Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Resource Connections of Oregon?
Resource Connections of Oregon (RCO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization that provides services to about 700 adults with
intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in the
Mid-Willamette Valley area. While we began in 1998, we have operated
as a brokerage since 2002 and serve Marion, Linn, and Yamhill
counties. Our agency is governed by a board
of directors primarily
comprised of people with I/DD and their family members. Our funding
comes through a contract with the State of Oregon Department of Human
What is a Brokerage?
Brokerages are private agencies (usually nonprofit) that contract with
the Oregon Department of Human Services to provide case management,
resources, and access to in-home support services. We offer
self-directed, person-centered services. Brokerages serve about 8,000
Why are you called a Brokerage?
When you think of the work “Brokerage”, you probably think of
insurance or the stock market. We do neither of those things. However,
those kind of brokerages try to get people the best deal on the
market. Similarly, Support Service Brokerages were designed to help
our customers get the most out of their resources. Think of us as a
link between your goals and the resources you need to carry out those
Where do Brokerages come from?
Brokerages are the result of a lawsuit several families brought
against the State of Oregon at the end of the 1990s. Over 5,000 people
had been on waitlists for community-based services for many, many
years. The lawsuit (Staley
resulted in the Staley Agreement, which paved the way for the
brokerage services. Strong self-advocate, family, and community
leaders pushed for a new way of providing case management and services
in the community, and the Support Service Brokerage was born.
What is a Personal Agent?
When brokerages were designed, back in 2001, the idea was to stop
having people feel like “cases” who were “managed” by a “case
manager”. No one wants to be a case, and no one wants to be managed.
So, the families, self-advocates, and community leaders who helped to
craft the brokerage model came up with the term Personal Agent (PA).
At our core, we are case managers, and that is how our services are
defined. So, you may here us referred to that way as well, but our
preferred title is still Personal Agent.
Most people hear the term “agent” and immediately picture a sports
agent or an actor’s agent. Both of those professionals work hard to
connect their clients with the best situation possible to maximize
their abilities. For example, they will try to get an athlete
connected to a team with a need for someone with just their client’s
A Personal Agent’s job is just that - to connect you with resources in
the community (paid and unpaid) that will make the most of your
strengths and skills, in order to help you live a full life.
Who is eligible for your services?
Learn more about eligibility here.
How often will I see my Personal Agent?
When you’re new to services you’ll see us quite a bit. We have initial
paperwork to go over, an assessment to move through, and we’ll develop
a plan with you.
After that, at least quarterly (every three months) we will check in
with you. For some customers, we will check in monthly. You and your
PA will discuss what schedule makes the most sense for you.
Expect to meet with your PA at least once annually face to face.
That’s required for you to remain in services.
What hours does my Personal Agent work?
generally open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, except for most major
holidays and occasionally for training. PAs are generally available
during those business hours. You can reach them by email or phone. If
you are unable to reach your PA during business hours and require
immediate assistance, please call our main line at 503-485-2510 and
we’ll have someone help you in their absence. If you have an
emergency, be sure to call 911 first.
How many customers does a PA work with?
goal is to keep customer numbers low to maximize the direct contact
possible with your personal agent, reduce response time and to
increase the ability for a PA to know your needs and find you the
supports you need. Our target customer base is between 36-38 customers
per PA. We also approach case management from a team perspective, so
you may have contact with another PA from time to time.
When I leave a message, how long should I expect to hear back from my
Personal Agent or other RCO staff?
Our goal is to return all calls the same day received. However, that
isn’t always possible. If you leave a voicemail or send an email, a
return call or email should be expected within two business days. Even
if the answer is “I don’t know, let me check on that,” you deserve a
Who do I contact when my PA is on vacation?
When our staff are on vacation or out for any extended period of time,
we’ll be sure to update our outgoing voicemails and our email
out-of-office replies to let you know who is covering. If you
experience an issue with someone not responding or you need something
immediately, please call our main line at 503-485-2510 and we’ll have
someone assist you in your PA’s absence.
Will I still have a County Case Manager/Service Coordinator?
No. Your PA becomes your case manager when you transfer to brokerage
Can I choose to work with another case management agency?
Absolutely. You can choose any brokerage with capacity in you county
or the local county Developmental Disabilities Program. Check out the
pages for more details. You may also view links to brokerages
statewide on our websiteby
or at theMy
Brokerage My Choice website.
What is Self Determination?
Self Determination is a
philosophy and process by which people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities are empowered to gain control over the
selection of supports that meet their needs. We believe that freedom,
authority, autonomy, and responsibility are the key to living a full
life – for everyone, regardless of disability. You should have the
freedom to plan a life with the supports you need. You should have the
authority to control your service resources. You should have the
support you need to be involved in the community. And you should have
the responsibility to oversee your services and appropriately use
public funds. We’re here to support you each step of the way.
What is an Adult Needs Assessment?
The ANA (Adult Needs Assessment) is a tool designed by the State of
Oregon to record a person’s disability-related support needs. It must
be completed with all new customers prior to writing the first plan
and authorizing paid supports. The assessment asks a series of
questions about your needs and determines the number of paid supports
a person might be eligible for. This assessment is redone at least
annually, but a re-assessment can be conducted any time, just ask. By
rule, a brokerage has 45 days to perform a re-assessment upon request,
but we will likely be able to do so much sooner in most cases.
Do I have to use all the hours the assessment offers?
Not at all. In fact, many people don’t. The assessment theoretically
assesses all of your needs – met and unmet. Often, people already have
their needs met by other people in their lives and don’t require
additional supports. The idea is to use additional resources when you
need them, expanding your life and increasing your independence.
What is an ISP?
ISP stands for Individual Support Plan. We’ll probably refer to it as
“your plan” most of the time. Once we know your goals and we identify
the resources you’ll need to reach those goals, we’ll write a plan
together. Your planning meeting can be as simple as just you and your
PA – or it can be a roomful of people who are important to you. It’s
really up to you.
What if I want to make changes to my plan?
Easy. Folks do it all the time. Just call your PA and they’ll help you
update your plan to reflect the changes you want and need.
What kinds of providers are available to me?
Learn more about providers
What if I want to change providers?
No problem. Brokerages are based on choice. Sometimes things work out,
sometimes they don’t. When you want to make a change, give your PA a
call. We’ll help you with the changes you’d like to make.
How does my PA know what can/can’t be paid for through my plan?
Brokerages are funded through a mix of state and federal funding.
Depending on the service you’re receiving, the funding comes from
either the Title XIX Waiver, the Community First Choice Option/K Plan
(part of the Affordable Care Act.), or, less commonly, The State Plan
Personal Care. If you’d like to learn more about these programs, check
out the services page on our website by
What do I do if I’m not happy with my Personal Agent? Can I choose a
If things aren’t working out for some reason, we encourage you to talk
to your PA about the issue. If that doesn’t work or if you aren’t
comfortable with this, you can always call either a Lead Personal
Agent or our Executive Director. Choice is our biggest goal. We want
you to have the right match. After all, this person plays a key role
in helping you live the life you want to live.
Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
You can always call your Personal Agent, a Lead Personal Agent, or our
Executive Director. Reach us by calling 503-485-2510.