Providing FMS for client-managed services is much more than accounting. Provision of this crucial service requires a combination of technical, accounting, and tax acumen with a deep understanding of what individuals need to live independently in their communities. While some organizations can provide technical expertise or they can connect with and advocate for clients, Consumer Directions, Inc., delivers the rare and wonderful combination.
Shantel, a financial expert with a long history of working with families in Minnesota, has created a culture of doing whatever it takes to support individuals to live independently. Simultaneously, she has grasped that caring alone is not enough. Shantel's organization has consistently demonstrated the excellent quality of their services, most recently by earning the highest score of all Fiscal Support Entities in the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ review of qualified FMS providers in its Medicaid programs. Consumer Directions’ strong technical approach to FMS is so heralded that the reviewers used their approaches as the measure by which all other Minnesota providers were compared. While FMS providers across the country struggle to make sense of Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations as they pertain to self direction, Shantel and her staff maintains an impressive command of the rules and nuances. Further, Shantel fosters strong relationships with experts within the Internal Revenue Service and other tax and labor agencies, which proves especially beneficial when regulation hiccups are encountered.
Few organizations I have encountered in my career are as focused on continual quality improvement as Consumer Directions, Inc. A culture of “how can we do this better?” permeates and can be witnessed at all staff levels. Across her state, Shantel is the expert on all things self direction and she openly shares her knowledge and expertise, even if it's not in her direct interest, but because it helps the quality of self direction and she wants the service to reach as many people as possible.