Children's Services

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.

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.

We are pleased to offer our members a half-day DSP Magnet™ Workshop focusing on recruitment strategies and retention for Direct Support Professional positions. Craig and Scott de Fasselle are the father/son team who presented two webinars for RCPA members on these subjects. Many of our members who participated in the webinars found them to be helpful and thought-provoking. Now is the opportunity to meet them in person and dive into the topics that are so important to attracting and keeping the staff so critical to our work.

The workshop will be offered twice in order to extend the opportunity to more of our members. Attendees will get a mix of group exercises, individual exercises, and presentations all geared to attracting applicants, improved on-boarding and training experience, and building positive agency culture in order to maintain your best employees.

Date:   Thursday, April 16, 2020
Time:  Session 1, 9:00 am – 12:15 pm  ♦   Session 2, 1:00 pm – 4:15 pm
Place: 777 East Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA, 17111
Cost:   $89 for RCPA members

Space is limited, so please register today in order to reserve your place. Registration is limited to RCPA members only until February 1, 2020. If space permits at that time, registration will be open to non-members for $119.

Please see the event flyer for more information. See video previews below of what attendees get out of our recruiting and retention workshops:

Contact Carol Ferenz with any questions.

You are cordially invited to Representative Joseph Hohenstein’s all-day summit in Philadelphia on Thursday, January 16. The summit will highlight the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Democrat Caucus will also be holding two separate policy hearings during January to recognize this occasion.

Register for Rep. Hohenstein’s Philadelphia event here, which will be hosted at Community Behavioral Health. There are a number of confirmed speakers ranging from service providers, the Philadelphia Eagles (discussing the Quiet Room at Lincoln Financial Field), Comcast (discussing technological advances to help people with intellectual disabilities access the internet and communicate), Senator Casey’s and Gov. Wolf’s offices (to discuss federal and state legislative initiatives), as well as others.

If you have any questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

This afternoon’s ABA meeting PowerPoint has been posted to the website. The information is a summary of existing information and will be focused on helping providers new to MA, or only participating in commercial insurance, acclimate to licensing and the IBHS regulations. The WebEx is currently over the registration cap and many traditional BHRS providers registered for multiple slots. If you have been participating in previous IBHS Training and WebEx sessions, this material will be redundant. Please share with any providers you feel may benefit from the information. Thank you!

There will be an additional IBHS ALERT that goes out today with updated information on the implementation. Contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp with questions.

On Thursday, January 9 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, OMHSAS will be offering an in-person training regarding IBHS implementation in the CRR Host Homes. Information is below and we apologize for the short notice.

  • January 9, 2020; 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
    Statewide Community Residential Rehabilitation: Host Home Providers Forum
    Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania (BHARP), Auditorium – First Floor
    301 Science Park Road, State College, PA 16803

The forum is in-person only and will discuss CRR-HH providers implementation of the medical assistance treatment component through the IBHS license.

On Friday, January 10, OMHSAS will be conducting an IBHS WebEx for ABA providers regarding the implementation standards for IBHS specific to ABA services. The information is below and we apologize for the short notice.

  • January 10, 2020; 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
    ABA Provider Webinar
    Please register for the webinar here. Participation is limited. Please consolidate viewing locations whenever possible to help ensure all interested parties are able to participate.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you believe that you have questions that will be helpful in developing upcoming trainings and FAQs, please submit them via email.

There will be additional IBHS Alerts coming out later today. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

As a follow up to December’s meeting of RCPA and the BH-MCO Task Force, and the development of the IBHS rates, we continue to strongly recommend providers consider the activities listed below.

We also request, in addition to providing this to your BH MCOs, that you provide RCPA with a copy of the information so we can develop a concise picture of the actual cost of care by our provider network. All agency information will be held securely and will remain confidential.

  • Agencies should do a line-by-line review of the IBHS Regulations to determine current and future costs to implement a specific regulation.
  • Areas such as training, supervision, staff credentialing, infrastructure redesign, hiring, quality improvement requirements, and individual staff training plan development/tracking should be considered, but be sure to consider all regulations impacting the delivery of service platform.
  • The cost calculations should be shared with your BH-MCO so they have a full understanding of the actual cost of care that your agency will require to deliver the IBHS service(s).

This rate development process will require a partnership with the providers to capture the actual cost of care and implementation. RCPA and the Children’s IBHS Work Group continue to work on the implementation values for IBHS. If you have questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Pennsylvania Launches ‘Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters’

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced a focused multi-agency effort and anti-stigma campaign, ‘Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters,’ aimed at expanding resources and the state’s comprehensive support of mental health and related health care priorities in Pennsylvania. The governor announced several initiatives and reviews the administration will undertake for commonwealth agencies to bolster the effort. Further, over the coming weeks, agencies will announce additional initiatives. The governor was joined by mental health advocates, social workers, educators, military veterans, and cabinet secretaries in making the announcement… [read full release here].

RCPA President & CEO Richard S. Edley, PhD, stated “RCPA recognizes and supports the efforts of Governor Wolf and his administration in reducing stigma, enforcing parity, and improving access to services for those in need of mental health assistance. We will continue to work with the administration on these efforts and look forward to partnering on critical initiatives.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Department of Education recently conducted a webinar on PA’s Parent Pathways Initiative. Please see this link for the recording of the webinar. The slide presentations and other information are also available below:

Visit the Parent Pathways Padlet site for more information.

If you have additional questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp or DHS Special Advisor Caitlin Palmer.