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MR Update #04-36: Restraints Bulletin, OMR Budget, ICF/MR Assessment, Supports Coordination Forums, and SSI Changes
December 16, 2004

MR Bulletin: Elimination of Restraints
The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) has released the draft MR bulletin on Positive Practices: Elimination of Restraints and comments are due to Mel Knowlton (mknowlton@state.pa.us) by January 10, 2005. The bulletin addresses provider development of alternative strategies to restraint within positive practice activities. Within six months of the final bulletin release all providers are expected to develop procedures that outline steps to eliminate any plans with constraint components. Seclusion, chemical, and mechanical restraints will be prohibited. Physical restraints will be used only on an emergency basis.

At the December 10 Provider Council, OMR provided statistics on the number of restraints recorded on the Incident Management system since 2002:

  • 2002 restraints – 6598 physical, 7011 mechanical, 270 chemical;
  • 2003 restraints – 9254 physical, 4579 mechanical, 272 chemical; and
  • 2004 through October 30 – 5361 physical, 158 mechanical, 165 chemical.

Provider Council Issues

  • COLA issues: OMR Deputy Secretary Kevin Casey has heard rumors regarding the implementation of the 2004-05 FY 2% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for providers. The way the legislation was written in the budget the counties have discretion to use the COLA as they want, as long as it is not for their staff. Casey felt his allocation letter to counties indicated the monies were 2% and he could defend it being spent on anything except county staff expenditures. Casey requests formal complaints from providers if they feel counties are not disseminating the 2% COLA appropriately.
    • PCPA has sent a COLA survey to its members to determine how the monies have been distributed. It is extremely important that members complete and return that survey by December 22.
  • 2005/06 OMR budget: Deputy Secretary Casey has sent the OMR budget request for FY 2005/06 to the Department of Public Welfare's (DPW) budget office with requests for a significant waiting list initiative and a proposal to close one state center.
  • Casey has sent a letter to county MH/MR administrators indicating DPW will not tolerate any practice by a provider that gives preferential treatment to parties who make donations to provider agencies.

ICFs/MR Assessments
OMR has not released the required Pennsylvania Bulletin notification to move ahead with the intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation (ICFs/MR) assessment process; they plan to do so soon. It was determined that the public ICFs/MR could not be billed retroactively (2003/04) for this assessment because they use a cash basis for their payments. However, private ICFs/MR will be assessed for the past fiscal year.

Supports Coordination Forums
OMR is scheduling additional county supports coordination forums to allow additional opportunities for comments and input. The topics are a repeat of the fall public information sessions:

  • Recommendations from the OMR Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) Supports Coordination Committee
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Supports Coordinators
  • Improved Communication with Individuals/Families, and
  • Supports Coordination Training.

For a copy of the schedule contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

OVR
The new executive director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is William Gannon. He previously served as deputy secretary of social programs and policy analyst for the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

US HHS
United States Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned his position on December 3. President Bush has nominated Michael Leavitt, currently head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to fill Thompson’s position.

SSI Changes
Pennsylvania has been paying the federal government to issue one check to consumers that combines the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) amount and the state supplemental amount. Effective January 2005, the state will issue the state supplement check separately. Consumers should be receiving information about this from both the state and federal governments. This does not change the total amount of money. Payments will simply come as two separate checks or two separate automatic deposits. For additional information contact the Social Security Administration Helpline at 866-502-9105.

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