Policy Areas

In today’s competitive health care environment marked by political and economic uncertainty, we need to speak with a united voice to strengthen the public behavioral health system and provide the best possible care to our clients, families, and communities. For this reason, we are excited to inform you that we have recently approved full membership with the National Council for Behavioral Health, which will benefit all members of RCPA.

The National Council supports you and your staff with business development and educational opportunities, insight into national trends related to mental health and addiction services, discounts on webinars and national conferences, and you will become part of a united movement of advocacy on behalf of behavioral health.

National Council offers extensive resources and national expertise in the behavioral health field. Key benefits of membership include:

  • Discounts on registration for the National Council’s Annual Conference and other events;
  • Participation in practice improvement initiatives;
  • Discounts on Mental Health First Aid instructor training;
  • Access to 50+ webinars with tools and resources on a variety of topics;
  • Discounts on Mental Health Weekly, The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly;
  • Exclusive access to the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research;
  • Exclusive access to the Member Listserv and listserv archives on a variety of topics; and
  • Featured on the “Find a Provider” section of the National Council Website.

Together, we will attain our mutual goal: to ensure all Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery.

Contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Mental Health Division Director, with questions.

This webinar is intended for anyone that utilizes the College of Direct Support (CDS) to train staff including service providers, residential programs, persons who self-direct, family members, support brokers, self-advocates, Administrative Entities (AEs), Supports Coordination Organizations (SCOs), Independent Monitoring for Quality (IM4Q) programs, etc.

DirectCourse Learning Management System Overview
Thursday, December 20, 2018, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Host: Alphonzo Cosby

During this session, the trainer will provide an overview of the administrative components in the DirectCourse learning management system, including using announcements, managing learners, making assignments, using discussions, creating knowledge manager checklists, uploading custom lessons and policies, tracking certifications/licensure requirements, and basic reporting features. This session is intended solely for individuals who have administrator access supporting DirectCourse.

To register as an attendee, Click “Join Now.”

To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the event, or call the number below and enter the access code.

Call-in toll-free number: 1-855-733-3266 (US)
Call-in number: 1-937-610-2663 (US)
Attendee access code: 858 628 7500
Event number: 746 402 926
This event does not require a password

For more information about CDS and the webinar:
Call 866-865-6170 • emailvisit online

The College of Direct Support in Pennsylvania is now administered by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. It is funded through Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs, Department of Human Services.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released Change Request (CR) 11055, “Annual Update to the Per-Beneficiary Therapy Amounts.” This CR provides information on the annual per-beneficiary incurred expense amounts, now known as the KX modifier thresholds, and related policy updates for calendar year (CY) 2019. These amounts were previously associated with the financial limitation amounts (therapy caps) before the application of the therapy caps was repealed when the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 was signed into law.

For CY 2019, the KX modifier threshold amount for physical therapy (PT) and speech-language pathology (SLP) services combined is $2,040. For occupational therapy (OT) services, the CY 2019 threshold amount is $2,040.

Contact Melissa Dehoff, RCPA Rehabilitation Services Director, with questions.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is pleased to announce that Jeremy Yale will be the new Director for the Bureau of Policy and Quality Management. Jeremy brings tremendous experience to the position and begins his new role on January 14, 2019.

As the Administrator of the Lackawanna-Susquehanna Behavioral Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention Program, Jeremy assured the delivery of quality, evidence-based services to children, adults, and families provided by numerous community-based agencies within Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties across four (4) program areas including: Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities, Early Intervention, and Drug and Alcohol Services. Jeremy became the Assistant Administrator for the County Office in September 2007 and assumed the role of Administrator in January 2014. Prior to his role in county administration, he worked for Keystone Community Resources for five years in several capacities, including the agency’s Director of Clinical Services and a Staff Development Coordinator. Under Jeremy’s leadership, Lackawanna-Susquehanna has been a vanguard in infusing LifeCourse into practice.

