Authors Posts by Carol Ferenz

Carol Ferenz


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ODP Announcement 22-119 provides information on the registration process for the Office of Developmental Programs’ (ODP) February and March 2023 Virtual Quality Management (QM) Certification Classes. Key things to know about the virtual class:

  • Class size is limited to 28, and registration is on a first come, first serve basis. There is no wait list option, and registration will close 15 days prior to the start of a class.
  • Prerequisite modules are required to prepare learners for the class and must be completed prior to attending class. Completion of modules is tracked, and failure to complete all modules will prevent you from joining the virtual class.
  • Classes are held over 2 consecutive days, from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. Participants must attend the entire time and complete the post-test with a score of at least 84% to obtain ODP QM certification status.

You must register for a training class by logging into MyODP and navigating to the 2023 Quality Management Certification Program — Virtual Training Course (Training > Quality Management > Quality Management Certification Program > 2023 Quality Management Certification Program — Virtual Training) or by visiting here.

Questions about the QM Strategy, the ODP QM Certification Program, or other questions related to QM can be sent to the ODP QM Inbox.

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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.

Articles in this issue of Positive Approaches focus on the importance of employment for individuals with a disability, including those with a serious mental illness, and intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Article topics include the importance of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program (MAWD); employment supports available for those who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing; Pennsylvania’s Employment First initiatives; and the role psychological safety plays in employees’ mental health. There are also articles on employment services for individuals with a serious mental illness and examples of medical assistance for workers in action.

This issue of Positive Approaches Journal is available for viewing online or for downloading here.

To print a copy of the PDF, online journal, or a specific article, you will find these options within your left navigation bar on any Positive Approaches Journal page. A new window will open with your selected document. In your browser, you may click the print button in the top left corner of the page, or by using the print capability within your browser.

Please submit feedback regarding your experience with this publication on MyODP by clicking the image below within this email, or by clicking on the feedback image on MyODP within your left navigation bar on any Positive Approaches Journal page.

The Positive Approaches Journal is published quarterly. Please submit any questions or feedback via email.

OVR’s quarterly board meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, December 1, 2022, from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm, and is a hybrid meeting. The physical meeting location is at the Best Western Premier Hotel outside of the city of Harrisburg (800 East Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111), off Route 83, Exit 48. View the meeting link, information, and agenda here.

Due to requests for extension to submit the ID/A Workforce Compensation Survey, we are pleased to announce completed surveys will now be accepted through Friday December 2. This survey is a collaborative effort between The Center for Healthcare Solutions (C4HS), The Arc of Pennsylvania, Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association (RCPA), and The Provider Alliance (TPA).

The results of this survey will be critical to validate the need for further investment in community ID/A services. Rate-setting issues such as no inflation factor, setting wages at the 25th percentile, and the application of a 5% overtime factor require data and analysis to refute key rate assumptions.

You can download the survey herePlease forward completed surveys to Steve Forest by December 2, 2022. The comprehensive published report will be released on January 3, 2023.

A collaborative session to provide background and technical assistance on the survey was held on November 2. If you were unable to join, you can access a recording of the session here.

Last week Senator Bob Casey became a cosponsor on the Latonya Reeves Freedom Act (S.3417). This legislation would create a right to live in the community with related support for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) provisions. The Latonya Reeves Freedom Act of 2021/22 also has housing rights, including an accessible housing provision for people with disabilities to live in the community.

Here is a related press release summarizing the legislation from the lead sponsor of S.3417 from Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO).

PATF has released two brand new editions of their fully accessible financial education guides — Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management, 7th Edition and the Educator Companion Manual, 2nd Edition.

Cents and Sensibility addresses the financial education needs of people with disabilities while providing comprehensive strategies, activities, and resources for anyone who wants to have control over their money.

The book provides the tools people need to make informed financial decisions and tackles financial topics like how to save for the future without losing benefits that impact individuals with disabilities.

Download the Free Guide

Educator Companion Manual, 2nd Edition, aligns with chapters from Cents and Sensibility, and provides educators and instructors with strategies for addressing the unique financial education needs of students with disabilities.

Each section in the Manual includes topic objectives, key terms, and essential questions, which provide guidance for teaching the lessons included in Cents and Sensibility.

The Educator Companion Manual helps anyone taking on an educator’s role to engage all students in financial education. The Manual includes financial education topics such as earning, saving, credit, and decision making.

The instructional materials correlate with the National Standards for Financial Education and Pennsylvania Academics Standards.

Download the Free Manual

ODP Announcement 22-117 serves to announce a 30-day public comment period on the Residential and Community Participation Support (CPS) service locations that the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) proposes to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Heightened Scrutiny. Public comment on each service location will be accepted until 11:59 pm on December 19, 2022.

A summary of ODP’s findings for each Residential and CPS service location that ODP has determined meets one or more of these criteria is available at MyODP and DHS. A description of the process ODP used to identify service locations, complete reviews, and make determinations is also available on both websites.