Policy Areas

To better support professionals assisting individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaborative (ASERT) want to learn more about the training needs of professionals related to the implementation of positive behavior supports.

You can complete the survey here. Please be reminded that the deadline for taking the survey is February 11, 2022.

Thank you so much for your assistance,
ODP & the ASERT Collaborative

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has announced a new initiative to assist long-term care facilities (which includes skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes, assisted living residences, etc.) respond to COVID-19, recover, and improve resiliency.

This new initiative, the Long-Term Care Resiliency, Infrastructure Supports, and Empowerment (LTC RISE) is funded by a federal grant provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which began on January 1, 2022, replacing the Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCATs), whose contract expired December 1, 2021.

With LTC RISE, these long-term care facilities may take advantage of improvement project opportunities in the following areas:

  • Implementing infection prevention and control and emergency preparedness best practices to enhance delivery of resident-centered care;
  • Building a sustainable outbreak response operation construct that meets the facility’s needs; and
  • Promoting professional development and a resilient long-term care facility workforce.

LTC RISE will continue to offer the following RCAT prevention and response support to LTC RISE-eligible facilities:

  • A dedicated phone line with 24/7 access, including designated office hours for inquiries, consultations, and follow-up calls from long-term care facilities; and
  • Consultation and technical assistance, assessment and feedback, training, and incident management coaching.

The LTC RISE program is a partnership among DOH, Department of Human Services (DHS), Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association (PEMA), and the following healthcare organizations that have established partnerships covering six regions across Pennsylvania to support preventive and emergent assistance for LTCFs:

  • Penn Medicine, in partnership with Temple Health;
  • The Pennsylvania State University;
  • LECOM Health; and
  • AMI Expeditionary Healthcare.

The Department of Human Services’ Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) are pleased to announce the Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series, which offers presentations focused on supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A) and mental health needs.

The selected presenters share their expertise on best and promising practices as well as provide general knowledge. Session topics, which focus on increasing capacity to serve individuals with dual diagnosis in the community, are chosen based on identified needs and with input from the field of professional stakeholders.

All professional stakeholders, including direct and clinical supporters for individuals with ID/A, are encouraged to attend. Registration is required and at no charge to attendees. Four (4) hours of training credit and a certificate of achievement is provided.

Seating is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. You can register at MyODP’s website. For more information, you can view the flyer here.

This email is to provide notice of an FMS Stakeholder meeting scheduled for Friday, February 4, from 1:00 pm–2:30 pm. This public meeting will be to discuss upcoming changes for the administration of FMS under the Community HealthChoices (CHC), OBRA Waiver, and Act 150 Programs. Representatives from the Office of Long-Term Living and CHC Managed Care Organizations will be in attendance to discuss upcoming changes. Meeting details are below:

Friday, February 4, 2022
1:00 PM | (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) | 1 hour 30 minutes

Join meeting

More ways to join:

Join from the meeting link:

Join by meeting number
Meeting number (access code): 2631 989 4527
Meeting password: Stakeholder

Tap to join from a mobile device (attendees only)
+1-408-418-9388,,26319894527## United States Toll
+1-202-860-2110,,26319894527## United States Toll (Washington D.C.)

Join by phone
+1-408-418-9388 United States Toll
+1-202-860-2110 United States Toll (Washington D.C.)
Global call-in numbers

Join from a video system or application
Dial 26319894527@pa-hhs.webex.com

You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Folders with the label Applications and Grants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s (NCIPC) Division of Injury Prevention recently announced a new notice of funding opportunities, which include:

RFA-CE-22-006 Research Grants to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Physical Therapy-Based Exercises and Movements Used to Reduce Older Adults Falls

NCIPC intends support up to two (2) recipients for 3 years at up to $350,000 per award per year.

Application Due Date: March 1, 2022

NCIPC is soliciting investigator-initiated research proposals to support both a process evaluation and an outcome evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies commonly used to improve community-dwelling older adults’ balance, strength, and mobility and subsequently reduce their risk of future falls and fall injuries. These strategies may include different types of physical therapy-based exercises and movements such as heel-to-toe walk, sit-to-stand exercise, calf raises, and side leg raises. Of particular interest is research that focuses on populations experiencing high rates of older adult falls and fall injuries, and could include populations disadvantaged by reduced economic stability or limited educational attainment.

Questions should be sent to NCIPC_ERPO (CDC).

