Physical Disabilities & Aging

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.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) released the following notice to Service Coordination Entities (SCEs) regarding a procedure code change for Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT) Services.

This notice is to advise all SCEs that due to 2018 Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) updates, the procedure code for Cognitive Rehabilitation in the Independence and OBRA Waivers will change effective 7/1/18. The service procedure code 97532 SE will be end-dated as of 6/30/2018. The new service procedure code for Cognitive Rehabilitation is 97127 and will be effective 7/1/18. The service definition and units of service remain the same. OLTL requires the attention and assistance of SCEs in order to update the service procedure code for HCSIS Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2019 service plans.

OLTL is systemically removing the service procedure code of 97532 SE from any impacted HCSIS FY 2018-2019 service plans in order to end-date service contracts and offerings as of 6/30/18 for providers enrolled to render the service. A system update must be completed prior to making the new service procedure code of 97127 available for selection onto service plans.  A data fix is scheduled to occur in HCSIS on 6/21/18 to remove the remaining impacted 97532 SE service lines from FY 2018-2019 service plans. Please do not add the service 97532 SE to any additional FY 2018-2019 service plans as this will impact the success of the data fix. The new service procedure code of 97127 will be added to HCSIS and available for selection onto service plans as of 6/25/18. Service Coordinators (SCs) will be required to add the new service code for impacted FY 2018-2019 service plans.

Once the service is available for selection onto FY 2018-2019 service plans, SCs will then submit a Critical Revision to OLTL for review and approval for the addition of the new service procedure code 97127. OLTL’s Service Plan Review Team within the Bureau of Participant Operations will be communicating with SCEs that are directly impacted by this service procedure code change. A separate email communication will be sent to impacted SCEs to provide additional detail and guidance.

If you have any questions regarding the necessary service plan updates, please contact the Bureau of Participant Operations or Stacey Griffiths with the Bureau of Participant Operations at: 717-724-6547.

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.

As a reminder, Providers of Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) — to include providers of residential services, community participation support, and day habilitation services in the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) and Consolidated, Community Living, Person/Family-Directed Support and Adult Autism Waivers — must complete a Self-Assessment to determine compliance with the HCBS Settings Rule, published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2014.

HCBS Provider Self-Assessments must be completed online by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Service locations for which ODP has not received a completed self-assessment will be deemed non-compliant.

These HCBS Provider Self-Assessments will assist in identifying potential areas of non-compliance and allow the provider to develop a corrective action plan outlining how they plan to achieve full compliance. While CMS has given states an extension to ensure all settings have achieved compliance with the rule by March of 2022, various requirements and effective dates have been built into ODP”s waivers and upcoming regulations which will impact the dates by which compliance must be achieved.

It is important to note that the intent of the self-assessment is not to close or terminate any home or community-based services but instead, to work with individuals, providers, and other stakeholders to transition these waiver services, to meet compliance with the HCBS Settings Rule and the vision of ensuring individuals are fully integrated into the community, afforded choice, and have their health and safety needs met.

See Communication #035-18 for all of the details.

This week, both the US Senate and US House introduced bipartisan legislation (HR 5912 in the House and S 2897 in the Senate) designed to delay implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) provision of the 21st Century Cures Act and require public input from stakeholders. The bill was led by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and co-sponsored by a range of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House. The EVV delay bill gives states an additional year to implement EVV, having it take effect on January 1, 2020 instead of January 1, 2019.

In late 2016, Congress had ordered states to install EVV systems as a way of preventing fraud in Medicaid as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, but many challenges arose after the bill passed. This is partially due to CMS not releasing guidance on the EVV statute until May 2018, leaving states in the dark for a full 18 months following passage of the EVV law. Even despite CMS’ recent guidance, many concerns remain about which disability supports and services are required to comply with the rule. Additionally, because there has been little stakeholder input, questions abound about privacy, costs, and other aspects of compliance.

Please contact your legislators and ask them to support the EVV delay bill. The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) has been instrumental in advocating for this legislation; RCPA is proud to be a member of ANCOR and appreciates their initiative on this issue.

The following documents provide information from the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) regarding the Certified Employment Specialist Professional (CESP) recertification process and the requirements for Continuing Education (CE) credits.

The CESP Certification is valid for a 3-year period, during which time the CESP must demonstrate a commitment to professional development by obtaining 36 CE Credits in order to maintain their certification. One CE credit is equivalent to one hour of clock time (except as noted on the “Requirements for Continuing Education Form”). Documentation which verifies the reported number of CE credits must be submitted with the recertification application. Repeat CE activities/content within the same 3-year recertification cycle will NOT count for credit.

In addition to providing appropriate documentation of 36 CE Credits, the recertification application must be submitted with the recertification fee of $125 paid per 3-year term.

Please refer to the following documents for more detailed information:

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that effective July 1, 2018, the cost of child abuse clearances will increase from $8 to $13. Child abuse clearance fees for volunteers will continue to be waived one time within a five-year period.

The legislative passage of Act 40 of 2017 included the increase to assist in covering actual costs for processing child abuse clearances, after the previously amended Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) expanded who is required to receive clearances, and instituted a five-year renewal cycle. Beginning in December 2014, individuals who required clearances expanded to include: volunteers, youth camp employees, coaches, youth mentors, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, work study programs, internships, family-living home employees, and community-home employees for individuals with disabilities.

In 2014 and 2015, legislation was passed amending the CPSL. These amendments expanded clearance and background check requirements for individuals working or volunteering with children. In 2016, DHS received 951,414 child abuse clearance applications and identified 2,272 substantiated or alleged perpetrators of child abuse.

For more information on clearance and background check requirements as required by the CPSL, please visit this website.

The Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) is inviting all interested parties to participate in a webinar that provides information on Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) certification/credentialing. The growth in the number of individuals seeking CESP certification demonstrates the increased demand for training and consultation to educate and certify employment support professionals. These webinars will cover the basics of the CESP, including the upcoming changes to the test delivery to be given in a computer-based format. While information will be presented on the OLTL requirements on certification/credentialing, and the impact the requirements have on the certification of organizations and staff, these webinars should provide helpful information to ODP Stakeholders as well. The webinar will provide information about this certification, the process of becoming certified, the requirements, and the opportunities that exist for organizations to rise to this challenge.

The webinars will be presented by Ms. Kari Tietjen, CESP Director, National Association of People Supporting Employment. The OLTL requirements will be presented by Mr. Edward M. Butler, Employment Specialist, OLTL.

Please register here for the CESP Webinar on Monday, July 9, 2018, 1:00 PM EDT

Please register here for the CESP Webinar on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 9:00 AM EDT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have questions regarding this email, please contact Edward M. Butler, OLTL, via email or call 717-214-3718. ODP Stakeholders with questions, please contact the Employment Leads in your region.

Educational Provider Sessions are now scheduled in the Southeast Region to learn about Community HealthChoices (CHC). Several sessions have been scheduled throughout June in various locations.  Targeted provider groups include: home and community-based services, service coordinators and area agencies on aging (AAAs), behavioral health, physical health services, nursing facilities, and transportation providers.

JUNE 4–8 • PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
Temple University, Ritter Hall
1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19122

JUNE 18 • CHESTER COUNTY
West Chester University, Sykes Student Union
700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382

JUNE 19 • DELAWARE COUNTY
Stay tuned for updates regarding the Delaware location

JUNE 20 • MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Montgomery County Community College, Central Campus
340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422

JUNE 21 • BUCKS COUNTY
Bucks County Community College, Newtown Campus
275 Swamp Rd, Newtown, PA 18940

Follow this link for more information and to register.