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DHS

Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is changing which Physical Health Managed Care Organizations (PH Plans) are available for Medical Assistance (MA) consumers. This is an opportunity for DHS to be sure that the program and our partners are continuing to strive towards improved access to care and superior quality of care and support provided by the PH Plans to MA consumers.

The PH plans available in your county may change. In some counties, your current MCO will no longer be available, and in others, you may have new options to pick from. If you have to select a new plan, DHS is committed to helping you find a plan that meets your individual needs, while also allowing you to keep your current health care providers. It’s important for you to consider what doctors, hospitals, or other health care providers are in a PH plan’s network.

This enrollment period is your opportunity to compare the health plan options in your region and choose the best plan for you.


Please note that the above information means that your agency needs to alert your consumers to the change so they can make an informed decision. Otherwise, they will be auto-assigned. Visit here for more details regarding which plans are available by county.

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) will host a virtual information session on Wednesday, August 10 at 2:00 pm to review upcoming changes to the Physical HealthChoices program. Representatives from the PA Department of Human Services (DHS), PA Enrollment Services, and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) will be available to answer questions during the session. Space is limited, and registration is required.

Examples of the communications that DHS sent to plan participants are here (individuals who are required to change plans) and here (individuals who may but are not required to change plans).

We invite you to attend an RCPA regional meeting in your area on any of the below dates in August or September 2022. The meetings will focus on RCPA issues, including:

  • Legislative information;
  • Division and conference updates;
  • Department of Human Services (DHS) updates; and
  • Status of the CCBHC/ICWC program in PA.

We will also provide an update to the addiction treatment community on our advocacy efforts to ensure the Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence transition from a DHS-directed payment model to a state plan service is fair and manageable for providers. In addition, ProVantaCare (our sister managed care entity) will review its efforts, goals, and upcoming opportunities.

Immediately following lunch, we invite RCPA members and advocates to participate in the Delta Center Convening on Telehealth. RCPA has collaborated with National Council on bringing together primary care associations (PCAs) and behavioral health state associations (BHSAs) to advance policy, payment, and practice changes that will benefit the millions of people served by health centers and community behavioral health organizations (CBHOs). RCPA is the recipient of grant funds through the Delta Center to cultivate health policy and a care system that is more equitable and better meets the needs of individuals and families.

In this forum, we will engage in roundtable discussions with consumers and practitioners on their opinions on the effectiveness, challenges, and future use of telehealth to deliver behavioral health services. The information gathered will guide the PA Delta Center team in its advocacy for developing regulations, bulletins, and practices that ensure equity and access to services for all communities. Your participation will be key to our ongoing work in establishing a healthy and sustainable telehealth footprint in Pennsylvania. For additional information, please contact Jim Sharp, Director, Children’s Division.

Please see the full agenda here. Registration is required.

Monday, August 1 — RCPA Central Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111
Register Here

Tuesday, August 2 — RCPA NE Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
Holiday Inn Wilkes Barre, 600 Wildflower Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Register Here

Friday, August 19 — RCPA Western Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
RLA Learning and Conference Center, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Register Here

Friday, September 16 — RCPA SE Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
The Alloy King of Prussia, a DoubleTree by Hilton, 301 W. Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Register Here

Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):

Mental health conditions can impact all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, class, sexual orientation, or other social identities. However, systemic racism, implicit and explicit bias, and other circumstances that make individuals vulnerable can also make access to mental health treatment much more difficult.

Mental health care is important to a person’s overall wellbeing. Mental health conditions are treatable and often preventable. Yet many people from historically marginalized groups face obstacles in accessing needed care. These obstacles, which have only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, may include lack of or insufficient health insurance, lack of racial and ethnic diversity among mental health care providers, lack of culturally competent providers, financial strain, discrimination, and stigma. Moreover, immigration status, economic conditions, education levels, and access to public health benefits are just a few differences that can adversely impact people’s experiences when seeking mental health care.

Since 2008, July has been designated as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge and explore issues concerning mental health within minority communities and to destigmatize mental illness and enhance public awareness of mental illness among affected minority groups across the nation.

