Authors Posts by Carol Ferenz

Carol Ferenz


ODP Announcement 19-138 provides guidance to providers regarding the process ODP staff will utilize in making a determination for Approved Program Capacity (APC) and Noncontiguous Clearance through the updated form.

Since the release of the Request for APC and Noncontiguous Clearance form and instructions with ODP Communication 071-18, additional changes have been made to align with requirements in the Consolidated, P/FDS, and Community Living Waivers, as well as changes in regulatory requirements. Specifically, the form and instructions have been updated to include requests for Reserved Capacity as enumerated in 55 Pa. Code §6100.55. In addition, the Request for APC and Noncontiguous Location Clearance form has been streamlined based on feedback from providers, and now captures whether providers are completing the form for revalidation purposes where APC documentation is required.

ODP also has developed the following documents for use in coordination with this policy.

This communication obsoletes:

  • ODP Informational Packet 028-15, Changes to the Approved Program Capacity Process Resulting from the Provider Settlement Agreement; and
  • ODP Announcement 071-18, Request for Approved Program Capacity and Noncontiguous Clearance.

Send questions via email here.

ODP Announcement 19-133 announces the next Certified Investigator (CI) Forum offered by ODP and Temple University. These forums are an opportunity for current Certified Investigators and other interested parties to receive up to date information about the Certified Investigator Program. The next session is scheduled for November 8, 2019.

There will be two sessions available during the day. If desired, participants may register for both sessions. CI program updates will be the same but other content will be dependent on participant inquiries. Participants can submit questions via email prior to the session until Tuesday, November 5. See announcement for registration information.

ODP Announcement 19-136 announces that the amendment for the Adult Autism Waiver was submitted to CMS on October 15, 2019. The submitted waiver includes modifications that were made as a result of the comments received by 37 individuals, families, agencies, and organizations. The full waiver application, as well as a side-by-side of substantive changes made as a result of public comment, is available online here.

CMS has 90 days to review the amendment and changes may occur to the content based upon discussion with CMS during the approval process. It is anticipated that the waiver amendment will be approved and effective January 1, 2020. ODP will inform all stakeholders when CMS has officially approved the Adult Autism Waiver and will make the approved waiver available at that time. Questions about this communication should be directed to Laura Cipriani.

ODP Announcement 19-135 is to release a guide for Supports Coordinators on the Harry M. Class Members’ Communication Assessments and Reassessments.

The Harry M. Settlement Agreement was approved by a federal court judge on August 20, 2013. The Agreement ensures that Pennsylvanians who are d/Deaf and are enrolled in the Consolidated Waiver are provided with necessary communication supports and services based on their assessed needs. Among other requirements, the Agreement requires:

  • That all class members have initial assessments which evaluate expressive and receptive language skills, identify the preferred method of communication, and make recommendations for staff skills (level of ASL fluency, visual gestural communication training, etc.) needed for effective communication, specialized services, and whether a fully signing environment is needed for effective communication
  • That the assessment recommendations be “documented with specificity” in the class members’ ISPs
  • A reassessment of communication needs as recommended by the previous assessment

Questions about this communication and/or the attached documents should be directed to the ODP Deaf Services Mailbox or to the appropriate ODP Regional Office. This announcement obsoletes Announcement 099-16.

ODP Announcement 19-134 is specifically directed to Residential Providers. The Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST) is a web-based instrument used to detect health risks and destabilization early and to prevent deaths among members of vulnerable populations. The announcement lists the dates and locations of the Clinical Reviewer sessions scheduled for November. Lunch is “on your own.” All sessions run 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

HRS, Inc., in collaboration with the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is announcing face to face HRST training for clinical reviewers. This is a reminder that this is the FINAL OPPORTUNITY for 2019. An email containing a link to register for the sessions will be sent directly by HRS, Inc. The sessions for Clinical Reviewers are open to registered nurses (RNs) only. These Clinical Reviewer sessions are mandatory for any RN who will perform clinical reviews. Providers should ensure that RNs who will perform the clinical reviews plan to attend one of the sessions in November if they have not already participated in one of the sessions held in August, September, or October.

To participate in the face to face training, you must have completed the HRST online rater training (ORT). Please see ODP Announcement 19-052, Health Risk Screening Tool Implementation, for information about the online training.

Clinical Reviewers will receive registration information directly from HRST online but may also contact them via email for any questions concerning the training or registration information.


