Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

In this year of challenging state-level budget negotiations, RCPA is working with a coalition of community foundations, United Way organizations, Labor Unions, religious and advocacy groups, and other key stakeholders in the #FamilyFirstPA Coalition. The growing list of coalition members can be viewed on the #FamilyFirstPA#FamilyFirstPA website. The main goal of the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign is to ensure that there are no cuts to human services in upcoming 2017/2018 state budget. Cuts to human services not only cause irreparable damage to Pennsylvania families, but they also have adverse impacts on organizations that our families rely on. Sharing family stories via social media was the first phase of this campaign. Now, we need your support to push our efforts to the next level. As a coalition partner, RCPA is encouraging our members to amplify the work of the coalition by making use of the social media resources created by this initiative for the coalition. Engage with #FamilyFirstPA on social media; “Like” us on Facebook and “follow us” on Twitter. The initiative is now sharing family stories from across Pennsylvania and engaging legislators through our posts and tweets. Encourage your staff, families, other organizations, county and state level stakeholders, to like and follow the campaign as well.

Any questions about the work of the #FamilyFirstPA Coalition can be directed to Connell O’Brien, who is serving as liaison between RCPA and the #FamilyFirstPA initiative.

Join MITC and RCPA on Thursday, June 1, 2017, 10:30 am, at Penn Grant Centre (RCPA) for a special presentation on Workforce Management Priorities for Physical Disabilities and Aging (PD&A) Division members.

MITC has over 25 years of experience working with agencies that serve individuals with disabilities and seniors. MITC has created solutions designed to help agencies operate more efficiently, including:

  • Time and Attendance
  • Staff & Client Scheduling
  • HR Solutions
  • Service Documentation
  • EVV compliance and more!

MITC is pleased to be presenting on the morning of the upcoming PD&A Division meeting on how Pennsylvania providers can benefit from effective and efficient workforce management throughout their organizations. Learn about workforce management best practices for Home and Community-Based Services, how new regulations could impact your agency, and how to prepare for Community HealthChoices.

This presentation is also an opportunity for your organization to provide input to MITC about your workforce management challenges as you prepare for the transition to Managed Long-Term Services and Supports in Pennsylvania. We look forward to hearing from you!

Register now to join in on this educational and networking event. There will be a break for lunch on your own prior to the PD&A Division meeting at 1:00 pm. Register here for the PD&A Division meeting.

In the May 13, 2017 PA Bulletin, the Department of Human Services (Department) made available for public review and comment the Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania.

The Department is complying with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) requirement that states draft and implement a written quality strategy for assessing and improving the quality of health care and services furnished by managed care organizations that have a contract with the Department. As a result, the Department has developed the Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania, which discusses the various quality improvement initiatives the Department has implemented to increase the quality of care for individuals receiving services through its managed care programs. The Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania is not intended to comprehensively describe all the activities that the Department undertakes to assure the quality of care rendered to individuals who are receiving services through managed care programs.

The Department’s quality strategy will be used to assure that the contractors that are implementing the Department’s managed care programs are in compliance with the terms of their agreements with the Department and have committed resources to meet the following: to perform monitoring and ongoing quality improvement; to contribute to the improvement of health for the populations they serve; and to incorporate new programmatic changes to assure that the individuals they serve have timely access to high-quality care.

The Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania will include programs and initiatives within the following:

  • The Office of Medical Assistance Programs, Bureau of Managed Care Operations;
  • The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services;
  • The Office of Long-Term Living Community HealthChoices;
  • CHIP; and
  • Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP).

The Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania can be viewed here and interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding the Medical Assistance Quality Strategy for Pennsylvania to the Department via email. Comments received within 30 days must be reviewed and considered before the Quality Strategy is submitted to CMS for review.

Persons with a disability who require an auxiliary aid or service may submit comments using the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 800-654-5984 (TDD users) or 800-654-5988 (voice users).

The Department of Human Services has released a timeline for transitions to Community HealthChoices (CHC), which is a managed care program that will better coordinate the way participants receive their physical health services and long-term services and supports (LTSS). The goal is to serve more people in their homes and their communities. CHC will serve Medicaid participants 21 years of age or older who also receive Medicare, need LTSS in their home or community, or are in nursing facilities. Today, there are five waivers in which participants receive LTSS. In the future there will be two waivers.

CHC: will serve participants currently in the Aging, Attendant Care, Independence, and COMMCARE waivers. OBRA participants who are nursing facility clinically eligible will also move to CHC.

OBRA Waiver: will continue to serve participants 18 years of age and older who have a severe developmental disability requiring the level of care provided in an intermediate care facility/other related conditions (often referred to as ICF/ORC).

What will happen?

  • Since CHC only serves participants 21 years of age and older, participants in the Attendant Care and Independence waivers who are between 18 to 20 years of age will be enrolled in the OBRA Waiver to receive LTSS services.
  • The OBRA Waiver will provide the same services available in Attendant Care and Independence waivers.
  • It is DHS’ priority to ensure that participants’ services are not impacted in any way.

When will this happen?
Southwest Zone: August 2017 to October 2017
Southeast Zone: February 2018 to May 2018
Remaining Zones: August 2018 to October 2018

What will happen?

  • The COMMCARE Waiver will end December 31, 2017. Any new applicants who would have been eligible for the COMMCARE Waiver after September 1, 2017, will be eligible for and enrolled in the Independence Waiver.
  • This means that participants who are receiving services in the COMMCARE Waiver who do not live in the Southwest Zone will be enrolled in the Independence Waiver before December 31, 2017.
  • It is DHS’ priority to ensure that participants’ services are not impacted in any way.

