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With the recent increase of individuals contracting measles, Dr. Gregory Cherpes from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued a health alert. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “From January 1 to May 3, 2019, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the US since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.” Pennsylvania is among the states confirming new cases of measles.

What is Measles:
Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. The symptoms of measles generally appear about 7 to 14 days after a person is infected. The measles rash usually starts first as flat red spots on the face. These spots may increase in number and connect spreading down the neck and body. Small raised bumps may form on the flat red spots.

Measles symptoms typically include:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Rash breaks out 3–5 days after symptoms begin

Are Measles Serious? 
Measles can be serious at all ages, but children less than 5 and adults over 20 are more likely to have complications. Complications include:

  • Ear infection that can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • Diarrhea requiring hospitalization.
  • Pneumonia – this is the most common cause of death in children.
  • Swelling of the brain – that may lead to brain damage.
  • Pregnant women may have their babies early and the baby’s weight may be low.
  • Of every 1,000 people who get measles 1–2 of them will die.

How do Measles Spread to Other People?

  • Infected people can spread measles to others from 4 days before through 4 days after the rash appears.
  • It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
  • When someone sneezes or coughs the virus can live for up to 2 hours in the air.
  • If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected.
  • Up to 90% of the people close to an infected person who have not been vaccinated against measles will also become infected.

Can Measles be Prevented? 
Receiving the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination can prevent measles. See your health care provider for more information related to the measles vaccination.

For more information, visit:

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a memo is on the keyboard of a computer as a reminder: meeting

Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director, Special Committee on Aging, for Senator Bob Casey, will be speaking with RCPA members at our Annual Meeting to be held on Friday, May 10, 2019 at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. The meeting that was previously scheduled to occur on Thursday, May 2 has been cancelled. The conversation will focus on state policies on disabilities and legislative initiatives that will have an impact on services and opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania.

Michael Gamel-McCormick held a similar position in the office of Senator Tom Harkin, as well as being Senator Harkin’s senior education staffer. He began his career as an early childhood education teacher, teaching in inclusive settings. He was a special education technical assistance provider for over 40 counties and cities in Virginia. For 15 years, he was a professor and dean at the University of Delaware as well as director of the university’s Center for Disability Studies. Just prior to joining Senator Casey’s staff, he was Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Register here for the Annual Meeting. Please contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with questions.

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The 2019 RCPA Conference, Impact PA, will be held September 24–27 at the Hershey Lodge. A premier statewide event, the Conference Committee is seeking workshop proposals for possible inclusion. The conference offers diverse educational opportunities and submissions are needed in every area. A complete listing of focus tracks is available on the proposal form. Presentations are encouraged that assist providers in developing and maintaining quality, stable, and effective treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. The committee looks for presentations which:

  • Highlight new policy, research, and treatment initiatives such as the CCBHC model;
  • Provide specific skills and information related to individual and organizational leadership development and enhancement;
  • Address system changes that affect business practices such as value-based purchasing; and
  • Offer concrete skills and tools to operate more efficient, effective agencies, allowing organizations to Impact PA.

Workshop ideas for 2019 include workforce shortage solutions; the changing health care landscape; executive leadership; integrated care strategies for implementation and reimbursement; managed care models for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities – other state experiences; ethics topics across the membership; emergency planning for community violence; acquisitions/mergers and consolidations; value-based purchasing; and employing people with disabilities. The committee welcomes any proposal that addresses these and other topics essential to the rehabilitation, mental health, addiction, children’s, aging, and physical/developmental disability communities. Members are encouraged to consider submitting proposals and to forward this opportunity to those who are exceptionally good speakers and have state-of-the-art information to share.

The Call for Proposals and accompanying Guidelines for Developing Educational Objectives outlines requirements for submissions. The deadline for submissions is Monday, March 4 at 5:00 pm. Proposals must be submitted electronically to Sarah Eyster on the form provided. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Proposals selected stand out by inclusion of solid learning objectives, information that a participant can use to enhance professional skills or methods, and being geared to a diverse and advanced audience. If the proposal is accepted, individuals must be prepared to present on any day of the conference. Workshops are 90 or 180 minutes in length. At the time of acceptance, presenters will be required to confirm the ability to submit workshop handouts electronically four weeks prior to the conference. Individuals unable to meet this expectation should not submit proposals for consideration.

Individuals are welcome to submit multiple proposals. Notification of inclusion will be made via email by May 1. Questions may be directed to Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

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Join RCPA as we host our 2019 conference, September 24 – 27 at the Hershey Lodge. RCPA staff and the Conference Committee are excited to release this year’s Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers brochure, with new opportunities to get in on the action. New this year, based on requests from our previous sponsors and exhibitors, is booth self-selection — sponsors who would also like to exhibit will be given first booth choice through March 31. In order to be considered for self-selection, a completed contract with payment must be submitted. And beginning April 1, exhibitors who have submitted a completed contract with payment will be able to self-select their booths. Booth selections are contingent upon availability.

