Authors Posts by Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Mr. Phillips is responsible to assist the association with health policy, which primarily includes member communication and advocacy with the Governor’s office, General Assembly, and state regulatory agencies. Mr. Phillips was most recently at the Pennsylvania Department of State as Director of Legislative Affairs.

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Late yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) delivered its final rule to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) regarding overtime pay under the Minimum Wage Act. According to IRRC’s website, a public hearing on the final rule will be held on Thursday, November 21st.
The highlights of L&I’s final rule are as follows:

  • Raises the salary threshold to $875 per week ($45,500 annually) – an over 92% increase over the current $455 per week ($23,660) – and there is an automatic escalator
  • The employee still must meet both the salary test and the duties test to qualify as exempt.

All documents concerning L&I’s final Overtime Rule can be found below.

If you recall, the Federal Department of Labor published its final rule on Friday, September 27th. The Federal rule:

  • Raises the salary threshold from the current $23,660 ($455/week) to $35,568 ($684/week)
  • Effective 1/1/2020
  • No automatic updates or changes to the duties test
  • Allow non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary requirement

According to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA Chamber), Pennsylvania employers generally accept the Federal Department of labor’s final overtime rule as a reasonable update to overtime regulations and employers are unlikely to challenge the Federal final rule.

At a minimum, RCPA will be recommending that L&I’s rule should mirror the Federal rule, so it easier for businesses to comply with this requirement. RCPA will be working with the PA Chamber and other businesses on this issue.

In the meantime, please send me your initial thoughts/concerns by close of business on Monday, October 21st, because State House Leadership and Chairman Cox of the House Labor Committee would like to know what objections our members have about L&I’s final rule.

Questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA’s Director of Government Affairs.

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Last week, while RCPA held its Annual Conference at the Hershey Lodge, our colleagues at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA Chamber) informed us that the Federal Department of Labor submitted its final overtime rule. The PA Chamber stated the final overtime rule was published in the Friday, September 27 edition of the Federal Register. The highlights of the final rule are as follows:

  • Raises the salary threshold from the current $23,660 ($455/week) to $35,568 ($684/week);
  • Effective 1/1/2020;
  • No automatic updates or changes to the duties test;
  • Allows nondiscretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary requirement; and
  • Increases the Highly Compensated Employees exemption threshold from $100,000 to $107,432 — though, as previously noted, this option is not available for employers in PA.

According to the PA Chamber, Pennsylvania employers generally accept the final overtime rule as a reasonable update to overtime regulations and employers are unlikely to challenge the final rule. Additionally, there have not been any updates on how the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will proceed with their overtime proposal.

Thanks again to our friends at the PA Chamber for keeping health and human service providers in the loop on this important issue. Please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs, with questions.

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Yesterday, Senator Vogel introduced SB 857 – The Telemedicine Act. The Telemedicine Act authorizes the practice of telemedicine by health care providers. It requires each licensure board to promulgate regulations within 24 months of the effective date and provides for the publishing of temporary regulations within 60 days. The bill further provides for evaluation and treatment, insurance coverage, and Medicaid program reimbursement. The provisions regarding insurance coverage and Medicaid program reimbursement shall take effect in 90 days and the remainder shall take effect immediately.

As you may recall, Senator Vogel had a similar bill pass the Senate last legislative session but it died in the House. SB 857 has been listed as a legislative fall priority for both the House and Senate. Please take the time to review the legislation, and provide any feedback to Jack Phillips, RCPA’s Director of Government Affairs.

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Pennsylvania Senate Democrats will hold 10 open house events across the state in September, where their constituents can share stories of addiction and recovery and find resources for battling substance use disorder, the caucus announced Tuesday.

The events will begin on Thursday, September 12 in Delaware County and conclude Sunday, November 29 near Pittsburgh. Recovery specialists, family counselors, and legal experts will be at each session to talk with attendees. State agencies including the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the office of the Attorney General will also be present, alongside personnel from local agencies and addiction treatment groups.

The full schedule of events is listed below. All events are free and open to the public.