Jeremy earned a Master of Science in Social Work from Marywood University in 2005 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Lock Haven University. He continues his affiliation with Marywood’s School of Social Work as an adjunct instructor, with a focus on instruction in administration and research.

He currently serves as a Board Member of the Pennsylvania Association of County Administrators for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (PACA MH/DS), where he also co-chairs a statewide committee for Support Coordination Services. Jeremy is the Treasurer of the Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium (NBHCC) Board, which manages the HealthChoices Program for a four-county region.

Jeremy lives in Clarks Summit with his wife, Renee, and their two daughters, Eleanor and Carys.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Communication 106-18 announces that the final public notice for fee schedule rates and Department-established fees for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 have been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin Volume 48, Number 50 on Saturday, December 15, 2018. The title of the notice is Fee Schedule Rates and Department-Established Fees for Consolidated, Community Living and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers Services, Targeted Support Management and the Community Intellectual Disability Base-Funded Program. You may obtain the public notice by following this link.

The Fee Schedule Rates effective July 1, 2018, were developed in accordance with 55 Pa. Code Chapter 51 using a market-based approach. The Fee Schedule Rates represent the maximum rates that the Department will pay for each service.

There have been no changes to the Fee Schedule Rates since they were published as final in the Pennsylvania Bulletin Volume 48, Number 4 on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The current Fee Schedule Rates can be accessed on the Department of Human Services website.

There have been no changes to the Department-established fees that have been in effect July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, since the fees were published as final in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, 48 Pa.B. 688 (January 27, 2018). The Department-established fees effective July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 can be viewed as historical rates on the Department of Human Services website.

The Department has examined current federal housing data across the Commonwealth and determined that a differential of approximately 10% exists between the costs in the counties of Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Pike, and those in the rest of the Commonwealth. Unlike wage costs, which are typically standardized across multiple counties through use of a single wage scale across counties, housing costs tend to be specific to a particular county and are therefore difficult to standardize. For these reasons, the Department has decided that the differential in housing costs warrants an increase to the Department-established fees, comparable to the cost differential, for residential habilitation ineligible services provided in the aforementioned counties, effective January 1, 2019.

The changes in rates will be automatically reflected in each impacted individual’s ISP. Providers of residential habilitation services and supports coordinators are not required to do anything to implement this change.

The Department-established fees for residential habilitation ineligible services can be accessed in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the Department of Human Services website.

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by January 14, 2019 regarding the final Fee Schedule Rates and Department-established fees to the Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs, Division of Provider Assistance and Rate Setting, 4th Floor, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Comments can also be sent to this email. Use subject header ”PN Fee Schedule.” The Department will consider comments received in reviewing future adjustments to the Fee Schedule Rates and the Department-established fees.

Please take two minutes today to ask your US Senators to complete the work begun by the House and vote to renew Money Follows the Person (MFP) program before this session ends!

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to renew the MFP program for three months. The Senate is NOW considering whether to pass it and send it to the President for his signature. Time is of the essence because Congress is slated to go on recess for the holidays in less than two weeks.

THE ASK: Email your Senators to ask them to vote YES on the IMPROVE Act (HR 7217) through an expedited process known as “the hotline.” Our email tool will allow you to send an email directly to their health staff in Washington, DC, who advise them on their decision-making.

THE DETAILS: Money Follows the Person is an important program that has helped over 85,000 people with disabilities and chronic conditions voluntarily move from state-run institutions into the community. It expired in 2016, and with state programs now running out of funds this is already having consequences for people with disabilities. In its annual survey of state Medicaid directors, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that half planned to discontinue program services or administrative activities if Congress did not renew the MFP program’s funding.

By renewing MFP for three months, the IMPROVE Act gives the program a needed bridge into the new Congress in 2019, where we can advocate for a longer renewal. Read ANCOR’s letter of support for the program here, and learn more about the expedited “hotline” voting process here (page 3, “The Operation of Unanimous Consent” section).

