Federal

Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) introduced the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act of 2019 (HR 873 / S 260). This Act provides states, service providers, subminimum wage certificate holders, and other agencies with the resources to help workers with disabilities transition into competitive, integrated employment. The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act is legislation designed to strengthen and enhance the disability employment service delivery systems throughout states while subminimum wages, which are currently allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, are phased out over a six-year period. Currently, under Section 14(c), employers that obtain a certificate are permitted to hire individuals with disabilities at less than minimum wage. The Act would include some grant money to assist states and certificate holders in transforming their organizations.

Chairman Scott’s press release lists the organizations supporting the bill: “American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Autism National Committee, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Autism Society of America, Center for Public Representation (CPR), Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Disability Rights Florida, Disability Rights Iowa, Disability Rights New Mexico, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), National Disability Institute (NDI), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), National Federation of the Blind (NFB), National Rehabilitation Association, TASH, Inc.”

ACCSES, on the other hand, strongly supports a full array of employment options for people with disabilities, including Section 14(c), and will continue to advocate for providers and people who chose this option. Contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with any questions.

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Midterm Election Results: Split Decision Nationally, Good Night for PA Democrats in State Races

Yesterday was a mixed bag of results nationally for both parties. The Democrats took control of the House Representatives, while the Republicans maintained control of the Senate. After a cursory look at the federal election results in Pennsylvania and nationwide, it looks like the blue wave did materialize like some had predicted. Nationally, the Democrats gained a little better than the historic average of 28 seats for the party out of power during a presidential mid-term election. The Democrats in Pennsylvania took advantage of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court-drawn congressional map and congressional retirements to flip seats in the Southeast. The breakdown of the PA Congressional Delegation prior to last night was 13-5 in favor of the Republicans; after last night, the PA Congressional Delegation breakdown will be 9-9 between Democrats and Republicans.

In the Senate, Incumbent Senator Bob Casey had an easy time dispatching his challenger Lou Barletta. Nationally, the Republicans held control of the Senate and added 3 to 4 seats to their majority. The Senate still has races that are “too close to call” in Montana and Arizona, and in Mississippi there will be a run-off election on November 27, because no one received more than 50% of the vote.

Turning back to Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf defeated his opponent Scott Wagner by a 17% point margin, ensuring him 4 more years in the Governor’s mansion. In the General Assembly, the Senate Democrats were able to pick up 4-5 seats (one seat is “too close to call”). The PA Democrat Senate picked up at least 3 seats in the Southeast and one in the Southwest. The race in Bucks County between Incumbent State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and Democrat Challenger Tina Davis is “too close to call” with Senator Tomlinson leading by 500 or less. Incumbent State Senate Republicans Tom McGarricle (R – Delaware County) and John Rafferty (R – Montgomery) lost to their Democrat challengers. In the Southwest (Allegheny County – District 38), Democrat Lindsey Williams defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who won the primary against the Incumbent Republican Senator Randy Vulakovich by a margin of 50.22% to 49.78%. When the PA Senate returns in January, the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate by a margin of 29 – 21 or 30 – 20 (depending on the outcome of the Tomlinson v. Davis race in Bucks County).

New members of the PA Senate are as follows:

  • Steve Santarsiero (D – Bucks). He defeated former State House Republican Marquerite Quinn
  • Maria Collet (D – Bucks/Montgomery). She defeated retiring State Senator Stewart Greenleaf’s son
  • Tim Kearney (D – Delaware). He defeated Incumbent State Senator Tom McGarrigle
  • Kristin Phillips-Hill (R – York). She won Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Wagner’s open seat
  • Judy Ward (R – Blair/Fulton). She won the seat vacated by Republican State Senator John Eichelberger
  • Lindsey Williams (D – Allegheny). She defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who won the primary against the Incumbent Republican Senator Randy Vulakovich
  • Katie Muth (D – Berks/Chester/Montgomery). She defeated incumbent State Senator John Rafferty

