In June of 2022, Pa House Resolution 212 was adopted, establishing a legislative task force on intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and autism (ID/A), and directing the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of this Commonwealth’s current delivery of services to individuals with ID/A. The task force is to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives in December of 2023.
The task force is charged with examining the efficiency, uniformity, and best practices of the administration of services through the county system, Quality of Life outcomes, including waiver services, waiting lists, and transitional protocols; and of moving into and out of one waiver or program to another, transitioning out of high school, and how current Federal and State laws and regulations impact and limit supports and services. There are several areas specified in the House Resolution that the task force members are to consider, including:
- Collaborations between the Department of Human Services, managed care organizations, and providers, including reimbursement rate settings, direct support professionals, other funding sources, and how providers collaborate to serve individuals with ID/A.
- Opportunities for integrated job coaching, community participation supports, including for individuals who chose not to go into the community because of underlying issues, and additional programs offered through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, or the Employment First Commission.
- Current treatment needs, including network capacity to treat and care for high acuity individuals, individuals with complex medical needs in addition to intellectual disabilities, and individuals who need special care and assistance with intensive behavioral health issues. The study examines all available living settings, including intermediate care facilities, community homes, state centers, services in family homes, Lifesharing, independent living with assistance, farmhouse settings, campus settings, and any other innovative residential services.
- Barriers and obstacles in transportation for individuals living in the home or receiving community-based services for jobs, medical appointments, and peer-to-peer groups.
- Workforce issues with direct support professionals, supports coordinators, behavioral and mental health specialists, or health care practitioners who assist with the provision of services.
- Providers who have ceased operations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Input from representatives and advocates from all aspects of the sector and continuum of care to assist the Joint State Government Commission with its findings and recommendations in the report.
The task force held its introductory meeting in October to begin the process. Dr. Richard Edley, RCPA President and CEO, has been appointed to serve on the task force. Additionally, RCPA was successful in advocating for members and partners to be assigned; Marian Baldini, President/CEO of KenCrest; Christopher Betts, MA, Executive Director of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health; Lisa Liston, Coordinator of Special Services and Family Support at Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children; and Amy Lutz, PhD.
Representative James Struzzi, II, and Representative Eric Nelson, along with Representative Benham and Representative Joseph Hohenstein have also been appointed to serve on the task force.
Additional appointed members include Oscar Drummond, Representative, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Office of Developmental Programs; Mayme Carter, MSW Director, Bradford County Human Services; Jane Gonzalez, Guardian, Advocate, Mother; Anne M. Couldridge, Executive Director, The Arc of Cumberland & Perry Counties (CPARC); Ryan E. Hyde, MEd, CRC Executive Director – Acting Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; G. N. Janes, Chief Executive Officer, Valley Community Services; Daisy V. Shirk, DO, DFAPA Adolescent Psychiatrist Reading Hospital, Honorable Ryan M. Tira Pennsylvania Supreme Court Autism and the Courts Task Force Member; Melissa Watson, PhD, LPC, BCBA, Senior Vice President PAHrtners Deaf Services; Maria Martin, Representative, Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council; Ned Whitehead, Vision For Equality; Edward Yongo, CEO Pathways of Southwest; Pamela Zotynia, Service Director, Participant Directed Services, Values Into Action.
The task force is staffed by Executive Director Glenn J. Pasewicz, Yvonne Llewellyn Hursh, Esquire, Staff Attorney Stephen J. Kramer, Esquire, and Executive Secretary/Office Manager Wendy L. Baker.