Policy Areas

Law Enforcement Trainings
ANCOR, Relias Learning, The Arc, and the National Council on Behavioral Health, have partnered to provide free online trainings to the public safety and law enforcement officers that are usually the first responders in a crisis situation involving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness. “Understanding and Serving Together” offers ten courses on topics such as Managing Challenging Behaviors, Introduction to Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, and De-escalating Hostile Clients.

HCSIS Release Timeline and Trainings
The Office of Developmental Programs has released the schedule for the HCSIS trainings and improvements from May to September. Registration may begin at any time using the Learning Management System (LMS).

These will include:

  • TCM/TSM HCSIS Impacts by the decommission of the Targeted Case Management/Targeted Services Management claim submission HCSIS batch process
  • HCSIS Improvements which are upgrades to the HCSIS screens and functions

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

  • Informational Packet #041-15: Preparations for Fiscal Year 2015/16 Intellectual Disability ISP Renewal Period
  • Announcement #042-15: ODP’s Quality Management Certification Program: Leadership Resources Available
  • Announcement #043-15: PA Department of Human Services Medication Administration Training Program: New Vendor, Transition Activities and Trainings Scheduled; Beginning June 1, ODP’s Medication Administration Program will be managed by Temple University Harrisburg. Classroom trainings will be held across the state during June.

Vocational Rehabilitation Agenda
The agenda for the Vocational Rehabilitation Subcommittee meeting on June 11 is available.

White House Liaison
President Obama has a new staff member, Maria Town, disability community liaison. Ms. Town’s role will be to address the needs of the nation’s disability community. Ms. Town was an adviser in the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. RCPA Policy Specialist Linda Drummond has contacted Ms. Town for possible re-implementation of the monthly White House disability conference calls; this provided opportunities for advocates and provider organizations from across the country to share information and issues from their respective states.

Police Training Law
Maryland has enacted the Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators Law. This effort within the Department of Disabilities will use persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to teach police officers about the needs of this population. Mr. Saylor was a 26-year-old individual with Down syndrome who died in 2013 at the hands of law enforcement after being restrained by three off-duty sheriff’s deputies when he refused to leave a movie theater.


Residential Providers Needed
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is seeking providers interested in serving individuals currently residing in state-operated ICF/IS who wish to transition to community living.

Interested providers may find information about individuals who wish to move to the community at the ODP Provider Information Center.  Providers should log in with the same username and password used to access any of the ODP Information Centers (such as the PIC, AEIC, SCOIC, or SCC). Because new information and updates are posted regularly, providers are encouraged to check the website frequently.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Webinar
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is hosting a webinar on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act on June 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • Call-in:
    • PIN: 970198
    • Bridge Number: 17176124733
    • Toll-free: 18557501027
  • Webinar: The link to join the conference can be accessed here. Run the file offered for download. To participate as a viewer through a web browser, use this link.

ODP Updates
ODP has issued the following information:

  • Bulletin #00-15-01: Individual Support Plans (ISP) establishes the requirements for the ISP. Attachments to the bulletin include the ISP Manual with information regarding the standardized processes for preparing, document, implementing, and monitoring the ISPs.
  • Announcement #039-15: Fourth Waiver Amendments Submitted to CMS for ODP Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waivers Effective July 1, 2015
  • Training Announcement #040-15: New Required Training for SCs and AEs: CMS Final Rule for HCBS Waivers: An Overview

Committee Meetings
The agendas for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Committee and Supports Coordination Organizations Subcommittee on June 11 are posted to the website.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to offer various resources and education efforts to assist providers in preparing for the ICD-10 implementation on October 1.

National Provider Call: June 18, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
During this national provider call, CMS subject matter experts will present strategies and resources to help you prepare. Agenda topics include:

  • National implementation update and preparation strategies;
  • ICD-10-PCS Section X for new technologies;
  • Testing update; and
  • Provider resources.

Providers are encouraged to register early as space may be limited.

New ICD-10 Videos: Impact on Inpatient Hospital Payment and Medicare Testing Plans
The following videos were recorded from presentations at the CMS ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee on March 18:

ICD-10 End-to-End Testing in July (Final Opportunity): Forms Accepted May 11 – May 22
During the week of July 20-24, a final sample group of providers will have the opportunity to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing with Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractor. CMS is accepting additional July volunteers from May 11 through 22; approximately 850 volunteer submitters will be selected. This nationwide sample will yield meaningful results, since CMS intends to select a broad cross-section of provider, claim, and submitter types, including claims clearinghouses that submit claims for large numbers of providers. Note: Testers who are participating in the January and April end-to-end testing weeks are able to test again in July without re-applying. 

To volunteer as a testing submitter:

  • Volunteer forms are available on your MAC website
  • Completed volunteer forms are due May 22
  • CMS will review applications and select additional July testers
  • The MACs and CEDI will notify the volunteers selected to test and provide them with the information needed for the testing by June 12

If selected, testers must be able to:

  • Submit future-dated claims
  • Provide valid National Provider Identifiers (NPIs), Provider Transaction Access Numbers (PTANs), and beneficiary Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) that will be used for test claims. This information will be needed by your MAC for set-up purposes by the deadline on your acceptance notice; testers will be dropped if information is not provided by the deadline.

