Authors Posts by Carol Ferenz

Carol Ferenz

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Date of Data Extraction: 9/23/2020

This report is produced using data on COVID-19 that is self-reported by ODP providers and Supports Coordinators. ODP began capturing this data in mid-March 2020.

COVID-19 Suspected means that a person has been tested for the COVID-19 virus and is awaiting the test results OR a test has been ordered by a health care practitioner, but the person has not been tested yet.

COVID-19 Confirmed means that a person was tested for the COVID-19 virus and test was positive OR was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care practitioner even if no test was completed.

Tested Negative means that a person was tested for the COVID-19 virus and test was negative.

Individuals
COVID-19 data for individuals with an intellectual disability or autism is captured using the Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) system. Data is captured for individuals who:

  • Reside in a private Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability;
  • Receive Home and Community-based (HCBS) Waiver services;
  • Receive base-funded services; or
  • Reside in ODP-licensed settings but do not receive HCBS Waiver or base-funded services, e.g. are private-pay or whose services are funded by another state.

Data for Pennsylvanians with an intellectual disability or autism who are not known to ODP (i.e. who do not fall into one of the above categories) is not captured.

Staff
COVID-19 data for staff persons who support the individuals identified above was captured using an email resource account maintained by ODP through June 10, 2020. From June 10 forward providers report staff COVID-19 data via a web-based form developed by ODP. “Staff” include any staff employed by the service provider. Supports Coordinators who have no physical contact with enrolled individuals since mid-March are not included.

ODP COVID Chart 09-23-20

Notes:

  • The amount of time between testing for COVID-19 and obtaining the test results may be as much as 7 days.
  • It takes 24 hours for data submitted through EIM or through the resource account to be available to ODP for aggregate, statewide reporting.
  • Data is not validated against Department of Health records.
  • Data on confirmed, tested negative and deaths is cumulative.
  • Effective June 10, 2020 ODP transitioned to a web-based tool for the reporting of Staff COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 Data for ODP licensed residential settings and private ICFs by county can be found here.

COVID-19 Data for State Centers is updated daily and can be found here.

Pennsylvania’s legislature and Governor Wolf are currently in discussions about how to distribute around $1 billion in the second round of CARES Act funding for COVID-19 relief. RCPA and our partners advocated for funding in May from the first round of CARES Act funding. While we were successful in securing funding to keep providers afloat during the first few months of the pandemic, it is critical that the IDD system receive another infusion of funding in our to remain secure for the last few months of the year. Pennsylvania ID/A providers are experiencing a loss of revenue and increased costs of approximately $90 million per month due to COVID-19. In order to stay afloat through the last three months of 2020, we are requesting $270 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funding from the second round of CARES Act Funding. The decisions on COVID-19 Relief Funding Distribution will be made by the end of the month so the time to act is now.

We need your help! We are asking that you reach out to your Executive staff, Direct Support Professionals, and especially the family members of the individuals you support to help advocate for this critical funding. Here is a draft letter that can be used to send to legislators and talking points that outline the challenges faced by providers during the pandemic. Please feel free to customize the letter.

For further information, contact Carol Ferenz.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) released an Update to Announcement 20-095, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Community Participation Support (CPS) Retainer Payments – New Updates 9-21-2020. The purpose of this update is to provide information on retainer payments for August and September 2020. All updates are in red. Please review the announcement for additional details.

Senator Bob Casey (ranking member, Senate Special Committee on Aging) is hosting an upcoming Virtual Aging Conference. This event will focus on how COVID-19 has impacted nursing home residents and how to expand access to long-term services and supports. This free event is open to the general public.

The Virtual Aging Conference will be held on Friday, September 25 from 10:15 am – 11:45 am ET. Use this link to learn more.

The Social Security Administration is hosting an upcoming National Disability Forum called “COVID-19 and SSA Programs: Serving Our Beneficiaries Through Unprecedented Times.” During this virtual event, advocates will share best practices for adapting service models to meet the demands of the pandemic. Speakers from government agencies will also discuss how they have modified policies and procedures during the pandemic.

This forum will take place on Tuesday, September 22, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Attendees must register by September 18. Use this link to learn more.

