RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


MR Update #06-12: Surveys, Turnover, OMR Issues, Lawyer Referrals, Federal Issues, Trainings and Conferences
September 8, 2006

PCPA Members Surveys
PCPA has sent two surveys to members to complete by September 12. These surveys, Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Law Impact and Agency Turnover and Vacancy Issues, will assist in the development of recommendations to the administration, legislators, and department of Public Welfare regarding the financial and human resource needs of the mental health, mental retardation, and drug and alcohol systems. The surveys are completed online, linked from the PCPA web site. For additional information contact Linda Drummond.

OMR Turnover Report
The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) released the summary and recommendations of the 2005 survey of provider agencies regarding employee turnover and vacancy issues. The results include that recruitment and retention must be addressed together, turnover is higher in agencies providing in-home support, and multi-service providers struggle more with newer direct support staff leaving and front-line supervisor turnover and vacancies.

Recommendations include the development of technical assistance and training models, sharing of promising practices in direct support workforce outcomes, and that employment issues should be imbedded in quality management efforts. For a copy of the report and summary contact Linda Drummond.

OMR Issues

  • Waiver Increase: OMR has issued Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-06-12 which announces the increase in the waiver cap for the Person/Family Directed Support Waiver. Effective July 1, the waiver amendment increases the waiver cap from $22,083 to $22,525. Any questions should be directed to local regional OMR offices.
  • ISO Proposal: The release of the request for proposal for the Vendor Fiscal Intermediary Service Organization (ISO) has been delayed and OMR expects implementation of this model by July 1, 2007. Until this is implemented, counties must continue their contracts with their current ISOs through March 31, 2008 for tax reporting purposes. Any questions may be directed to Kelly Svalbonas, ksvalbonas@state.pa.us.
  • IM4Q Provider Reporting Workgroup: OMR has started a new work group which will develop a system for scoring and reporting aggregate provider level Independent Monitoring for Quality (IM4Q) results. PCPA will be represented by members Astrid Berry, Northwestern Human Services, and Amy Tomalinas, Community Counseling Center of Northeast Pennsylvania.
  • HCSIS Update: HCSIS Release 5.6.0 will be released in late September and will offer counties and support coordinators access to state center demographics, individual monitoring forms able to be modified without requesting a data fix, and Spanish translation of the Individual Support Plan. All rate setting questions should be sent to the rate setting mailbox at ra-ratesetting@state.pa.us.

Disability Employment
The US Department of Education has released a guide, Disability Employment 101, as a comprehensive analysis of hiring employees with disabilities. The guide includes information about how to find qualified workers with disabilities, putting research into practice, and how to model other business’ practices of successfully integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce. For a copy access www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/products/employmentguide/index.html.

Lawyer Referral Service
The Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Disabilities Lawyer Referral Service now has more than 100 attorneys providing legal help to persons with physical and mental disabilities. The referral service assists persons with disabilities in locating attorneys who can provide counsel on issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other practice areas. The statewide referral service may be contacted toll free at 888-712-0128.

Gene Link
According to a recent report from Stanford University, researchers have identified one possible cause of mental retardation in Down syndrome. This gene causes neurons responsible for attention and memory to shrivel and stop functioning normally. More than 300,000 people nationwide have Down syndrome which is the leading cause of mental retardation. In addition to dealing with early cognitive difficulties, childhood heart disease, and leukemia, most people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40. Identification of this gene may in the future lead to some method of reducing or eliminating the impact of the cognitive impairment.

Federal Issues

  • The US Senate passed legislation, S.843 – Combating Autism Act, which provides funding for autism research, screenings, intervention, and information. The House of Representatives must now pass this legislation for it to become law.
  • Congress returns to Washington the week of September 5 for another four or five weeks of sessions before heading home for last minute campaigning.
  • The House is not expected to resolve its impasse over the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill due to the provision to increase the minimum wage being added to the bill.
  • If the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget is not passed by October 1, Congress will need to enact one or more short-term continuing resolutions to keep all federal programs operating.
  • Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has resigned effective early October. While working for the administration he has been on leave from his professorship at Stanford University.

Trainings and Conferences

  • Embracing Change, PCPA’s annual conference, is October 10 – 13 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, PA. Sixty-six workshops will address the various systems of care and the environment in which community mental health, mental retardation, drug and alcohol, and other human services are provided. For details and registration access the Conference page of the PCPA web site.
  • PA Community on Transition – Aligning Accommodations and Supports: Realizing Outcomes sessions being offered across the state during October by PaTTAN. Aimed at expanding the capacity of community partners to promote the successful transition of youth with disabilities to post-school settings, participants include vocational service providers, schools and educational personnel, vocational rehabilitation counselors, social workers, MH/MR/C&Y case mangers and supervisors, regional Department of Public Welfare staff, juvenile justice direct service staff, and others interested in secondary transition planning. Details are available at www.pattan.net.
  • Person Centered Employment: A Collaborative Training and Technical Assistance Series is a web-based 13-week course offered for continuing education credits and a certificate of completion by Virginia Commonwealth University. Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Retardation (OMR), in collaboration with various organizations, is sponsoring this training at a reduced price of $100. The course begins September 18. To register access www.crp-rcep.org/training/courses.cfm.
  • Customized Employment: Creating Careers for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime are OMR free trainings offered across the state during October and November. The sessions are designed to promote employment outcomes for individuals and to enhance agency performance to support employment outcomes. For information email ocs_registrationsrr@tiu11.org.
  • Safer Options Training Institute is being offered by OMR for $100 for the series which begins in October. The sessions will focus on increasing resources for people who have mental retardation and problematic sexual behaviors by preparing the participants to become trainers to train other agency staff. Expansion of trained professionals and compilation of resources and supports will provide the resources needed to better serve individuals with these behaviors. Applications are due by September 15. Contact Sharon Potter at smpotter@comcast.net for details.
  • How to Start a Lifesharing Program is being presented on October 2 – 3, by the Pennsylvania Lifesharing Subcommittee, for agencies that are looking to start or enhance their Lifesharing Program. The training costs $125 and will be held at KenCrest in Plymouth Meeting. Registration is due by September 15 and details are available from Lynn Taylor at ltaylor@kencrest.org.
  • Cultural Shifting: Building Inclusive Communities for All will be presented October 11 in Bethlehem and October 12 in Philadelphia by Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities. For details access http://disabilities.temple.edu or call 215-204-1356.
  • Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Conference will be held October 4 in Pittsburgh. For more information access www.state.pa.us, PA Keyword: GCEPD.

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