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MR Update #07-10: State Revenue, Better Jobs Better Care, Federal Minimum Wage Resources, Medication Administration, CI Recertification, Workshops and Trainings
June 28, 2007

State Revenue
According to the State Budget Update, March 2007, by the National Conference of State Legislatures, over 42 states have had unexpected increased revenues as they approach the end of fiscal year (FY) 2007. An overview of this report is available at www.ncsl.org. Pennsylvania’s revenue for this year is already $550 million over estimate. This will help the legislature in addressing the budget for FY 2008 and may remove the issue of any sales or general tax increases.

Better Jobs Better Care
Pennsylvania’s Better Jobs Better Care project offers a universal core curriculum for training new direct care workers in home care, personal care homes, and adult day services. They also offer an online newsletter, Frontline Care, which is written by and for direct care workers. Information is available at www.bjbc-pa.org.

Federal Minimum Wage
The federal government has passed legislation that increased minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over the next two years. Updated information can be found at www.dol.gov/dol/topic/wages/minimumwage.htm.

The Institute for Community Inclusion has developed two issue briefs providing guidance for both people with disabilities and service providers. The briefs provide information on the wage change and its effect on benefits and other issues such as consumers paid for work. Certain individuals may be employed at sub-minimum wages. These include persons with disabilities whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those relating to age or injury. Employers must obtain a special certificate and comply with specific requirements to qualify for this option. Details are available at www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs39.htm.

For the Institute for Community Inclusion guides access:

Medication Administration
The Office of Developmental Program (ODP) Medical Division is planning 90 Medication Administration trainings across the state beginning in September. All agency medication trainers must be trained using the new curriculum by June 30, 2008. There will be two options for the re-training – taking the entire course or supplemental training using two modules and testing with either option counting as the required annual practicum. For agencies with a large number of trainers the new option of the “Practicum Observer” position can assist trainers in completing the annual practicum. Trained by the agency’s medication administration trainer at the agency, the individuals do not need to attend the formal trainings done by ODP. Questions on the trainings and curriculum should be directed to the ODP regional nurses.

Mental Retardation and Autism Legislation
Current Pennsylvania legislation which may impact the mental retardation system may be accessed at www.legis.state.pa.us or in PCPA’s Legislative Tracking section. Legislation of interest includes:

House Bills

  • HB 282: MH/MR/DA Student Loan Forgiveness
  • HB 310: Tax Credit to Support Community MR Services
  • HB 361: Adult Protective Services Ages 18-59
  • HB 375: Assisted Living Regulations and Licensing and Increases to Personal Care Homes
  • HB 642: Neglect of Care Dependent People Including Those Residing in ICFs, Community Residential Facilities and Adult Daily Living Centers
  • HB 1150: Insurance Inclusion for Autism
  • HB 1286: PA State Budget for FY 2007/08

House Resolution 159: Mental Retardation Waiting List to be addressed through a comprehensive study and advisory committee (PCPA is a member).

Senate Bills

  • SB 550: Insurance Coverage for Autism
  • SB 583: Minimum Wage for Direct Care Workers in MH/MR Services
  • SB 704: Personal Care and Assisted Living Regulations
  • SB 751: Mental Retardation Death Penalty With Pre-Trial Determination

Relevant federal legislation is accessible at www.thomas.gov and includes:

  • HR 1279: Direct Support Fairness and Security Act of 2007 – wage increases for direct care workers of individuals with physical and mental disabilities to minimum of $18,000 annually or $8.65 per hour.
  • S. 799: Community Choice Act of 2007 which would allow persons eligible for nursing home services or Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded to select a new alternative, “Community-based Attendant Services and Supports (CASS).” House Resolution 1621 and Senate 799 would require services to be provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual.
  • S. 937: Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act of 2007. Introduced in March as Senate 937 and in April as House Resolution 1881, if passed these bills would provide $350 million to improve access to comprehensive treatments, interventions, and services for individuals with autism and their families.
  • S. 1107: Home and Community Services Co-payment Equity Act of 2007 would create parity regarding cost-sharing charged to individuals living in assisted living, nursing homes, psychiatric health facilities, mental health rehabilitation centers, or mental retardation developmental disability facilities. This bill would expand the co-pay exemption for those dual-eligible (Medicaid and Medicare) persons choosing alternative long-term care options.

Certified Investigators
Agency certified investigators needing recertification will be notified by email four months before the certification expires. Registration for recertification classes will be available on the HCSIS Learning Management System, www.humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSISLMS. Information is also available at www.omrinvestigators.com. including a copy of the bulletin on Incident Management.

Workshops and Trainings

  • July 10 at The Arc Lackawanna in Scranton: Maximizing Personal Resources: How to Write a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS). This free session builds on information provided at recent Customized Employment Trainings. For details contact 877-518-9597 or OCS_Registationscs@tiu11.org.
  • State Mental Retardation Center free trainings across the state throughout July addressing staff development issues. Ebensburg Center to address Medical Safety, Dysphasia, Epilepsy, Health Aging, Communication and Hearing Impairments, Autism Spectrum Supports, and Trauma Impact. Polk Center to address Dysphasia, Visual Impairments, Positive Practices, Autism, Social Sexuality, Trauma Impact and Health Aging. White Haven to address Infection Control, Dysphasia, Proactive Response and Intervention, Sensitivity, and Trauma. For copies of the dates and topics contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.
  • October 16 – 19: Uniting…Service,Integrity, Passion: Celebrating 35 Years. PCPA 2007 Conference at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA. Special session October 16 from 1:00 – 5:15 p.m., An Afternoon with ODP: Up To the Minute Information. Numerous ODP staff will provide the most up to date information regarding the mental retardation and autism system. There will be opportunities for participants to ask questions and dialogue with ODP staff.

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