When will this happen?
COMMCARE Waiver participants residing outside of the Southwest Zone will be enrolled in the Independence Waiver by their service coordinators between July 2017 and November 2017.

COMMCARE participants in the Southwest Zone will transition to CHC on January 1, 2018.

What will happen?

  • OBRA Waiver participants whose level of care determination was completed before November 18, 2016, will get an assessment to determine their eligibility for CHC. Those determined ineligible for CHC will remain in OBRA.
  • DHS is working with the Area Agencies on Aging, service coordinators, and providers to ensure assessments are completed in a timely manner. Participants will be contacted by their Area Agency on Aging to schedule a time for the assessor to meet with them to go through the assessment process. 

When will this happen?
Southwest Zone: May 2017 to August 2017
Southeast Zone: October 2017 to February 2018
Remaining Zones: April 2018 to August 2018

*There are no additional transitions for Aging Waiver participants. Aging Waiver participants will simply transition to CHC when CHC begins in their zones.

RCPA will host its annual conference at the Hershey Lodge on October 10–13, 2017. At this large-scale, statewide event, the RCPA board of directors wants to continue the important tradition of recognizing individuals and organizations/facilities for their dedication and commitment to service. The following award categories have been created for this event and recognition:

  • RCPA Innovation Award. Presented to an individual or organization in recognition of significant innovation. Examples include cross-systems integration, physical/behavioral health integration, and implementation of new technologies.
  • Exemplary Service to RCPA Award. Presented to an individual or organization/facility that has shown a strong commitment and dedication in service to the association, its members, and related issues.
  • Legislative Leadership Award. Presented to an individual who has shown significant leadership and commitment to government affairs and legislative issues, on behalf of RCPA and its members.
  • Community Leadership Award. Presented to an individual in recognition of extending service and knowledge to the community at large, and efforts in helping the community understand the needs of individuals served by RCPA members. This can be for specific or short-term significant acts, or to recognize a career-long body of work.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented to an individual in honor of his/her significant, consistent, and enduring contribution throughout his/her career in support and furthering of the field.

At this time, RCPA is accepting nominations through an open solicitation of members (e.g., designated contact person, CEOs/executive directors, staff) and RCPA committees. Members may nominate one or more individuals/organizations in one or more categories. Nominations will be reviewed by a sub-group of the board of directors to make recommendations for final selection and approval by the full board.

Include the name/organization (if applicable) of the nominee, the award category, and a statement about why you believe the individual/organization should be honored. Nominations should be made by Friday, June 2, 2017. Please send nominations to Cindy Lloyd.

Award recipients are not limited to RCPA members and every award may not be presented annually. Please join the association in continuing this tradition and in offering nominations for those who deserve recognition for their significant contributions.

RCPA has joined the many community organizations across Pennsylvania that are now participants in the #FamilyFirstPA Coalition. #FamilyFirstPA is a campaign committed to enabling families to advocate for themselves in the ongoing effort to protect human services in the state budget process. The project works with provider, advocacy, faith-based, and community organizations to identify FAMILIES and provide social media platforms for them to share their stories of the challenges they face and the critical support their family has received from community services that rely on state and county funding. While these families may not know about funding streams, waivers, etc., they know what a difference critical human services are making in the lives of their families. In the current phase of the project, #FamilyFirstPA is seeking and interviewing families in four regions:

  • Lehigh Valley: Berks, Lehigh, Northampton Counties
  • Southeast: Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware Counties
  • South Central: Dauphin, Lancaster, York Counties
  • Southwest: Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland Counties

More information about the project can be found online and providers and families are encouraged to “like,” participate in, and “follow” #FamilyFirstPA on Facebook and Twitter.

On March 17, the Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury announced that the official launch of its PA Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program will occur on Monday, April 3, 2017, at a media and legislative event in the Capitol Rotunda at 12:30 pm. On that date, the PA Treasury ABLE program officially begins accepting accounts for enrollment and opens the door on hope for individuals with disabilities and the families who care for those loved ones. Kathleen F. McGrath, Esq., PA Savings Programs Director, invites stakeholders to join Treasurer Joe Torsella, US Senator Robert Casey, and PA Senator Lisa Baker as ABLE officially opens for business.

Pennsylvanians with eligible disabilities are about to receive the tools they need to build a sound fiscal future. ABLE accounts mean a new, fresh perspective on what living as a financially empowered individual can mean. A PA ABLE account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. Federal and state law authorized the creation of PA ABLE accounts; additional information is available online.

The Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury welcomes the attendance of all stakeholders. Attendees are asked to RSVP with your name and the number you are bringing with you by March 30, 2017. Additional details will be provided to you once you RSVP your attendance.

Stakeholders are invited to share this information with anyone who has a stake in the successful launch of this new product. While program material will be available at the launch event, PA ABLE asks that requests for bulk material and outreach or speaking opportunities are sent by email. The more people who know about this program and what it means to be ABLE to look to living a secured future, the better.

In addition, PA ABLE invites stakeholders to share stories of those who are going to benefit from the ABLE account by contacting them by March 24, 2017. Ms. McGrath also invites stakeholders to follow the Twitter handle @PATreasury for the latest updates, and help drive the conversation with the hashtag #PAABLE.