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Jim Sharp

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RCPA has extended the deadline to complete the workforce survey to Monday, October 18, 2021. The survey, which is open to all Human Service Providers in Pennsylvania, covers work force issues for a diverse range of programs, including Mental Health, IDD/Autism, Brain Injury, Drug & Alcohol, and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF). The survey responses seek to gather data related to hiring, retention, vacancy rates, pay structures, vaccinations, and COVID-19 impacts on programs as well as access to care associated with the pandemic.

We thank you in advance for your time in completing this survey and would ask that you share this information with your colleagues, fellow leaders, and Human Resources teams. The more information collected, the more we will be able to provide to stakeholders, which will affect not only RCPA members but all providers within the Commonwealth.

A copy of the results of this survey will be available to all participants at the conclusion of the study. Please complete the survey here. The workforce survey will end at close of business on Monday, October 18, 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Director of Children’s Services Jim Sharp.

OMHSAS Offers Free Virtual Training:
The Coach Approach Workshop for Young Professionals

Message from OMHSAS:

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), in collaboration with the PA Care Partnership, is excited to announce that we will be offering a free, two-day virtual workshop entitled “The Coach Approach Workshop for Young Professionals” to be held on October 22, 2021, 9:00 am–3:30 pm and October 25, 2021, 9:00 am–3:30 pm.

The Coach Approach for Young Professionals Workshop was developed to support young professionals and various organizations that provide services and supports build stronger relationships, collaborations, and teams through equity and partnership rather than taking control or giving advice. A detailed overview of the workshop can be found here.

As a follow up to the great work that our Healthy Transitions (HT) counties accomplished under the HT grant, we would like to offer this first two-day workshop to young adult professionals and providers from Berks, Bucks, and Washington Counties, as well as participants from any of our System of Care (SOC) counties. This will be the first of three workshops that will be offered across the state, and based on your experience and expertise, we are very interested in your participation and feedback in order to shape how this continues forward.

*Please note, this is an interactive virtual workshop via Zoom and will require you to use a camera.

Participation is limited; please email to reserve your space.

We invite and encourage all Human Service Providers in Pennsylvania to participate in the RCPA workforce survey. The statewide survey examines workforce topics for a diverse range of programs, including Mental Health, IDD/Autism, Brain Injury, Drug & Alcohol, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF), and others. The survey responses seek to gather data related to hiring, retention, vacancy rates, pay structures, vaccinations, and COVID-19 impacts on programs as well as access to care associated with the pandemic. The workforce survey will close on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

The survey was developed for Legislative and State Stakeholders that requested RCPA to quantify the impact of the pandemic on our workforce so that we might effectively lobby for the welfare of the agencies that support and serve individuals with disabilities and health issues. RCPA has made the survey available to providers across Pennsylvania, not just RCPA members. Please be assured that response data will be de-identified and aggregated for reporting by an independent research entity, and your individual data will be shared with no one.

We thank you in advance for your time in completing this survey and would ask that you share this information with your colleagues, fellow leaders, and Human Resources teams. The more information collected, the more we will be able to provide to stakeholders, which will affect not only RCPA members, but all providers within the Commonwealth.

Please review the Master List of survey questions, which includes all service line areas, questions on the program operations, and vaccinations, to assist in your survey responses. A copy of the results of this survey will be available to all participants at the conclusion of the study. Please complete the survey here.

If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Director of Children’s Services Jim Sharp.

Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):

Pursuant to Act 73 of 2021 (HB 1861), the suspension of various regulatory provisions under the state disaster emergency declaration that are currently in effect and which were set to expire on September 30, 2021, are now extended until further notice. A list of the regulations that were suspended in whole or in part and their current status is available at Suspended Regulations Lift.

In addition, some regulations were reinstated prior to September 30, 2021 and are not subject to Act 73 of 2021.

Please note that Act 73 of 2021 only affects state regulations that were suspended under the state disaster emergency declaration and were to be reinstated on September 30, 2021. Federal flexibilities provided through the federal public health emergency will remain in place as long as the federal public health emergency remains in effect. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the federal public health emergency on July 19, 2021 to October 17, 2021 (90 days).


RCPA Policy Directors will be reviewing the regulatory status and provide additional guidance and information as it is communicated by the respective DHS Departments, including any special instructions on the reimplementation of any of the suspended regulations. If you have any additional questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director or your DHS Licensing Office.

Source: City & State Pennsylvania, Sept. 27, 2021
Wolf Announces $655 Million for Child Care Providers

More American Rescue Plan dollars are being allocated for the kids.

The Department of Human Services is distributing about $655 million in funding to the child care industry in the commonwealth, Acting Secretary Meg Snead announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s child care industry – from increased expenses and decreased demand early in the pandemic to the current challenges of staffing shortages and waiting lists for families that need affordable child care to get back to work,” Snead said. “Our goal with this funding distribution is to offset those challenges and create a pathway for recovery from this pandemic – not just for child care, but for our economy as a whole.”

