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Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Health (DOH) today shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app, as more than 790,000 have already done to aid in contact tracing efforts. There are 40 counties in the substantial level of COVID-19 transmission rate.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable, and efficient.

Frequently asked questions can be found here.

By Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA - First Lady Frances Wolf, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52622610

Pennsylvania’s First Lady, Frances Wolf, has announced an initiative; One Lens: Sharing our Common Views, a virtual photo and storytelling exhibition that gives all Pennsylvanians the opportunity to share their COVID-19 experiences throughout the past year. This is an invitation to send photos and/or audio submissions to be shared in this virtual exhibition.

This is an opportunity for visibility and to share the important stories of people with intellectual disabilities/autism, their families, direct support professionals, nurses, respiratory therapists, and our providers, in this larger story about the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

Photo submissions will be accepted through March 8 and audio submissions (stories) will be accepted through March 15. The final product will be shared virtually on March 19, 2021. For more information about the exhibition, how to make submissions, and participate, visit this web page.

Deputy Secretary Kristin Ahrens has asked that we share this and encourage individuals and families, providers, and all of our stakeholders to share photos and stories that reflect the unique challenges and experiences we’ve all navigated over the past year. For additional information, see this press release.

The Commonwealth recently announced (access the press release here) the selection of a vendor for the Resource Information and Services Enterprise – or RISE PA – the upcoming statewide resource and referral tool. When fully implemented, anyone in Pennsylvania will be able to access this tool from their personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices to find information about services and resources and self-refer to participating social services agencies.

RISE PA will also allow service providers to assess the needs of individuals during a physician’s office or emergency department visit, when receiving case management services, or seeking assistance from a community organization, among others. Providers may refer their clients to agencies and be notified of the outcome of their referrals through the system.

RISE PA Stakeholder Webinars:

Lehigh/Capital Zone – Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry, and York counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 12, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Southeast Zone – Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 16, 2021 – 1:00 PM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Southwest Zone – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Green, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 19, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New West Zone – Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 23, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New East Zone – Bradford, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 30, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed another renewal of the state’s disaster declaration tied to the coronavirus pandemic, even as state lawmakers hope to curtail some of his broad powers in emergencies. On Friday, Wolf signed a 90-day extension of the disaster emergency, his fourth renewal of the proclamation. He signed the first order on March 6, the day the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Pennsylvania. View full article from PennLive.

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

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), with support from the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), is happy to release the OMHSAS Telehealth Survey Report. This telehealth survey was conducted in the Spring of 2020, during the initial onset of COVID-19. The results of the Telehealth Survey have allowed OMHSAS to hear directly from stakeholders and to better understand their experiences with – and access to – telehealth during these tumultuous and difficult times. The report is also available on OMHSAS’s Telehealth web page.

If you would like to contact OMHSAS about this report, please feel free to email them directly or contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Deadline, as Letters on a Clock

RCPA has teamed with Woods Services to further its strategic message and support of the telehealth expansion and the building of a sustainable service platform. The project goal is to utilize the information on the intersects of service delivery and payor dynamics as well as the practitioner and client engagement data to support our efforts on the federal and state levels.

We are requesting that our members complete this brief telehealth survey that will provide our first cut of the data that will go through analysis. Your agency’s individual responses will be confidential, and only aggregated information will be shared as part of the report. The survey will remain open for responses until February 22, 2021.

This survey has been expanded across the continuum of RCPA policy and human services, and we respectfully request that one survey be completed for each of those program areas in which you are providing telehealth.

The data we collect will be instrumental in our efforts with the Department of Human Services (DHS), managed care organizations, and other critical decision makers to ensure that telehealth has a place in your continuum of care.

If you have questions regarding the survey, please call the principal investigator, Dr. Scott Spreat, at 215-801-2401. All other inquires can be directed to RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Thank you.