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MR Update#04-26: ICF/MR Assessments and Training, Long-term Care Reform, Blues’ Reserves, OMR PAC, CMS, HCSIS Update
September 2, 2004

ICF/MR Assessments
PCPA and the MH/MR Coalition have requested information from the Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) regarding how ICF/MR assessments collected from providers for 2004-05 and retroactively for 2003-04 will be used to fund services for mental retardation. This request resulted from concerns that money generated through provider assessments could be used for other purposes outside of mental retardation, such as adding them to the general fund or for other obligations. PCPA had received written assurances from OMR in June that the money generated from the assessments would be used for the mental retardation system, including the waiting list. This new request would provide an accounting of how the extra dollars that were not appropriated by the General Assembly, but are being generated by the assessments, will be used to fund services. For additional information or a copy of the letter to OMR, contact Linda Drummond.

ICF/MR Training
OMR will be conducting a day of training on the proper preparation and documentation of a request for a waiver of the standard ICF/MR interim per diem rate. The training will be held on September 7 from 10:00 a.m. — 3:00 p.m. at the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg. Space is limited to four (4) staff per agency. To register, obatin an agenda or directions, contact Kathy Deans at kdeans@state.pa.us or 717-783-5774.

Long-term Care Reform
The governor’s Office of Health Care Reform and Departments of Aging and Public Welfare are conducting a series of regional meetings in September. The meetings will provide information on the CMS Real Choice Systems Change Grant activities and update the community on long-term care reform efforts. Participants are encouraged to ask questions. Information will also be provided regarding opportunities for agencies, organizations and other groups to participate in one or more of the demonstrations projects being implemented.

Meetings are scheduled for:
September 7, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Lancaster: Farm & Home Center (www.farmandhomecenter.com)
September 10, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Wiilkes-Barre: Luzerne County Community College (http://luzerne.edu)
September 16, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Pittsburgh: Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh Airport Hotel (412-262-2400)
September 17, 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., Clarion: Clarion Holiday Inn (814-226-8850)

Any questions may be directed to Jennifer Burnett at 717-346-9712 or jenburnett@state.pa.us.

Blues’ Reserves
Consumers have until September 14 to comment on the amount of financial reserves held by the four Blue Cross/Blue Shield operations in Pennsylvania. The state Insurance Department will consider the comments when it decides if any of the Blues hold excessive reserves and must return some money to subscribers. The combined reserves in 2002 were $3.5 billion. The financial disclosure information is available online at www.insurance.state.pa.us and click on “Applications.”

OMR PAC
The new OMR Provider Advisory Council (PAC) co-chair appointed by Kevin Casey is Maureen Devaney. Devaney is director of Visions for Equality in Philadelphia and one of the coordinators of the Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign. She replaces Ellie Myers, Mental Retardation Director from Dauphin County MH/MR, whose term has expired.

CMS Letter to Medicaid
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has supported states in the implementation of the principles of “Money Follows the Person” (MFP) by providing resources and technical assistance. The most recent letter (www.cms.hhs.gov/states/letters/smd081704.pdf) to state Medicaid directors provided clarification on several issues:

  • States may request to amend their current Home and Community Based Services Waiver program to include additional participants. States that do so are required to demonstrate the continued cost-neutrality of those programs.
  • States implementing MFP strategies will find that as individuals have greater choices in service delivery, a smaller proportion will choose institutional care. Therefore, states are encouraged to reduce nursing facility beds to assist a state in rebalancing its long-term care service system, but this is not a requirement.
  • CMS has identified the four basic service delivery models related to services and supports (traditional model, traditional model supporting choice, agency with choice model, fiscal/employer agent).

OMR Employment
OMR is recruiting a qualified candidate for a training and technical assistance consultant position. OMR’s consulting system supports consistent statewide training as well as local training and technical assistance to county MH/MR agencies to meet the needs of individuals and families who receive supports and services. The position will be located in the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, or King of Prussia area and requires extensive statewide travel. For information on the position contact Jeannie Goryl at 800-360-7282, ext. 3715. For an application package, due September 30, contact Michele Huntsman at 717-899-7143.

OMR has two positions open for Area Director for Mental Retardation Program Operations (#00240202 Announcement #044174; #00227199 Announcement #044175). Duties include fiscal, program planning, management, and oversight of state-operated mental retardation centers within an assigned geographic area; ensures state operated ICFs/MR are certified and licensed; oversees operations of a quality management program; ensure county MH/MR programs are in compliance; and negotiates budgets with county programs. For details on applications due September 16, contact Nevin Shenck, Director, Bureau of Human Resources (nshenck@dpw.state.pa.us or 717-787-5617). Linda Drummond also has an electronic copy available by email.

HCSIS Update
Unified Security is the Department of Public Welfare's effort to enforce and manage secure access to the HCSIS Internet applications. The release date for HCSISI 3.3.3, which includes the new user ID and one-use-only password, goes live on October 2. For additional information about Unified Security click the HCSIS information link after logging into LMS (www.humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSISLMS). Trainings for local HCSIS administrators on the Unified Security changes are scheduled for September 13-17. On September 13, Unified Security training materials will be available online the HCSIS LMS.

PCPA Conference
October 5-8: “Focus on the Future” at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA. For details access the Annual Conference web site.

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