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Mental Retardation Update #04-08
March 5, 2004

HHS Awards $15.7 Million
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the award of $15.7 million in grants to 28 states to help people with disabilities find and keep work without losing their health benefits. This brings the total awards to $57 million in Medicaid Infrastructure grants to 42 states. The grants advance the goals of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, a law to encourage people with disabilities to work without fear of losing either eligibility under Medicare or Medicaid. To date more than 59,000 working people with disabilities have received health coverage under these programs. Pennsylvania was awarded $500,000. For more information access the CMS web site at www.cms.hhs.gov/twwiia.asp.

Executive Order
President Bush signed an Executive Order on Transportation Coordination on February 24. This order establishes through the US Department of Transportation the “Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility.” One of the functions of the council will be to promote interagency cooperation and the establishment of appropriate mechanisms to minimize duplication and overlap of federal programs and services so that persons who are transportation-disadvantaged have access to more transportation services. For a copy of the order acceee www.whitehouse.gov.

APS Deficits
Pennsylvania’s 29 Approved Private Schools (APS) which provide education for 4,000 children with disabilities (mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, physical, neurological, and emotional disabilities) face $30 million in state budget deficits. The schools are funded by 40% local school district and 60% state funding from the PA Department of Education. The state notified some of the schools in February that they may receive less than half of the $7.3 million in expenses they are owed from the 1999-2002 school years. There is also no money to pay for the $11.5 million due for the 2002-03 school year. APS' provide programming for special education students when local school districts cannot provide appropriate services and supports. If there is no resolution of the budget issues, some of the APS may begin sending students back to their home school districts in June. For additional information contact Brian Christopher, PA Department of Education, 717-783-9802 or 00presa2@psupen.psu.edu.

HCSIS Update

  • Planned HCSIS outages on March 6 from 7:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. and March 7 from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • Release 3.2.3 will go live March 11 regarding ISO Service Names and Effective Dates of the ISO; this release is posted at www.humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSISLMS.
  • HCSIS Release 3.2.4 will go live April 3 regarding ISP Charge Order and Provider Access Enhancements.
  • Incident Management web based training courses posted on LMS (Basics of IM Reference Guide, IM Management Review, IM Certified Investigation Reference Guide).
  • Department update available from this link.

Grants
Partners for Youth with Disabilities is requesting proposals from community-based organizations to start up, sustain, or expand one-to-one group or online/e-mentoring programs for youth with disabilities. Funding is provided by the US Department. of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Five awards ranging from $5,000-25,000 will be awarded to an agency serving youth between 16-24. Deadline is March 17. The complete RFP is available at www.pyd.org/about/news_events/index.htm#rfp.

Award Opportunity
The US Department of Labor announces the competition for the 2004 New Freedom Initiative Award to recognize public-private partnerships and programs demonstrating a positive and measurable impact on the employment of people with disabilities through access to assistive technologies, innovate training, hiring, and retention techniques. Applications are due May 21 and information is available at www.dol.gov/odep under the New Freedom Initiative tab or by calling the Office of Disability Employment Policy at 202-693-7880.

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