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Department of Public Welfare Update
July 23, 2013

OMHSAS Clarifies Policy on Electronic Signatures
The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) issued OMHSAS Bulletin 13-02, Policy Clarification Regarding Written Prescriptions, Orders, and Requests – Statement of Policy, clarifying that for programs licensed under 55 PA Code Chapters 5200, Psychiatric Outpatient Clinics; 5210, Partial Hospitalization Services; and 5320, Requirements for Long-Term Structured Residences, the term “written” includes transmittal using electronic media. Written prescriptions transmitted electronically must be encrypted or transmitted “by other technological means designed to protect and prevent access, alteration, manipulation or use by any unauthorized person.”  This bulletin is effective immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

DPW to Use MAGI Criteria in October
The Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) will be used to calculate eligibility for coverage under all health insurance affordability programs, including Medical Assistance (MA), beginning January 2014. Effective October 1, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) intends to use the MAGI eligibility criteria for:

  • Infants and children under age 19,
  • Pregnant women through the postpartum period,
  • Parents and caretaker relatives, and
  • Individuals under age 26 who received foster care and MA upon reaching age 21.

DPW will request a Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver that will enable it to use one set of MA eligibility rules during the open enrollment period (October 1 – December 31) for insurance coverage under the Health Insurance Exchange/Marketplace. If no waiver is issued, DPW would determine eligibility for MA for these populations using both the current eligibility determination criteria and the MAGI criteria.

Two public meetings for input remain to be conducted in Harrisburg.

  • July 24, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Rm 129, Health and Welfare Bldg. and
  • July 25, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Temple University, Strawberry Square.

A formal public hearing is July 29, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Clothes Tree Building, DGS Annex Complex, 25 Beech Dr, Harrisburg, and will afford remote access. Dial 877-668-4493 and use access code 648071646 to teleconference. Access the web conference through https://copa.webex.com/copa/j.php?J=648071646. The meeting password is “public.” View the waiver application and the complete notice found in the July 13 Pennsylvania Bulletin.  

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