Authors Posts by Carol Ferenz

Carol Ferenz


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    a memo is on the keyboard of a computer as a reminder: meeting

    Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director, Special Committee on Aging, for Senator Bob Casey, will be speaking with RCPA members at our Annual Meeting to be held on Friday, May 10, 2019 at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. The meeting that was previously scheduled to occur on Thursday, May 2 has been cancelled. The conversation will focus on state policies on disabilities and legislative initiatives that will have an impact on services and opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania.

    Michael Gamel-McCormick held a similar position in the office of Senator Tom Harkin, as well as being Senator Harkin’s senior education staffer. He began his career as an early childhood education teacher, teaching in inclusive settings. He was a special education technical assistance provider for over 40 counties and cities in Virginia. For 15 years, he was a professor and dean at the University of Delaware as well as director of the university’s Center for Disability Studies. Just prior to joining Senator Casey’s staff, he was Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

    Register here for the Annual Meeting. Please contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with questions.

    Speaker at Business convention and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall.

    ODP Announcement 19-046 provides information regarding upcoming training available to people with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders (SCs Provider staff, AEs, organizational leadership). Person Centered Thinking is a core concept at the foundation of the services and supports provided to people with intellectual disabilities and autism in Pennsylvania. The above-mentioned individuals/groups are invited to come and learn about Person Centered Thinking and how it can be used to enhance the quality of life of the people we support.

    This interactive, two-day training serves as a foundation for everyone involved in supporting people with significant disabilities. During this training, attendees will have the opportunity to develop their skills by completing a series of guided exercises. Participants will practice utilizing person-centered thinking resources and techniques. Information gathered using these skills can help teams develop meaningful Individual Support Plans (ISPs) that help people with disabilities achieve an Everyday Life.

    All training sessions will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Registration will begin at 8:30 am. Breakfast and lunch will not be provided.

    The first trainings will be held Friday, May 17 and Friday, May 31, 2019 at the Intellectual disAbility Services in Philadelphia, as well as Monday, June 10 and Tuesday, June 11 at PaTTAN in Harrisburg. Additional sessions are being planned for the 2019/20 fiscal year. As soon as registration is open for these additional sessions, another announcement will be sent out. If you have any questions about this training opportunity, please submit them via email.

    ODP Announcement 19-044 serves to communicate the process for Administrative Entities (AEs) to validate that new Provider Applicants have satisfied all Provider Qualification requirements effective April 1, 2019. (Announcement 084-18 Revised Qualification Process for New Providers will become obsolete as of the date of this publication.)

    In order to become a qualified provider of Consolidated, P/FDS and Community Living Waivers, applicants must complete ODP Provider Qualification Form DP 1059 and submit required provider qualification documentation designated for new provider applicants. CEOs of provider applicants must successfully complete ODP Provider Orientation training, which includes pre-registration module webcasts and a full day face-to-face classroom session. Upon completion of each training component, the CEO must pass a post-test to earn and be issued a Certificate of Achievement.

    New Provider Process flowchart and process step tools for licensed and unlicensed services are available for provider applicants on MyODP. New provider applicants must review all source documents referenced within ODP’s New Provider Self-Assessment Tool. While completing the tool, the provider applicant shall ensure that all policies, procedures, processes, and/or protocols are developed and aligned with ODP requirements. The Assigned Administrative Entity (AE) will validate the documentation that applicants submit with the New Provider Self-Assessment Tool. The Assigned AE is the AE within the county where the provider applicant intends to serve the most individuals.

    CEOs of new provider applicants must sign the ODP Waiver Provider Agreement (available on the HCSIS homepage) and submit via email. ODP will return the agreement with a stamp of approval in the upper right corner of the front page. If further information is required, the provider will be notified. Likewise, if a provider is not approved, they will receive written notice.

    New provider applicants wishing to be qualified for Residential Habilitation, Lifesharing, and Supported Living are required to earn and submit a Certificate of Completion for the ODP Dual Diagnoses Training available on MyODP to their Assigned AE with other required documentation. This training must be completed by the CEO of the provider applicant.

    All required documentation and timeframes are outlined in ODP Announcement 19-044. The provider must register their services in HCSIS (see HCSIS Tip Sheet) and may begin to provide qualified services only after an AE has authorized it to do so in an Individual Support Plan.

    ODP Announcement 19-045 is to inform all interested parties that the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has reorganized and updated employment-related materials on the MyODP platform. Resources, communications, and training materials related to employment are categorized by individuals and families per waiver or program, as well as by provider roles in the service system.

    The employment page can be found under the “Resources” tab on the MyODP home page. ODP will update material on the web page as it continues its efforts, in accordance with the Employment First Act (62 P.S. §§ 3401-3409), to help individuals obtain competitive integrated employment.

