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Mental Retardation Update #07-12: Guardianship Report, Autism Resources, ODP Update, CMS Rx Changes, Money Follows the Person, Provider Profile, Autism Centers of Excellence, New Freedom Initiative, Residential Trends, Fernald Center, PCPA Conference, and Seminars/Workshops
August 28, 2007

Guardianship Report
In 2005 the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission was directed by House Resolution 131 to review the current guardianship statues and programs and make recommendations of their effectiveness in meeting the needs of incapacitated persons. The final report was issued in May 2007 and includes proposed legislation and official comments. Guardianship Law in Pennsylvania Report of The Working Group on Guardianships is available at http://jsg.legis.state.pa.us by accessing the report listed under "Recent Release."

Autism Resources
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Bureau of Autism Services, Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network have developed a DVD called First Look, which explains autism and shares individuals and families experiences. For information at obtaining a copy access the "Contact" page at www.autisminpa.org. Under "how we can help you" type "First Look DVD" and include your mailing address and daytime phone number.

An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder is a six-hour DVD presentation which provides a basic overview of autism, including family issues. For details on ordering the free materials submit your request to DPW-AutismOffice@state.pa.us or access www.dpw.state.pa.us or www.autisminpa.org.

ODP Update

  • ODP draft bulletin available for 30-day comment period: Agency with Choice Intermediary Service Organizations provides the financial management option for the individual/representative to enter into a joint employment arrangement, with the intermediary services organization being the common law employer and the individual being the “managing employer.” Comments are due to Kathy Shreffler (kshreffler@state.pa.us) by September 22. An electronic copy is available from Linda Drummond.
  • AE and Provider Contracts ODP Bulletin #4300-07-05, effective July 1, interprets the Chapter 4300 regulations related to real property ownership which state that for both waiver and non-waiver funding ownership of the property remains with the provider.
  • Deputy Secretary Kevin Casey issued a letter regarding "draft" service definitions comments being accepted on a special email site: ra-odpcomment@state.pa.us. Implementation of the revised service definitions is being extended to July 1, 2009. Only the current Services Definition Bulletin (00-07-03) may be used in for individual support planning.
  • ODP clarification letter issued to address authorizing units on Individual Support Plans based on need and historical utilization, overbooking, and 97 percent utilization rate for residential services, retroactive rates, and the effective date for direct payments from the Treasury will be July 1, 2009.

CMS Prescription Changes
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a letter to state Medicaid directors regarding the new requirements for using tamper-resistant prescription pads effective October 1. Details are available on the PCPA web site or at www.cms.hhs.gov/SMDL/downloads/SMD081707.pdf.

Money Follows the Person
The state’s grant for Money Follows the Person is in the protocol development process. A stakeholder communications team is developing the case study section of the protocol for each population to be included in the project. The intent of the project is to assist persons in nursing homes and state mental health and mental retardation centers to move into the community.

Provider Profile
Recommendations for Phase I of the ODP Provider Profile have been given to Deputy Secretary Casey with his agreement to distribute this information in an informational bulletin. Recommendations from the work group indicate ODP will use the link in HCSIS to the Services and Supports Directory and the Provider Licensing Directory to offer initial service information to individuals and families. Each of these components will then have a link to each provider’s web site.

Autism Centers of Excellence
The National Institutes of Health have provided funding for Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE). The research centers will focus on collaborations between teams of specialists. ACE networks will consist of researchers who can work together to recruit large numbers of volunteers with a particular disorder. Initially five centers and one network received 2007 funding. This includes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Additional information is available at www.nichd.nih.gov.

President’s New Freedom Initiative
In 2001 President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative to eliminate barriers toward full community inclusion for 54 million citizens with disabilities. The 2007 Progress Report has been released and is available at www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom/newfreedom-report-2007.html.

Residential Services Trends
The University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living has released its annual study, Residential Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities: Status and Trends Through 2006. For a copy of the report access http://rtc.umn.edu/docs/risp2006.pdf.


Fernald Center
Massachusetts’ Fernald Developmental Center will stay open according to a ruling by federal Judge Tauro. This decision was based on the investigation of a court monitor, US Attorney Sullivan for the District of Massachusetts. This report indicated that Fernald residents would not necessarily receive equal or better services at other facilities. Information is available on The Arc of Massachusetts web site, www.arcmass.org.

"An Afternoon with ODP"
PCPA's conference program and registration information have been disseminated. Please review the excellent sessions being offered on a variety of issues related to mental retardation, intellectual disabilities, and autism. All conference information is also available on the PCPA web site, www.paproviders.org.

A new addition on Tuesday, October 16 beginning at 1:00 p.m. is "An Afternoon with ODP." This double session provides an opportunity to interact and share with ODP staff and receive the most up-to-date information on the system and its changes. But it’s just the beginning for four days of educational sessions with continuing education credits, exhibits, and special events. So mark your calendars now for October 16-19 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort for "Uniting…Service, Integrity, Passion", and help PCPA celebrate 35 years. For details access www.paproviders.org. Additional questions about the conference may be directed to Kris Ericson, conference coordinator.

Seminars/Workshops

  • AAIDD Regional Conference at the Willow Valley Conference Center in Lancaster, PA on September 6 and 7. Details available at www.aaidd.org.
  • "Supported Employment Web-Based Certificate Series" for individuals with developmental disabilities and individuals with mental illness begins September 10 and ends December 10. Special rates are available through AHEDD. For details contact Doug Erickson (doerickson@vcu.edu) or Katherine Inge (kinge@vcu.edu) at Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • AAIDD Teleconference, "National Birth Defects Registry: Collecting Data that Potentially Links Environmental Exposures to Clusters of Birth Defects," on September 11. For information on the Environmental Health Initiative access www.ehinitiativew.org.
  • "Building Bridges: Aging/Mental Retardation Cross Systems Conference" at the Holiday Inn, Grantville, PA, September 25-26. Information is available at Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (717-541-4214).
  • National Association for the Dually Diagnosed Teleconference series: September 11 –Habilitation and Vocational Supports; September 19 – Navigating Transition; September 24 – Diagnosis in Persons with Intellectual Disability; September 26 – Crisis Prevention for Adults with Autism; September 28 – Capacity for Making Informed Health and Mental Health Care Decisions; October 2 – Developing a Systems Navigator Approach. Registration and details available at www.thenadd.org.
  • "Family Caregiver Expo" at Radisson Hotel, Trevose, PA on October 8 is for family members or friends caring for persons with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or aging issues. For details contact www.lifetimeexpos.com.
  • "Supported Employment 101: Employment Specialist Training," October 10-12 at Berks County Intermediate Unit, Reading, PA. Cost is $150 and details are available from BPN@TRSINC.ORG.
  • "PA Aging and Behavior Health Forum: Issues in Older Adults" on October 18 at Masonic Home in Elizabethtown, PA is being sponsored by Drexel University College of Medicine and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Details are available at www.drexelmed.edu/bhe.
  • "Physical and Mental Wellness: Promising Practices" National Association for the Dually Diagnosed Annual Conference October 24-26 at Renaissance Hotel, Atlanta, GA. Details available at www.thenadd.org.

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