Policy Areas

Meeting Invitation: RCPA Announces Blitz Media DSP Recruiting and Ghosting & Retention and Culture Workshops

 Providers of service have long struggled with recruitment and retention of Direct Support Professionals. Craig and Scott de Fasselle are a father & son team with a personal connection to the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) field who have hosted more than 50 workshops that produce results and delight attendees. They are webinar & conference speakers for ANCOR and provider associations in 15 different states, including having presented webinars and workshops for RCPA members in the past.

We are offering two workshops to provide you with tools to improve your success in finding and keeping the right DSPs for your agency. These workshops should be attended by HR directors, supervisors, and anyone involved in recruiting and hiring. Attendees will leave with simple tools they can use immediately. During these workshops, attendees will collaborate with their peers and leave feeling empowered. All participants in these workshops will leave with a workbook and clear next steps to take back to their organizations to implement what they have learned. Note that you do NOT need any new consultants or software.

Cost — RCPA Members: $99 per session. Non-members: $125 per session.

Recruiting and Ghosting: Thursday, May 20, 2021 9:00 am–12:30 pm

Recruiting and Ghosting: You will learn free approaches to writing a job post to attract more applicants and fix common problems in your online application that drive applicants away, as well as a fast approach to prevent people that no-call / no-show for interviews. You can register for this event here.

Retention and Culture: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 9:00 am–12:30 pm

Retention and Culture: You will learn how to overcome two big challenges that cause new DSP turnover and how to nurture your culture when you do not have enough time. Learn clear and fast steps to an improved onboarding / training experience so new employees are more likely to stay. You can register for this event here.

Space is limited, so do not delay in registering! For any questions, please contact Carol Ferenz, Director, IDD division.

This is a notice of an upcoming Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) public meeting scheduled for Friday, April 23, 2021, from 1:00 pm–2:30 pm. During the public meeting, the Department of Human Services will provide EVV implementation updates and address some of the frequently asked questions.

To register to attend, please visit the EVV Public Meetings Registration site. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

ODP Announcement 21-032 provides guidance for the FY 2021–2022 renewal period. The following areas are addressed in this communication:

  1. General Guidance — Consideration for COVID-19 Pandemic
  2. Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) and Community Living Waiver (CLW) Cap Exceptions
  3. Variance Process for Established Service Requirements
  4. Creating FY 2021–2022 Renewals
  5. Consolidated Waiver Fee Schedule Residential Rate Exceptions
  6. FY 2021–2022 Waiver Rate Load in HCSIS
  7. Resources

While ODP has not added any new services that will impact the FY 2021–2022 renewal Individual Service Plans (ISPs), it is anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to influence FY 2021–2022 service needs.

ODP Announcement 20-066 has been updated to:

  • Explain “Level of Community Transmission” and its impact on visitation both in and outside of the Community or Life Sharing Home.
  • Provide guidance for developing visitation policies and best practices for visitation.
  • Explain the “Compassionate Care Exemption” (Appendix A).
  • Provide guidance on facilitating personal relationships when in-person visits are restricted.
  • Residential settings include licensed and unlicensed Community Homes (55 Pa. Code Chapter 6400) and licensed and unlicensed Family Living Homes (55 Pa. Code Chapter 6500).

ODP is making this update align with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. These updates are due in part to the increasing number of individuals who are fully vaccinated. An individual is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2- dose series, or ≥2 weeks after receipt of a single-dose vaccine, per the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 continues to remain a priority. While according to the CDC’s Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine, early data from clinical trials has shown that persons who have been fully vaccinated are less likely to get COVID-19 or become seriously ill if they do get COVID-19, individuals who are fully vaccinated can get COVID-19 and spread it to others. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 to people who are not fully vaccinated and are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill, remains a priority for the Department of Human Services. According to a study from Jefferson Health, individuals with an intellectual disability who are not fully vaccinated are at a substantially increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

As a result, ODP continues to recommend that providers, individuals, and families adhere to measures that have shown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, including physical distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet between people), mask wearing, and frequent hand washing. However, ODP is aware that separation and isolation has been extremely hard for individuals in residential settings. ODP understands that there is no substitute for physical contact, such as the warm embrace between a resident and their loved one. Therefore, if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor. ODP continues to recommend that the resident and visitor wear a well-fitting face mask and perform hand-hygiene before and after close contact because individuals who are fully vaccinated can get COVID-19 and spread it to others. ODP also continues to recommend that providers encourage visitors to physically distance from other residents and staff in the residential setting.

For further updates, please read ODP Announcement 20-066, dated April 8, 2021.

ODP Announcement 20-068 provides updated guidance to Community and Life Sharing Home providers about how to apply updated COVID-19 testing guidance and infection control procedure guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

DOH has released guidance that is targeted to large congregate-care settings such as skilled nursing facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability, which does not specifically reference Community and Life Sharing Homes. However, some of the guidance provided can be applied to Community and Life Sharing Homes.

When an individual in a Community Home has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the provider should take immediate action to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to other residents and to staff. At minimum providers should do the following:

  • Quarantine residents consistent with PA-HAN-559:
    • Fully vaccinated inpatients and residents in healthcare settings should continue to quarantine following prolonged close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection, which includes the use of Transmission-Based Precautions for COVID-19 per PA-HAN-524.
      • This is due to limited information about vaccine effectiveness in this population, the higher risk of severe disease and death, and challenges with physical distancing in healthcare settings.
    • Quarantine is no longer recommended for residents who are returning to the home after visitation or hospital stays if they are fully vaccinated and have not had prolonged close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 14 days (i.e., no known exposure to COVID-19).

When a staff person has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the provider should take immediate action to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to residents and to other staff. At a minimum, providers should do the following:

  • Staff should quarantine in accordance with the below guidance:
    • For asymptomatic health care personnel (HCP) with potential exposure to COVID-19, determine work exclusion by following the guidance of PA-HAN-560.
    • For symptomatic HCP with any known exposure to COVID-19, exclude immediately from work and counsel them to seek testing. Follow PA-HAN-535 and PA-HAN-553.
    • For HCP who are asymptomatic, but test positive for COVID-19, follow guidance in PA-HAN-535 and PA-HAN-553.

Please read the updated ODP Announcement 20-068 for the full policy.

Initiative will inform future policy, programs, funding opportunities

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that, beginning April 12, it will open a two-week national online dialogue to gather ideas for ensuring equity in employment policies and programs for people with disabilities from historically underserved communities. Those seeking to participate should register at RacialEquity.ideascale.com.

The department will use input received between April 12 and April 26 to help identify strategies for dismantling systemic barriers to employment and participation in workforce services that people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds, communities and identities face. This group includes communities of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ persons, rural communities and those otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

For more information, please visit this website.

Donna Martin
American Network of Community Options and Resources
Alexandria VA

Eleven years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan, passed last month in Congress, is the boldest expansion of health care in a decade. It will lower health care costs and expand access to healthcare coverage in a variety of ways.

We’re very excited to announce an opportunity to hear from Senator Bob Casey, PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, and Pennie Director Zach Sherman about how the American Rescue Plan will make healthcare more affordable for Pennsylvanians.

Join us for a Virtual Town Hall on Friday April 16th at 12pm to get your questions answered about the American Rescue Plan and its impact on healthcare. Register by clicking the button below and to receive the link to join the Town Hall.

Register Here

PA Health Access Network
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102