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ID Update #09-03: Cash Advance Legislation, Proposed State Budget, Proposed Federal Budget, Social Security Payments, Health and Human Services Secretary, ID Committee, and ODP Updates
May 7, 2009

House Bill 1064 – Fiscal Stability Act
The Community Mental Retardation System Financial Stability Act (HB1064), which requires the Department of Public Welfare to continue to provide quarterly cash advances to community service providers, has been unanimously reported out of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  PCPA and the MH/MR Coalition will continue advocacy efforts with all legislators for passage of this important legislation.

Senate Bill 850 – State Budget
The Pennsylvania Senate introduced and quickly passed Senate Bill 850, the General Appropriation Act of 2009. This alternative budget proposal to the governor’s February budget plan includes cuts which would impact the intellectual disability and autism systems. However, this is just the beginning of state budget negotiations. The Senate is now on recess and reconvenes on June 1. The House version of the state budget was introduced as House Bill 1416 and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

PCPA and the MH/MR Coalition, including the advocacy community, are working to address the issues created by this legislation. PCPA had representatives participate in the May 5 “Rally at the Capitol to address MH/MR/Autism Services Funding.” This event was sponsored by The Arc of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign, and Vision for Equality.

PCPA’s Capitol Day is May 12 and provides an opportunity for members, consumers, and families to visit legislators and address the financial needs of the service provider community. The Legislative Press Conference is at 12:00 pm. For additional information contact Anne Leisure (anne@paproviders.org).

President’s Budget Proposal
On May 7 President Obama will release his 2010 fiscal year budget proposal for the government’s $3.5 trillion budget. It is expected to include $17 billion in budget cuts through terminating or reducing 121 federal programs. Recommendations for cuts would include elimination of the education program Even Start, American Embassy Paris attaché for Education Department, and defense and military programs.

Social Security Payments
Beginning in early May those individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security benefits will receive a one-time payment of $250. This is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. No action is required by the individual unless they do not receive this payment by June 4. A factsheet is available at www.ssa.gov/payment.

Health and Human Services Secretary
The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. The 65 to 31 confirmation vote completes President Obama’s cabinet.

ODP Updates
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued numerous communications with Informational Memos and Packets available at www.odpconsulting.net, including:

  • Health Alert on Swine (H1N1) Influenza with information on symptoms,  prevention, who to contact, and resources
  • Providers should begin receiving FY 2009/10 rates this week.
  • Provider agreement for direct service and supports coordination due date has been changed to May 15 due to possible agreement changes under consideration.
  • Statewide Needs Assessment Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) expectations for supports coordinators and direct service providers.
  • Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers Provider Appeals Process, Bulletin #00-09-01.
  • Retroactive increase in individual cost limit for the Person/Family Directed Supports waiver effective July 1, 2008 from $23,200 to $26,000.
  • Viewing an Individual’s Service Utilization on HCSIS (Informational Memo #005-09).
  • The Supports Coordination Cost Report Town Hall Meeting slide deck is available.
  • State Center staff development courses available for May; free for families and agency staff.
  • Draft Quality Management Strategy for comments to ra-odpcomment@state.pa.us.
  • ODP Providers Services Mapping Crosswalk (Informational Memo #004-09).
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Option (Informational Memo #006-09).
  • Supports Coordinator Checklist and Unit Conversion Calculator (Informational Memo #007-09).
  • Provision of Vendor Services to determine if the agency is a provider or vendor with information on camp respite and transportation (Informational Packet #003-09).

PCPA is awaiting formal clarification of the informal responses received from ODP regarding the following issues:

  • Companion services and home/community habilitation are two different services and providers should not be switching back and forth between the services when habilitation is at times limited to minimal assistance or supervision.
  • Supports coordination organizations cannot round up when billing for waiver funded services.
  • Details on the certified investigators new contractor, Columbus Organization, and recertification courses schedule.

PCPA Intellectual Disability Committee
The June 16 Intellectual Disability Committee will be held at the Sheraton Hershey-Harrisburg, Lindle Rd, Harrisburg from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Invited guest is Centers for Medicare and Mediae Services Waiver Coordinator Nancy Klimon to address federal initiatives for states and providers related to quality management and improvement. This is a relevant topic as ODP is currently developing a Quality Management Strategy for the waiver funded system. Watch for details and registration information.

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