Authors Posts by Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp


Fingerprint scanning technology on pixellated screen - 3d rendered with slight DOF

If your staff are in need of fingerprinting; there are available fingerprinting appointments on July 21, 2020; however, pre enrollment is required.

Location: Chambersburg Holiday Inn Express, 1097 Wayne Avenue, Chambersburg, PA 17201

Times: 9 am–5 pm, by appointment only, so everyone must pre-enroll. If individuals come to the event and are not enrolled, they may be turned away. They also ask that in order to maintain the COVID-19 safety measures, please do not enter the building until a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

Enrollment: Make sure to have your appropriate service code from your human resources department. If you do not know what the appropriate service code is and you cannot contact your employer, you may contact this email.

To be able to enroll for this particular event, you must use the special enrollment code of: SP-DHSCHAMBER721

For directions on enrollment, please review the attachment.

Further Requirements:

  • When the individual enrolls, they will be sent an enrollment confirmation via email. They MUST bring their enrollment confirmation information with them to their appointment. It can be on their phone, it does not have to be printed out, but they must have it!
  • They must bring an appropriate form of identification. The most common forms of identification are: Drivers License (if it has expired during COVID-19 (after March 1, 2020), please make sure to bring your renewal form), current passport, Pennsylvania State Identification, or Green Card.
  • Everyone must wear a mask to the event and keep it on at all times until the Enrollment Agent asks them to remove it so that they can be photographed as part of the fingerprinting protocol.

Payment: If your employer is paying for your fingerprinting, please make sure to obtain a payment voucher code, as you will need that during the enrollment process. If your employer has not provided you with a payment voucher, you will be required to pay for the fingerprinting at the time of the event. The current cost is $23.85 and the Enrollment Agent may only accept (1) credit card (2) debit card or (3) money order made out to “Idemia.”

See the Pre Enrollment Instructions for Mobile Fingerprinting. If you have questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

The purpose of this bulletin is to advise County Children and Youth Agencies (CCYAs) and Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) affiliate agencies of adjustments to payment rates for SWAN direct units of service for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020–2021 and tentative payment rates for SFY 2021–2022. This bulletin rescinds and replaces the payment chart on page 3 of the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) Bulletin 3350-19-02, titled “Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network Unit of Service Payment Rates and Programmatic Changes” and replaces the unit costs on page 74 of OCYF Bulletin 3140-20-02, titled “Fiscal Year 2021-22 Children, Youth and Family’s Needs-Based Plan and Fiscal Year 2020-21 Implementation Plan Instructions.

See the Bulletin to view the document and rates; the SWAN rates will be effective for all services referred on or after July 1, 2020. Payment for any services referred prior to July 1, 2020, will be paid at the rate established for the year in which the referral was made. If you have questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

As part of DHS Secretary Teresa Miller’s update, please see this updated message regarding DHS’ actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This contains the information shared by Secretary Miller during the stakeholder call on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The document highlights responses to ongoing questions and answers asked during the webinars and includes updated information on funding, regulatory waivers, reopening guidance, and other resources. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

July 7, 2020 

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced that older Pennsylvania youth exiting the foster-care system will now be eligible for aftercare services until age 23 – a policy change that will offer myriad supportive services to a particularly vulnerable population of youth as they transition to adulthood. Previously, youth became ineligible for aftercare services on their 21st birthday.

DHS estimates that the extension of aftercare services to age 23 will benefit about 1,500 former foster youth in fiscal year 2020-21.

“Every child deserves a safe and healthy environment to grow up, and every person deserves a stable support system to help them transition from childhood to adulthood,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said. “For former foster youth aging out of the system, the traditional family support system may not be there for them. I’m proud that Pennsylvania is stepping up to fill that gap and provide the types of services these young adults need to go on to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.”

DHS convened a workgroup to study the possibility of extending aftercare services to age 23 for former foster youth after the federal Family First Prevention Services Act gave states the option of doing so. After studying the issue in collaboration with stakeholders, DHS has opted into this provision effective July 1, 2020.