    Additionally, ODP released a second update to the Employment Service Definition Quick Guide for Intellectual Disability/Autism Waivers and Base-funded Participants originally released as part of Announcement 19-025.  Please use this updated guide in place of other versions. Questions about this announcement can be forwarded via email.

    The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Communication 19-041 announces the release of the Quality Assessment and Improvement (QA&I) Annual Statewide Report of Self-Assessments for Cycle 1 Year 2 (C1Y2), FY 2018/2019.

    Through the QA&I process, a comprehensive quality management review of county programs, Administrative Entities (AE), Supports Coordination Organizations (SCO), and Providers who deliver services and supports to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders is conducted. As part of that process, all AEs, SCOs and Providers are expected to complete Self-Assessments of their performance on the provision of services and supports annually.

    Self-Assessments evaluate key quality metrics and the implementation of Everyday Lives: Values in Action. This report includes a summary and analysis of statewide results of Self-Assessments conducted in July and August 2018, sorted by geographic region. This report discusses successes and opportunities for systemic quality improvement discovered during QA&I Self-Assessments in the areas of Person-Centered Planning and Service Delivery; Promoting Self-Direction, Choice and Control; Increasing Community Participation; Promoting Health, Wellness and Safety; Supporting People with Complex Needs; and Developing and Supporting Qualified Staff.

    Find the report online.

    ODP Announcement 19-040 provides information to recruit individuals with autism who are interested in using their lived experience to support others through the Community Autism Peer Specialist program. The Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) pairs individuals with autism who have completed a peer support training program with other individuals with autism to achieve personal wellness and community integration goals. Activities are chosen by the participant to build employment and/or post-secondary education and leadership skills, to live independently, care for their own health, navigate interpersonal relationships, use public transportation, engage in the community, and explore other areas of growth.

    This flyer provides details about the position requirements and training provided to individuals who would like to participate in the program.

    Applications are being accepted from March 25, 2019, to April 22, 2019.

    Find additional information regarding the CAPS program here.

    The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) announced that all SCOs and Providers delivering supports and services for participants in the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) program must submit their primary and secondary contact information for the ODP Quality Assessment & Improvement (QA&I) Process by close of business on April 15, 2019.

    Beginning July 1, 2019, the Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) will begin the QA&I process for all AAW SCOs and Providers. This process will make the AAW SCO Monitoring and Provider Monitoring processes obsolete as of June 30, 2019.

    BAS is requesting that all SCOs and Providers identify a primary and secondary contact person(s). The identified contact person(s) are the individual(s) who the entity has assigned to receive specific information related to the QA&I Process including any unique electronic links, access to QA&I process specific information, ongoing direction and communication from ODP regarding the QA&I Process, etc.

    All SCOs and Providers must submit their information by close of business on April 15, 2019.

    DP Communication 19-039 contains more detailed information regarding this process. Questions about this communication should be emailed here.

    ODP Announcement 19-038 provides information to register for the Initial Certified Investigator Courses through 2019 and for the Certified Investigator Peer Review Course for Spring 2019.

    The Initial Certification Course is a four-day, face-to-face module that was created to ensure all incidents that require an investigation, receive a systematic investigation that meets established standards. In order to perform investigations, the investigator must successfully complete all requirements under the ODP CI Training. The Initial Certification Course consists of three parts:

    1. Online Prerequisite course
    2. 4 days of face-to-face training
    3. Online exam

    Once all activities are completed within the current standards, the participant will be certified for 3 years. Register here for the Initial Certified Investigator courses and to obtain certification.

    The Peer Review Course was created to support the Peer Review Process. The Peer Review Process is an ongoing evaluation process that is designed to provide information about the overall quality of incident investigations to an organization. The primary objective of the Peer Review Process is to ensure a continued quality improvement of investigatory practices. To support ODP stakeholders in the implementation of the Peer Review practices, ODP along with Temple University has created a Peer Review Course. The Peer Review Course is a 3½-hour, face-to-face training. Register here for the Certified Investigator Peer Review course.

    For assistance with registration, please contact
    For questions regarding the course or its topic, please contact

    ODP Announcement 19 -036 provides information regarding The Arc of Pennsylvania hosting two ACRE certification training sessions in June. This ACRE certification training, a combination of both in-person and online training, is for providers of Supported Employment services.

    Training in Hermitage, PA is scheduled for June 3 – 6, 2019 at 850 North Hermitage Road, Hermitage, PA 16148. Registration is required and is open until May 10, 2019.

    Training in State College, PA is scheduled for June 11 – 13, 2019 at 318 South Atherton Street, State College, PA 16801. Registration is required and is open until May 28, 2019.

    The project will reimburse attendees up to $25 for travel expenses they incur to attend and participate in the training, upon successful completion of the ACRE certification. Priority will be given to ODP and OVR-approved Supported Employment providers. Small Group Employment and Community Participation Support – Prevocational Services providers may register and attend as space allows. Please email any questions about the trainings.