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MR Update #06-13: ICF/MR Employment Committee, Adult Autism Initiative, Positive Practices Volunteers, PP&A, MR Bulletin, Insurance Requirements, Proof of Citizenship, Certified Investigators, and Youth Volunteer
September 27, 2006

ICF/MR Employment
The Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) has developed a new committee to advise the department regarding its initiative to promote community employment options to individuals residing in private Intermediate Care Facilities for Mental Retardation (ICFs/MR). The committee will serve as a clearinghouse for information, data review, positive practices, and recommendations. The goals are to standardize practices for planning and budgeting, identify and address barriers, develop capacity for supported employment, and enter into local coalitions to promote employment. OMR policy expects that people in all living arrangements will have the opportunity for employment, to earn at least minimum wage, and to interact with their communities.

ICFs/MR are required to provide active habilitation treatment for individuals living there based on their needs and this must include a transition plan to the community. OMR has established "employment point persons" in each region, state center, and ICF/MR. It is a recognized necessity for the programs to work in community partnerships with other agencies to be successful. PCPA is part of this committee and seeks member input and recommendations into this initiative. Please share this information with Linda Drummond.

Adult Autism Funding
The Department of Public Welfare has a three million dollar allocation to address autism issues across the state. Nina Cote Wall is the coordinator of this effort which will raise autism awareness and provide supports for both children and adults. Beginning in July, six grants were awarded to provide evaluation and treatment services such as social skills training, family supports, and after-school programs. The agencies receiving these grants were Philhaven, Lancaster; Keystone Family Services, Harrisburg; Special People in the Northeast, Philadelphia; Center for Autistic Children, Philadelphia; Watson Institute, Sewickley; and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh.

The next effort will be to expand services and supports to adults with autism spectrum disorders. PCPA recently attended an informational session to determine appropriate funding options to support adult services. These options include revising the OBRA Waiver to include services identified in the Autism Task Force report such as residential habilitation for those needing a protective living environment, day habilitation to promote independence, and behavior intervention supports to address inappropriate behaviors. The other funding option is a "Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan" with coordinated services with other Medicaid services. Additional information is needed to determine the best options for funding. The department will look at ways to improve provider capacity across the state. This will include training, identifying, and recruiting providers. Information is available at www.dpw.state.pa.us/Disable/AutismAffairs. PCPA will work with the department and members to develop these various components.

The US Senate has passed S.843 – Combating Autism Act of 2006 – and it is now in the House Health Subcommittee. If passed this legislation would allocate more than $900 million over five years for intervention, education, and research on autism. There would be grant funding available to states to develop their autism programs. For a copy of this legislation access www.thomas.gov.

Positive Practices
The Southeast Regional OMR office is seeking self-advocates and family members to participate on a regional Positive Practices Committee. This committee is part of the department’s effort to eliminate the use of restraints over time in all licensed and funded settings. The initial goal is to reduce the use of restraints by 20 percent in the current fiscal year. Any interested person may contact Kathy Gerrity (kgerrity@state.pa.us).

PP&A Program
Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy (PP&A) offers a program to assist Social Security beneficiaries who are in the process of preparing for work, seeking work, or working. Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) assists individuals in overcoming the barriers that impede access to vocational and rehabilitation services, employment and support services, and reasonable accommodations. For information contact PP&A at intake@ppainc.org.

MR Bulletin
OMR has established protocol for service review for individuals in the consolidated and person/family directed support waivers. Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-06-13 is a supplement to previous bulletins addressing service preference and clarifying procedures. For an electronic copy contact Linda Drummond.

Insurance Requirements
OMR has issued an informational letter providing clarification for the circumstances providers need to meet insurance requirements as outlined in the standard Administrative Entity(AE)/Waiver Provider contract. For an electronic copy contact Linda Drummond. Waiver providers shall maintain minimum insurance coverage as follows:

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance of $1,000,000 for each occurrence, $1,000,000 aggregate with the county/AE listed as the insured;
  • Professional Liability Errors and Omissions insurance of $1,000,000 for each occurrence, $1,000,000 aggregate; and
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance as required by Pennsylvania statutory coverage with the county/AE listed as an additional insured.

Proof of Citizenship
OMR has issued an informational letter addressing the federal Medical Assistance requirement for proof of citizenship to receive benefits. Proof of citizenship and identity requirement do not apply to the following Medical Assistance recipients:

  • Persons eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits either currently or in the past,
  • Persons eligible or receiving Medicare Part A and/or Part B, and
  • Individuals applying for or receiving General Assistance cash benefits.

Certified Investigators Trainings
A new certified investigators training session has been added to for the Philadelphia area, to be held November 13 – 17 at JEVS Human Services. Cost is $350. For details contact Bill Kennedy at JEVS (bill.kennedy@jevs.org).

Youth Volunteer
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is looking to recruit individuals aged 18 or 19 to join its advisory committee and represent issues dealing with transition from school to adult life. The Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council meets four times yearly in Harrisburg and members are expected to serve on at least one committee, which usually meets by conference call. Any one interested in volunteering may contact Joan Kester (joakester@state.pa.us).

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