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Policy Areas

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board, established under section 1252 of the Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C.A. § 300d-52), will hold their next virtual public meeting on August 6, 2021. Due to health concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the virtual public meeting will be held by means of Microsoft Teams from 9:00 am–1:00 pm.

Meeting materials will be sent out before the virtual public meeting. Contact Nicole Johnson with any questions. To join the Microsoft Teams virtual public meeting, call (267) 332-8737. The conference ID is 800547238#.

The Department of Health’s (DOH) Head Injury Program (HIP) strives to ensure that eligible individuals who have a TBI receive high quality rehabilitative services aimed at reducing functional limitations and improving quality of life. The Board assists the Department in understanding and meeting the needs of persons living with TBI and their families. This quarterly virtual public meeting will provide updates on a variety of topics, including the number of people served by HIP. In addition, meeting participants will discuss budgetary and programmatic issues, community programs relating to traumatic brain injury, and available advocacy opportunities.

For additional information, or for persons with a disability who wish to attend the virtual public meeting and require an auxiliary aid, service, or other accommodation to do so, contact Nicole Johnson, Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach at (717) 772-2763, or for speech and/or hearing-impaired persons, contact V/TT (717) 783-6514 or the Pennsylvania Hamilton Relay Service at (800) 654-5984.

Empty vintage congress hall with seats and microphones.

Update from ACCSES:

Yesterday, the House Education and Labor Committee Subcommittees on Workforce Protections and Civil Rights and Human Services held a joint hearing on “Phasing out Subminimum Wages: Supporting the Transition to Competitive Integrated Employment for Workers with Disabilities.”  This hearing was actually one of the best Congressional hearings we have watched on this topic — and we have seen many. We want to give a special shout-out to Dr. Matthew Putts, CEO of Employment Horizons in New Jersey for taking the time to serve as a witness and for bringing his expertise and eloquence to the table. It was a very interesting two hours. You can watch it here.


RCPA submitted a statement of our view of Community Rehabilitation Programs, and both Representative Keller and Congressman Thompson submitted RCPA’s statement into the record.  Congressman Thompson also spoke positively regarding RCPA members Venango Development and Training Center, Cambria County Association of the Blind, ICW and Progressive Workshop. We are certainly grateful for their support.

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Due to reported issues with TrainPA, DDAP has made changes to the following on-demand modules:

  • Drug and Alcohol Confidentiality
  • Case Management Overview

Because of these changes, users who registered for the previous versions will need to withdraw from the course(s) and register for the new version. When searching for the modules, only the new versions will be visible. Contact the DDAP Training Section with questions.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

ODP Announcement 21-055 describes how the ending of the Harry M. settlement agreement on July 29, 2021 impacts stakeholders. The Harry M. settlement agreement was approved by a federal court judge on August 20, 2013. This settlement agreement was created to ensure Pennsylvanians who are D/deaf and receive services/supports from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) are provided with necessary communication assistance services. The settlement also includes a requirement to provide communication assessments and reassessments to evaluate expressive and receptive language skills and make recommendations.

ODP will continue to meet all requirements that were imposed by the settlement; however, new D/deaf individuals that enroll in the Consolidated, Community Living, or Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) Waivers will not automatically be scheduled for an assessment. Class Members who previously received a Communication Assessment Report that recommended a reassessment will still receive their reassessment automatically.

Beginning July 30, 2021, when a D/deaf individual is enrolled in the Consolidated, Community Living, or P/FDS waiver, the Supports Coordinator (SC) is to check the “Harry M. Litigation” checkbox in the demographics screen in HCSIS. This indicator alerts the Deaf Services Coordinator of the individual.

Within 30 days of the individual being enrolled in an applicable waiver, the SC should contact the Deaf Services Coordinator for a consultation. This consultation will allow the Deaf Services Coordinator to recommend specific trainings and resources and an assessment, if applicable.

Note: Communication assessments are available in the waivers for adults age 21 and older through the Speech/Language Therapy service. For individuals age 20 or younger, communication assessments are available through Medical Assistance.

Please see the revised Supports Coordinators’ Guide to the Communication Assessment and Reassessment.