This will be the fifth round of funding given out to child care providers since March 2020. Nearly $400 million in stimulus grants have been given to child care facilities hit hard by the pandemic through the first four rounds. The most highest demands are addressing increased costs related to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and the need to offset the impact of reduced enrollments.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning, known as OCDEL, partnered with Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs to develop the methodology for distribution. The institute’s report states that this round of stabilization grants will use a “methodology that incorporates individual provider data and extensive cost-basis research that is specific to Pennsylvania child care.”

Licensed providers can submit applications for one-time grants, and if approved, they will have nine months to use the funds and provide a report to DHS.


RCPA has discussed this funding stream and its application for Early Intervention providers, and it would not be applicable unless they are a licensed child care provider. RCPA continues to advocate with Pa. General Assembly on accessing the ARP funds to stabilize and sustain Early Intervention programs across the Commonwealth. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

The Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has announced a new application cycle for $25.5 billion in COVID-19 provider funding. Applicants will be able to apply for both Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 and American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments during the application process. PRF Phase 4 is open to a broad range of providers with changes in operating revenues and expenses. ARP Rural is open to providers who serve rural patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The application is open now and will close on October 26, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET. Providers who have previously created an account in the Provider Relief Fund Application and Attestation Portal and have not logged in for more than 90 days will need to first reset their password before starting a new application. In order to streamline the application process and minimize administrative burdens, providers will apply for both programs in a single application.

Technical Assistance Webinars
HHS recently hosted a briefing session to provide information about these upcoming funding opportunities – view the video. HRSA will be hosting webinar sessions for Phase 4 and ARP Rural applicants, featuring guidance on how to navigate the application portal.

Real time technical assistance is available by calling the Provider Support Line at (866) 569-3522, for TTY dial 711. Hours of operation are 8:00 am–10:00 pm CT, Monday through Friday.

RCPA will continue to monitor this new round of funding and update members on the implementation process. If you have questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Source: Spotlight PA, Sept. 29, 2021

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania legislature unanimously voted Wednesday to extend dozens of regulatory waivers put into place last year to help health-care providers fight COVID-19.

Without action, the waivers would have expired Thursday, potentially exacerbating ongoing staffing crises in hospitals and long-term care institutions, which are again facing rising COVID-19 cases. Health-care workers and their advocates had warned any lapse in the relaxed rules would have renewed administrative burdens and made fighting the ongoing pandemic more difficult.

Wednesday’s action will keep the waivers in place until March 2022 while the legislature considers a number of bills that would make the regulatory suspensions permanent. Gov. Tom Wolf will sign the bill.

“The governor is thankful the legislature engaged the administration and stakeholders and ultimately agreed with most of the administration’s recommendations on extending COVID-19-related waivers that are still in use,” spokesperson Lyndsay Kensinger said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Wolf approved nearly 100 waivers to ease some of the rules governing health-care workers and ensure as many professionals as possible were on the ground in hospitals, vaccination clinics, and long-term care facilities.

The temporary changes were made under a disaster declaration that later became a target for legislative Republicans unhappy with the administration’s business closures.

Buoyed by two successful constitutional amendments that curtailed the executive’s power, the GOP-controlled General Assembly ended Wolf’s emergency order in June, while allowing the waivers to remain in place until Sept. 30.

Under the bill passed Wednesday, all suspensions under the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs will remain in place until March unless Wolf and the agencies decide to terminate them sooner.

Among the waivers extended are those allowing out-of-state practitioners to treat patients in Pennsylvania, permitting retired or lapsed professionals to return to medicine, and expanding who can give a vaccine.

The waivers also allow patients to access care via telemedicine, which as of now is neither allowed nor prohibited in Pennsylvania law, creating a gray area for health-care providers and insurance companies.

Lawmakers have introduced bills in both the House and Senate to provide rules and regulations surrounding telemedicine, but past efforts have broken down over partisan disagreements. Wolf vetoed a telemedicine bill last year because it would have prevented health-care providers from prescribing abortion-inducing medicine.

As a number of other bills that would make regulatory suspensions permanent await consideration, two removing administrative barriers for physician assistants passed Wednesday.

The Joint State Government Commission is studying the impact of the waivers and which should stay in place to remove barriers to employment in the state. Glenn Pasewicz, executive director of the committee, said a report should be out by late October.

Separately, lawmakers on Wednesday directed various state agencies to post a report listing which waivers were and were not extended by Nov. 1.


RCPA will continue its efforts with DHS to determine the status of any waivers that may not fall under this regulatory extension. Please contact your RCPA Policy Director if you have any questions.