  • 12, 6:00 pm–8:30 pm, Delaware County Community College, 901 Media Line Road, Media, PA. Hosted by Senator Tim Kearney.
  • 16, 5:30 pm–8:00 pm, New Life Presbyterian Church, 467 N Easton Rd, Glenside PA. Hosted by Senator Art Haywood.
  • 16, 5:00 pm–8:00 pm, William Penn Middle School, 1524 Derbyshire Rd, Yardley PA. Hosted by Senator Steve Santarsiero.
  • 17, 6:00 pm–8:30 pm, Westmoreland County Community College, 1150 5th Avenue, Rm. 132, New Kensington, PA. Hosted by Senator Jim Brewster.
  • 18, 5:30 pm–8:00 pm, Masjidullah, Inc., 7433 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia, PA. Hosted by Senator Art Haywood.
  • 19, 6:00 pm–8:30 pm, Lower Providence Fire Company, 3199 Ridge Pike, Eagleville, PA. Hosted by Senator Katie Muth.
  • 21, 10:00 am–2:00 pm, Montgomery Elementary School, 1221 Stump Rd, North Wales PA. Hosted by Senator Maria Collett.
  • 26, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm, The Mummers Museum, 1100 S 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA Hosted by Senator Larry Farnese.
  • 27, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm, Pioneer Hose, 124 Morgan Street, Brackenridge, PA. Hosted by Senator Lindsey Williams.
  • 29, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm, The Chartiers Room, 370 Commercial Street, Bridgeville, PA. Hosted by Senator Pam Iovino.

(Source: Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Elizabeth Hardison, September 3, 2019)

Composite of Calendar Pages and Clock

(From DHS)


DHS Announces Time, Venue Changes for Polk, White Haven State Center Public Hearings

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced changes to the times and locations for the public hearings on the planned closure of Polk and White Haven State Centers.

“We heard the concerns from families, legislators, and stakeholders about time of day and location for the hearings, and we want as many interested people as possible to be able to attend these hearings,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We are committed to hearing from the community, and these hearings will give affected individuals, advocates, and stakeholders to the opportunity to formally raise concerns and share their perspectives to inform the transition process.”

Under Act 3 of 1999, DHS is required to hold public hearings within 30 days of announcing plans to close a facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Comments offered at these hearings will guide DHS during the transition process and help DHS understand resources and options that will need to be available to residents and families during the transition.

The hearings are now scheduled for:

·  Polk State Center – Monday, September 9, 5 p.m. – Atlantic Avenue Church, 160 Atlantic Ave., Franklin, PA – updated start time

·   White Haven State Center – Thursday, September 12, 5 p.m. – St. Patrick’s Church, 411 Allegheny St, White Haven, PA 18661 – updated start time and location

A toll-free hotline has been established for family members of Polk and White Haven residents who have questions during the closure process. Family members will be able to speak with staff from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 1.888.565.9435 or by email at

For more information regarding services for people with intellectual disabilities and the closures, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James – 717-425-7606

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The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Medical Director Institute has produced a study on Mass Violence in America. While the study shows a modest link between mental illness and violence, there is no basis for the public’s generalized fear of people with mental illness. Having a psychiatric diagnosis is neither necessary, nor sufficient as a risk factor for committing an act of mass violence. For that reason, the group’s report has a broad range of considerations and recommendations beyond the subset of all mass violence with a link to mental illness. Questions, please contact Jack Phillips.

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Going to the RCPA Conference? Start the week with attending the RCPA PAC Golf Outing on Monday, September 23, 2019. Members have requested that RCPA move its Golf Outing back to conference week. Conference attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and presenters can now register to participate in the RCPA PAC’s 7th annual golf outing at the beautiful Hershey Country Club (East Course), 1000 East Derry Road, Hershey, PA 17033.

Registration starts at 10:30 am, lunch begins at 11:00 am, followed by a putting contest and 12:30 pm shotgun start. Sponsorships are available for this worthwhile cause. We hope you will consider becoming a golf outing sponsor; it is a great way for your organization to get name recognition and an opportunity to support the RCPA PAC.

