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Govt. Affairs

On June 19, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed and codified the Employment First Law and established the Employment First Law for people with disabilities. Attached are the 2021 Employment First Annual Report and the 2020 Employment First Oversight Commission Report.

Additionally, the Employment First Oversight Commission Leadership beginning January 27, 2021 has been named. We are proud that RCPA member Steve Suroviec, President/CEO, Achieva, is the chair of the commission. The leadership positions are:

A link to these reports is also available on the Department of Labor & Industry’s Department of Labor & Industry’s website, under the “Employment First Act Documents & Reports” heading. Additional information or alternate formats of the reports may be obtained by contacting Edward M. Butler, OLTL Employment Specialist via email or phone (717-214-3718).

Image by Katja Fuhlert from Pixabay

The Wolf Administration has released a new order effective today to increase the administration of vaccine dosages received; ensure ease of scheduling appointments; reinforce specific reporting by vaccine providers; and ensure accountability in providers’ adherence to vaccine priorities. Key messaging around the order and specifics can be found in the order. A frequently asked questions document can be accessed here.

HARRISBURG (January 22, 2021) — Governor Wolf announced today that he has nominated Alison Beam as the next Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Beam will succeed Dr. Rachel Levine, who was recently selected by President Biden as his Assistant Secretary of Health.

With many years of experience in the health care arena, one of Acting Secretary Beam’s first priorities will be executing the Department of Health COVID vaccination plan. Prior to her nomination as the Secretary of Health, Ms. Beam served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf.

RCPA President and CEO Richard S. Edley commented, “Acting Secretary Beam’s work with policy development, legislative initiatives, communications, and stakeholder engagement involving multiple state agencies will prove invaluable in helping Pennsylvania move forward to combat the current COVID crisis and all of its far-reaching implications for the health and human services community. As all PA citizens know, focus on and success in this area will be critical. RCPA extends our sincere congratulations and we are very optimistic as to what the future holds for this administration, and for the Commonwealth as a whole.”

Read the Governor’s official press release here.

About the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA):
With well over 350 members, the majority of who serve over 1 million Pennsylvanians annually, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) is among the largest and most diverse state health and human services trade associations in the nation. RCPA provider members offer mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging services, through all settings and levels of care. Visit www.paproviders.org for more information.

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On Friday, December 4, the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats introduced a state-level $4 billion COVID-19 pandemic relief proposal.

The Democrats’ proposal — titled the “Pennsylvania Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2021,” or “PA CARES 21” for short — aims to fund existing pandemic relief programs and establish new ones by taking out emergency debt and tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The proposal targets areas such as unemployment compensation, small business relief, education, and housing assistance.

If adopted, the Senate Democrats’ PA CARES 21 plan would fund the following by both allocating money toward existing programs and establishing new relief programs in previously unaddressed areas:

  • $1 billion in unemployment benefits;
  • $800 million in business assistance;
  • $594 million in local government assistance;
  • $411 million toward education (including higher education, Pre-K, and basic education);
  • $318 million toward Department of Human Services programs;
  • $180 million in transportation funding;
  • $135 million toward hazard pay;
  • $100 million in housing assistance;
  • $100 million toward hospitals;
  • $100 million in utility assistance;
  • $75 million toward child care;
  • $50 million toward food security efforts;
  • $25 million for personal protective equipment and vaccines; and
  • $15 million in mental health funding.

Senate Democrats hope to begin negotiating the details of the package as soon as possible, but it may experience heavy resistance from Senate Republicans, who have the majority in the Senate.