Don’t miss your chance to be seen and to support the work of this dynamic organization! This event is a highlight for the Pennsylvania mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical/vocational rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging provider community. Complete information about exhibiting, sponsoring, and advertising options are available from the link above.

Sponsor, Exhibit, and Advertise

Exhibit activities take place September 25 – 26. Based on your feedback from last year, we have increased the number of activities offered throughout the event. RCPA encourages all interested parties to complete the contract now! Events within Exhibit Hall include an opening reception, breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch, and prize giveaways. Exhibit hours occur during the two busiest days of the conference, increasing the opportunity for exhibitors — an integral component to conference success — to interact with the maximum amount of attendees. A “Best of Show” competition provides even more prospects to engage guests and winners receive a discount on 2020 exhibit rates.

Interaction with conference guests outside of the exhibit area is just as important! Participating in other conference events such as receptions, meals, and educational offerings provides exhibitors greater potential and flexibility to establish opportunities for business. RCPA includes two exhibitor registrations with the exhibit fee; since exhibitors can attend the entire conference, RCPA encourages organizations to use those registrations fully.

Exciting New Sponsorship Opportunities

The association is privileged to have the backing of the finest organizations in the field for our conference. Through the use of sponsorship circles, RCPA is able to honor all supporting organizations. Within each sponsorship circle, specific events and items such as meals, receptions, conference tote bags, attendee materials, etc. are available, providing additional “naming recognition” for sponsors. Other ideas are welcome as well. Please review sponsorship materials and contact Sarah Eyster to reserve your opportunity.

Sign Up Now

The deadline for inclusion in all digital material is July 26, 2019. Sponsor, exhibitors, and advertisers who wish to be listed on the website, the mobile app, and in the online conference program must adhere to that deadline.

The association looks forward to welcoming you at the conference! Space and opportunities are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and no reservation is considered complete without payment. For any additional questions, please contact Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

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RCPA is Seeking Sponsorships for the 2019 Annual Conference: IMPACT

Over the years, RCPA staff and the Conference Committee have received requests from sponsors and exhibitors to have the option of choosing their own exhibit booths. RPCA is excited to be able to offer such a benefit this year.

The sponsorship/exhibitor/advertiser contract is now available for the 2019 RCPA Annual Conference: IMPACT. For the first time, sponsors — and later on, exhibitors — can select their own exhibit booths.

  • Through March 31, self-selection is open only to sponsors who submit their contracts with payment.
  • Beginning April 1, this option also opens to those exhibitors who submit their contracts and payments.

Contact Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator, with any questions.

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RCPA will be holding an Open Board/General membership meeting on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. This meeting is also available by webcast if you are unable to attend in person. If you were considering attending, please review the agenda and register here.

We look forward to your participation. If you have any questions, please contact Tina Miletic.

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With sincere gratitude from all of us at RCPA

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Announcement: Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Behavioral Health Services

RCPA congratulates Noreen Fredrick, DNP, RN, on her new position as Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Behavioral Health Services for the Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic (WPIC) of UPMC. Ms. Fredrick is currently serving as Secretary for the RCPA Board of Directors. We wish her much success in her new role at UPMC. Below is a letter from the president of WPIC:

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that effective July 1, 2018 Noreen Fredrick, DNP, RN has taken on a broader leadership role as the Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Behavioral Health Services. In this capacity, Noreen will oversee the operations and financial performance of all WPIC’s outpatient programs, our expanding  community based behavioral health network and physician services within UPP’s Department of Psychiatry and UPMC Behavioral Health Care. In this capacity she will report to me and Dr. Ken Nash, the Chief of Clinical Services and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

Noreen began her career in behavioral health as a staff nurse at WPIC and worked at the bedside for 6 years before her accepting her first leadership position as an assistant nursing clinical manager.  Over a period of 13 years, she was promoted into various inpatient nursing leadership positions in such areas as Adult/Geriatrics and Schizophrenia before becoming the Program Administrator of WPIC’s Comprehensive Care Services. In July 2001, Noreen transitioned to Mon Yough Community Services and accepted a position as the Director of Clinical Services and eventually served as the Executive Director of Mon Yough for 11 years before becoming the Senior Executive Director for WPIC’s Community  Behavioral Health Network in May 2015.

Noreen will be charged with regionalizing outpatient behavioral care in Western PA and creating synergistic partnerships between our programs and other community based services. Her initial areas of focus include: 1) completing the conversion to EPIC and EPICARE; 2) improving access to and growing our ambulatory services throughout the region; and 3) reducing unnecessary variation across our ambulatory programs in order to: increase efficiency; improve patient and consumer experience; improve productivity and elevate the quality of care we provide.

Her rich history and understanding of Western Psych and its academic excellence; in-depth clinical  knowledge of behavioral health; and years of experience of managing people and running a complicated community based organization have positioned Noreen to hit the ground running and add tremendous value in this new, critically important role. Please join me and Dr. Nash in congratulating Noreen on her new position.

Christopher A. Gessner
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic of UPMC
4401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224