Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is happy to announce the publication of the Communication and… series with over 25 different diagnoses included! The goal of this series is to provide information on how each diagnosis could impact communication and offer strategies to support effective communication.

This series can be found here.

Please contact the ODP, Special Populations Unit with any questions.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has planned a special open-door forum to discuss the final rule that was released on November 20, 2020. This final rule clarified the regulations that interpret the federal physician self-referral law (known as the Stark Law). It supports CMS’s “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative by reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens on physicians and other health care providers. It also reinforces the Stark Law’s goal of protecting patients from unnecessary services and the practice of being led to less convenient, lower quality, or more expensive services because of a physician’s financial self-interest. This final rule will be published in the December 2, 2020 Federal Register.

Agenda topics for this special call include:

  • Exceptions that Facilitate the Transition to Value-Based Care Delivery and Payment Arrangements
  • New Guidance and Clarifications Related to Key Terminology of the Stark Law
  • Flexibilities to Enhance Compliance and Reduce Burden

This open-door forum will be held on December 2, 2020 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Time. To participate, use the information below:

Dial-In Number: 1-888-455-1397

Participant Passcode ID #: 2037400

A transcript and audio recording of this open-door forum will be posted to the Podcast and Transcripts webpage.

ODP Organized Health Care Delivery Systems Training for Supports Coordination Organization Leadership and Administrative Entities

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is pleased to announce a training opportunity for supports coordination organizations (SCOs) and administrative entity (AE) leadership to learn more about the new language outlined in Appendix K that allows SCOs to become willing and qualified Organized Health Care Delivery Systems (OHCDS) training providers.

Read the full article here.

Photo by Sebastian Spindler on Unsplash

A Message from Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care:

On November 13, 2020, Dr. Gregory Cherpes, the Medical Director for Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), presented a webinar in which he provided an update on COVID-19 and holiday safety. During the webinar, we learned that COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the US! In April 2020, the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported in any one day was 2000. Current data is now showing that 5000 cases have been reported in one day, and this trend is expected to continue. At this time, our hospital capacity is not exhausted, but we are reaching a dangerous point, especially as we approach the holiday season. To keep you and your loved ones safe during the holidays, Dr. Cherpes stated, “The safest way to celebrate the holidays this year is to celebrate with people in your household.” Take into consideration the following points:

  • The duration or length of your celebration. Shorter celebrations can prevent viral transmission.
  • The number of people who are attending; smaller gatherings are safer than larger gatherings.
  • Where are people traveling from? County transmission rates vary, so stay informed of yours.
  • Are people wearing masks, washing their hands, and staying socially distant?

Consider alternative ways to celebrate the holidays this year such as virtual parties or remote game nights.

During this pandemic, we have also learned that an individual with an intellectual disability is three times as likely to suffer from complications and death from COVID-19 in comparison to the rest of the population. Learn more from The New York Times, Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care, and AID in PA.

Happy holidays! Stay safe and healthy!

Washington, DC * November 18, 2020 – Today the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the official launch of the AskUSDA Contact Center program. The AskUSDA Contact Center will serve as the “one front door” for phone, chat, and web inquires. It will transform how the public interacts with USDA and provide an enhanced experience for the public.

Prior to the creation and implementation of AskUSDA, members of the public had to navigate dozens of phone numbers and had no chat function or online platform for self-service. This situation created frustrations and inefficiencies. AskUSDA was created to make USDA more responsive to the public by providing a single destination for phone, chat, and web inquiries. Whether it’s talking to a USDA representative via phone, chatting with a live agent on our website, or communicating with USDA via email, the public will have streamlined access.

The launch of AskUSDA delivers a centralized contact center that offers customer service and consistent information for the public. With over 29 agencies and offices, USDA’s mission impacts every single person in the US and hundreds of millions around the globe. AskUSDA assures that farmers, researchers, travelers, parents, and more have efficient access to the information and resources that they need.

AskUSDA is set up to handle common questions across programs that service a variety of audiences. For example, customers who may have basic questions about USDA’s nutrition services can be assisted via phone, email, and web chat by trained AskUSDA representatives. Meanwhile, customers who may have complicated questions about loan programs can be quickly connected to agency experts. AskUSDA also hosts over 5,000 articles for a self-service option to help with more common questions such as food safety inquiries or pet-travel guidance.

Over the course of its pilot program, AskUSDA successfully assisted with over 93,000 citizen inquiries, and the AskUSDA website received over 1.4 million knowledge article page views. USDA looks forward to continuing to implement this enhanced best-in-class contact center across the department.

The public can contact AskUSDA by phone at (833) ONE-USDA. Representatives are available from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on weekdays. The website is available 24/7 and includes live chat agents who are available from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm EST on weekdays. Inquiries can also be sent via email at any time.