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MR Update #05-15: OMR Budget, Federal Issues, Medicare Part D, Provider Qualifications, New OMR Newsletter, Certified Investigators, EI Travel, and Seminars
July 27, 2005

OMR Budget
The state’s FY 2005/06 budget provides funding to expand home and community-based services for persons with mental retardation. The Office of Mental Retardation’s (OMR) approved budget includes $19.2 million to provide community services for 955 individuals including:

  • Community residential services for 471 individuals on the county waiting lists;
  • Community-based day services and individual support services for 384 individuals on county waiting lists;
  • Services to 55 individuals who will turn 21 years of age and will no longer be eligible for services under some Medical Assistance programs; and
  • Community placements for 45 residents from Altoona State Mental Retardation Center.

The enacted budget also funds a two percent cost-of-living allowance for direct care workers including:

  • $13.9 million for community mental retardation services;
  • $1.7 million for early intervention services provided to infants and toddlers up to three years of age.

Federal Issues

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2006 Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, Housing, and related agencies appropriations bill including $240 million for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.
  • The Secretary of Transportation has released a technical assistance manual to air carriers and persons with disabilities concerning their rights and responsibilities under the Air Carrier Access Act. A copy is available at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/pubs.htm.
  • US Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt announced the selection of members of the Medicaid Advisory Commission charged with identifying reforms necessary to stabilize and strengthen Medicaid, with their first meeting scheduled for July 27.
  • The week of July 25 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Medicaid and Medicare Programs.
  • July 26 marks the 15th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Medicare Part D
A new fact sheet - Medicare Part D: Your Prescription Drug Coverage - is available from the Disability Law Project at www.dlp-pa.org. The Law Project is also available to answer questions regarding the changes via telephone at 800-692-7443.

Certified Investigators
The four-day certified investigator courses are available for registration on the Learning Management System at www.humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSISLMS. Also available on the Investigators Support Center, www.omrinvestigators.com, is a new module for the tutorial concerning the investigation of incidents in an individual’s home.

New OMR Newsletter
The Office of Mental Retardation is discontinuing publication of the Quality Management newsletter to expand it into an OMR Newsletter as a means of communication with stakeholders. The main initial focus of the new publication will be the progress and recommendations from the work groups addressing the requirements set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. To be added to the distribution list contact Kathy Wisser at c-kwisser@state.pa.us.

Provider Qualifications
PCPA has participated in the Office of Mental Retardation’s (OMR) Provider Qualifications Work Group addressing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerns pertaining to the Consolidated Mental Retardation Wavier. The work group consists of families, self-advocates, counties, OMR staff, and providers. This group will continue to meet to make recommendations on criteria that may be missing and important to be included in the state’s contract with providers. The final initial provider qualification recommendations are:

  • Licensing or accreditation or approval status (OMR needs to determine what is the approval process);
  • Proof of financial viability;
  • Training plan specific to the needs of the individual and services provided; and
  • Quality Management plan unique to the services and agency and updated annually.

Provider Placement Sought
Washington County MH/MR Program is seeking a provider to serve a dually diagnosed (MH/MR) individual with a variety of issues including elopement, fire setting, and involvement with the law enforcement. For additional information contact Supports Coordinator Rachelle Groves at 724-250-4601.

Early Intervention Travel
The Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Child Development has developed a new schedule, MR-22, to gather additional information to increase the department’s understanding of travel reimbursement under the early intervention program. County staff will be contacting providers for the additional information.

Seminars
August 23-24: PA Summit on Accessible Transportation for People with Disabilities: Where We’ve Been, What’s Next. Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg. For additional information contact PA Transportation Alliance, 8000-323-6060 or rschmitt@verizon.net.

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