Participants: 550 individuals
Location: New Jersey
“Our billable percentages are better than they ever have been, and we’re operating more efficiently than we ever have been.”
Adam Kubler // Director // The Arc of New Jersey-Project HIRE
As the largest supported employment agency in New Jersey, Project HIRE is always trying to be on the cutting edge. However, its legacy software system was anything but.
“It had all the right forms, and everything looked right,” says Adam Kubler, Project HIRE’s Director. “The problem was that the program was not web-based, which required us to host on a small, outdated computer at the main office. If too many staff accessed the server at the same time, it would slow and even overheat to the point of crashing.”
The system was so slow it would take 30 seconds to load a single day’s notes. “That made quality assurance and documentation reviews tedious at best, limiting our ability to check documentation submitted by staff.”
That was a huge liability given New Jersey’s strict compliance requirements. Worse, Project HIRE’s size made it a prime target for Medicaid.
“We’ve been told that when Medicaid comes through, they’re going to be targeting us specifically because of the size of the program,” explains Adam.
Furthermore, the agency had incredibly high standards for billability but no clean and easy way to validate service hours.
Their existing method of documentation was inefficient and heavily reliant on paper-based processes.
The challenge of improving documentation was a big one, but Adam knew it was possible if they found the right technology to put information in the hands of staff when and where they needed it.
“We have 30 staff members, and I’m the only one with a desk,” says Adam. “Everybody else is out in the field 100% of the time.”
Initially, Project HIRE selected another well-known IDD software vendor. Early on in the implementation, though, it became clear that the system would not live up to Adam’s expectations.
“I’m not paying for a computer system so my staff have to carry around a notebook.” Adam decided to scrap the implementation and start his search over.
Upon finding SETWorks, Adam was drawn to their user-friendly approach. His initial conversations with SETWorks’ team were also very encouraging.
“I really liked the flexibility of it, and I liked the honesty that I was getting from Preston (SETWorks’ Client Operations Director) and the other staff,” says Adam. “Good news or bad news, I appreciate someone who just tells me.”
Moving Project HIRE’s existing data into SETWorks was a daunting task, but one Adam says was worth the effort. “I came in on a Sunday morning when no one was in the office and moved all the data.”
Adam, Preston, and the SETWorks team worked together to configure SETWorks to meet Project HIRE’s needs, including building out a number of custom forms for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and other state-specific requirements.
Adam appreciated that the SETWorks team acted as consultants, not just software providers.
“I like to tinker,” grins Adam. “Preston was very good at giving me the tools that I needed to do those things, like creating my own forms and setting up my billing.”
Adam was impressed with how quickly Project Hire staff adopted the new system — even those who weren’t as tech savvy.
“SETWorks is web-based, so a lot of them use it on their phones,” says Adam. “Staff really enjoy having it all at their fingertips, and they’re always surprised how easy it is to figure out.”
With SETWorks, scheduling is integrated with service documentation and timekeeping, which helps Project HIRE maximize its billable time.
“Staff are scheduling their appointments, they’re doing their documentation, and they’re tracking their time all in the same package” said Adam.
SETWorks has also sped up the quality assurance process. For example, instead of needing to pull up each note individually, Adam can check a month’s worth of notes in a couple of hours. “Now I can tell you I check 100% of our Medicaid notes, and it doesn’t take that much time.”
This confidence in its documentation is what enables Project HIRE to continue operating at its current size. “We never could have done it with the old system. There’s just no way that we could be as large,” explains Adam. “We would have had to shrink, or risk quality issues that could result in fines or worse!”
With SETWorks in place, Project HIRE is completely paperless. This allowed Adam to close all four of the agency’s physical offices and go completely remote.
Project HIRE continues to have exceptional billability rates for a supported employment agency. According to Adam, SETWorks is what enables them to maintain these high percentages with confidence.
“Most agencies bill about 65% of their time. Our goal is 80%, and we’re right there,” says Adam. “That’s always been the way we did it, but I feel more confident with that 80% now. I know my staff are able to be so efficient because they spend more time with participants and less time wrestling with a slow computer system.”
Having quick access to accurate data in SETWorks has also helped with CARF evaluations. “The last review, I got zero recommendations and it’s totally because of SETWorks,” says Adam.
Having experienced other IDD software systems firsthand, Adam is glad to have found a partner who listens and learns from the industry and is continuously improving their product and services, and he recommends SETWorks to other agencies.
“I love all the neat new things coming up. You can tell the people at SETWorks really want to keep moving forward. They’re not here to design something and then just sit on it. It’s kind of like us: always trying to improve.”
SETWorks is comprehensive disability service management software, built to handle the needs of person-serving agencies, across programs, on any device.
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