The Democrats also had a good night in state House races. The Democrats picked up 10 seats in the PA House. Again as in the PA Senate, House Democrats picked up most of their seats in the collar counties of Philadelphia. The Republicans had 121 of the House’s 203 seats to defend. Out of those 121 seats, 20 seats were open because of Incumbent Republican retirements. Democrats won 5 of the open seats, which were held by Republicans, and they unseated 8 Republican incumbents; however, the Democrats also lost 3 of their own seats to Republicans for a net gain of 10. The Republicans will still maintain control of the PA House of Representatives by a margin of 111 – 92.

New members of the House are as follows:

  • 2nd District – Democrat Robert Merski (OPEN)
  • 15th – Republican Joshua Kail (OPEN)
  • 21st – Democrat Sara Innamorato
  • 29th – Republican Meghan Schroeder (OPEN)
  • 30th – Republican Lori Mizgorski (OPEN)
  • 34th – Democrat Summer Lee
  • 39th – Republican Michael Puskaric (OPEN)
  • 40th – Republican Natalie Mihalek (OPEN)
  • 44th – Republican Valerie Gaydos (OPEN)
  • 53rd – Democrat Steven Malagari (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 54th – Republican Robert Brooks (OPEN)
  • 61st – Democrat Laura Hanbidge (PICK-UP)
  • 62nd – Republican James Struzzi (OPEN)
  • 68th – Republican Clinton Owlett (OPEN)
  • 71st – Republican James Rigby (PICK-UP)
  • 74th – Democrat Dan Williams (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 76th – Republican Stephanie Borowicz (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 79th – Republican Louis Schmitt (OPEN)
  • 80th – Republican James Gregory (OPEN)
  • 82nd – Republican Johnathan Hershey (OPEN)
  • 93rd – Republican Paul Jones (OPEN)
  • 105th – Republican Andrew Lewis (OPEN)
  • 112th – Democrat Kyle Mullins (OPEN)
  • 143rd – Democrat Wendy Ullman (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 144th – Republican Todd Polinchock (OPEN)
  • 146th – Democrat Joseph Ciresi (PICK-UP)
  • 150th – Democrat Joseph Webster (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 153rd – Democrat Ben Sanchez (OPEN)
  • 155th – Democrat Danielle Otten (PICK-UP)
  • 157th – Democrat Melissa Shusterman (PICK-UP)
  • 158th – Democrat Christina Sappey (PICK-UP)
  • 162nd – Democrat David Delloso (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 163rd – Democrat Michael Zabel (PICK-UP)
  • 165th – Democrat Jennifer Omara (PICK-UP)
  • 167th – Democrat Kristine Howard (PICK-UP)
  • 175th – Democrat Mary Isaacson (OPEN)
  • 177th – Democrat Joseph Hohenstein (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
  • 178th – Republican Wendi Thomas (PICK-UP)
  • 181st – Democrat Malcolm Kenyatta (OPEN)
  • 184th – Democrat Elizabeth Fiedler (OPEN)
  • 193rd – Republican Torren Ecker (OPEN)
  • 197th – Democrat Danilo Burgos (OPEN)
  • 199th – Republican Barbara Gleim (OPEN)

Analysis

On the national level, it will be interesting to see whether the Democrat Speaker of the House (presumably, Nancy Pelosi) will be able to manage the various factions of the Democrat caucus. As you may recall, Speaker Paul Ryan had the same issues with the Republican caucus. Look for the President, Senate, and House to work together on issues of infrastructure and other smaller initiatives. The big issues of health care, immigration, the deficit, the passage of a budget, and tax cuts will probably not be resolved and be left as issues for the 2020 election.

At the state level, the Governor can pursue large initiatives such as raising the minimum wage, tax increases, pension reform, and other such issues because he will not be on the ballot in four years; however, both chambers of the General Assembly are still controlled by Republicans by comfortable margins, so the Governor’s initiatives will be tempered by a more conservative General Assembly.

