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Mental Retardation Update #04-02
January 29, 2004

IRS Changes
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS)has issued a proposed new revenue procedure (IRS #2003-70) providing updated guidance to state and local government agencies that act as employer-agents under Section 3504 of IRS Code to assist individuals with disabilities and welfare recipients who employ home-care service providers. This procedure attempts to clarify IRS requirements and rectify problems that have arisen as state and local agencies have expanded in-home support services, especially in situations where the individuals “self-direct” their own services.

One difficult issue results from the IRS consideration of a service recipient as the employer of a home-care service provider if the service recipient has the right to direct and control the performance of the services. This has created cumbersome procedures to satisfy IRS requirements.

The new procedure, effective in January, makes three changes to the current policies governing home-care service providers. (Procedures #70-6; #80-4; #95-18):

  1. It allows service recipients to designate state agencies as agents for the purpose of withholding and reporting worker tax and other employment obligations (public agency may contract with private nonprofit or proprietary agency);
  2. It authorizes state agencies to designate third party subagents to carry out the employer-agent responsibilities; and
  3. 3. It clarifies procedures state employer agents must follow in carrying out these responsibilities.

For additional information access www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-03-70.pdf.

Certified Investigators
Certified Investigators may access updated investigative procedures regarding the proper disposition of 41 different types of objects and substances, which an investigator might collect. Access this information at www.omrinvestigators.com.

IM4Q Brochure
OMR has finalized the statewide IM4Q brochure that may be copied and distributed by providers, counties and individuals. The brochure provides an overview of the Independent Monitoring for Quality purpose, history, reports and guiding principles.

MR Bulletins
OMR has released the following Mental Retardation Bulletins, which are available on their web site at www.dpw.state.pa.us.

  • #00-03-12 Provides service definitions and procedure codes for healthcare and non-healthcare, wavier and base services.
  • #00-04-02 Effective March 1, 2004, County MH/MR programs and Early Intervention providers (EI) must begin using specific Medical Assistance EI procedure codes. These billing codes are compliant with HIPAA. All rates are based on 15 minutes of services and the unit fee on this schedule is the maximum permitted by DPW.
  • #00-04-03 Effective March 1, County MH/MR and EI providers must begin using the revised procedure codes for EI Waiver services. Prior to HIPAA, Medicaid programs were allowed to create and use state-specific local procedure codes. This will no longer be allowed.
  • #00-04-04 Effective March 1, County MH/MR and EI providers must use specific HIPAA compliant, national codes for EI Waiver services.
  • #00-04-05 Promotes Positive Approaches in all programs serving people with mental retardation. These concepts include:
    1. All individuals are treated with respect and dignity;
    2. There must be an understanding of the unique qualities of each person;
    3. Services need to include an integration of values, philosophies and technologies.

Grassroots Mini-Grants
PA Parents and Caregivers Resource Network has mini-grants available for up to $500 for grassroots parent and caregiver groups that have formed to improve local services and promote inclusion. For details on applying by March 24, contact Cheryl Watson at 800-838-4156.

HCSIS
When utilizing HCSIS (Home and Community Services Information system) a user is obligated to adhere to all privacy standards set forth by Title II of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If the optional “Printable Incident Summary” link is used, the summary must be treated as any other part of an individual’s record.

Workshops/Seminars
February 5: “Brothers and Sisters of People with Developmental Disabilities: Unique Concerns, Unique Opportunities” at Temple University, Kiva Auditorium, Philadelphia. For details contact Temple University at 215-204-1356 or raissa@temple.edu

February 8-10: Emerging Workforce Conference “We Are..We Can..We Will..” at Wyndham Resort in Weston, Florida, will address employment outcomes for people with disabilities. For details access www.hhs.gov/od/eventscalendar.htm.

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