The RCPA PAC raises money and supports campaigns of state legislators and representatives who advance our interests on Health & Human Services issues. The funds raised through RCPA PAC can make a difference. Further questions may be directed to Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

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The PA Opioid Command Center is sponsoring the first Opioid Command Center Summit on October 1 and 2, 2019 in State College, PA. The summit focus is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” The audience for the summit consists of professionals, community members, families, and all others who have been affected by the Opioid Crisis in Pennsylvania. A block of hotel rooms has been reserved for this conference and will be available at a discounted rate until rooms are filled. Please contact the Wyndham Garden Inn State College, 814-466-7231, and ask for room block 0930190PI-001 or the Hilton Garden Inn State College, 814-272-1221, and ask for room block DOH for room reservations.

To register for the summit, you must create a TRAIN PA account, search for the course ID, and select the register for this course option. Instructions for completing the entire process are available here. If you already have a TRAIN PA account, enter Course ID 1086352 into the Search TRAIN field. REGISTER HERE.

You are invited to submit an abstract for a summit lecture, panel discussion, or a half-day course that focuses on local-level initiatives to address the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. Presenters are welcome to submit multiple abstracts; please submit each abstract as a separate application. To apply, please complete the Call for Abstracts and submit to this email by August 28, 2019.

Why Present?

  • Provide information or spread the word on which local practices are saving lives
  • Develop and expand your professional portfolio
  • Collaborate with experts in the field and receive recognition for, and feedback about, your program
  • Presenters receive reasonable travel expenses, including one night of lodging, and lunch the day of their presentation

If you have any questions or concerns, please email the Opioid Command Center or contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

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Governor Wolf Signs Executive Order Increasing Protection of Vulnerable Populations

HARRISBURG (July 31, 2019) — Today, Governor Wolf has signed an Executive Order that begins an overhaul of systems to best help Pennsylvanians most in need of protection and care. The announcement was made at the Capitol in the Governor’s Reception Room.

“Our protective and oversight systems have been built to prioritize institutions over human beings,” stated a release from the Governor’s Office, “Governor Wolf wants to dramatically shift these systems to first-and-foremost advocate, protect, and empower our most vulnerable citizens.”

RCPA President and CEO Richard S. Edley, PhD remarked, “RCPA congratulates the Governor on taking these important steps toward keeping the citizens of our Commonwealth safe and protected, by increasing oversight and accountability of its institutions, as well as improving responsiveness to incident management.” Dr. Edley added, “It is clear that Governor Wolf’s administration is committed to improving the system’s ability to address, and help prevent, the mistreatment of Pennsylvanians in vulnerable situations.”

As part of this initiative, the Governor has created a Council on Reform to review the entire system and compile a report with recommendations by November 1. RCPA’s Richard Edley has been asked to serve on this Council.

In addition to the executive order and action steps by the administration, the Governor will pursue extensive regulatory and legislative actions with input from the General Assembly. A series of announcements on these actions is expected over the coming months.

About the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA):
With well over 350 members, the majority of who serve over 1 million Pennsylvanians annually, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) is among the largest and most diverse state health and human services trade associations in the nation. RCPA provider members offer mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging services, through all settings and levels of care. Visit for more information.

Media contact:
Sharon Militello, RCPA Director of Communications


The Planning Committee for State Representative Dan Miller’s Annual Disability & Mental Health Summit is seeking session proposals for workshops geared towards people impacted by disabilities and mental health concerns. Those attending the summit consist of parents, family members, caregivers, advocates, service providers, educators, medical professionals, government officials, legal professionals, inclusive employers, and mental health professionals. Sessions are 60 minutes in length, and should include 10–15 minutes for Q&A.

Representative Miller’s Disability & Mental Health Summit provides the largest collection of resources and workshops in Western Pennsylvania. Over the past six years, this event has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people. In 2020, the summit will recognize and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in a bigger venue, doubling the crowd, providing more resources, and increasing the summit’s scope across the state! You can visit this website to view last year’s program. Please feel free to share this with your peers and other organizations.

The 2020 Disability & Mental Health Summit will take place on March 6, 2020 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Submission deadline is September 30, 2019.

Questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.