Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

On June 19, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1641, codifying the Employment First Policy that the governor established by executive order in March 2016 to increase competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“My executive order two years ago focused Pennsylvania on being a model state that is hospitable to workers with disabilities and I’m proud to sign this bill adding the weight of law,” said Governor Wolf. “This is a win-win for Pennsylvania. Our employers need smart and skilled workers and increasing employment opportunities ensures people with disabilities can achieve greater independence and inclusion in our communities.”

House Bill 1641, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Cutler, creates the Employment First Act requiring state, county, and other entities receiving public funding to first consider competitive integrated employment as the preferred outcome of publicly funded education, training, employment, and related services, and long-term services and support for individuals with a disability who are eligible to work under state law.

The statute also creates the Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities and the Employment First Oversight Commission. The Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities will review existing regulations and policies to recommend changes to laws, regulations, policies, and procedures that ensure implementation of Employment First. The Employment First Oversight Commission will establish measurable goals and objectives to guide agencies and report annual progress.

Following the governor’s Executive Order 2016-03, entitled Establishing ‘Employment First’ Policy and Increasing Competitive-Integrated Employment for Pennsylvanians with a Disability, the Departments of Labor and Industry, Human Services, and Education have been working to obtain stakeholder and business input to meet the administration’s goals. The agencies, which helped to develop HB 1641, released recommendations in September 2016.

The recommendations include:

  • Review, identify, and change policy to align with Executive Order 2016-03.
  • Raise the expectations of employment goals for children with a disability at an early age. Work with parents and publicly funded programs to shift expectations towards this goal.
  • Prepare young people with a disability to become working adults with a disability.
  • Transition students from secondary education to adult life. Assist adults with a disability in getting and keeping a job.
  • Improve access to reliable transportation to get to and from work, on time, every time.
  • Lead by example – improve state contracts and reduce barriers to commonwealth employment.
  • Expand private-public partnerships.
  • Increase public awareness.
  • Collect and coordinate data.
  • Implement, monitor, and provide accountability.

In support of the Employment First initiative, 20 Pennsylvania college students with disabilities are participating in a 12-week paid internship with the Wolf Administration this summer. The interns are working in positions at state agencies related to their academic backgrounds and gaining experience in their field of study and building connections with potential employers.

ODP has announced the wage and benefit range tables for specific participant-directed services (PDS) provided to participants utilizing the Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent (VF/EA) Financial Management Services (FMS) effective July 1, 2018. The wage ranges and benefit allowances are unchanged form Fiscal Year 2017–2018.

These wage and benefit ranges will be used to pay Support Service Professionals (SSPs) and to support claims processing in the Provider Reimbursement and Operations Management Information System in electronic format (PROMISe) by the VF/EA FMS organization.

There are ODP-established wage ranges and optional benefit allowance ranges for six participant directed services for participants who are using the VF/EA FMS model. These services are:

  1. Supports Broker;
  2. Companion Services;
  3. Supported Employment;
  4. In-Home and Community Supports;
  5. In-Home Respite and Unlicensed Out-of-home Respite; and
  6. Homemaker/Chore services.

A modifier and adjusted rates are available for Enhanced Communication Services for individuals who are eligible for the service, are in need of enhanced communication supports, and the SSP has been determined by ODP to be qualified to provide the service.

ODP has announced the wage range tables for specific participant directed services provided to participants utilizing the Agency with Choice (AWC) Financial Management Services (FMS) model effective July 1, 2018. The wage ranges and benefit allowances are unchanged from Fiscal Year 2017-2018.

These wage and benefit ranges will be used to pay Support Service Professionals (SSPs) and to support claims processing in the Provider Reimbursement and Operations Management Information System in electronic format (PROMISe) by the AWC FMS organization.

There are ODP-established wage ranges and an hourly benefit allowance for six participant directed services for participants who are using the AWC FMS model. These services are:

  1. Supports Broker;
  2. Companion Services;
  3. Supported Employment;
  4. In-Home and Community Supports;
  5. In-Home Respite and Unlicensed Out-of-home Respite; and
  6. Homemaker/Chore services.

A modifier and adjusted rates are available for Enhanced Communication Services for individuals who are eligible for the service, are in need of enhanced communication supports, and the SSP has been determined qualified to provide the service by ODP.

The AWC FMS Department established fees are identified in a public notice published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and are available online.

In preparation for the launch of Community HealthChoices (CHC) in the Southeast region, this CHC Fact Sheet explains the delivery of service coordination through the program. Under CHC, service coordination is a function of the managed care organizations (MCOs). A service coordinator is the MCO’s designated, accountable point-of-contact for each participant receiving long-term care services, their person-centered service plan, and service coordination. Therefore, the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) sees the service coordinators as part of the MCO under CHC.

