Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Please find a press release below from Senator Casey regarding HR 620:

For Immediate Release
February 14, 2018

Jacklin Rhoads
202-228-6367 (o)
202-384-8989 (m)

Casey Statement On House of Reps. Decision to Continue Consideration of Disability Civil Rights Gutting Legislation

Washington, D.C. – On the eve of a planned vote by the House of Representatives on HR 620, the mis-named ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, U.S. Senator Bob Casey released the following statement:

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 as the last of the major civil rights laws. The ADA changed the landscape of the country by ensuring that all parts of communities were accessible to Americans with disabilities. Prior to the passage of the ADA, people with disabilities were often denied access to grocery stores, movie theaters, ball parks, trains and buses. With the passage of the ADA, people with disabilities were assured the rights to access all businesses and services offered to the general public without discrimination.

Now, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a misguided, mean-spirited bill that will significantly limit the rights of people with disabilities by removing the teeth of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

HR 620 will make it more difficult for people with disabilities to gain entrance to local stores, attend a play, or use a web site. This bill removes the need for a business or any organization that offers its services to the public to make those services accessible until a complaint is filed. The bill makes it more difficult to file a complaint and would make a person with a disability wait up to 180 days or more to gain access to services. That’s a long time to wait for a meal in a restaurant, to fill a prescription or to get a haircut.

I urge my House colleagues to vote no on this bill and recognize that Congress should be protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities, not weakening and discarding those rights.

HR 620 would make the over 50 million Americans with disabilities second class citizens. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed nearly 28 years ago, assuring the rights of people with disabilities to be treated as equals under the law. I will continue to fight to protect those rights and oppose any legislation that threatens those rights.”


Emergency Briefing THIS AFTERNOON Regarding HR 620

Congress is on the verge of weakening the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Tomorrow morning, lawmakers are expected to vote on HR 620 – the ADA Education and Reform Act – which removes incentives for businesses to comply with the ADA. This weakens the ADA and people with disabilities’ civil rights because it puts the weight of enforcing the ADA on their shoulders.

Today is our opportunity to stop it. We need you, and like-minded constituents, to tell Congress to vote AGAINST this cruel and unfair bill. Join today at 3:00 pm (ET) to protect the ADA by dialing 1-866-439-4480, 59741638#.

Even if you can’t call in, please take these steps immediately:

  • WHAT: Call your Member of Congress and tell them this bill weakens the rights of people you support.
  • WHEN: Today. Don’t Wait.
  • HOW: Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 TTY and tell the operators your state and zip code. They will connect you to your representative.

“Hello, I am a constituent who cares deeply about people with disabilities. I am calling to ask the US Representative to oppose HR 620 – the ADA Education and Reform Act – because it removes incentives for businesses to comply with the ADA. This weakens the ADA and people with disabilities’ civil rights because it puts the weight of enforcing the ADA on their shoulders. Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.”

Join us today at 3:00 pm (ET) to hear the latest on this problematic legislation, including which legislators could make the difference.

This week the House of Representatives may consider HR 620, a House bill that will weaken Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act by removing any incentive for businesses, organizations, and anyone who provides services to the general public to make their services accessible.

HR 620 facts:

  • Removes any incentive for voluntary compliance;
  • Rewards non-compliance by allowing businesses generous additional timelines, even though the ADA’s very reasonable requirements are already over 25 years old! The ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of businesses into account;
  • Pretends that money damages requested from businesses are part of the ADA. Actually, this part of the ADA doesn’t even allow money damages, so changing the federal ADA will not affect any state law money damage provisions;
  • Ignores the extensive, free educational resources already available today to any business on how to comply with the ADA;
  • Ignores the effective & extensive methods already available to courts and state bar associations to deal with a very few frivolous lawsuits or unscrupulous attorneys. We should use those existing legal mechanisms when needed, rather than deny the civil rights established by the ADA that aid people with disabilities every day; and
  • Look behind the media myths: The vast majority of ADA attorneys and plaintiffs are seeking solutions to fix real denials of access. But the business community has pushed the media to portray “a few bad apples” as a landslide.

The House tentative schedule for the bill is as follows:

Tuesday –The House Rules Committee will meet today (February 13), likely in the later afternoon or evening, to determine the process for consideration of HR 620 on the House floor as well as amendments. Some amendments may try to “improve” the bill; this is not possible. The only way to “improve” a bill that eliminates civil rights is to remove all of its components. Improving a bill that will weaken or gut a set of civil rights really isn’t possible, so amendments are not a strategy. The Rules Committee will ultimately vote on how they will recommend consideration of HR 620 on the House floor, including the amount of time for debate and how or if amendments will be considered.
Wednesday — House leadership on both sides will be counting votes. The rules for considering HR 620 will be on the House floor. Leadership will likely speak to the rules that the Rules Committee has recommended. This will be a time for opposition to highlight the damage this bill will cause if passed.

Thursday — as of Monday morning, HR 620 was the only bill scheduled for a vote on Thursday; the vote will likely be an early afternoon vote. Reps. Hoyer, Scott, and Langevin will likely speak against the bill on the floor before the vote.

If the bill passes, then movement will shift to the Senate where there is not yet a companion bill introduced. We are speaking with many offices to determine what, if any, action will take place in the Senate, and will keep you informed as to that action.

Some additional talking points are as follows:

  • HR 620 removes the civil rights of all citizens with disabilities; it causes people with disabilities to wait for their right to access any service that all citizens have access to immediately. HR 620 asks people with disabilities to wait months — and in some cases years — to be able to enter a restaurant, hotel, store, theater, or to shop online. This would never be asked of any other group;
  • If businesses are concerned about bad actor lawyers, then stop the bad behavior of those lawyers — don’t eliminate the rights of over 50 million Americans because there are a handful of despicable attorneys;
  • If the civil rights of 50 million Americans can be eliminated, then the civil rights of other groups can be as well;
  • Vote “NO” on HR 620.

