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MR Update #06-09: Laurelton Center, CI Classes, Autism, Restraints, Transportation, OMR Contracts, PROMISe, Provider Qualifications, SIS, HCSIS, Law Enforcement, and Direct Support Professionals
June 28, 2006

Laurelton Center
The sale of the 336-acre former state facility for the mentally handicapped, Laurelton Center, which closed in 1998, has been sold for $1.6 million to Mountain Valley, Inc. which will develop the grounds for a variety of recreational and business uses. Proceeds from the sale go to the state’s General Fund and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund.

Certified Investigator Classes
Two new four-day Certified Investigator classes are available and registration is through the HCSIS Learning Management System (humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSISLMS). Located in southeast Pennsylvania they are scheduled

  • August 7-10, Philadelphia Mental Retardation Services, and
  • September 18-21, Southeast Area Staff Development Training Center, King of Prussia.

NHS Opening Autism Schools
Northwestern Human Services (NHS) will be opening three licensed, private, academic schools for students with autism beginning in September. The schools will be located in Carlisle, Altoona, and Philadelphia. NHS already offers a similar school in Westmoreland County. For additional information contact Karen Markle, Director of Autism Services (kmarkle@nhsonline.org).

Restraint Reduction
The Department of Public Welfare has a new initiative – Alternative to Coercive Techniques (ACT) – with a goal of eliminating unnecessary restraints, beginning in the children’s service system and ultimately used in all department systems. The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) has developed several bulletins addressing this issue, the most recent #00-06-09 – OMR Elimination of Restraints through Positive Practices. Positive practices will include continuous risk management and quality efforts for providers. Training and support will be offered using web broadcasting, future trainings, and regional resource teams. The initial web cast was aired June 1 and may still be viewed at www.omrconsulting.org/videostreaming. Additional information will be released soon from OMR and its regional offices.

Auditor General Report
Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner released a Special Performance Audit on the Rural Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Program. The report recommends that the Department of Transportation expand the rural transportation program to include all 67 counties. Currently, there are 30 counties without the program that provides transportation to persons with physical and mental disabilities living in rural areas. Estimates include that as many as 60,000 people with disabilities are currently underserved. For a copy of the report access www.auditorgen.state.pa.us/Reports/Performance/Special/spePennDOTPersonas WDisabilities061306.pdf.

OMR Agreements
Providers and counties are nearing deadlines to finalize the new OMR contracts for the 2006/07 Fiscal Year. The OMR/Medical Assistance and provider contract is being collected through the HCSIS HelpDesk, 3600 Vartan Way, Harrisburg, PA, 17110. After it is signed by the deputy secretary the original is kept at OMR and a copy goes to the provider and regional OMR. New contracts/agreements are of concern to many agencies that have not been contacted by their counties to negotiate rates and sign the new contract. Providers may have to take the initiative to contact their county to begin this process. OMR has extended this contract for finalization by August 1. The current contract will continue between counties and providers, with the new contract effective July 1.

PROMISe Pilots
OMR has postponed the entry of rates in PROMISe Wave 2 counties for providers not billing through HCSIS until October 1. Any questions may be addressed to ra-ratesetting@state.pa.us. The new deadlines are:

  • Wave 1 counties: July 1
  • Wave 2 counties for providers billing HCSIS: July 1
  • Wave 2 counties for providers not billing HCSIS: October 1
  • Wave 3 counties: October 1.

Provider Qualification Pilots
OMR has selected 20 providers (out of 64 that applied) to be pilot projects for draft provider qualification materials recently developed. The pilot projects will meet in the fall with the department to share experiences. OMR will be convening a group of stakeholders to help evaluate the pilot and make recommendations for the statewide mandatory process. During this pilot process, all waiver service providers will continue to be qualified by the appropriate Administrative Entity/County MH/MR program using the established processes currently approved by OMR waivers. During the pilot phase any questions may be addressed to ra-omrproviderqualif@state.pa.us. For a list of the 20 agencies selected contact Linda Drummond.

SIS Proposal
OMR released a draft request for proposal (RFP) related to the administration of the Supports Intensity Scale Plus (SIS+) for public comment in April. The final RFP is still under review and has not been released. New dates for pre-proposal conference and proposal submission will be released at a later date.

Emergency Preparedness
The American Red Cross, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is developing educational materials on terrorism and emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. The materials cover five major topics:

  • Mass Evacuation and Evacuation Planning,
  • Emergency Water and Food Supplies,
  • Shelter-in-Place During Chemical or Radiation Emergency,
  • Quarantine and Isolation, and
  • Maintaining a Healthy State of Mind.

HCSIS Update
HCSIS Release 5.5.0 is scheduled for production July 8. Highlights include:

  • Draft Individual Support Plan screen will include question on Lifesharing options,
  • The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be able to use Incident Management and demographic modules, and
  • The Department of Health will be able to use selected components.

Deficit Reduction Act
The federal Deficit Reduction Act provides a new State Option Plan in Section 6086 which takes effect January 1, 2007. This gives states the ability to provide home and community-based services (HCBS) as an optional service without using waivers and without constant review of services by the federal Medical Assistance program. The number of people served may be capped, services may be provided in a limited area, and states may maintain waiting lists for these services.

Law Enforcement
The US Department of Justice has developed an initiative to help state and local law enforcement agencies understand their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A new law enforcement video, "Police Response to People with Disabilities," addresses law enforcement situations involving people who have mobility disabilities, mental illnesses, mental retardation, epilepsy, seizure disorders, speech, hearing, and vision disabilities. Copies may be ordered from the ADA web site at www.ada.gov.

AAMR
The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) has changed its name to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The formal change takes effect January 2007.

Direct Support Professionals
The US Department of Health and Human Services presented a report to Congress, The Supply of Direct Support Professionals Serving Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Other Developmental Disabilities. According to the report, there is an estimated 4.3 million Americans of all ages with these disabilities living in residential settings, their own homes or with family members. Ensuring access to quality direct support professions is extremely important to a quality of life. As of June 2003 there were an estimated 874,000 full-time direct support professionals providing assistance. By 2020, the estimate is for an increase of 37 percent, to 1.2 million staff needed. Competition for direct support workers means compensation, working conditions, career opportunities, and job design will play key roles in recruitment and retention. For a copy of the report access http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2006/DSPsupply.htm.

Legislation: Federal - HR 1264 Direct Support Professionals Fairness and Security Act
HR 1264 would amend Title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide funds to states to enable them to increase wages paid to targeted direct support professionals providing services to individuals with disabilities under Medicaid The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health. Direct support professionals include nurses aides, home health and home care aids, personal care aids and assistants, in-home support workers, homemakers, behavioral specialists, habilitation specialists, mental health rehabilitation technicians, independent living skills specialists, crisis program workers, qualified mental health/mental retardation professionals, and educational technicians.

Direct Care Workforce
The National Clearinghouse on the Direct Care Workforce offers a free email newsletter twice each month. Quality Jobs/Quality Care covers issues concerning direct care workers in long-term care. For a copy of the newsletter access www.directcareclearinghouse.org.

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