RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


MR Update #07-01: Waiver Renewal, MR Bulletins, Positive Practices, HCSIS Update, ICF/MR Employment, Customized Employment, OMR Training Report and Catalog, Governor’s Cabinet on Disabilities, Grants for Youth Transition, Rural Shared Ride, Federal Issues, and Seminars/Workshops
January 3, 2007

Consolidated Waiver Renewed
On December 21, 2006 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Pennsylvania’s request, with subsequent revisions, to renew the mental retardation Consolidated Home and Community Based Services waiver effective December 23, 2006. The waiver, authorized under the provisions of Section 1915(c) of the Social Security Act, enables the Office of Mental Retardation (OMR) to provide the following services to persons ages three and over: day and residential habilitation; prevocational, supported employment, and educational services; transportation; transitional work services; home finding; personal support; homemaker/chore; adaptive appliances; respite care; visiting nurse; and therapies.

CMS requests that OMR provide assurances that federal financial participation will not be claimed for room and board in accordance with Section 4442.3B.12 of the state Medicaid Manual. OMR must provide CMS with quarterly reports on the completion of the agreed upon work plan activities and timelines. Electronic copies of the renewal letter and work plan are available from Linda Drummond at PCPA.

ICF/MR Employment
OMR’s Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR) Employment Workgroup is looking for additional members who are employees, residents, or board members of ICFs/MR. The work group has completed an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities which impact the employment opportunities for persons residing in private ICFs/MR. If interested in participating contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

Mental Retardation Bulletins
Electronic copies of the following OMR Bulletins are available from Linda Drummond at PCPA.

1. OMR Provider Dispute Resolution Protocol (#00-06-14) establishes procedures effective July 1, 2006, for providers to request OMR’s intervention in disputes with the Administrative Entity related to the provider’s participation in the Consolidated or Person/Family directed Support Waivers.
2. Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) Manual (#00-06-15) distributes the PUNS Manual for instructions on completion of the new PUNS form implemented on April 4, 2006. The PUNS manual is a working document that will change as the state’s standard assessment and individual support plan bulletins are finalized.
3. Clarification of Exclusions for Co-payment Requirements (#99-06-13) provides guidance for individuals living in homes funded under ICFs/MR and Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Other Related Conditions who have been charged co-pays by some of their health care providers. The long-standing Medical Assistance policy is that those living in long-term care facilities are not required to pay Medicaid co-pays.

Positive Practices
The Department of Public Welfare initiated a partnership with OMR and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) to develop a Positive Practices Resource Allocation Process. The purpose of this process is to identify and develop system resources than may be dedicated to address issues pertaining to a person’s behavioral health support needs. The criteria for referral, which can be made by a provider, family, advocate, state center, or hospital, indicates that an individual with a developmental disability is demonstrating escalating at-risk behavioral challenges. The support team may determine this person is at risk of needing enhanced levels of support not readily available. Additional information is available from Ellen Wager (elewagner@state.pa.us or 570-372-5659) or Fred Lokuta (flokuta@state.pa.us or 570-442-4244) at OMR.

The state will provide a training opportunity on January 31 from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. via video broadcast/Internet: Positive Practices Resource Team Allocation Process. Participants will learn about the purpose of the project, referral criteria, and processes and resources used to achieve positive outcomes. Registration is due by January 12 and information is available from ocs_registrationsrr@tiu11.org or 877-518-9597.

The December OMR Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) featured a system update by Deputy Secretary Casey and a presentation by the Waiting List Campaign. There is discussion regarding the office being changed to an Office for Developmental Disabilities which would include autism and traumatic brain injury components. Current waivers for persons with physical disabilities would be served through the Office of Long-Term Living.

HCSIS Update
Beginning in January a HCSIS Field Support Team member will travel to each Wave 3 county to assist in preparations for the next round of HCSIS Financial Management planned for July. Team members will be meeting with county and supports coordination staff.

In November and December 2006 over 440 county and provider organizations attended the provider kick-off and enrollment workshops. For providers unable to attend the workshop the materials distributed are available on the Learning Management System. The HCSIS Financial Management Guidebook can be found under the HCSIS Information link and additional materials are available under the PROV3001_OMR Provider Kick-off and Enrollment Workshop course.

Customized Employment
OMR has a limited number of DVDs available on the training regarding Customized Employment. For a copy contact Dana Olsen (dolsen@state.pa.us).

OMR Training Report
OMR has released its Training Projects Fiscal Year 2005/06 Report. This initiative was undertaken at the request of the Qualify Improvement Council’s System Capacity Subcommittee. The focus was to establish trainings that promote skill building and knowledge so staff/providers demonstrate the capacity/capability to support people receiving services. Any questions may be directed to OMR’s Jackie Epstein (jepstein@state.pa.us).

A catalog of OMR courses conducted by the state centers is available to the stakeholder community. The catalog is available through either www.omrconsulting.org or www.thetrainingpartnership.org. There are no charges for the courses.

New Governor’s Cabinet
Governor Rendell signed an Executive Order creating two high-level groups to advise and assist the Governor’s Office in developing policies addressing the concerns of persons with disabilities. The order creates the Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities to make recommendations on policies that help the disability community and serve as a liaison between the Governor’s Office and those organizations.

The Governor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities will be established to advise the cabinet, with both entities working to conduct studies and reports on the concerns and needs of the disability community. The governor will appoint members to the advisory committee. For a copy of the Executive Order access www.oa.state.pa.us and search for “Number 2006-09.”

Grant for Youth Transition
Governor Rendell has awarded nearly one million dollars in grants to 25 schools across 11 counties to help high school students with disabilities successfully transition to community-based employment. Students will receive support through academic and social skills instruction and community-based training programs. This will include vocational assessment, career exploration, community-based work assessment, and paid and unpaid work experience, sometimes involving job coaching. For a copy of the press release access www.state.pa.us/papower and search for press releases dated November 22, 2006.

Subsidized Rural Shared Ride
The state has added a line item of $4.8 million in the 2006/07 budget for expansion of the subsidized rural shared ride transit program for persons with disabilities. With this expansion the program will serve more than 77,000 people in 49 counties.

Federal Issues

  • Non-profits can file for a refund on federal long distance telephone excise taxes paid from March 2003 to July 2006, with details available at www.irs.gov.
  • Congress passed a continuing resolution effective through February 15 allowing federal programs to continue to operate at the 2006 fiscal year level until the 2007 budget is passed.
  • The CMS Acting Administrator will be Leslie Norwalk, replacing Mark McClellan.
  • CMS is improving access to coverage in Special Needs Plans that serve dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Serving persons that are institutionalized or with severe or disabling chronic conditions or dually eligible for Medical Assistance, a new policy will allow plans to serve these individuals in states that provide an integrated Medicaid benefit package.
  • The Combating Autism Act passed and became Public Law 109-416 which provides $945 million over five years for autism spectrum and developmental disabilities research, screening, treatment, and education.


  • January 30: OMR College of Direct Support Provider and County Users Group Meeting, PaTTAN, Harrisburg.
  • February 14: Identifying At Risk Older Adults Who May Need Behavioral Health Services and Supports teleconference sponsored by Drexel University College of Medicine/BHE. For details access www.wpic.pitt.edu/oerp/video.
  • March 15-16: Second Annual Pennsylvania Autism Network Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. For details or to be a presenter contact Deirdre Wright (dcwright@comcast.net or 610-853-3747).

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