Policy Areas

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) Notification Protocol for Formal Licensing Actions and Incidents, is currently outlined in Bulletin #00-19-02 released in August 2019. On October 21, 2019, OCYF convened a meeting to bring together representatives from entities covered within the scope of OCYF Bulletin #00-19-02, to discuss the intent of the notification protocol, and to develop recommendations for improvements to the process.

From the meeting, the following improvements were agreed upon and will be released in new bulletins as described below.

  • A new bulletin will be issued promptly to remove the issuance of a notification regarding removal of staff under an approved plan of supervision. These notifications are no longer being sent. This bulletin will also remove any notifications listed that are duplicative of one another, specifically those that would equate to a citation and issuance of a licensing inspection summary (LIS), as those already trigger a notification.
  • Pending the implementation of CPSL amendments, another bulletin will be issued to include a quarterly report that will be provided to county agencies and dependency and delinquency judges, providing aggregate child abuse and substantiation data for child residential or day treatment facilities, approved foster or pre-adoptive homes, and youth development centers and youth forestry camps. If/when the CPSL is amended to permit the release of specific aggregate data, a new bulletin will be issued that will provide for county agencies and dependency and delinquency judges to receive substantiation information at the conclusion of an investigation, regardless of whether they are the placing county for the child or youth for these same placement settings.

RCPA was grateful to participate in this process and commends OCYF and the systems stakeholders for the collaborative partnership on this initiative The Department of Human Services (DHS) is moving forward with implementing these changes to ensure the safety and well-being of Pennsylvania’s children and youth. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is aware that not all providers of intensive behavioral health services (IBHS), that are required to have obtained an IBHS license by January 17, 2020, have attained an IBHS license. In order to ensure services are not disrupted, the Department will not take action against an IBHS agency, as long as the IBHS agency is working with OMHSAS to obtain their IBHS license. Agencies that have questions about obtaining a license should contact their regional field office.

Providers that participate in the medical assistance program can continue to bill for BHRS after January 17, 2020. Providers that meet the requirements for providing IBHS will be available to bill IBHS when instructions are issued for IBHS billing by OMHSAS.

View the OMHSAS IBHS Correspondence. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Clinics across the nation are now eligible to apply for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grants, under a funding opportunity announcement released this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The National Council has long advocated for increased funding for the grant program. We also have been a forceful advocate for expansion of CCBHCs to all 50 states. Not only does the $200 million SAMHSA will make available this year represent a $50 million increase from 2019, the funding is now available to clinics nationwide – an important step toward expanding the CCBHC model across the country.

The CCBHC program supports clinics in expanding access to a comprehensive array of mental health and addiction services in community-based settings, while improving their ability to coordinate care with other health system partners and collect and report on quality metrics.

Clinics applying for Expansion Grants are eligible for two-year grants of up to $2 million per year. Organizations in all 50 states may apply for grants, though priority will be given to clinics in the 24 states that received CCBHC planning grants in 2016.

The National Council will host an informational call to provide more details about CCBHC status, training opportunities, and lessons learned from prior cohorts. Stay tuned for more details and registration information.

SAMHSA has established a March 10 deadline for grant applications. Read the official SAMHSA announcement for more information on the program requirements.

Our website includes more information on CCBHCs, which remain among the National Council’s highest priorities.

See our blog for more details.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued the new Provider Agreement. Effective January 1, 2020, the Provider Agreement must be filled out and submitted by the legal entity of each waiver provider. Only one agreement should be submitted per provider, regardless of the number of service locations or services provided by the agency. Instructions for completing and returning the agreement are included within the document. Questions may be directed to the ODP Provider Enrollment Unit.

Senate Bill 906 SB 906, calling for a state center closure moratorium, has passed the House by a vote of 139–55. The bill amends the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions; and, in responsibilities of the State, providing for a state center closure moratorium. The amendment sponsored by state Representative Lee James passed Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The measure eradicates previous wording on the bill that placed a moratorium on the closure of state centers until all Medicaid waiver-eligible individuals on the waiting list (of over 13,000) received funding for home or community-based care. The moratorium would now have a five-year limit.

The bill calls for the creation of a task force on the closure of state centers. The task force would convene within 60 days and be comprised of the Secretary of Department of Human Services, one representative from each state center, one representative from the Governor’s office, the chair and minority chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and House Human Services Committee, two family members of residents of state centers, and one representative of a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate for those with intellectual disabilities. The bill now goes back to the Senate as the bill was amended on the floor yesterday.

Businessman pressing touch screen interface training checkbox

Mark your calendars! RCPA and MITC will be providing four quarterly training sessions at the new RCPA offices on:

Trainings are scheduled from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Lunch will be provided free of charge by MITC.

The trainings will focus on three groups: C-level (morning), and Administrators (Payroll, HR, Billing) and Managers (afternoon).

  • 10:00 am – 12:00 pm: EVV compliance, EVV procedures for using an Alternate Vendor and transmitting data to Sandata, PROMISe, and payroll
  • 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Lunch provided by MITC
  • 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm:  Training sessions on Documentation, Scheduling, and Check Awake
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm:    Q&A

Registration is free for up to 4 staff per provider. Registration for additional staff and for non-RCPA members is $50.00. Use the links above to register; we look forward to your participation. Contact Allison Brognia at RCPA or McKenzie O’Connor at MITC with questions.

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Due to the increase in joint replacement surgeries and the prediction for these surgeries to become more prevalent by 2025, along with the implementation of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative, a request has been made by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for feedback on Pre-rehabilitation and Rehabilitation for joint replacement surgery. AHRQ is specifically seeking this information because decision makers are unclear about which pre-rehabilitation (e.g., resistance and proprioceptive training) and rehabilitation interventions (e.g., rehabilitation hospitalization, home physical therapy, or outpatient physical therapy) provide the most optimal patient outcomes with the most efficient use of resources. There is also discussion over the settings where these interventions provide the most value. Because of this uncertainty, a new systemic review on the effects of pre-rehabilitation and rehabilitation for major joint replacement surgery may be warranted.

RCPA encourages members to provide feedback to the key questions. The deadline to provide feedback is Friday, January 17, 2020.

A bright, gold "Q&A" stands out in a dark background filled with "WHY?", "WHO?", "WHAT?", "WHEN?", "WHERE?", and "HOW?"

As part of the ongoing Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) Implementation, OMHSAS has released an updated FAQ. This guide represents a composite of updated inquiries regarding the standards and will be updated as a companion piece to the implementation. New questions appear as follows: Question #14 on page 26 and Question #7 on page 29.

We also stress the importance that our members continue to work with your BH-MCOs on the rate development process, by submitting the requested line by line budget cost analysis for the actual cost of programming IBHS based upon the regulations. RCPA will keep working with the OMHSAS Children’s Bureau and BH-MCO task force in the rate development process as well.

The RCPA Children’s IBHS Work Group continues its work on standards and implementation values for our members and will convey its findings to the Children’s Division via Alerts, Infos, and regularly scheduled divisional meetings. Contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp with questions.