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Composite of Calendar Pages and Clock

(From DHS)

08/27/2019

DHS Announces Time, Venue Changes for Polk, White Haven State Center Public Hearings

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced changes to the times and locations for the public hearings on the planned closure of Polk and White Haven State Centers.

“We heard the concerns from families, legislators, and stakeholders about time of day and location for the hearings, and we want as many interested people as possible to be able to attend these hearings,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We are committed to hearing from the community, and these hearings will give affected individuals, advocates, and stakeholders to the opportunity to formally raise concerns and share their perspectives to inform the transition process.”

Under Act 3 of 1999, DHS is required to hold public hearings within 30 days of announcing plans to close a facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Comments offered at these hearings will guide DHS during the transition process and help DHS understand resources and options that will need to be available to residents and families during the transition.

The hearings are now scheduled for:

·  Polk State Center – Monday, September 9, 5 p.m. – Atlantic Avenue Church, 160 Atlantic Ave., Franklin, PA – updated start time

·   White Haven State Center – Thursday, September 12, 5 p.m. – St. Patrick’s Church, 411 Allegheny St, White Haven, PA 18661 – updated start time and location

A toll-free hotline has been established for family members of Polk and White Haven residents who have questions during the closure process. Family members will be able to speak with staff from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 1.888.565.9435 or by email at RA-PWRAStateCenters@pa.gov.

For more information regarding services for people with intellectual disabilities and the closures, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James – 717-425-7606

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) has released the Office of Long-Term Living’s (OLTL’s) proposed OBRA waiver amendments for public review and comment in the August 24, 2019 Pennsylvania Bulletin.

DHS proposes the following substantive changes to the OBRA waiver effective January 1, 2020:

  • Revise the Residential Habilitation service definition by modifying the number of hours that are defined as a day unit from a minimum of 12 hours to 8 hours.
  • To the service definitions of Job Finding, Job Coaching, Employment Skills Development, Career Assessment, and Benefits Counseling, add language that Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) services are considered not to be available if OVR has not made an eligibility determination within 120 days; and add language to address when employment services through the OBRA waiver can be provided should OVR close the order of selection, thereby creating a waiting list for OVR services.

In addition, DHS proposes to make the following technical edits:

  • Update Appendix C-2.b., Abuse Registry Screening, to reflect that the Department utilizes IDEMIA as the data system to process fingerprint-based Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal record checks as well as other minor editorial changes to the section.

The proposed amendments and a summary of all of the revisions are available for review here.

Written comments regarding these proposed waiver amendments will be accepted through close of business on Monday, September 23, 2019 and should be sent to the Department of Human Services, Office of Long-Term Living, Bureau of Policy Development and Communications Management, Attention: OBRA Waiver Amendments, PO Box 8025, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8025. Comments may also be submitted to the Department via email. Please use OBRA Waiver Amendments as the subject line.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has released the Office of Long-Term Living’s (OLTL’s) proposed Community HealthChoices (CHC) waiver renewal for public review and comment in the August 17, 2019 Pennsylvania Bulletin.  DHS proposes to renew the CHC waiver with an effective date of January 1, 2020 in order to be aligned with the calendar year.

Some of the proposed changes to the CHC waiver include:

  • Revise the Residential Habilitation service definition by modifying the number of hours that are defined as a day unit from a minimum of 12 hours to a minimum of 8 hours.
  • To the service definitions of Job Finding, Job Coaching, Employment Skills Development, Career Assessment and Benefits Counseling, add language that Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) services are considered to not be available if OVR has not made an eligibility determination within 120 days; and add language to address when employment services through the CHC waiver can be provided should OVR close the order of selection, thereby creating a waiting list for OVR services.
  • Modify the qualifications for Service Coordinators and Service Coordinator supervisors.
  • Clarify that, if a CHC Managed Care Organization (MCO) identifies that a participant has not been receiving services for 5 or more days, and if the suspension of services was not pre-planned, then the CHC-MCO must communicate with the participant to determine the reason for the service suspension within 24 hours. If the participant’s health status or needs have changed, then the CHC-MCO must conduct a comprehensive needs reassessment of the participant’s needs within 14 days of identifying the issue.
  • Add that an emergency back-up plan must be included in the Person-Centered Service Plan.
  • Remove and modify language to reflect that the CHC waiver will be fully operational Statewide as of January 1, 2020.
  • Update language to reflect that the Department utilizes IDEMIA as the data system to process fingerprint-based Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal record checks.
  • Update the OLTL bureau names and responsibilities.

The proposed CHC waiver renewal and a summary of all revisions are available for review here. Written comments regarding these proposed revisions will be accepted through close of business on September 16, 2019 and should be sent to the Department of Human Services, Office of Long-Term Living, Bureau of Policy Development and Communications Management, Attention: CHC Waiver Renewal, P.O. Box 8025, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8025. Comments may also be submitted to the Department at RA-waiverstandard@pa.gov.

Governor Wolf signed the FY 19/20 budget at the end of June, which includes $2.5 million for the Parent Pathways initiative, led by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Education (PDE).

The departments are in the process of developing a competitive Request for Applications (RFA) to award Parent Pathway models. They are continuing to receive input on the initiative and explore options for distributing the $2.5M implementation funding. As previously shared, they plan to award grant funding in two phases for Parent Pathway models – first, for technical assistance for model planning and development, and second, implementation funding.

Parent Pathways seeks to establish community-specific comprehensive models to support access to, and success in, post-secondary education and training for single parents. Specifically, the departments propose to invest in holistic models that address the needs of parents and children together, and successfully leverage partnerships to offer sustainable post-secondary education solutions to the multiple barriers often facing families experiencing economic challenges.

