Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Recently Senate Bill 1604, Transition to Independence, was introduced in Washington by Senator Grassley (R-IA), and co-sponsored by Senator Casey (D-PA). While it immediately raised red flags for vocational providers, after a careful read and review with ACCSES (one of our national partner associations), we do believe this legislation can be helpful – provided some modifications are made. The RCPA summary and response to the bill, which we were able to present recently to Senator Casey’s lead staff in DC, is available online. Review the actual bill here.

The National Council released the information described below on July 9. RCPA will be accepting comments to provide to the National Council until August 3.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed extending its overtime pay exemption rules to include employees making up to $50,440 next year, a change that could affect up to 5 million workers. Under the new proposal, the salary threshold for overtime pay would rise to $970 per week ($50,440 per year) in 2016. The current level of $455 per week ($23,660) was established in 2004, and it is below the poverty line for a family of four.

Unlike the current exemption threshold, the newly proposed threshold is linked not to a specific salary amount, but to the 40th percentile of wage earners. Thus, the new salary threshold will automatically update over time. The proposed regulation affects white collar workers (executive, administrative, and professional). More information is available in this fact sheet.

The DOL has posted the proposal online, giving people the opportunity to submit written comments on or before September 4. The White House has stated that the DOL will release a final rule next year after reviewing and considering these comments.

ODP Update
The Office of Developmental Programs has released the following information:

  • Announcement #055-15: Summary of Changes to the Initial and Annual Qualification for Supports Coordination Organizations. These changes include: SCO must provide educational/experience documentation for new SCs hired and must provide valid driver’s licenses for all SCs and SC Supervisors if operation of a vehicle is necessary to provide SC services.

 

Upcoming Conferences

 

Summer Safety Tips
The Arc of New Jersey and The Arc’s HealthMeet program have developed several tip sheets to help persons with I/DD understand summer safety. These include Sun Safety, Heat Sickness, and Water Safety for the Pool and Beach.

ODP Updates

The Office of Developmental Programs has issued the following information:

  • Announcement #051-15: Waiver Direct Service Provider Audit Requirements for Fiscal Year 2014/2015 Reporting Period; Questions may be directed to ODP Regional Fiscal Officer Agnes Rudolf.
  • Informational Packet #052-15: Rate Retention Factor Process Resulting from Provider Settlement Agreement; Procedures apply only to providers who signed and submitted the Provider Settlement Agreement Addendum.
  • Announcement #053-15: AE Oversight Monitoring Webcast Now Available in AE Information Center.
  • Announcement #054-15: Delay Implementation of Fourth Waiver Amendments for ODP Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers Effective July 1, 2015; ODP has not received federal CMS approval for the fourth set of waiver amendments. These amendments were shared in Announcement #039-15.
  • PA Bulletin on June 27 includes the notification of the Proposed Fee Schedule Rates for Fiscal Year 2015/16 for the Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers, Target Service Management and Community ID Base-Funded Programs.
  • PA Bulletin on June 27 includes the notification of the Proposed Rate Setting Methodology for the ODP Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and Base-Funded Services for the 2015/16 Fiscal Year.

ODP Updates
The Office of Developmental Programs has issued the following information:

DHS Managed Care Proposal
The PA Department of Human Services is developing a proposal for a managed long-term services and supports system, to be implemented in three phases, beginning in January 2017. The home and community-based services to be included in this proposal are those under the Office of Long Term Living. ODP waivers would not be included at this time. Information is available in the PA Bulletin and a “Discussion Document” for public comments to be submitted to DHS by July 15.

Employer Tax Incentives
The National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center has released a fact sheet, Employer Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities: Federal Tax Incentives At-a-Glance. Information is provided on:

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Disabled Access Credit for Modifications and Accommodations
  • Architectural and Transportation Barrier Removal Deduction

Meetings and Webinars

  • July 2, 2:30 pm: Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas: Question and Answer Session
  • July 13-14, Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, Washington, DC; meeting is open to the public with a public comment period on July 13 from 2:15-3:00 pm and written comments may also be submitted by July 2.

Last week, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), together with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), introduced S. 1604, Transition to Independence Medicaid Buy-In Option, bipartisan legislation which would, as stated in Senator Grassley’s press release, “create a demonstration project to encourage states to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities to obtain employment in the community, gaining self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion.”  Ten states, over a period of five years, would receive bonus payments for meeting benchmarks which are outlined in the bill’s technical summary. We will continue to monitor and set up applicable meetings. Contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs with questions.