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Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Our colleagues at ASERT share important information and advice each month through their regular newsletter. In their most recent issue, ASERT offers suggestions for families that may be planning trips and vacations for the summer months ahead, noting that Pennsylvania has over 10 amusement parks designed for maximum family fun. Autism service providers and families, as well as those who work with and care for special needs children, know that sometimes these venues can be overwhelming and stressful for all involved. Some of the suggestions provided for families and for adults that are supporting and supervising children are to:

  • Call Ahead: Many parks offer special programs to individuals with special needs and their families.
  • Map it Out: Before arriving, be sure to review a map of the park and note where things like restrooms and quiet areas are so that you can access them easily when needed.
  • Pack Smart: Amusement parks can be loud and chaotic at times. If someone has sensitivities to noises, be sure to pack headphones, ear plugs, or other items to help them manage the environment.
  • Go Early or Late: Some parks offer “preview” packages or discounted admissions for arriving later in the day.

Read the full article on “Amusement Park Tips” as well as other information that supports the work of community providers of autism services and the families of individuals with autism – and consider signing up for regular ASERT updates.

Your feedback is greatly needed. The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its final overtime rule which increases the threshold related to the overtime exemption. This has caused great concern among RCPA members as there is no additional funding being proposed to cover the cost of this change. RCPA will be submitting testimony and testifying in front of the Senate Labor and Industry and Senate Appropriations Committees on Tuesday, June 21 regarding this issue. In preparation for this important Senate hearing, we are asking members to complete this SURVEY no later than Wednesday, June 15, so that we have data to present in addition to our concerns.

If you have already taken the survey, you do not need to provide feedback again. We appreciate your attention and input regarding this very important issue. Thank you.

Please contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips with any questions.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) just announced their decision to lengthen the transition time for the start of the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program. The first phase (southwest part of the state) was originally scheduled to be implemented on January 1, 2017. The implementation date of phase one has now been changed to begin July 1, 2017.

The decision to extend the start date allows more time for the 420,000 Pennsylvanians who will ultimately benefit from CHC to understand the program adjustments that will occur, including how access to and receipt of home- and community-based services will be improved.

All other established CHC timeframes will remain the same. The selection of managed care companies, changes in the Commonwealth’s information technology systems, and other changes are still proceeding on the same timeframe. The implementation of phases two and three (the southeast and remainder of the Commonwealth) also remain on the previously announced timelines of 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Dear Colleagues:

We are excited to announce that we have received 14 responses to the recent request for proposal (RFP) issued for Community Health Choices (CHC). This vital program will allow the departments of Human Services and Aging to serve more Pennsylvanians in their communities and allow consumers to have an active voice in the services they receive.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule in the May 4, 2016 Federal Register that updates health care facilities’ fire protection guidelines to improve protections from fire for Medicare beneficiaries in facilities.

The new guidelines apply to hospitals; long-term care (LTC) facilities; critical access hospitals; inpatient hospice facilities; programs for all-inclusive care for the elderly; religious non-medical health care institutions; ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs); and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF-IID). This rule adopts updated provisions of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code, as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code.

Some of the main provisions in the final rule include:

  • Health care facilities located in buildings that are taller than 75 feet are required to install automatic sprinkler systems within twelve years after the rule’s effective date;
  • Health care facilities are required to have a fire watch or building evacuation if their sprinkler system is out of service for more than ten hours;
  • The provisions offer LTC facilities greater flexibility in what they can place in corridors;
  • Fireplaces will be permitted in smoke compartments without a one hour fire wall rating;
  • Cooking facilities now may have an opening to the hallway corridor;
  • For ASCs, all doors to hazardous areas must be self-closing or must close automatically; and
  • Expanded sprinkler requirements for ICF-IIDs.

Health care providers affected by this rule must comply with all regulations within 60 days of the May 4, 2016 publication date, unless otherwise specified in the final rule.

RCPA will host its annual conference at the Hershey Lodge on September 27–30, 2016. 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:

  1. 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. Up to three awards may be given in any year.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Monday, May 16. 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.