In addition to the fact sheets, there are now short, easily digestible overview trainings on CHC that can be found here in order to increase stakeholder knowledge in anticipation of the Southeast rollout of the program.

To assist stakeholders in finding answers to questions more quickly, all FAQs have been consolidated into a single CHC Questions and Answers Document. The new document is in searchable PDF format and contains a table of contents that allows the user to easily move to different sections within the document.

The CHC Questions and Answers Document can be found on both the Participant and Provider sections of the CHC website by clicking on “View CHC Publications” or by following this link.

CONTACT: If you have any questions, please visit the CHC website or submit comments via email.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has announced upcoming course offerings for both the Initial Certified Investigator and the Certified Investigator (CI) Peer Review Courses. Registration is open on myODP.org. The courses posted cover July 2018 to December 2018.

The Initial Certification Couse is a four-day, face-to-face course that was created to ensure all incidents that require an investigation receive a systematic investigation that meets established standards. In order to perform investigations, the investigator must successfully complete all requirements under the ODP CI Training.

The Initial Certification Course consists of three parts:

  1. a) Three online prerequisite modules
  2. b) Four days of face-to-face training
  3. c) Online exam

Once all activities are completed within the current standards, the participant will be certified for three years.

The Peer Review Course was created to support the Peer Review Process. The Peer Review Process is an ongoing evaluation process that is designed to provide information about the overall quality of incident investigations to an organization. The primary objective of the Peer Review Process is to ensure a continued quality improvement of investigatory practices. To support ODP stakeholders in the implementation of the Peer Review practices, ODP, along with Temple University, has created a Peer Review Course. The course is a 3½ hour, face-to-face training.

To register for the Certified Investigator Peer Review course, users can:

  1. a) Navigate to myODP.org
  2. b) Use the following path: Training > Certified Investigator Program > Peer Review Training and Resources > Register for a scheduled Summer/Fall 2018 CI Peer Review training session

OR

  1. c) Click on the Certified Investigator Peer Review Course Information page link

To register for the Certified Investigator Initial Course:

  1. a) Navigate to myODP.org
  2. b) Use the following path: Training > Certified Investigator Program> Initial Certification Instructions > Register for a scheduled CI training Session

OR

  1. c) Click on the Certified Investigator Initial Certification Course Information page link

For assistance with registration, contact the myODP website Helpdesk by clicking on Website Technical Support.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) distributed Communication 056-18  to instruct AEs, SCOs, and Providers to review and submit updates to their primary and secondary contact information for the Quality Assessment and Improvement (QA&I) Process.

The ODP QA&I Process is designed to conduct a comprehensive quality management review of county programs, AEs, SCOs, and providers delivering services and supports to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. This QA&I Process is one of the tools that ODP uses to evaluate our current system and identify ways to improve services for all individuals.

The identified contact person(s) is the individual(s) whom the entity has designated to receive specific information related to the QA&I Process. Information shall include any unique electronic links, access to QA&I process specific information, ongoing direction and communication from ODP or the AE regarding the QA&I Process, etc. Please note that the primary identified contacts will be the individual persons receiving the electronic link for completion of the self-assessments. For the AEs conducting provider QA&I onsite reviews, the primary contact will receive the unique links necessary to access the tool for completion of onsite review activities.

Please review the document posted on MyODP and submit any changes by using this link.

ODP QA&I Contact Information Form Changes can be submitted throughout the QA&I year. ODP will post an updated version of the QA&I Contact List spreadsheet at least every 2 weeks.

As a reminder, it is the responsibility of the entity to ensure that this information remains up to date.

INQUIRIES: Please direct any questions, issues, or concerns regarding this communication to your QA&I Regional Coordinator and CC the QA&I Process mailbox.

QA&I Regional Coordinators:      
Central Region Northeast Region Southeast Region Western Region
Robyn Seville Rachel Toman Roger Crisanty Renee Bruno

The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings Provider Self-Assessment period closed June 12, 2018. As of close of business on that date, ODP received more than 6,150 Residential Self-Assessments (Residential Habilitation, Life Sharing and Family Living) and over 550 Non-Residential Self-Assessments (Community Participation Supports and Day Habilitation).

In March 2018, ODP conducted a data extraction to track service locations for the HCBS Provider Self-Assessments. ODP received a significant number of Self-Assessments for service locations opened after ODP developed that list of service locations. During the Self-Assessment period, ODP also received a significant number of notices from providers that service locations were no longer active.

