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Criminal Justice

The Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association (PRA) would like to encourage you to recognize an employee, boss, co-worker, organization, employer or individual who you feel is doing an outstanding job in the field of rehabilitation. Please read over the PRA Award categories. We would also like to highlight an additional award that was added a few years ago called the PRA Business Award to recognize employers who have demonstrated achievement in recruiting, hiring, and retaining persons with disabilities.

If you would like to submit a PRA Award nomination, please complete the nomination form and submit by email or mail by November 1 to:

Bonnie Bluett, Co-Chairperson
PRA Awards Committee
49 Park Street
Seven Valleys, PA 17360

If you look over our PRA Awards history on the PRA website, you will be inspired to see the names of so many dedicated rehabilitation professionals, and we would like to encourage you to recognize some additional candidates! If you have any questions, please call Bonnie Bluett at 717-515-4995. Thank you for taking the time to submit a nomination and recognize someone in the field of rehabilitation.

Bonnie Bluett, PRA Awards Co-Chairperson

Message from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): 

New action will protect patients of the 50,000 providers and over 17 million health care workers in Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities

The Biden-Harris Administration will require COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities to protect both them and patients from the virus and its more contagious Delta variant. Facilities across the country should make efforts now to get health care staff vaccinated to make sure they are in compliance when the rule takes effect.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that emergency regulations requiring vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The decision was based on the continued and growing spread of the virus in health care settings, especially in parts of the U.S. with higher incidence of COVID-19.

“There is no higher priority for us than patient health and safety. As the Delta variant strengthens, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to keep patients, and those who care for them, safe,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “There is no question that staff, across any health care setting, who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. Ensuring safety and access to all patients, regardless of their entry point into the health care system, is essential.”

Nursing homes with an overall staff vaccination rate of 75% or lower experience higher rates of preventable COVID infection. In CMS’s review of available data, the agency is seeing lower staff vaccination rates among hospital and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities. To combat this issue, CMS is using its authority to establish vaccine requirements for all providers and suppliers that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Vaccinations have proven to reduce the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and are effective against the Delta variant.  CMS will continue to work closely with all Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities to ensure these new requirements are met.

“We know that those working in health care want to do what is best for their patients in order to keep them safe,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “As the Delta variant continues to spread, we know the best defense against it lies with the COVID-19 vaccine. Data show that the higher the level of vaccination rates among providers and staff, the lower the infection rate is among patients who are dependent upon them for care. Now is the time to act. I’m urging everyone, but especially those fighting this virus on the front lines, to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families, and their patients from COVID-19.”

CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued in October. CMS expects certified Medicare and Medicaid facilities to act in the best interest of patients and staff by complying with new COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Health care workers employed in these facilities who are not currently vaccinated are urged to begin the process immediately. Facilities are urged to use all available resources to support employee vaccinations, including employee education and clinics, as they work to meet new federal requirements.


Please note that RCPA is working diligently with the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Office in order to obtain clarification of the above information. In this way, we will be able to fully understand the impact of this expansion. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

The National Disability Rights Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities will be hosting the 2021 Disability Vote Summit on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, from 12:00 pm–4:00 pm EST.

At the virtual summit, they will explore:

  • The power of the disability vote
  • Lessons learned from 2020 turnout
  • How to use data to mobilize the disability vote

Confirmed presenters include representatives from the National Disability Rights Network, the National Federation of the Blind, SABE Go Voter Project, and more! Join national disability advocates, state and local organizers, policymakers, and others who are working to get out the disability vote.

If you have any questions, please contact Lilian Aluri or Jack Rosen.

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

As you participate in our 2021 Conference Leading in 2021, be sure to hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Meg Snead, Maryland Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health Dr. Aliya Jones, and a Delaware state leader who is TBD, in a session moderated by Chuck Ingoglia of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. This will be held on Tuesday, September 28, at 4:30 pm. The state leaders will discuss statewide initiatives, federal policy implications, and the impact on providers and service provision as we navigate through the phases of the pandemic.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register! For individual registration, please visit here. If registering for a group, please visit here. Please note that all presenters will be registered by RCPA. Our early bird registration has been extended until Friday, September 10, 2021.

RCPA, Community Behavioral Health of Maryland (MDCBH), and the Ability Network of Delaware (A.N.D.) are pleased to open registration for our virtual conference, Leading in 2021: Hoping, Healing, Helping, September 28 – October 1. RCPA, MDCBH, A.N.D. staff, and the Conference Committee have worked tirelessly to create an exciting event that has something for everyone. Early bird registration has been extended until Friday, September 10, 2021.

For individual registration, please visit here. If registering for a group, please visit here. Please note that all presenters will be registered by RCPA.

Workshops are now posted, so be sure to see what’s in store for this year’s conference! With more than 50 continuing education (CE) hours, attendees will be able to fulfill licensing cycle required education in just a few days! In addition to live sessions, there are several on-demand sessions that offer critical topics and information. These on-demand sessions are currently being posted to our website and will be completed shortly, so be on the lookout for more information! You can make a payment for CE credits at the time of registration or log in and pay during the event.

You Don’t Want To Miss These General Sessions!

  • Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and Gabrielle Sedor, COO and Foundation Director for ANCOR will discuss the strengthening of Medicaid, the effects of COVID on business, and the workforce crisis.
  • Nic Sheff, award-winning author and son featured in the film Beautiful Boy, will share his journey from addiction through recovery, and the impact on his world and family.
  • Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Med Snead and Delaware Human Services Leaders will discuss the state of their states, moderated by Chuck Ingoglia.
  • A review of the need for equity in service provision and establishing a comprehensive continuum of care for people with severe autism – parent and professional panel.
  • Deborah Riddick will present, as she is a public policy expert with more than 25 years of experience advancing nursing practice, health equity and community engagement initiatives in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and Oregon.
  • Sara Canaday, Leadership strategist, speaker and author of “Leadership Unchained: Defy Conventional Wisdom for Breakthough Performance,” will share her insights on this managing employee’s needs for flexibility while delivering results and satisfying client needs, along with her valuable advice for leaders who are feeling stretched to the limits.
  • Graham Hetrick, television star and Dauphin County coroner, will discuss what he has learned from people who have died from addiction and how he “speaks” for the dead in his television series.
  • Natalia La Duca is a national speaker on neurodiversity, employment, and becoming an ally.
  • Returning with new information, conference favorite Attorney Mike Cohen, partner at Duane Morris LLP, will discuss A Workplace Built for 2021 and Beyond: examining diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and implicit bias.

Our virtual conference can be viewed on any device. Find Connections Hall sponsors and exhibitors, hear about endeavors and innovations, and learn how they can help you. Go for the points to win one of 10 prizes!

Finally, we are creating some entertaining break and after-hour events, which offer informal networking opportunities for our attendees. There will be some fun competition with exciting prizes.

Visit the RCPA Conference website for specific updates to the schedule, posted as they become finalized.