Authors Posts by Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp


This week’s resource update includes quick-links, hotlines, and detailed instructions to help you better serve families in preventing and reporting child abuse. For additional kinship related resources and tips, please visit www.kinconnector.org or call 866-546-2111 for support.

Child Abuse Prevention and Resource Links:

Thank you again for partnering with us to prevent child abuse and help families thrive!

Your team at PA KinConnector

Bored and confused little boy sitting in a white chair with his teddy bear, looking at a woman in front of him

In response to recent departmental updates, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports is releasing updated Early Intervention (EI) COVID resource materials, including FAQ, a flow chart for selecting Service Delivery Strategies, and a COVID screener for in-person EI services.

Highlights of the changes in the materials updated include:

  • Tele-intervention can continue to be used as a safe and effective Service Delivery Strategy when it best meets the needs for children and their families.
  • Families may request to resume their in-home (in-person) services but still must abide by the universal mask order and screening protocols.
  • The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams should problem solve how to support the request.
  • Changes to the materials are not guidance related to location of service but rather guidance regarding services that the team determined to be in-home.

Below are the following resource materials:

To respond to these changes, local program leaders will need to remove any decision-making procedures, beyond screening and abiding by the universal mask order, which would prevent families from receiving in-person service delivery. Everyone should continue to practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene.

If you have additional questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) will host a statewide Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) webinar on May 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm–3:00 pm. The webinar will include helpful tips and reminders regarding Fee For Service prior authorization instructions, licensing and regulatory requirements, and department approved IBHS training. Questions regarding the webinar may be directed to the IBHS.

Please register here for the IBHS Updates webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any question for the webinar, please forward them to RCPA Children’s Policy Director Jim Sharp.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) has updated and released its Complex Case Bulletin and Referral Form. The Complex Case Planning Bulletin was originally disseminated in October 2020. Implementation of the bulletin has been continuously evaluated, and edits were made in coordination with program offices and the Complex Behavioral Health Steering Team to increase consistency and quality of planning. The bulletin provides a detailed overview for providers and county agencies on the county, regional, and state processes for planning these cases.

Please view the Complex Case Planning Bulletin and CY 1003. These documents can also be accessed at the DHS website.

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

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

The Office of Children Youth & Families (OCYF) has released a communication outlining the OCYF Title IV–E Invoicing system upgraded on April 12, 2021 to address changes that have been implemented due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. These changes are specifically addressing the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on older youth in placement. This communication is being sent in advance of the patch release in order to provide counties with an opportunity to review the changes and make any necessary modifications to their processes. Only Foster Care (CY–63 FC) invoices are impacted by these changes.

To view the full communication, please view the link here. These changes will be implemented on April 12, 2021 and are retroactive to April 1, 2020.

If you have any questions, please email OCYF or contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

Please SAVE THE DATE for the next OMHSAS Provider / Provider Affiliate / Advocate / Consumer / Family Member stakeholder meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

This webinar will be directed towards Providers, Provider Associations and Consumers, Family Members, and Advocate stakeholders. The next webinar for Counties and County Affiliates is scheduled for Friday, April 9, 2021 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. We ask stakeholders to join in only one monthly meeting, whichever one that would best suit their interests.

If you have suggestions for agenda topics, please submit them via email to OMHSAS by close of business on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. We will monitor the account and will reply to the sender if more information is needed. Please be advised that responses will not be provided if additional information is not needed.

Below is the webinar registration info for the April 2021 Provider / Provider Affiliate / Advocate / Consumer / Family Member Webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 3:00 pm. Please register for OMHSAS Provider/Advocate Stakeholder Meeting on Apr 20, 2021 3:00 PM EDT here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

3D illustration of "TELEHEALTH" title on medical documents. Medical concept.

Pandemic Era Use of Telehealth Procedures in Pennsylvania

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 had a dramatic impact on the practice of behavioral health and other social services, which led many agencies to provide some or all their services via telehealth procedures. It has been reported that 80% of all behavioral health visits in the pandemic era have been virtual, with Medicare claims for telehealth services increasing from 13,000 per week to 1.4 million per week.

To gain Pennsylvania specific information regarding the use of telehealth procedures, RCPA, in partnership with Woods Services, surveyed members that utilized telehealth as part of their behavioral health and consumer engagement strategies during the pandemic. After a year of implementing telehealth as a primary mode of service delivery, the responses support the initial success of this modality – although there are ongoing challenges.

The survey data went through a detailed analysis by Woods Services, and an outcomes analysis report was developed that viewed the intersection of practitioner, consumer, and payer operational and fiscal metrics. The Executive Summary and Policy Recommendations provide a supportive foundation for RCPA’s ongoing efforts in creating a sustainable telehealth platform that will ensure equity and access to quality care in PA.

Please see the Full Report and the Executive Summary for review. For more information, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant team is pleased to announce a free virtual suicide prevention training series, which will begin next Tuesday, April 6, 2021. This is a repeated series with the same offerings from the spring and fall of 2020. Additional information and registration can be accessed by visiting this web page.

See the flyer for series details. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Policy Director Jim Sharp.