The next steps in the Self-Assessment process are:

  • Over the next two weeks, ODP will be reviewing all corrected service location data submitted by providers to validate active service locations for which no HCBS Provider Self-Assessment was completed.
  • No later than Saturday, June 30, 2018, ODP will communicate directly with providers regarding any active service location for which ODP does not have an HCBS Provider Self-Assessment on file. After ODP has completed this process, service locations for which ODP has not received a completed self-assessment will be deemed non-compliant and will have an on-site inspection scheduled.
  • ODP is reviewing and analyzing the submitted HCBS Provider Self-Assessments. By September 30, 2018, ODP will provide feedback to providers that identify any areas for any service locations that will require a transition plan. ODP will also notify appropriate Administrative Entities of these findings.

For questions related to this communication, please contact PAODPHCBS@pcgus.com or RA-odpcomment@pa.gov.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) is hosting a two-day conference on Wednesday, July 18 & Thursday, July 19, that will provide participants with an opportunity to network and learn about the latest developments in the sexual assault movement. The conference will showcase how different parts of the field are tackling sexual violence. There will be a Prevention track; a track hosted by the PA Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers. Other topics include self-care and human trafficking.

Please follow this link for details about registration and contact information for PCAR.

ODP has announced the creation and posting of the Administrative Review Process Manual as a tool for Administrative Review Committees, upcoming Q&A sessions, and that a revised version of the Certified Investigation Report (CIR) is now available.

The purpose of the Administrative Review Committee is to ensure that the management of an organization “is responsible for validating the investigation, determining the final conclusions, outcomes, and recommendations for corrective action.” Therefore, all organizations that complete investigations (i.e. Providers, Supports Coordination Organizations [SCOs], etc.) under the ODP Certified Investigator Program, are responsible for having an Administrative Review Committee.

The Administrative Review Committee is an essential part of the final stage of the investigatory process (Stage 4 – Conclusion of the Investigation). Results of the Administrative Review Committee are documented in Section V of the Certified Investigator Report (CIR) titled Administrative Review, Findings, Recommendations, and Implementation.

The items listed below were created to support ODP entities in the completion of the Administrative Review Process.

Administrative Review Manual Revisions:
ODP has revised the Administrative Review Process manual to ensure Administrative Review Committees have clear and consistent direction regarding: who should be a part of the Administrative Review Committee, what functions should be completed by the committee, and where to find the information needed to complete the Administrative Review Form.

Specifically, organizations are responsible for developing and implementing sound, competent investigatory and incident management practices to assure compliance with standards set forth by ODP. The manual will address the following processes associated with investigations:

  1. Assessing the investigation prior to conclusion for errors in managing evidence;
  2. Evaluating the quality of the investigation for speed, objectivity, and thoroughness;
  3. Applying rules used to reconcile conflicting evidence to determine the preponderance of evidence in investigations;
  4. Understanding and applying the terms Confirmed, Inconclusive, and Not Confirmed when concluding a certified investigation;
  5. Determining the necessary corrective actions (preventative and additional) as a result of the conclusions drawn from the certified investigation; and
  6. Guidance for point persons about appropriate placement of information into the Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) system related to the investigation.*

The Admin Review Manual can be found on the MyODP.org website.

All ODP entities should replace older versions of the Administrative Review Manual with the new version. This will ensure that all entities are using consistent practices when completing the Administrative Review Process.

Administrative Review Q&A Sessions:
To provide guidance to ODP Stakeholders regarding completion of the Administrative Review process, and to answer questions that stakeholders may have regarding the new manual, ODP has partnered with Temple University to host Question and Answer (Q&A) Sessions. Attendees have the opportunity to submit questions before the session and also ask questions during the sessions. These Q&A sessions are now posted on MyODP.

Updates to the Certified Investigator Report:
As a result of the development of the Administrative Review Process Manual, there have been slight modifications made to the Certified Investigator Report (CIR) Section V. In Section V, Question #4 was modified, while Question #6b has been added. These changes were made to clarify what the Administrative Review Committee should look for while reviewing the Certified Investigators Report. All versions of the CIR have been changed (i.e. CIR in the Certified Investigator Manual, CIR posted on the myODP website, and the CIR sections reflected in the Administrative Review Manual). The new form can be found via this link.

Questions:
If you have any questions regarding the Administrative Review Process, Q&A sessions, or other information in this manual, please contact Sarah Naughton or Amy Hines.

OPD Communication Number 052-18 announced that ODP will be initiating the approved FY 17/18 Needs Exception Allowance rates for the period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 and a provider/individual specific letter will not be issued. This is pertinent to residential providers with existing FY 17/18 Needs Exception Allowance rates, supports coordinators (SC), and administrative entity (AE) staff. It will not be necessary for providers to re-submit a request for the Needs Exception Allowance. Please direct all questions to the Rate Setting Mailbox.