RCPA looks forward to our continued working relationship with the Governor, returning members of the General Assembly, and we look forward to meeting and working with the newly elected members.

For all election results from the Pennsylvania Department of State, please check here.

Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.

E&C #SUBHEALTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 27, 2018
Contact: Press Office | (202) 226-4972

#SubHealth Convenes Hearing Titled “Better Data and Better Outcomes: Reducing Maternal Mortality in the U.S.”

Live Webcast
Click here to watch the hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Opening Statement of Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Good morning. Thank you to everyone for joining us this morning to discuss a topic that is important to each and every one of us, maternal mortality. This is a subject matter that has been brought to the forefront by Members of this Subcommittee, actions of State Legislatures, and the media. Having spent nearly three decades as an OB/GYN, I believe it should be a national goal to eliminate all preventable maternal mortality – even a single maternal death is too many.

All too often do we read about stories of seemingly healthy pregnant women who are thrilled to be having a child, and to everyone’s surprise, suffers severe complications, or death during pregnancy, birth, or post-partum. The death of a new or expecting mother is a tragic event that devastates everyone involved, but in many cases these are preventable scenarios.
Read more

Opening Statement of Chairman Greg Walden
Today the Subcommittee on Health is holding a discussion on the critical issue of maternal mortality. In fact, we will examine as issue that is literally a matter of life and death for women all across the country. Thank you, Dr. Burgess, for calling this hearing. As someone with decades of real-world experience as an OB/GYN, you know better than most how important this issue is.

This is a difficult topic, and one that is close to my heart. Far too many mothers die because of complications during pregnancy and the effects of such a tragedy on any family is impossible to comprehend.
Read more

Witness Testimony and Additional Background 
Click here to view the hearing background memo and witness testimony on the Energy and Commerce Committee website.

# # #

ENERGYCOMMERCE.HOUSE.GOV

On July 30, 2018, President Trump signed HR 6042 which delays the requirement for personal care service providers to utilize an electronic visit verification (EVV) system. This action changes the deadline by one year, to become effective January 1, 2020. HR 6042 was signed into law in order to delay reduction in the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for personal care services furnished without an EVV system, and also requires more stakeholder input into the implementation process. For questions, contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director.

July 26 marked the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990 by President George Bush. The White House released the following proclamation:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 25, 2018

Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2018
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate this historic legislation, which echoed our Nation’s founding promise to recognize and secure the equal rights of all men and women. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to cultivate further opportunities for all Americans to live full and independent lives, and recognize the many contributions enabled by expanded participation of Americans with disabilities in our society.

President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990. It has transformed the lives of millions of Americans living with disabilities by promoting their equal access to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and public transportation. Today, people of all ages with disabilities are better able to thrive in the community, pursue careers, contribute to our economy, and fully participate in American society.

Our Nation must continue to build upon this foundation and continue to further the participation of the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities. My Administration continues to encourage research that will lead to advancements in technology, medicine, and other fields and better enable independent living. We are also expanding and promoting equal education and employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities to live and work. In this regard, in June of last year, I signed an Executive Order to develop more apprenticeship programs for all people, including those with disabilities. Additional training will encourage better involvement from businesses and allow people with disabilities to contribute meaningfully to a wide variety of industries.

As we commemorate the anniversary of the ADA, we recommit ourselves to fostering an environment in which all Americans have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2018, as a day in celebration of the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to renew our commitment to achieving the promise of our freedom for all Americans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.

DONALD J. TRUMP

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Breaking: CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship & Streamline Clinical Billing

From HIT Consultant
by Jasmine Pennic 07/12/2018

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed historic changes that would increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that clinicians face when billing Medicare. The proposed rules would fundamentally improve the nation’s healthcare system and help restore the doctor-patient relationship by empowering clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes… Read full article.