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MR Update #04-22: State Budget Passes, ICF/MR Assessment Passes, Direct Workers Pilot, Assistive Technology Grant
July 6, 2004

State Fiscal Surplus
According to a June 30 Associated Press article, the state’s Department of Revenue reported a surplus of $636.9 million or 2.9% above projected estimates during the 2003-04 fiscal year. Sales taxes totaled $7.7 billion or $28 million above estimates; income taxes totaled $7.7 billion or $117 million above estimates; and corporate taxes were $4.4 billion or $252 million above estimates.

State Passes Budget
On July 4 the legislature passed the state’s budget for 2004-05 Fiscal Year and it was signed into law by the governor.

A brief overview of the budget as it relates to mental retardation services shows:

  • ICF/MR state appropriations are $114,432,000 with federal at $162,958,000.
  • Community MR services (exclusive of capital improvements, which shall include grants to counties for non-institutional programs) includes a 2% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for services not provided by county staff. The state appropriation is $699,093,000 with federal Medical Assistance of $630,920,000 and SSBG federal at $13,984,000.
  • Early Intervention services include a 2% COLA with a state appropriation of $80,689,000 and federal dollars including SSBG at $2,195,000, Medical Assistance at $17,362,000, and Education for Children with Disabilities at $12,871,000.

For details access the budget legislation, House Bill 2579 at www.legis.state.pa.us. Mental Retardation budget items are on pages 128-130.

ICF/MR Legislation
House Bill 1039, which amends the Public Welfare Code by providing for Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mental Retarded assessments, passed the state’s House and Senate on July 4. The ICF/MR assessment on public, private, and “Other Related Conditions” facilities will be determined annually by the Secretary of Public Welfare. The assessment rate collected will then be used to be matched by federal dollars for Medicaid-eligible services and the new dollars generated will be used to fund services for persons with mental retardation. Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) Deputy Secretary Casey’s priority for using the new funding is for the community mental retardation waiting list.

PCPA received “assurances” from OMR last week regarding implementation of this legislation. (See PCPA Info June 24) For additional information contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

Direct Workers Pilot
The US Department of Labor and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) are cooperating on a pilot program to build a strong and qualified workforce of direct support professionals to address the critical shortage of long-term care professionals. The pilot will develop a “One-Stop” network program model that will provide screened and trained direct support candidates to private providers of community-based facilities for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Four states have been selected to test the models: Kentucky, Maine, Arizona, and New York. The pilot brings together the key components of the Department of Labor’s public workforce network such as One-Stop navigators, state coordinators, and representatives from prospective workforce pools including Native Americans, Job Corps, and elder, migrant, young adult, and displaced workers. For details access ANCOR’s web site at www.ancor.org.

Assistive Technology
The Pennsylvania Institute on Assistive Technology (PIAT) is issuing a request for proposal for three Assistive Technology Resource Centers. Each center is responsible for conducting a variety of cross-disabilities assistive technology related activities (federal and state funded) within a geographic region. Regions are:

  • Northwest (Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forrest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties)
  • Southwest (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Green, Somerset, and Washington counties)
  • Northeast (Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties)

For details contact Amy Goldman at piat@temple.edu or 215-204-3862.

Alliance on Restraints
A newly formed Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions, and Seclusion (APRAIS) is holding a national press conference on July 15 in Washington, DC to address ongoing threats to children’s health and safety, present a white paper outlining the necessary systemic reforms, and to distribute a Parent’s Guide to prevent use of these restraints. For additional information contact aprais@tash.org.

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