The second podcast in “A Supporter’s Toolbox” series features ODP’s Clinical Director, Dr. Stacy Nonnemacher, as she discusses, “What is Choice Without Options?” What good is having choice and control when you don’t have a lot to choose from?  What are you doing as a supporter to ensure one has options?  We will discuss your role in expanding someone’s repertoire of experiences and making their world a little bigger.

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How Do I Listen?

Visit us on the MyODP Podcast page to Listen!

The Office of Developmental Programs is pleased to announce its October trainings. Please use hyperlinked title listed to register for each session. Topics include:

Please submit to this email if you have any questions.

The United States Commission on Civil Rights (“the Commission”) has released their briefing report, Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities. The primary recommendation approved by the Commission majority following this inquiry was that Congress should repeal Section 14(c) with a planned phase-out period to allow transition among service providers and people with disabilities to alternative service models prioritizing competitive integrated employment.

The Commission majority approved key findings including the following: As currently utilized, the U.S. Department of Labor has repeatedly found 14(c) providers limiting people with disabilities participating in the program from realizing their full potential while allowing providers and associated businesses to profit from their labor. This limitation is contrary to 14(c)’s purpose. Persistent failures in regulation and oversight of the 14(c) program by government agencies including the Department of Labor and Department of Justice have allowed and continue to allow the program to operate without satisfying its legislative goal to meet the needs of people with disabilities to receive supports necessary to become ready for employment in the competitive economy.

Findings and Recommendations:

  1. In 1938, Congress enacted the exception to the minimum wage requirement for people with disabilities, contained in Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, with a rehabilitative purpose. As currently utilized, the federal Department of Labor has repeatedly found providers operating pursuant to Section 14(c) limiting people with disabilities participating in the program from realizing their full potential while allowing providers and associated businesses to profit from their labor. This limitation is contrary to 14(c)’s purpose.
  1. Persistent failures in regulation and oversight of the 14(c) program by government agencies including the Department of Labor and Department of Justice have allowed and continue to allow the program to operate without satisfying its legislative goal to meet the needs of people with disabilities to receive supports necessary to become ready for employment in the competitive economy.
  1. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are currently earning subminimum wages under the 14(c) program are not categorically different in level of disability from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities currently working in competitive integrated employment.
  1. The Commission took in bipartisan testimony in favor of keeping the 14(c) program and to end the 14(c) program. Notably, in 2016, both major party platforms included support for legislation ending the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced bipartisan legislation to phase out the 14(c) program. Chair Neil Romano, Republican appointee to the National Council on Disability, and former RepublicanGovernor Tom Ridge, who now leads the National Organization on Disability, both testified that ending the 14(c) program is their shared highest priority.
  1. State-level phase outs of the use of the 14(c) program have been developed and designed for state service providers and other stakeholders to ensure that a competitive integrated employment model does not result in a loss of critical services to individuals with disabilities including former 14(c) program participants.
  1. Increased integration of people with disabilities into the workplace and society is now legally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and legal precedent and is facilitated by technological advancements. These developments obviate any need for subminimum wage work.

Highlighted Recommendations:

  1. Congress should repeal Section 14(c) with a planned phase-out period to allow transition among service providers and people with disabilities to alternative service models prioritizing competitive integrated employment.
  1. The phased repeal of 14(c) must not reflect a retreat in Federal investments and support for employment success of persons with disabilities but rather a reconceptualization of the way in which the federal government can enhance the possibilities for success and growth for people with disabilities.
  1. Congress should expand funding for supported employment services and prioritize capacity building in states transitioning from 14(c) programs.
  1. Now and during the transition period of the Section 14(c) program, Congress should assign civil rights oversight responsibility and jurisdiction, with necessary associated fiscal appropriations to conduct the enforcement, either to the Department of Labor or to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Congress should also require that the designated civil rights agency issue an annual report on investigations and findings regarding the 14(c) program.
  1. During the phase-out period, Congress should require more stringent reporting and accountability for 14(c) certificate holders and following the phase out should continue to collect data on employment outcomes of former 14(c) employees.
  1. The Department of Justice should increase enforcement of the Olmstead integration mandate to determine whether more state systems are inappropriately relying too heavily on providers using 14(c) certificates to provide non-integrated employment in violation of Olmstead. The Department should issue guidance, open more investigations, and litigate where voluntary compliance cannot be achieved.