ODP Announcement 19-128 shared updated information regarding a webinar “Using CDS to Support More Culturally Responsive Organizations.” The College of Direct Support (CDS) is a nationally accredited, curriculum-based learning management system that provides tools for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), frontline supervisors, and managers supporting individuals with disabilities in community settings, as well for self-advocates and their families to create lives of independence and inclusion.

Cultural competence is a way of doing business. Organizations that operate in a culturally competent way are better at supporting people they already serve as well as reaching new customers. They create better work environments for their employees, which enables the organizations to attract and retain employees as well. Finally, culturally competent services are person-centered-services.

This course was produced by the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota in collaboration with Direct Course, the producer of CDS. The live webinar was held on October 11, 2019, and the recorded webinar will be available via the following link: Recording of Using CDS to Support More Culturally Responsive Organizations. The recording will be posted on MyODP one week after the air date of the webinar.

Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Announcement 19-132 provides information regarding trainings scheduled for October 2019 that will provide high level overviews of the ODP Regulation Package. The trainings will help to explain updates to regulations affecting individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism. The ODP Regulation Package published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 5, 2019, represents the most dramatic changes in the past 30 years to our service system. The trainings scheduled for October are structured to help stakeholders understand the major changes and how they impact the system. More trainings are in development on specific topics and requirements contained in the ODP Regulatory Package. ODP will send updates to this announcement as new trainings pertaining to the ODP Regulatory Package are offered.

Along with the communication are flyers advertising the various trainings available (see below). Registration is limited to 500 people, so ODP asks that groups of people call in together when possible. The sessions will be recorded, so that a session for each topic is available on MyODP for those who are unable to take part in the live session.

The webinars are scheduled for Thursday, October 17, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm; Friday, October 18, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm; and Friday, October 25, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.

Those attending RCPA’s IDD Division meeting on 10/17/19 are invited to stay after the meeting to participate in the webinar that begins at 3:00 pm.

OVR is offering six webinars beginning October 2019 and scheduled through December 2019. Each webinar addresses different topics regarding the Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) offered in Pennsylvania:

  • IEPs and Auxiliary Aids, Thursday, October 17, 2019;
  • Self-Advocacy, Thursday, October 24, 2019;
  • Job Exploration Counseling, Thursday, October 31, 2019;
  • Workplace Readiness Training, Thursday, November 7, 2019;
  • Counseling on Post-Secondary Options, Thursday, November 14, 2019; and
  • Work Based Learning Experiences, Thursday, December 5, 2019.

To register for any of the webinars, please use this link. For more information, contact: Kimberly Robinson via email or 412-209-4524.

ODP Announcement 19-126 provides information regarding the Adult Autism Waiver Amendment webinar recording that is now available. This webinar discussed the proposed amendment to the Adult Autism Waiver and obtained public comment on the proposed changes. This webinar was held on September 16, 2019. The webinar was recorded and is now available online along with the PowerPoint presentation. You may find this link on by following this path:

Resources > ODP Information > Waiver Renewals & Amendments > Proposed AAW Amendments

The waiver amendment is also accessible online. An online document containing a side-by-side comparison of the waiver in its previous and amended forms is available.

Questions about this communication should be directed to this email.

ODP Announcement 19-130 serves to announce that the amendments to the ID/A waivers communicated in ODP Announcement 19-102 were approved by CMS on September 24, 2019. These  amendments were submitted to CMS on July 19, 2019. Since that time, ODP has been engaged in ongoing discussions with CMS. One substantive change was made as follows, to allow indirect activities to be rendered on behalf of an individual as part of the Housing Transition and Tenancy Sustaining Service in all ID/A waivers based on those discussions:

Housing Transition services are direct and indirect services provided to participants. Indirect activities that cannot be billed include driving to appointments, completing service notes and progress notes, and exploring resources and developing relationships that are not specific to a participant’s needs as these activities are included in the rate. The following direct and indirect activities are billable under Housing Transition:

  • Conducting a tenant screening and housing assessment that identifies the participant’s preferences and barriers related to successful tenancy. The assessment may include collecting information on potential housing transition barriers, and identification of housing retention barriers… (There was no change to the list of activities covered under Housing Transition. Please see the service definition for the full list of activities).

Each full waiver application approved by CMS is available as follows:

Questions about this communication should be directed to the appropriate Office of Developmental Programs Regional Office.