Speak up today so that people with I/DD who want to live in the community can live with their family, friends, and peers – just like everyone else!

Contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs, with questions.

The Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators Association (PCYA) is hosting a training on The Family First Prevention Act (FFPA) on January 30, 2019, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the CCAP Office, located at 2789 Old Post Road, Harrisburg, PA. The Office of Children, Youth and Families will provide an overview of Family First and update attendees on Pennsylvania’s implementation plans moving forward. Providers and county staff are encouraged to attend.

The Act and the federal funding associated with it will dramatically change PA’s child welfare system. New requirements and new opportunities for use of Title IV-E and Title IV-B dollars to enhance prevention efforts will be included in the presentation.

The registration link is provided in this flyer.

If you have questions about the training, please contact:

Brian C. Bornman, Esq.
PCYA Executive Director
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Phone: 717-836-4736 | Cell: 717-836-4267 | Fax: 717-526-1020
bbornman@pacounties.org | www.pcya.org

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training (ASERT) Collaborative are trying to learn more about training needs among providers who work with individuals living with autism, intellectual disabilities, other developmental disabilities, and their families. ODP is constantly building capacity by developing resources and trainings that are helpful to people who support individuals with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

By responding to this survey, you are helping ODP to create trainings and resources that will better meet your needs. Please have your voice heard! This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Please complete this survey by January 18, 2019. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact info@paautism.org.

To complete the ASD Seminar Survey, use this link.

ODP Announcement 105-18 addresses the requirement for Supports Coordinators (SCs) to review and complete the Right to Report Abuse Notification handout annually with all individuals and record the action in an SC Monitoring Tool in the Home and Community Services Information System (HCSIS). Documentation of this activity is not satisfied by strictly answering “Yes” to the question of: “Was the individual (and involved family or other unpaid caregivers, as appropriate) informed about abuse, neglect, and exploitation protections AND was information about how to report provided?” SCs must record detailed information outlining completion of all steps listed below. To meet ODP’s expectation for completing the Right to Report Abuse Notification handout, the following must occur:

  • In a location that affords the individual privacy, discuss the meaning of abuse, neglect, and exploitation
  • The discussion must take place in a format understood by the individual and using means of communication which the individual prefers
  • Advise the individual/surrogate that they have the right:
    – To be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation
    – To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation
  • Discuss with whom the individual may report (e.g. family members, friends, SCs, Disability Rights of Pennsylvania (DRPA), protective service organizations, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Complete the handout by filling in the blank space, indicating contact information and establish a place where the individual may readily access it
  • Advise the individual that they can report abuse, neglect, and exploitation to another person, if the first person they notified failed to take action
  • After the meeting, document the conversation and the contact information (names and phone numbers) in an SC Monitoring Tool in HCSIS. The record must clearly indicate that the conversation took place in a location that affords privacy.
  • As part of the monitoring process, SCs should revisit the discussion with the individual to ensure that they continue to feel safe, remember the handout, and have access to it.

If an individual discloses any allegation, the SC must be prepared to take all necessary actions to ensure that the individual’s immediate health and safety needs are being addressed per ODP policy and according to law.

Please direct questions regarding this announcement to the appropriate ODP Regional Office.

ODP has announced that the Medication Administration Training Program will be unavailable as a result of scheduled maintenance from Tuesday December 18, 2018 through Friday December 21, 2018.

The outage is scheduled to start at 2:00 pm on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 18, 2018. If you are able to access the course after 2:00 pm that afternoon, please note that the system may become unavailable at any time later in the day, without additional notice. That means that if you are working in the system after this date and time, the system could suddenly become unavailable and your work would be lost.

*Please do not access the system after the scheduled outage period begins.*

Please check the following places for updates on this outage:

If the outage ends sooner than 12/21/2018, notice will be provided at the above-mentioned sites. Please contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with any questions.