Any issues identified during testing will be addressed prior to ICD-10 implementation. Educational materials will be developed for providers and submitters based on the testing results.

Participate in Final ICD-10 Acknowledgement Testing Week: June 1 through June 5

To assist providers in preparing for the transition to ICD-10, CMS offers acknowledgement testing for current direct submitters (providers and clearinghouses) to test with the MACs, and the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) MAC Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractor, anytime up to the October 1 implementation date. Acknowledgement testing provides submitters access to real-time help desk support and allows CMS to analyze testing data. The final acknowledgement testing week will be June 1-5. Information is available on the MAC website or through your clearinghouse.

Reminder: Chapter 6100 Draft for Comments
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Chapter 6100 Regulations Work Group has released draft regulations for initial comments due by May 22. RCPA is requesting that members share their comments by May 20 with Policy Specialist Linda Drummond, who will compile and share with ODP’s Work Group.

Chapter 6100 Meeting Notes
The ODP Chapter 6100 Regulations Work Group May 6 meeting notes are available. Regulatory Consultant Karen Kroh, who is coordinating these meetings, will be presenting an update to the RCPA IDD Committee on June 11.

RCPA June 11 Committees
The June 11 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Committee, Supports Coordination Organization Subcommittee, and Vocational Rehabilitation Subcommittee agendas are under development and will be posted shortly. Please note that the Vocational Rehabilitation Subcommittee’s meeting time has changed to 9:00-11:00 am and is available in-person at the RCPA office or by conference call (no webcast will be available for this meeting).

New Hampshire Bans Subminimum Wage
New Hampshire is the first state to ban subminimum wages for people with disabilities. Since 1930, federal law has allowed subminimum wages to be paid by employers. Several years ago, the National Council on Disability recommended that this law be phased out and new limits placed on who is eligible for employment at less than minimum wage. Two related articles:

ODP Updates
ODP has released the following information:

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In 2014, Governor Corbett signed House Bill 1816, related to “Sexual Misconduct/Abuse Disclosure” for individuals working in school settings. This law, Act 168 of 2014, was designed to prevent schools from allowing school staff or others working with students to resign their position and move from school to school after committing an act of sexual misconduct or abuse. Act 168 disclosure and background checks apply to school-based mental health and medical rehabilitation providers (occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, health aides, etc.), as well as preschool and early intervention providers that have direct contact with children. These requirements are in addition to the clearances and background checks required under the Department of Human Service’s Child Protective Services Law requirements.


School employees and contractors are required to provide contact information for the following:

  1. Current employer (regardless of whether the current employer is a school entity or where the applicant is employed in a position that involves direct contact with children);
  2. All former employers that were school entities; and
  3. All former employers where the applicant was in a position that involved direct contact with children.


RCPA has provided a link to the Department of Education’s Act 168 “Procedures and Forms” and “Frequently Asked Questions” documents.

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RCPA received the Collaborative Documentation Guidelines issued by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) today. RCPA is pleased that OMHSAS has issued these guidelines, which support the recovery process for people receiving services by supporting the therapeutic process. The guidelines are here for your review.

Critical to implementing collaborative documentation in your organization is the creation of policies which utilize the guidelines for defining it. These policies should be developed for each service line which will utilize collaborative documentation and be ready for review at future licensing visits. For further information, please contact Sarah Eyster.

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In April, the staff from the Penn State University EPISCenter met with the RCPA Children’s Committee to review the impact, challenges, and “lessons learned” in Pennsylvania’s use of evidence-based and promising practices. Now the EPISCenter has developed two new reports highlighting three years of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and Functional Family Therapy (FFT) data for fiscal years 2012-2014. These reports are designed to be shared with stakeholders and present statewide trends for utilization, outcomes, and implementation quality, while noting areas where there is variation between individual sites. These reports provide hard evidence of the high quality and productivity of FFT and MST services in Pennsylvania.

Chapter 6100 Draft for Comments
The Office of Developmental Programs Chapter 6100 Regulations Work Group has released draft regulations for initial comments due by May 22. RCPA is requesting that members share their comments by May 20 with Policy Specialist Linda Drummond, who will compile and share with ODP’s Work Group.

HCBS Fact Sheet
The Department of Human Services has developed a fact sheet to answer some of the questions received based on the state’s compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Home and Community-Based Services Final Rule.

  • More information on the DHS transition plan is available here.
  • More information about the Final Rule is available here.

New Jersey Seeking Providers
The New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities will be shifting to a Medicaid-based, fee-for-service system beginning this July. This transition includes the launch of the division’s new Supports Program, a Medicaid waiver program that will fund a wide array of disability-related services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities aged 21 and older.

Many of the New Jersey-based providers are in the process of becoming Medicaid-approved, so that they can continue to offer services in the new system. In addition, New Jersey is very interested in reaching out-of-state providers who might have an interest in – and capacity for – providing disability-related services in New Jersey. They are developing a Prospective Provider Welcome Packet, which can be available to Pennsylvania providers interested in these opportunities. For information, contact Diane Flynn, NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, or 609-689-6714.