RFA-CE-22-007 Reduce Health Disparities and Improve Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Related Outcomes Through the Implementation of CDC’s Pediatric Mild TBI Guideline

NCIPC intends support up to one (1) recipient for 4 years at up to $550,000 per year.

Application Due Date: February 22, 2022

NCIPC is soliciting investigator-initiated research proposals for an implementation study to promote the adoption and integration of the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children” in a large health care system to: a) improve mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) outcomes in children and adolescents, and b) reduce disparities in TBI-related care and outcomes.

Applicants are expected to focus on the following research questions:

What type of disparities in mTBI-related processes and outcomes currently exist at baseline in a healthcare system(s) prior to initiation of an intervention to systematically implement CDC’s Pediatric mTBI Guideline?

Does an intervention aimed at systematically implementing CDC’s Pediatric mTBI Guideline in a healthcare system(s) result in a reduction of health disparities, relative to baseline, vis a vis improved process and health outcomes?

Applicants are encouraged to supplement the mTBI Guideline implementation with added outreach efforts to children experiencing disadvantage, and implementation strategies that address TBI-related care and health disparities identified within the health system.

For the purposes of this NOFO, mTBI-related processes and outcomes include those related to the identification and treatment of an mTBI such as discharge instructions, counseling regarding return to school and return to play, communication with the school about symptoms, recovery, accommodations, as well as health outcomes. An indicator of care might be length of time between injury and diagnosis and treatment of an mTBI or the recovery trajectory of an mTBI. Disparities (health outcomes seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations) may be related to various factors of the injured child or adolescent, their family or neighborhood, or community, such as race, gender, sexual identity, disability, socioeconomic conditions, or geographic location.

Questions should be sent to NCIPC_ERPO (CDC).

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

COVID-19 testing is an essential activity that increases safety for congregate care settings as part of a comprehensive mitigation strategy. Two resources are now available for providers and facilities.

Operation Expanded Testing (OpET) is a federal testing resource that may be useful to your organization. Please see the presentation slides for more detailed information. Providers wishing to use OpET as a resource should coordinate directly with Eurofins.

OpET At A Glance

  • No contract is needed for participation in OpET.
  • No charge. OpET is 100% funded through the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • No exclusivity. The organization can end testing at any time for any reason.
  • All supplies are sent to testing location two weeks in advance at no charge.
  • All training is supplied at no charge.
  • No charge for courier services; Eurofins will coordinate specimen pickup and supply delivery.
  • No waiting to get another sample. Auto retesting (reflex) if PCR pooled group is found to be positive.
  • No cost rapid testing. When used in conjunction with PCR pooled testing program, antigen testing is available for program options.
  • 24-hour results turnaround (TAT) for PCR testing.
  • Reporting is fully automated and HIPAA compliant using Concentric by Ginkgo.
  • Testing flexibility — facility can determine their own testing frequency, with specific PCR pooled groups of 5–24 samples at a time.
  • Staff can participate in the OpET program.

If you wish to enroll or have questions related to Operation Expanded Testing, please contact Eurofins via email or call 833-742-0862. Questions related to this communication should be directed virtually here.

In addition, due to the recent surge in COVID-19, the Bureau of Human Services Licensing (BHSL) has been receiving a large number of requests for testing support. If your facility needs testing due to an active outbreak or to prepare for an outbreak, please contact the Dept. of Health via email for questions about LTC testing assistance and/or to get access to testing support and resources. You can also complete and submit the “Universal Testing Needs Assessment Form.” If eligible, someone will contact you for scheduling.

If you are a facility requesting additional Abbott BinaxNOW cards, please email with the amount of tests requested and your shipping information. Note that your facility must have a CLIA certification to perform rapid COVID antigen testing to be eligible for the BinaxNOW cards.

Please contact the Dept. of Health for any additional information on testing.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Join RCPA on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, from 3:30 pm–5:00 pm for a Town Hall to review the preliminary rate impact findings by the Center for Disability Information (CDI), followed by a discussion on how this data will inform public comment.

This Town Hall is sponsored by RCPA, PAR, MAX, The Alliance of Community Service Providers, and The Arc of PA. This webinar is open to any member of a sponsoring organization.

Register for the Town Hall today.

As a reminder, please submit your Rate Impact Analysis Tool to the Center for Disability Information by COB on January 14. This tool was created to help inform providers of the impact of the revised rates on your organization and to help frame public comment on these rates. You can download the tool here.