The bottom line is that HR 620 is being considered this week, has enormous support from over 100 Representatives, and will be voted on this week. Please contact your Congressman and ask them to vote NO. All members of the House of Representatives need to hear that there is great opposition to the bill and that it will permanently harm the civil rights of people with disabilities.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has announced that a change will be made in the Community Living Waiver regarding an 18 month limitation on vocational skill development in the Community Participation Support service definition. Currently, the Community Living Waiver service definition specifies that the vocational skill development activities could not be authorized for more than 18 months. After further consultation with stakeholders, ODP has determined that they will not implement this requirement. In the near future, ODP will be issuing a waiver amendment for public comment, and this change will be a part of the amendment. The announcement is available here.

The 2018/19 budget provides a $74 million increase for services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. The amount annualizes significant investments from FY 17/18 and continues building capacity to increase the number of individuals served. Within this total, the budget targets $16 million to enroll 965 individuals with an intellectual disability or autism in waivers to provide supports and services so they can remain in their homes and communities. This includes the following:

  • 100 individuals from the emergency waiting list into the Consolidated Waiver;
  • 800 individuals into the Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and the Community Living Waiver;
  • 40 individuals from the interest list into the Adult Community Autism Programs (ACAP); and
  • 25 individuals transitioning from state centers to community placements.

Approximately 800 individuals with an intellectual disability or autism are leaving the special education system every year. This investment will fully alleviate the functional deterioration that occurs with individuals who are home with no activity, helping families to avoid a service “cliff” at age 21. The Community Living Waiver and Consolidated Waiver will allow counties to meet the growing needs of existing participants and provide support for high school graduates. Significantly, this budget will provide funding for students not only graduating in June of 2018, but also in June of 2019 to alleviate this ongoing concern.

Since Governor Wolf took office in 2015, funding for services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism has experienced $350 million in growth. For questions, contact Jack Phillips at or Carol Ferenz.

The 2018 RCPA conference will take place October 2–4 (please note new dates) at the Hershey Lodge. A premier statewide event, the Conference Committee is seeking workshop proposals for possible inclusion. This event offers diverse educational opportunities and submissions are needed in every area; a complete listing of focus tracks is available on the online proposal form. Presentations are encouraged that assist providers to develop and maintain quality, stable, and effective treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. The committee looks for presentations which:

  • Highlight new policy, research, and treatment initiatives such as the CCBHC model and Centers of Excellence, to name a few;
  • Provide specific skills and information related to individual and organizational leadership development and enhancement;
  • Address system changes that affect business practices such as Community HealthChoices and integrated and co-located care; and
  • Offer concrete skills and tools to operate more efficient and effective agencies, allowing organizations to strive, survive, and thrive.

Workshop ideas beginning to percolate for 2018 include pharmacogenomics; technology as a human resource option; executive leadership; integrated care strategies for implementation and reimbursement; XYZ rate setting; social capital; ethics; sexuality and sexual abuse issues in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) service area; trauma informed care across service types; emergency planning for community violence; acquisitions/mergers and consolidations; value-based purchasing; abuse and protection in the aging population; emerging leaders. The committee welcomes any proposal that addresses these and other topics essential to the rehabilitation, brain injury, mental health, addiction, aging, children’s, and developmental disability communities. Members are encouraged to consider submitting proposals and to forward this opportunity to those who are exceptionally good speakers and have state-of-the-art information to share.

The Call for Proposals and accompanying guidelines outline requirements for submissions. The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 16 at 5:00 pm. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Proposals selected stand out by inclusion of solid learning objectives, information that a participant can use to enhance professional skills or methods, and being geared to a diverse and advanced audience. If the proposal is accepted, individuals must be prepared to present on any day of the conference. Workshops are 90 or 180 minutes in length. At the time of acceptance, presenters will be required to confirm the ability to submit workshop handouts electronically four weeks prior to the conference. Anyone unable to meet this expectation should not submit proposals for consideration.

Individuals are welcome to submit multiple proposals. Notification of inclusion will be made by May 15. Questions may be directed to Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has reissued this alert due to the severity of the flu this year and the high number of flu cases being reported nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting this year’s flu season is now more intense than any since 2009. This reissued alert has been updated to include emergency warning signs that indicate that is it imperative to go to the emergency room to seek treatment.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) announced the issuance of the final public notice for proposed fee schedule rates and department-established fees, as well as the public notice for the proposed rate-setting methodology, which are available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Two notices were published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin Volume 48, Number 4 on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The first notice informs stakeholders of the final fee schedule rates and department-established fees for Fiscal Year 2017/2018. The title of the notice is Fee Schedule Rates and Department-Established Fees for Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers Services, Targeted Services Management and the Community Intellectual Disability Base-Funded Program.

The second notice informs stakeholders of the cost-based methodology for Fiscal Year 2017/2018. The title of the notice is Rate Setting Methodology for Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waiver-Funded and Base-Funded Service for Individuals Participating in the Office of Developmental Programs Service System.

As a result of public comments received in response to the notices regarding the proposed rate setting methodology and proposed fee scheduled rates released in the summer of 2017, the department made changes to Agency with Choice/Financial Management Services, rates for In-Home and Community Support and Respite (15 Minute and Day) services effective July 1, 2017.

The announcement provides links to the two notices in the Pennsylvania Bulletin as well as a summary of comments received and the department’s responses, and a link to the DHS website.