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OLTL

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) issued information and clarification on the recent increase to the Personal Care Home (PCH) Supplement for PCH residents currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or currently meeting SSI disability and income criteria while applying for SSI.

In August of 2022, the Pennsylvania legislature approved an increase to the PCH Supplement, retroactive to July 1, 2022. The supplement was increased from $439.30 to $639.30 for individuals and from $957.40 to $1357.40 for married couples. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both the federal SSI benefit and the PCH supplement. In January 2023, SSA applied the increase and began issuing retroactive payments in lump sums.

As indicated in the Personal Care Home regulations, 55. PA Code Chapter 2600, “If a home agrees to admit a resident eligible for SSI benefits, the home’s charge for actual rent and other services may not exceed the SSI resident’s actual current monthly income reduced by the current personal needs allowance.”

For the purpose of applying the regulations to the PCH Supplement increase, a resident’s actual monthly income should be calculated by including the increased PCH supplement beginning July 1, 2022, and applied as follows:

  • Residents and/or Representative Payees are expected to provide these retroactive payments to the PCH.
  • If a resident was admitted to a PCH between July 1, 2022, and the issuance of the retroactive benefit, the PCH is only entitled to the monthly increase for the months that the resident resided in the PCH.
  • If the resident lived in another PCH prior to admission to their current PCH, the resident and/or representative payee should ensure that the appropriate monthly portions of the retroactive benefit are paid to both the discharging and admitting facilities.
  • Resident-Home Contracts are not required to be updated for the retroactive benefit; however, contracts are required to reflect the actual charges for room, board, and services no later than March 31, 2023.

Questions about the status of individual retroactive and/or monthly SSI and PCH Supplement payments can be addressed by calling SSA at 800-772-1216. Additional questions about the application of the retroactive PCH Supplement increase can be directed via email. For information about applying for SSI and or the PCH Supplement, please contact your local agency.

The Bureau of Human Services Licensing (BHSL) within the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has issued the following guidance on the lifting of regulatory suspensions for Personal Care Homes (PCHs) and Assisted Living Residences (ALRs):

On July 1, 2022, the suspension of various regulatory provisions under the state disaster emergency declaration was extended to October 31, 2022. On November 1, 2022, the remaining regulatory suspensions expired, and the full regulatory requirements of 55. PA Code Chapter 2600 (Personal Care Homes) and 55. PA Code Chapter 2800 (Assisted Living Residences) were reinstated.

While most of these regulatory requirements required compliance beginning immediately on November 1, 2022, certain regulatory suspensions included 90-day grace periods designed to allow facilities to fully comply with the regulations. That 90-day period will come to an end on January 30, 2023. Facilities are expected to be able to demonstrate compliance with these regulations beginning January 31, 2023.

A guidance document for Personal Care Homes and Assisted Living Residences includes a list of all applicable regulations that were suspended under the emergency declaration, the dates and details of the suspensions, and clarification on what providers can expect when compliance is being measured in their facilities.

Please note that compliance with annual training requirements is dependent on the 12-month training year for Direct Care Staff and Administrators, as determined by the licensed entity. Training requirements for training years that ended between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, are required to be in compliance by January 31, 2023. If a training year began in 2022 but does not end until 2023, that training year is incomplete and compliance cannot be measured until after the conclusion of the training year.

Please also note that for administrator training years ending in 2023, all 24 hours of administrator training may be completed online, provided that at least 12 of those hours are formatted as a live training (e.g., Zoom, Teams, etc.). A maximum of 12 hours of online asynchronous or pre-recorded trainings are permitted.

Questions about this announcement and the guidance document can be directed via email.

A Financial Management Services (FMS) stakeholder meeting has been scheduled for January 6, 2023, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. During this public meeting, there be a discussion on the administration of FMS under the Community HealthChoices (CHC), OBRA Waiver, and Act 150 programs. Representatives from the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) and CHC Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) will be in attendance to discuss the FMS program.

Please register using this registration link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you choose to use your phone to call in, please use the numbers below:
Dial in: (631) 992-3221
Access Code: 335417876#
Audio PIN: shown after joining the webinar

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has issued the following announcement for providers that are working on enrollment applications for services impacted by Electronic Visit Verification (EVV):

Beginning December 16, 2022, certain Provider Type and Specialty Combinations will see a new question concerning EVV on the “Additional Information” web page when completing a provider enrollment application. This information will also be displayed on the Provider Enrollment Summary.

