Physical Disabilities & Aging

The Wolf Administration has launched the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care website, which connects older Pennsylvanians and individuals with a disability or behavioral health need to services and supports available in their community.

The website provides users with a wide variety of resources, including a home care directory and an information referral tool. It is a collaboration of the departments of Aging (PDA) and Human Services (DHS), and is an extension of PDA’s Aging and Disability Resource call center. By providing assistance online, the initiative further enhances the Commonwealth’s efforts to help Pennsylvanians locate and best utilize services at the local level.

The site features 12 service and support categories: Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation.

Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories. A major component to the site is the home care directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their counties. In-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services.

If you are an in-home service provider licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and would like to appear on the home care directory, you may submit your information by navigating to the footer of the site and selecting “Apply.”

In addition to the home care directory, another major feature of the website is the information referral tool. This tool guides users through a series of questions and then provides a list of resources based on their specific needs.

Moving forward, the departments of Aging and Human Services will continue to enhance the website using data and feedback from users, and expand the resources and information provided through the site. This includes working with your organization and other stakeholders to increase the number of options appearing within each category. Read the press release here.

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) has announced that individuals who are interested in OVR services can complete a pre-application online through JobGateway. This is considered to be a streamlined approach that should expedite the process of connecting with OVR services. To request services, a person can simply complete and submit the online pre-application using these instructions. Anyone having difficulty completing their pre-application can contact their closest OVR district office for assistance.

It is important to note that completing a pre-application online is not required; rather, it is being made available to streamline the process.

Anyone can refer themselves or someone else to OVR. If not using the online process, then simply call OVR’s toll free number (1-800-442-6351 voice/1-866-830-7327 TTY) or a district office. OVR exists to assist people with disabilities in securing or maintaining employment and independence. Generally, people are eligible for OVR services if they have a “physical or mental impairment that results in a significant impediment to employment.” Additional information about OVR, who can be served, and the services available through OVR can be found here.

Executive Order to Review State Licensure Board Requirements & Processes

In the November 11, 2017 Pennsylvania Bulletin, Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order (No. 2017-03) that directs the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Department of State to conduct a review of the State Professional and Occupational Licensure board requirements and processes. This includes a comprehensive review of the processes, fees, training, and continuing education requirements and prepared report for each type of professional and occupational license. The report is to include: training requirements; licensing, registration, and renewal fees; continuing education requirements; and any other requirements described within the executive order. The report is to also include information regarding the number of other states which require a license for each professional or occupational license, the national and regional averages for training requirements, fees, and continuing education requirements.

The Commissioner has been given the authority to establish an advisory group to assist with the research, data collection, and formatting of the reports, and any other function the Commissioner deems necessary. The advisory group shall be composed of members chosen by the Commissioner from the professional Boards and Commissions, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) staff, and any other persons the Commissioner deems necessary. The advisory group must be established within 30 days from the effective date of this executive order. Additional details regarding the report are provided in the bulletin.

The report is due to the Governor, the Secretary of Policy and Planning, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth no later than 180 days from the establishment of the advisory group or 210 days from the effective date of this executive order, whichever is sooner.

Some of the boards impacted by this executive order include: State Board of Physical Therapy, State Board of Speech–Language Pathology and Audiology, the State Board of Medicine, the State Board of Nursing, the State Board of Occupational Therapy, etc.

The executive order is effective immediately.

The Energy & Commerce House Health Subcommittee scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 10:00 am in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will focus on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 and Alternative Payment Models: Developing Options for Value-based Care.

Members of the subcommittee will discuss alternative payment models (APMs) and hear from those that are already engaged in the transition to value-based care, as well as those developing new models and stakeholders who are already delivering improved outcomes and savings for Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers.

The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted.

On October 18, 2017, House Resolution 544, introduced by State Representative Tom Murt (R–Philadelphia/Montgomery County), passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 191–0. The resolution stated that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives recognizes the month of October 2017 as “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) recently announced that the waiver amendments effective as of October 1, 2017 have been posted to the Department of Human Services (DHS) website. The waivers and links to each one include:

Questions related to this communication may be directed to the OLTL Bureau of Policy and Regulatory Management at 717-783-8412.

As the implementation of Community HealthChoices (CHC) approaches the January 1, 2018 launch in the Southwest Region, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has developed informational materials for those individuals who will be covered by the new program. The documents, including notices and the pre-enrollment packet, are posted on the DHS website, where you will also find their most recent participant document, “CHC: Here’s What You Need to Know” (available for download in English and Spanish).

In addition, a document designed to clarify eligibility for CHC is available here. It includes the following information:

Individuals are NOT eligible for CHC if they are a person with an intellectual or developmental disability who is eligible for services through the Department of Human Services’ Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), OR are a resident in a state-operated nursing facility, including state veterans homes.

Please visit the CHC website or call the CHC Provider Hotline at 833-735-4417 with any questions.

Older Adults Webinar Series: Collaborative Care Medicare Codes
Friday, October 27, 2017
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

Presenters:

  • Moderators: Christopher D. Carroll, M.Sc., Director of Health Care Financing and Systems Integration and Mitchell Berger, MPH, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Michael Schoenbaum, PhD, Senior Advisor for Mental Health Services Epidemiology & Economics, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health
  • Lori Raney, MD, Principal, Health Management Associates

Register for free: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5476874512139434498

This webinar will focus on the recently introduced Medicare payment codes for collaborative care with a specific focus on the use within behavioral health contexts. The presenters will discuss the role of collaborative care in Medicare, identify and the application of new payment codes and behavioral health integration. There will also be time for questions.

Following the webinar, participants will:

  • Understand the prevalence and impact of behavioral health conditions among patients in general medical settings;
  • Understand the prevalence and impact of co-occurring behavioral health and physical health conditions;
  • Recognize the elements of effective behavioral health integration, particularly the Collaborative Care model; and
  • Recognize and understand the application of new Medicare codes for behavioral health integration including those that support Collaborative Care.

Disclaimer: This webinar was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views and opinions expressed and the content of the webinar are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS.

Questions? Contact: communications@thenationalcouncil.org

Please mark your calendars! The upcoming RCPA Brain Injury Committee meeting, originally scheduled for November 15, 2017, has been rescheduled to December 6, 2017. The meeting will take place at its regularly scheduled time (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) and location (RCPA 777 East Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA  17111). A formal meeting invitation will be forthcoming in early November. Questions regarding this change can be sent to Melissa Dehoff.