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Mental Retardation Update
December 5, 2003

Lawsuit on Dental Care

A class action lawsuit, Clark et.al. v. Richman, addressing dental care for persons with disabilities was filed on December 3. Plaintiffs charge the state's Department of Public Welfare (DPW) with failure in operating its Medical Assistance (MA) program. The extensive data collected in the lawsuit show 23% of poor adults have lost all their teeth; 257,000 adults and children with severe disabilities received no dental care in 2002, and increase of over 17% for the previous year; 12 counties have no dentist participating in Medicaid; and 85% of dentists do not accept MA patients due to low reimbursement rate.

Pennsylvania Protection & Advocacy demanded DPW take immediate action including: dental home for persons with all disabilities; assure proper dental training for dealing with disabilities; safety net programs in parts of state with no dental services; rigorous monitoring of HMOs; and comprehensive and substantial dental fee increases.

For a link to the full Motion for Summary Judgement access the Disability Law Project's web site at www.dlp-pa.org.

Special Kids Network

Pennsylvania's Department of Health announced the Special Kids Network is now connecting families who have children with special health care needs to local services. The web-based network provides information by region or county, by type of service, and the child's condition. Services include education/training, Braille instruction, health care products, recreation and leisure, social services, support and advocacy, and therapies. A peer support network links parents with those facing similar situations. Contact the Special Kids Netowrk at 800-986-4550 or www.health.state.pa.us.

HCSIS Project

HCSIS release 3.1.0 will go live on December 13. Release 3.1.2 and 3.1.1 (Incident Management Redesign) will go live on January 4, 2004. For details access https://www.humanservices-r.state.pa.us/HCSIS.

HCSIS reports - being affected by running reports in real time - will be changed to the user's report request being placed in a queue and run overnight for availability the next day. Individual Support Plans (ISP) must be submitted for approval prior to the end date of the current plan or a new ISP will have to be created.

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