Taking on the challenges of mental health takes all of us.

All of society benefits when all people have access to mental health care, supportive social conditions, freedom from stressors that can compromise mental health, and access to other resources needed for health. We all have a role to play in promoting health equity.

Learn more about Minority Mental Health Month:

What is Mental Health Equity?

Mental health equity exists when everyone has a fair and just opportunity to reach their highest level of mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Mental health disparities are defined as unfair differences in access to or quality of mental health care according to race and ethnicity. Disparities can take on many forms, are quite common, and are preventable. They can mean unequal access to good providers, differences in insurance coverage, or discrimination by doctors or nurses.

Mental Health Equity Statistics

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6–17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50 percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10–34

From Pam Gilbert, Fiscal Manager, PA Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs:

Below are copies of presentation slides from the following segments of our ICF Task Force meeting this morning:

See the document titled “ICF TaskForce Q and A Log 2022.07.19.”

Note that, after the meeting, ODP decided to revise the Day Program section of the Beneficiary Acuity schedule of the cost report. Changes made were to:

  • Use 15-minute units instead of days, consistent with the HCBS waiver fee schedule;
  • Eliminate the need to report HCBS fees if that is how services were billed and expenses recorded; and
  • Make columns 4 through 11 not applicable for FY 2021/22 to give providers more time to prepare for this level of reporting.

See the file “Revised Beneficiary Acuity page_7.20.22” for illustration.

Finalization and testing of the cost report form is continuing and will be released as soon as possible.

For questions, please email.

We invite you to attend an RCPA regional meeting in your area on any of the below dates in August or September 2022. The meetings will focus on RCPA issues, including:

  • Legislative information;
  • Division and conference updates;
  • Department of Human Services (DHS) updates; and
  • Status of the CCBHC/ICWC program in PA.

We will also provide an update to the addiction treatment community on our advocacy efforts to ensure the Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence transition from a DHS-directed payment model to a state plan service is fair and manageable for providers. In addition, ProVantaCare (our sister managed care entity) will review its efforts, goals, and upcoming opportunities.

Immediately following lunch, we invite RCPA members and advocates to participate in the Delta Center Convening on Telehealth. These discussions will guide the PA Delta Center team in its advocacy for developing regulations, bulletins, and practices that ensure equity and access to services for all communities. Your participation will be key to our ongoing work in ensuring a healthy and sustainable telehealth footprint in Pennsylvania. For additional information, please contact Jim Sharp, Director, Children’s Division.

Please see the full agenda here. Registration is required.
We hope you will join us for a regional event!

Monday, August 1 — RCPA Central Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111
Register Here

Tuesday, August 2 — RCPA NE Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
Holiday Inn Wilkes Barre, 600 Wildflower Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Register Here

Friday, August 19 — RCPA Western Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
RLA Learning and Conference Center, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Register Here

Friday, September 16 — RCPA SE Regional Meeting and Delta Center Telehealth Convening
The Alloy King of Prussia, a DoubleTree by Hilton, 301 W. Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Register Here

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance to the county and private children and youth social service agencies, county mental health/behavioral health programs, early intervention (EI) programs, and managed care organizations on the process for referring children to the county intellectual disability and autism program when a child has a diagnosis of an intellectual disability, developmental disability, and/or autism (ID/DD/A) (information regarding eligibility and diagnostic criteria can be found here) or when it is suspected that a child may have one of these diagnoses.

Referring the child to the county ID/A program can provide eligible children and their families with access to information, services, and supports in the community, as well as assistance with preparing for life’s transitions through childhood into adulthood.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) wants to improve services and supports to all children and their families or legal guardians so that children can grow to adulthood living in a home with loving adults. The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF), the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), and the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP) work closely together to ensure children with ID/DD/A and their families have access to high quality services that support the child’s growth and development. Please visit here for further information about each DHS Office addressed in this bulletin.

During the registration and eligibility process for services, the county ID/A program or TSM provider should offer families information about the Charting the LifeCourse framework and tools that were developed by the UMKC Institute for Human Development, UCEDD.

If stakeholders have any questions about the bulletin, they should send their questions via email.