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pa department of human services

The Department of Human Services, Bureau of Procurement and Contracts Management has released the Request for Application (RFA) for Managed Care Organizations to provide physical health services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the five HealthChoices zones. These zones include the Southeast, Southwest, Lehigh/Capital, Northeast, and Northwest.

The RFA can be found here. Appendix A of the agreement can be viewed here. Contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Mental Health Division Director, with questions.

Senior woman with her caregiver at home

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) recently announced a fourteen-county expansion of the Living Independence For the Elderly (LIFE) program. LIFE is a long-term care program that assists seniors with living independently in their homes, while receiving services and supports that meet their health and personal needs. LIFE is one of the Commonwealth’s home and community-based services (HCBS) options that currently serves over 7,000 individuals.

The LIFE program was implemented initially in 1998, and is known in other states across the nation as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). In order to be eligible for the LIFE program, an individual must be 55 or older, meet the level of care for a skilled nursing facility or special rehabilitation facility, and be able to be safely served in the community.

Through this expansion, LIFE programs will be established in the following counties: Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Fulton, Jefferson, Monroe, Potter, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wayne. Contact Melissa Dehoff, RCPA Rehabilitation Services Director, with questions.

RCPA would like to congratulate Jonathan Rubin and Amy Grippi on their new positions with the Department of Human Services. We look forward to collaborating in the future, to continue improving the quality of life for our children across the Commonwealth.


(From DHS Secretary Teresa Miller)

DHS Staffing Update

I am excited to announce that Jonathan (Jon) Rubin will join the Department of Human Services as the Office of Children, Youth, and Families’ Deputy Secretary. Jon has led Bucks County’s Housing and Human Services division since 2014, overseeing the county’s child welfare agency, behavioral and developmental health programs, drug and alcohol services, mental health and developmental programs, housing services, and Area Agency on Aging.  As director, Jon has focused on creating a more integrated approach to Housing and Human Services’ work, encouraging two-generation, whole-family focuses and facilitating public-private partnerships and generative program development.

Jon started his career spending 15 years with the Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services agency, beginning as a social worker and eventually serving four years as a child protective services manager. He has also worked to strengthen the child welfare system on a state level, working at the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center, providing technical assistance and training to children and youth agencies around Pennsylvania, and later with Deloitte as a senior consultant and child welfare subject matter expert, helping implement the Child Welfare Information Solution project. Jon has also worked at the national level supporting child welfare systems across the country when he served as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant for the American Public Human Services Association.

Jon will join DHS on November 4. At that point, Amy Grippi will transition into a new role, Child Services Executive Director, in the Secretary’s Office. This role will focus on synthesizing initiatives and priorities around child services and create a stronger bridge between OCYF and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Amy will be focused on strengthening services provided to children around Pennsylvania, including our work to implement the enterprise case management system and Family First, increasing the incorporation of predictive analytics and trend analyses through improved data collection, and other initiatives.

I think this new role will be an invaluable asset to help enhance and support the work done at DHS and at the county level, and I know Amy’s skills and experience will help us do more to support children and families around Pennsylvania.

I want to thank Amy for her tireless work and leadership as OCYF’s Acting Deputy Secretary over the last few months, and I am so excited to welcome Jon to the agency. I look forward to seeing the good work that DHS and OCYF will accomplish as we move forward.

Thank you,
Secretary Teresa Miller

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.