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MR Update #07-07: Certified Investigators, ODP Bids, OVR State Plan, Autism Resources, HUD Vouchers, Employment Resources, QI Employment, Legislation, Seminars and Trainings
March 29, 2007

Certified Investigators
Classes have been scheduled for new certified investigators April 10 – 13 at Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training , Mechanicsburg; May 14 – 17 at Hamburg Center; May 21 – 24 at Southeast Training Center, King of Prussia; and June 5 –8 at MRS, Philadelphia. Classes for the western region will be scheduled prior to the end of the fiscal year. The re-certification class is available online. It is a tutorial which allows the individual to complete at their own pace during the month the class is taught. Schedules and details are posted on the HCSIS Learning Management web and may also be accessed through www.omrinvestigators.com.

ODP Bids
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued bid opportunities for two mental retardation activities. The Supports Intensity Scale and the Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent Financial Management Services bids are now available. Technical proposals are due April 2. Information is available on the Department of General Services web site at www.dgs.state.pa.us.

OVR State Plan
The Department of Labor and Industry Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is conducting a series of public meetings and requesting public commends on the federal FY2008 combined Agency State Plan regarding vocational rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. The draft plan and dates and locations of the public meetings are available at www.dli.state.pa.us.

State Vocational Reports Available
The US Department of Education has made available online the 2005 Annual Review Reports of each state vocational rehabilitation agency. The reports provide information on goals, priorities, program outcomes, staffing patterns, and financial data. To obtain a copy access www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/rehab/data-systems.html, click on “”SA-MIS” and select “Annual Review Reports.’

Autism Resource
IMPACT, the newsletter of the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration, features information on strategies and resources to assist educators, families, and others to support the academic, social, and vocational success of students with autism spectrum disorder. IMPACT can be accessed at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/193/default.html.

A new web site that provides information and supports to Spanish-speaking families with children with autism is now available at www.manitasporautismo.com. The site was created by families for families.

HUD Vouchers
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers three types of housing vouchers for persons with disabilities: mainstream, designated housing, and certain developmental vouchers. Families that include a person with a disability and meet the income thresholds may participate in the housing choice voucher program which include tenant-based, project-based, and homeownership options. For information visit the housing section of www.disabilityinfo.gov.

EARN
The Employer Assistance and Recruiting Network (EARN) is a free service funded by the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy. EARN helps employers recruit and hire qualified workers through a network of over 6,500 disability employment service providers. It offers direct employment assistance for service providers and indirect assistance to jobseekers with disabilities. For additional information access http://earnworks.com.

QI Employment
The Quality Improvement Committee for Employment, Career and Vocational Outcomes reviewed the state’s supported employment funding and current system strengths and weaknesses. Recommendations from the committee are to develop a focused effort to analyze rate setting formulas and their relevance to providers’ costs and the convening of an interdepartmental, provider, and consumer task force.

Legislation
Federal
House Resolution (HR) 1279 is the Direct Support Professionals Fairness and Security Act of 2007 calling for increased wages for direct support professionals providing services to individuals with disabilities under Medicaid. A copy of the bill is available at http://thomas.loc.gov.

Pennsylvania

  • HR 159 directs the joint State Government Commission to conduct a comprehensive study on the waiting list for community-based mental retardation services.
  • House Bill (HB) 54 amends the mental health or mental retardation facility closure act by providing for proceeds from sales of closed facilities to be used for community services.
  • HB 282 provides for support for mental health, mental retardation, and drug and alcohol staff student loan forgiveness.
  • HB 310 provides a tax credit program to support community-based mental retardation services.
    • Senate Bill (SB) 455 allows dental hygienist practitioners to work independently (allowing providers to hire hygienists to do preventative care for consumers).
  • SB 576 establishes a bill of rights for individuals with mental retardation.
  • SB 583 establishes a minimum annual wage for certain full-time direct care employees of publicly funded mental health and mental retardation programs.
  • SB 586 provides for lifelong learning, career planning, job training, and educational enrichment for adults with developmental disabilities.
  • SB 605 amends the insurance company law providing for autism spectrum disorders coverage.
    Copies of Pennsylvania Senate and House bills are available at www.legis.state.pa.us.

Seminars and Trainings

  • April 10 – King of Prussia and April 17 – Cranberry Township: Transitioning to Fee-for-Service Reimbursement for MR Services. Presented by PCPA and open to members and non-members, these trainings offer in-depth sessions to review fiscal and operational implications for the continued transition to fee-for-service reimbursement for mental retardation services. Topics include determining true operating costs, rate approval, provider dispute resolution processes, and PROMISe billing issues. Details are from Stacey Vargas.
  • April 12 – Sheraton Reading Hotel, Wyomissing: Building Bridges: Back to Basics Conference, offers workshops on understanding the mental retardation system, Alzheimer’s and intellectual disability, person centered thinking, SSI and SSDI work incentives, and assistive technology. For details contact The Arc of Berks County (berksarc@aol.com or 610-603-0227).
  • April 20 – Philadelphia: Advancing in the Human Services Field, It’s Not a Job, It’s a Profession is the fifth annual conference for direct service professionals sponsored by The Philadelphia Alliance. For details email vicki@philalliance.net.
  • May 16-17 – Toftrees Resort, State College: Enhancing Treatment and Support for Persons with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Needs. Sponsored by Drexel University College of Medicine and National Association for the Dually Diagnosed, this conference will focus on interdisciplinary team efforts, national and state policy for elimination of seclusion and restraint, and approaches to supporting persons with co-occurring needs. For details access www.nadd.org or www.drexelmed.edu/bhe/conferences.
  • The Council on Quality and Leadership is offering a variety of regional conferences across the country beginning in April. For details on locations and the Quality Measures 2005 access www.thecouncil.org.
  • July 18 – 20 – Penn Stater, State College: PA Community on Transition Annual Conference will feature presentations regarding school to work transition, adult supported employment opportunities, and other transition practices. Details will be posted on www.sharedwork.org.

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