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LSATogether logoLSA Together - October 2008

New on the LSA Website
Headlines
Noticed
Resources of Interest
Transitions
Upcoming Events
The Monthly Number
Clues to the Future

New on the LSA Website

When Mosaic installed its new CEO last month, planners used an installation guide available on the LSA website. For more resources for board and executives, see the Lutheran Identity section of the LSA website.

Headlines

New 403(b) regulations increase need for employer oversight and accountability

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the first major overhaul of 403(b) regulations since 1964. The new regulations mean changes for all social ministry organizations that offer the plans to their employees.

“In the past, employers have generally considered these plans as belonging to the individual worker; however, the IRS has made it clear in the new regulations that the 403(b) plans are employer-sponsored plans, which means employers have oversight and compliance responsibilities,” according to Ralph Simon of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Concordia Plan Services.

The effective date is January 1, 2009 and any organization not in compliance on that date risks losing its tax-exempt status for the plans and the employee funds in the plan. To provide basic information about the changes, LSA and the ELCA Board of Pensions, joined by LCMS Concordia Plan Services and representatives from the Council on Human Resource Management, hosted a webinar.

“According to the new regulations, even if the plan is administered by a third party, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the plan are complied with and conducting due diligence. Now the employer has additional responsibility in oversight to make sure the plan is administered correctly,” said Amy Dewald of the Board of Pensions during the September 30 Webinar.

Key requirements include:

  • A written plan document, including eligibility, contribution limits, distributions, etc.
  • Oversight of loans, hardship withdrawals and early distributions.
  • Sharing information across plans and with employees’ current and former 403(b) providers.
  • Enforcement of contribution limits.
  • Remittance of pretax contributions in a timely manner.
  • Suggested steps include:

  • Making a list of 403(b) providers and any past providers to the beginning of 2005.
  • Considering implications of continuing to offer multiple providers in the future.
  • Determining which provider(s) to offer beginning January 1, 2009.
  • Having legal counsel review new documents.
  • Both Concordia Plan Services and the Board of Pensions have resources available:

    Concordia Plan Services
    888-927-7526

    ELCA BOP
    800-573-4338

    You can also find information and the complete regulations at the IRS website,

    LSA peers into the crystal ball of aging services

    While Baby Boomers have been the magnet of attention in aging services, people of all generations are touched by long term services, supports and settings.  People of all ages need services and provide informal support.  How this country addresses the impending older people tsunami has profound implications for future generations.

    An LSA report in development, Linking Lives: The Future of Aging Services, surveys the multiple aspects of long term services, supports and settings and examines past and present trends to understand the potential for the future. 

    The report frames demographics using life course theory, where people are viewed as individuals within the broader “context of their lives”.  Older people enter into the long term system with a cumulative life experience that drives preferences and desires for services, supports and settings.

    Changing financing models are adding to the ground-shaking changes with movement from defined benefit to defined contribution models in both public and private payers.  Money is clearly shifting toward home and community based services.  Facilities will continue to offer services to short-stay residents and more medically complex and frail longer-stay residents.  Higher need people will also be moving into assisted living and continuing care retirement communities. 

    Flexibility, choice and control underlie the future of aging services and supports.  Services and supports can be provided in almost any setting depending on licensing in each state.  New models for older people must be affordable and available in their homes. Older people of the future will determine what their quality of life is.  Quality should be at the forefront of service and design support.  Paid and volunteer staffing models should encourage responsibility and building the relationship with the person receiving care.

    Social ministry organizations have a special history of serving people who need services and supports.  In the future social ministry organizations must transform themselves to create an interactive community, as more and more people in need will determine the services that they want, when they want them, and where they want them. 

    Linking Lives will explore what all of this means for the future of social ministry organizations. The report, anticipated for distribution in early 2009, is being research and written by Kirsten Jensen.

    110th Congress makes some advocates’ wishes come true

    Congress is taking to heart the call for change in our nation’s capitol. Poll numbers are down and the election is days away. Members of Congress want to go home in October to report major accomplishments. The result is that LSA and LSA members joined together to lead or be a key player in supporting three bills of interest to health and human service providers, consumers which have or are about to become law.

    At the end of June, LSA successfully advocated for the passage of a moratorium until April 1, 2009, on six Medicaid regulations, including the rehabilitation services option and the case management/targeted case management regulations. Approximately $50 billion in Medicaid cuts were delayed as a result of the moratorium.

    The National Housing Trust Fund bill passed Congress after seven years of consideration. The legislation will create 1.5 million units of affordable housing, primarily to very low-income renters. LSA was asked to testify in support of this legislation and Lutheran Homes Society spoke before the House Committee on Financial Services. LSA also spoke in support of the legislation at a Capitol Hill press conference.

    The Fostering Connections to Success and Improving Adoptions Act passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law this fall. Called the most significant child welfare legislation passed in the last fifteen years, the bill includes provisions of interest to many LSA members. The bill will extend the adoption incentives program for five years, extend the state option for children up to age 21 to receive foster care services and grant Native American tribes access to Title IV-E funds.

    LSA in partnership with LSA members have been leaders in advocating for and moving forward the provision which would expand child welfare training dollars to nonprofit organizations. The lack of public training dollars was identified as a problem for our members approximately four years ago and LSA staff have been working with Rep. Weller (R-IL) and others in Congress on this important change. The inclusion of the provision is a huge victory for LSA and our network. We are thrilled that this significant improvement in child welfare training will soon become law.

