Brain Injury

From ACCSES:

The Federal Reserve made an announcement today that it would provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to boost the economy. One of the loans they are creating is the Main Street Lending Program, which the Fed says “will enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year.

Firms seeking Main Street loans must commit to make reasonable efforts to maintain payroll and retain workers. Borrowers must also follow compensation, stock repurchase, and dividend restrictions that apply to direct loan programs under the CARES Act. Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street loans.”

The Federal Reserve announcement went on to say, “The Federal Reserve and the Treasury recognize that businesses vary widely in their financing needs, particularly at this time, and, as the program is being finalized, will continue to seek input from lenders, borrowers, and other stakeholders to make sure the program supports the economy as effectively and efficiently as possible while also safeguarding taxpayer funds.” Comments may be sent to the feedback form until April 16. The feedback form is here.

RCPA will be holding its Annual Membership Meeting by webcast on Tuesday, May 12 at 10:00 am. This meeting is usually held in person, but due to the current situation, we are holding this meeting via webinar. The annual meeting will include the election of board members and an update from RCPA President Richard S. Edley, PhD on RCPA activities. Additional information and registration will follow in the next few days.

The next Community HealthChoices (CHC) Third Thursday webinar has been scheduled for April 16, 2020 at 1:30 pm. This webinar will focus on COVID-19 updates from the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) Deputy Secretary, Kevin Hancock.

In order to receive the call information, members must register prior to the start of the webinar.

Questions regarding the webinar should be directed to the OLTL Bureau of Policy Development and Communications Management at 717-857-3280.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) received direction from President Trump to temporarily suspend a number of rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can boost their frontline medical staff as they take on the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes will focus on reducing supervision and certification requirements in order for practitioners to be hired quickly and perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses. As a result of this action, doctors can now directly care for patients at rural hospitals, across state lines if necessary without being physically present; Nurse practitioners can now perform some medical exams on Medicare patients at skilled nursing facilities so that patient needs can be met; Occupational therapists from home health agencies can now perform initial assessments on certain homebound patients; and Hospice nurses will be relieved of hospice aide in-service training tasks so they can spend more time with patients.

For additional guidance, CMS has published a list of workforce flexibilities that CMS has permitted thus far.

Yesterday during the DHS weekly briefing, DHS Secretary Teresa Miller provided a progress update to where the Department is with fingerprinting.

DHS explained that many of the IdentGO locations are beginning to reopen and/or expand hours of operation; we encourage anyone needing fingerprints to call the closest locations to verify whether they are operating, as this may begin to change. See the Pennsylvania Statewide interactive MAP of IdentGO locations.

DHS is not able to broadly waive this requirement from the state level because it is contained in numerous federal laws like the Family First Prevention Services Act, the Adam Walsh Act, and the Child Care Development Block Grant Act.

DHS has released guidance on waiving licensing requirements in Personal Care Homes and Assisted Living Residences – but understand that this guidance does not align with information just issued by the Department of Aging. DHS is working with the Department of Aging to address the discrepancies and will provide clarification.

For those who first obtained clearances in 2015 following changes to the Child Protective Services Law who will need to renew these clearances this year, DHS is open to temporarily delaying the five-year requirement, but this would need to happen through legislative action. DHS and the Governor’s Office are working with the legislature to try to accomplish this; however, this cannot be the only option. DHS is also pursuing potentially opening additional, temporary fingerprinting sites that can help us meet this need.

RCPA will continue to update members on any further developments. If you have questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

Secretary of Education Implements State-Level Waivers to Ensure Continuity and Flexibility
Governor shares video message to students, parents and educators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2020
View Online

Harrisburg, PA – Continuing his efforts to protect the health and safety of students and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The governor made the decision in consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. Students and families can continue to pick up meals at designated sites.

Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible. PDE has secured resources intended to help all schools that want to use them – including those not currently offering online platforms, those requiring additional technology support, and those that may rely on traditional methods, such as paper lessons, to continue educating students. There is no cost to schools or students for these resources.

“We must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus during this national crisis,” Governor Wolf said. “This was not an easy decision but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees and families.”

Secretary Rivera said the administration’s primary consideration has always been to make the best decision in the context of student and community health and safety.

“While the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation efforts have created uncertainty in our schools and communities, today’s action to close schools for the remainder of the academic year provides school communities with predictability and understanding of the conditions under which they’ll be operating and serving students,” Rivera said. “As schools and communities adapt to the prolonged school closure, PDE will continue to work with our state, educational, and business and nonprofit partners to meet the needs of students.”

Today’s decision applies to all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units. All Department of Education early learning program classrooms, including those for Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) and Preschool Early Intervention, will also remain closed.

Colleges and universities may not resume in-person instruction or reopen their physical locations until the governor permits them to open or lifts the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses.

Schools will remain closed though the end of the 2019-2020 academic year as it is defined by the local school calendar.

Under the state’s directive, schools could begin summer programming on the day after their academic year ends.

Secretary Rivera added that all re-openings will be contingent on public health guidance provided by the Secretary of Health and stay-at-home orders issued by the governor.

In addition to the school closure announcement, through his order Secretary Rivera also took action that will ensure crucial stability of education programs. Under Act 13 of 2020, the secretary has exercised his executive authority to adjust requirements for the evaluation of professional employees and waive student teaching requirements that may not be possible in the context of school closures.

“By taking these actions, the department is providing flexibility in the near term, while signaling that core functions of public education can and will continue,” he said.

The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available at education.pa.gov/COVID19.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Lyndsay Kensinger, Governor’s Office, RA-GVGOVPRESS@pa.gov
Eric Levis, PDE, 717-783-9802, or elevis@pa.gov

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