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MR Update #04-21: MR Bulletins, Direct Care Workers, Parent’s Lawsuit, HCSIS Update
June 29, 2004

EI Bulletin
PCPA has received confirmation from the Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) regarding rescinding of the recent Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-04-09 requiring infants and toddlers to be assessed for Medical Assistance eligibility before services are authorized. The revised bulletin will “encourage” the assessment of Medicaid. Apparently the requirement may violate rights under federal law.

Draft MR Bulletins
OMR has released three draft Mental Retardation bulletins that are open to review and comment by August 15, 2004. PCPA requests that member agencies share their comments with the association. The bulletins are:

  • Choice of Qualified Providers and Waiver Approved Staff Qualifications for the Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers
  • Certified Investigators
  • Service Definitions and Procedure Codes for Healthcare and Non-Healthcare Waiver and Base Services.

Direct Care Workers
The Arc of Butler County notified Butler County commissioners last week that labor negotiations that had been holding up disbursement of a $100,000 grant had been resolved and the proceeds would be issued to workers. The county had allocated the money to The Arc specifically to be used to boost the salaries of employees who work in direct care positions with residential clients. There was disagreement between the agency and the Service Employees International Union workers regarding how the money was to be divided among the employees. An average employee earns between $6 and $7 per hour.

Cumberland/Perry MH/MR
Pennsylvania has given $60,000 to Cumberland/Perry Mental Health/Mental Retardation to establish new services for persons with development disabilities. These funds will be used to open two new day time programs, one in Shippensburg and one near Carlisle. Each new program will accommodate six to eight clients. The day programs allow individuals to pick their own goals and be part of the community. For additional information contact Susan Carbaugh, MR Director, Cumberland/Perry MH/MR (717-240-6320 or mhmr@ccpa.net).

Parents File Lawsuit
The parents of a woman who died after being hit by a car outside a Northumberland County group home for the mentally retarded have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit. The parents have sued the county, the state’s Department of Public Welfare, and the service provider for failing to protect the mentally handicapped in residential placements.

HCSIS Update
HCSIS Update #17 addresses enhancements and changes to the system. Beginning July 1, OMR will begin to pilot HCSIS Financial Management functionality and PROMISe billing in four pilot counties (Berks, Dauphin, Delaware and Westmoreland). PROMISe (Provider Reimbursement and Operations Management Information System) is the new HIPAA-compliant claims processing and management information system implemented by the Department of Public Welfare. The pilot will allow OMR to better understand the changes that counties and providers will have to make to support new polices and to use the new system functionality.

Release Highlights 3.3.1 scheduled for June 29 has been delayed. The release will be rescheduled for late July or early August, therefore disregard that section of the attached HCSIS update.

Transportation Research Center
A new research center on accessible public transportation has been established at Oregon State University with funding from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The National Accessible Public Transportation Center will explore improving access to intercity modes of travel for persons with mobility, agility, and hearing disabilities. For information go to http://ncat.oregonstate.edu or call 800-916-0099.

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