    Congress attached mental health parity and substance abuse equity legislation to the bailout bill, H.R. 1424. The bailout bill passed the Senate on October 1 by a vote of 74 - 25, passed the House on October 3 by a vote of 263 - 171, and was signed into law by the President on October 3. Advocates have been working for a decade on this landmark legislation. The law will require private insurers to provide the same level of benefits for mental illness and substance use disorders as they do for physical illness. The law closes several of the loopholes left by the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act and extends equal coverage to all aspects of health insurance plans.

    Congress attached H.R. 6049, The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act, to H.R. 1424, the bailout bill also known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The $150 billion in tax extenders renews the IRA charitable rollover and food inventory charitable incentives, provides a one-year patch of the alternative minimum tax, provides incentives for renewable energy, and provides assistance to victims of natural disasters. The IRA charitable rollover will allow people over age 70 ½ to donate up to $100,000 from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs to public charities without having to count the distributions as taxable income.

    For more information on what Congress and the Administration are doing that may impact service provision, click here.

    Noticed

    Because high fuel prices are straining the budgets of Meals on Wheels volunteers and organizations are losing these volunteers, The Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania has developed a “Funds for Fuel” program, allowing donors and supporters to make financial contributions that will be used for Meals on Wheels. Often there is not room in existing shoestring budgets of the kitchens to allow stipends for drivers, but contributions could make the difference between keeping and losing a volunteer on a fixed income.

    A grant from Citi/United Way Community Investment in Financial Funding Award is allowing Humanitri to integrate a Web-based financial literacy training program into the money management services their case managers offer. In addition, this award allowed Humanitri to seek a supplemental grant from the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, which they will use to create a Technology Learning Center, allowing clients to learn vital computer skills to today’s job market and to do online job searches and applications and prepare resumes.

    Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is partnering with the University of Pennsylvania Health System in a joint venture called Good Shepherd Penn Partners that includes 58 inpatient rehabilitation beds, 38 long-term acute care hospital beds and several outpatient care centers.

    Dr. Rick Armstrong, Associate Director of Lutheran Counseling Services in Winter Park, Florida, conducted a week-long Respite Retreat in Utah for ELCA pastors and spouses from the Gulf Coast who continue to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He also conducted a one-day “Listening Post” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for church workers leading the recovery from Midwest flooding.

    Glade Run’s Enhanced Therapeutic Classroom Program is being piloted in ten Pittsburgh Public School classroom this fall. The program’s primary goal is to eliminate accessibility barriers to mental health services for at-risk youth. Students enrolled in the program participate in daily social skill building activities with a Glade Run classroom therapist. They learn strategies for anger management and impulse control. They also get to practice skills for building positive relationships with others. Each classroom also develops a community service learning project to make relationships between home, school and community. The program recently received a $125,000 grant from Staunton Farms foundation.

    The Successful Young Women program of Lutheran Family and Child Services of Missouri is a mentoring group of highly motivated, over-achieving young women between the ages of 14 and 19. The goal of the program is to help each participant achieve her dreams through mentoring, community networking and peer support. All of the participants are primary caregivers for their children, are in school or working full time and plan to attain college degrees.

    Diakon Adoption & Foster Care has launched a new project with a goal of matching 64 older children with permanent families in the next two years. Partners include Bethanna and Project STAR and the project is funded through a two-year grant from Pennsylvania’s Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network. The unique program empowers the youths trying to locate a family and views the former foster parents and the child’s relatives as potential resources for young people who have spent an extended time in the child welfare system.  The grant provides for four child-focused recruiters to be stationed across Pennsylvania.

    Resources of Interest

    A report from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) offers successful strategies for assisting young people with mental health needs as they transition to post-secondary education, employment and independent lives.

    Transitions

    LSA Together lists monthly new CEOs and new LSA members that have been reported to us. If you know of a transition, please let us know.

    New CEOs

    Karen Sippel
    Lutheran Home for the Aged Development Corporation (aka Pairieview Lutheran Home)

    Chad Solvie
    Martha & Mary Lutheran Services

    Outgoing CEOs

    Carol Peters
    Lutheran Home for the Aged Development Corporation (aka Pairieview Lutheran Home)

    New SMOs

    The Ammerman Center for Creative Aging
    New York, New York

    Lutheran Ministries and Social Services of Waco
    Waco, Texas

    Upcoming Events

    Spiritual Life Conference

    Executive Retreat

    CEO Academy

    The Monthly Number

    6

    The number of LSA member organizations to receive Hague Accreditation for international adoptions. Among the first organizations nationwide to receive accreditation were LSS of New England, LSS of Minnesota, LSS of the South and LSS of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Also receiving accreditation for two years were LFCS of Missouri and LSS of New York.

    Clues to the Future

    A Diorama of Demographic Shifts

    Chicago is undergoing demographic shifts more “complicated and profound” than gentrification and Chicago is simply further along the path many cities will follow. Alan Ehrenhalt suggests that population shifts bringing more affluent white people into the city and sending more minority, immigrant and low income people to the suburbs offer opportunities to form new, more community-oriented environments in both locations. Read more at www.governing.com/articles/0808cities.htm

    To explore decision-making in the typical American home, a Pew Research Center survey asked men and women living in couples which one generally makes the decisions in four familiar areas of domestic life. Who decides what you do together on the weekend? Who manages the household finances? Who makes the decisions on big purchases for the home? And who most often decides what to watch on television? Find out at http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/717/gender-power

    The same Pew Research Center survey reports that there isn’t one American middle class, there are four. Each is different in attitudes, outlook and finances, sometimes in surprising ways. Read more at http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/707/four-middle-classes

     
     
     
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