The departments recognize that in order for Parent Pathways models to be successful, the awards should allow flexibility for communities to best meet the needs of potential participants in these programs. Stakeholders are asked to complete this survey by Friday, August 16, to help inform the development of this RFA.

Please visit this website for updates on the initiative and various resources available to assist you in community engagement and development.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(From DHS)

July 30, 2019

Medicaid’s 54th Anniversary Highlights Increased Healthcare Access for Pennsylvanians 

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller marked Medicaid’s 54th anniversary by highlighting the program’s success in expanding healthcare access to millions of Americans.

“Since its creation 54 years ago by President Johnson, Medicaid has had a direct and positive impact on the health of millions of Pennsylvanians for whom healthcare coverage would otherwise be unaffordable,” said Secretary Teresa Miller. “We are proud to mark today’s anniversary and the good work the people at DHS have done in implementing Medicaid and its expansion.”

Since 2015, about 1.4 million people – or one in 10 Pennsylvanians — have been covered at some point by Governor Tom Wolf’s expansion of Medicaid. As a result of Medicaid expansion, Pennsylvania has achieved its lowest uninsured rate on record and has reduced hospitals’ uncompensated care costs across the commonwealth by almost $330 million. Most importantly, Medicaid expansion has resulted in comprehensive healthcare access to more than 700,000 previously uninsured Pennsylvanians who now have the resources they need to focus on living a healthy, fulfilling life. In total, more than 2.8 million Pennsylvanians have access to healthcare through Medicaid.

The Wolf Administration remains committed to ensuring Medicaid remains accessible to any Pennsylvanian who may need it, including the 800,000 who could be negatively affected by Medicaid work requirements. One of DHS’ top priorities is increasing employment opportunities for those we serve, but work requirements are not an effective way of accomplishing this goal. Without meaningful workforce development supports and services, work requirements are just another obstacle to a higher quality of life. Tied to Medicaid, work requirements would achieve nothing but the denial of healthcare to people who need it.

“Our goal at DHS is to implement programs that empower Pennsylvanians to support themselves and their families,” said Secretary Miller. “Meeting a person’s health needs is one of the most important steps to helping them excel in education, training, and the workforce. The Wolf Administration is committed to the continued expansion of a healthcare system that advances services and supports to treat the whole person.”

For more information about Medicaid in Pennsylvania, click here.

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Department of Human Services Highlights Resources for Families Supporting People with an Intellectual Disability or Autism

(From DHS)

Harrisburg, PA (July 15, 2019) – The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) today highlighted programs and services offered to families of individuals who have an intellectual disability or autism (ID/A). The nationally recognized approach, LifeCourse Framework, assists families to support their family member to live an everyday life.

“We are committed to helping individuals access opportunities to support their goals and dreams, and that includes helping their families understand how to help support them to live an everyday life,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “It is important to continue to review best practices for helping individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. The LifeCourse approach is this best practice. LifeCourse is focused on planning for a good life throughout someone’s lifespan and supporting families.”

The LifeCourse Framework is an approach that focuses on the whole person and targets the needs of people at critical periods throughout their lifetime. There are a variety of planning tools created by the National Community of Practice to support people with using this approach. The core belief of the framework is all people have the right to live, love, work, play and pursue their life aspirations in their community. ODP has worked through regional collaboratives in the commonwealth to implement LifeCourse. Two organizations that support ODP’s work by supporting strong visions and high expectations for individuals and families for their everyday life are PA Family Network and Self-Advocates United as 1 (SAU1).

PA Family Network is a major element of Pennsylvania’s statewide strategy of supporting families of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PA Family Network offers both workshops and one-on-one family mentoring. They also hold regular events to teach attendees the LifeCourse Framework. Upcoming workshops include:

  • July 18 – Bellefonte, Centre County
  • July 25 – Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
  • July 26 – Altoona, Blair County
  • July 30 – Honesdale, Wayne County
  • August 27 – Honesdale, Wayne County
  • September 17 – Meadville, Crawford County
  • October 15 – Marlin, Schuylkill County

Self–Advocates United as 1 manages the Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA), which is funded by ODP. SAPNA provides peer–to–peer targeted training and technical assistance to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to further self–advocacy. SAU1 also teaches LifeCourse Frameworks at various events. Upcoming dates include:

  • July 31 – Clarion, Clarion County
  • August 19 – Mercer, Mercer County
  • August 21 – Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
  • August 27 – Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
  • August 29 – Stroudsburg, Monroe County
  • September 9 – Erie, Erie County
  • September 10 – Warren, Warren County
  • September 13 – St. Mary’s, Elk County
  • September 17 – Greensburg, Westmoreland County
  • September 20 – Kittanning, Armstrong County
  • September 27 – DuBois, Clearfield County
  • October 17 – Butler, Butler County

The LifeCourse Framework training and events at both the PA Family Network and SAU1 are free, but registration is required through the organizations. For more information about PA Family Network’s workshops, visit here. For more information about SAU1’s events, visit here.

To learn more about the LifeCourse Framework, visit here.

To learn more about DHS’s Office of Developmental Programs, visit here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James – 7174257606

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In response to commentators’ questions regarding the recently released Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) Regulations–Final; DHS has released the IBHS Preamble. The RCPA Children’s IBHS Work Group is reconvening the week of July 29, to provide a substantive review and a prepared response in advance of the IRRC public hearing on August 15, 2019.

Please note that any comments should be submitted to DHS prior to the 48-hour blackout period, which begins on Tuesday, August 13 at 10:00 am. Please provide IRRC with a copy of any comments submitted to DHS, and also copy RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp, by close of business on August 12.

Please contact Jim Sharp with questions, thoughts, or concerns.