In Pennsylvania, child welfare is a county-administered and state-supervised system. Counties provide aftercare services that meet the needs of the youth who exit foster care on or after their 14th birthday – and now until age 23 – that can include: needs assessment/case planning, life skills training, prevention services, education, support services, employment, location of housing, room and board, retreats and camps, indirect services, and program administration. Some services require youth to meet other eligibility criteria.

This policy change to extend aftercare services to age 23 ensures that all former foster youth, including those who remain in foster care to age 21 have access to aftercare services to help them safely and successfully transition to independence and adulthood after they’ve exited the formal foster-care system.

Research shows that youth who age out or leave foster care without a permanent family/connection experience worse outcomes than that of their peers in the general population. Former foster youth are disproportionately represented among young adults entering the mental health and substance use disorder systems, homeless services, employment services and criminal justice systems. This policy change is a critical step forward in serving older youth and preventing the outcomes seen nationally for foster youth who age out of the foster-care system.

In addition, beginning July 1, 2020, DHS has extended eligibility for the Chafee Education and Training Voucher program — known as Education and Training Grants (ETG) in Pennsylvania — to youth up until their 26th birthday. This program provides eligible youth financial support to attend post-secondary education and training classes for up to five years (consecutive or non-consecutive). The previous cutoff age was 23.

ETG eligibility includes youth who are in foster care or discharged from foster care on or after age 16, including those youth have exited foster care to adoption or permanent legal guardianship. The ETG application for the 2020-21 academic year is available online.

Youth applying for ETG will be evaluated to determine if they also qualify for the Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program (FosterEd). The FosterEd program requires Pennsylvania post-secondary institutions to waive tuition and mandatory fees for Pennsylvania youth who meet Chafee ETG eligibility requirements and who have applied for all available federal and state grants.

If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Policy Director Jim Sharp


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The American Hospital Association (AHA) urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to temporarily extend certain waivers and make others permanent beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency, to allow hospitals to provide better and more cost effective care to their patients and communities. For example, AHA recommends permanently expanding the services that can be provided via telehealth and via audio-only connection; the locations where these services can be delivered; and the practitioners and providers, such as hospital outpatient departments, that can bill for these services. It also recommends CMS continue to support increased bed capacity in rural areas in an emergency, optional quality measurement reporting during the pandemic, and delaying certain reporting requirements to focus clinical resources solely on patient care.

AHA said CMS should discontinue the flexibility for physician-owned hospitals (POHs) to increase beds, operating rooms, and procedure rooms in response to a patient surge and require POHs to return to their pre-COVID-19 bed and room counts, as data indicates these hospitals cherry-pick the healthiest and wealthiest patients, resulting in overutilization and high health care costs. In addition, AHA said the agency should not continue to allow independent freestanding emergency departments to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs as hospitals or clinics because they are not built, equipped, or staffed to meet those programs’ requirements, or using non-hospital buildings and spaces for patient care once the increased capacity is no longer necessary.

If you have questions please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

In a recent communication to RCPA and the stakeholder community, OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Kristen Houser was pleased to share the current framework for the provider Alternative Pay Arrangements (APA) that will be extended until September 30, 2020. Deputy Secretary Houser outlined the expectations that included:

  • COVID-specific APAs will remain available as an option through September 30, 2020.
  • No less than 30-day notice will be given to providers to clarify if the APAs will be ending on September 30 or continue to be an option for an additional quarter, through December 31, 2020, depending on the need due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • All APAs should now include a reconciliation to ensure no overpayments are made as providers begin to open and offer more services. Providers who are open and billing at 100% do not have the need to be included in a COVID-19 APA.

Deputy Secretary Houser stated “We understand the importance of maintaining regional agreements and oversight to allow for flexibility to meet a range of needs across the Commonwealth but also recognize that setting a statewide expectation that is consistently communicated across regions, providers and associations will help reduce confusion and subsequent questions. OMHSAS is sharing this information with provider associations and stakeholders to help alleviate any misunderstanding/miscommunication going forward, and we ask that this information be posted on BH-MCO and Primary Contractor or appropriate county websites in a location that is easy to reference. This will ensure that anyone with questions about the duration or expectations of notification of an end date will find the same information there.”

If you have additional questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.