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Mental Retardation Update #04-11
April 12, 2004

MAWD Awareness
Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Secretary Richman announced the approval of $162,000 in grants to 22 grassroots organizations to educate the community about the availability of Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). The grantees will distribute a newly revised educational packet that is being provided through county assistance offices, county MH/MR programs, CareerLink Centers, Councils on Independent Living, and many other advocacy organizations. Since MAWD was started in January 2002 approximately 2,750 individuals are currently enrolled. DPW is implementing a series of enhancements to MAWD to encourage participation. One is the granting of “Good Cause” for persons to continue in MAWD if good cause prevents them from paying the monthly premium. To apply for MAWD contact the county assistance office or helpline at 800-692-7462 or online at www.compass.state.pa.us.

MH/MR Coalition Rally
The Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) Coalition is sponsoring a rally on Tuesday, May 11 at 12:00 p.m. at the Rotunda of the State Capitol, Harrisburg. The rally will urge the General Assembly and Governor Rendell to provide “Essential Funding for Essential Services.” The coalition request is for:

  • 3% COLA for MH/MR/D&A Community Services,
  • Full Funding for Emergency MR Waiting List, and
  • Long-Term Solution for Funding Needs.

If you plan to attend this rally instead of or in addition to PCPA’s May 25 Lobby Day, please contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

Fair Housing Decision
Pennsylvania’s Disabilities Law Project has obtained a positive fair housing decision in a case involving a community living arrangement (CLA) for persons with mental retardation. A federal judge in Philadelphia declared on April 1 that in Community Services Group (CSG) v. Wind Gap Municipal Authority, the township violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by imposing higher fees and additional administrative requirements on a CLA.

The lawsuit was filed by CSG, a residential service provider which operated a CLA for three women in a single-family home owned by one of the resident’s family. The home has long been classified by the Municipal Authority as “residential” for purposes of assessing sewage charges. After learning that CSG would be providing services in the home, the authority required the homeowner to apply for a sewer connection permit, feasibility review, $500 deposit and a $2,100 tapping fee. No other existing residential customer had ever been subjected to these additional requirements. For additional information contact Mark Murphy, Disability Law Project, Philadelphia, 215-238-8070.

Disability Budget Coalition
The Disability Budget Coalition, addressing funding for physical and sensory disability programs and services, will hold its “Independence is Priceless” rally on May 10 at 11:00 a.m. at the Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg. Tying in with Pennsylvania’s new logo, “State of Independence,” the messages to the governor and legislature will address assistive technology, transportation, attendant care, aging, and employment.

IM4Q
Pennsylvania’s IM4Q (Independent Monitoring for Quality) program was recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as one of three promising state practices for quality management in home and community-based services. A copy of the projects overview is available at www.cms.hhs.gov/Medicaid/waivers/hcbsworkbook.asp.

The state’s IM4Q due dates for survey visits completion by IM4Q teams is June 30, with all data entry finalized in HCSIS by August 1. County MH/MR programs have been instructed by the office of Mental Retardation (OMR) to contract for the same sample subsets for fiscal year 2004-05 as they had authorized during the current year. Budget rates for IM4Q and the National Core Indicators will remain the same. For additional information contact the county MH/MR programs, Regional OMR offices, or the IM4Q/HCSIS Help Desk at 866-444-1264.

Incident Management
OMR’s Incident Management Committee is finalizing the EZ Reporting Form to be used by providers reporting, in a quarter, five or less incidents not requiring an investigation. Providers serving multiple counties will submit separate reports to each county regarding clients registered in the county. The Provider Quarterly Incident Management Report and County Semi-Annual Incident Management Report have been finalized. Trainings for providers and counties will be held throughout the state in June. Additional training techniques will include web-casting and CDs. Topics to be presented will include use of the reporting templates to analyze data, identification of system issues and their relationship to aggregate analysis, and identification of ways to promote continuous quality improvements.

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