RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


Change in OAPSA Reporting Procedure for MR Providers
January 31, 2003

According to a memo sent to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) by Jeffrey Woods, Esquire, Chief Counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Aging; effective February 9 agencies licensed by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) or funded through a County MH/MR program that provide services and supports to individuals with mental retardation shall not be required to report abuse and neglect to AAAs if the consumer is under the age of 60 years. The agencies must continue reporting until February 9. The services/agencies that will no longer have to report individuals with MR under age 60 are:

  • Community residential rehabilitation services;
  • Community homes and family living homes for individuals with mental retardation;
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with mental retardation, including State and non-State operated facilities and homes; and,
  • State mental hospitals

This change is a result of a recent amendment to the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA). The Office of Mental Retardation had been preparing a Bulletin on Reporting and Investigations Related to OAPSA, in conjunction with the Department of Aging, but their developing work will now need to be revised.

Some providers heard from their local AAAs that persons with mental illness living in group residences are also covered in this change, but that is an error. DPW continues to interpret the term "home health care agency" in the Act as including group residences for adult persons with mental illness. Only the reporting of abuse of individuals with MR under the age of 60 has been changed. Everyone must continue to conduct Criminal History Background Checks, as consistent with the OAPSA.

PCPA presented written testimony to Representative Jerry Schuler during hearings in February 2002. A concluding statements was: "We urge that Commonwealth efforts be concentrated on eliminating the duplication of protective services and incident reporting, in order to better direct scarce financial and human resources towards quality interaction with the consumers of services and away from complicated paperwork and reporting procedures." PCPA applauds the legislature for eliminating the described MR reporting requirement. It is a step in the right direction.

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