For additional information regarding this enrollment change, please see Quick Tip #264.

The Office of Long-Term Living’s (OLTL) American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding portal was launched September 30, 2022. Since the launch of the ARPA Funding Reporting portal, OLTL has received a higher than anticipated volume of portal access change requests, causing a delay in access to the portal. OLTL has also identified portal functionality and data discrepancy issues for which they are working with the Information Technology (IT) Development team to implement resolutions. As OLTL works to resolve the issues, the ARPA Funding Reporting Portal initial reporting due date of November 30, 2022, is being extended to February 28, 2023. Please reference the chart below for updated bi-annual reporting periods.

Report Period Due Dates
07/01/2021 – 12/31/2021

01/01/2022 – 06/30/2022

07/01/2022 – 12/31/2022

2/28/2023
01/01/2023 – 6/30/2023 8/30/2023
07/01/2023 – 12/31/2023 2/28/2024

Portal Training & Support

Providers can use the DHS ARPA Reporting Portal User Guide to help navigate the new reporting portal. For portal access requests or questions, please contact the OLTL Provider Helpline at 800-932-0939, Option 2, or via email.

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) published the proposed amendment to the Community HealthChoices (CHC) Waiver in the Pennsylvania Bulletin for November 12, 2022.

DHS and OLTL are proposing to amend the CHC Waiver by adding Agency with Choice as a Financial Management Services (FMS) model for the participant-directed services of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and Respite. This would modify Service Coordinator and Service Coordinator Supervisor qualifications to align with the CHC Agreement and to amend the service definitions for the following CHC waiver services:

  • Benefits Counseling;
  • Nursing Services;
  • Physical Therapy Services;
  • Occupational Therapy Services; and
  • Speech and Language Therapy Services.

Also proposed is a technical change to the waiver by revising performance measures.

The proposed CHC waiver amendment and summary of all revisions are available for review on the OLTL Waiver Amendments, Renewals, and Accompanying HCBS Transition Plans web page under Additional Resources.

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed waiver amendment to the Department of Human Services, Office of Long-Term Living, Bureau of Policy Development and Communications Management, Attention: CHC 2023 Waiver Amendment, P.O. Box 8025, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8025. Comments may also be submitted to the Department via email. Use ”CHC 2023 Waiver Amendment” as the subject line. Comments received within 30 days of publication of this notice will be reviewed and considered for revisions to the proposed waiver amendment.

The proposed amendment will be effective April 1, 2023.

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Due to a scheduling conflict with the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) participating in RCPA’s Brain Injury Committee meeting on October 26, 2022, OLTL has agreed to provide their update via a separate webcast. The update/webcast has been scheduled for November 16, 2022, at 11:00 am and will be led by Randy Nolen. The topics of discussion include:

  • Clarification of the role of the Service Coordinators and the process providers should use for reporting inaccuracies, etc. Providers are experiencing an increase of SCs telling families and providers that job functions are not their job, including not assisting participants, families/support persons, and providers with issues such as the participant needing a higher or lower level of care.
  • Updates on the next RFP for the CHC-MCOs.
  • Consideration of a bed hold provision and how this could help ease some financial strain for the BI providers. Is this something that can be included in the next RFP for the CHC-MCOs?
  • Possibility and consideration of having a BI Specialist within OLTL and the CHC-MCOs.
  • With only 25% of ARPA funds spent, is there a possibility of applying for more?
  • Status/update on the checklist that was shared in April 2022.
  • Updates on next steps from OLTL regarding CMS’ HCBS quality measure set.

Register to participate in this discussion here. If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Dehoff.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has been sending reminders to personal care homes, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities regarding the benefits of Long-Term Care Resiliency Infrastructure Supports & Empowerment (LTC-RISE). Please see the latest reminder below:

Over the last several months, the LTC-RISE partners have been reaching out to skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities with various quality improvement projects funded by their partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). By completing a needs assessment with you at your facility, the LTC-RISE partner can work with you to identify and support areas of improvement that will strengthen your facility’s ability to respond to any future health crisis at no financial cost to you. Some of the areas they can assist with include infection prevention and control, emergency preparedness, facilitating staffing contracts, use of health technology, and more! Please see the letter for additional information on this initiative for personal care homes and assisted living facilities, as well as skilled nursing facilities.

Many of you have already taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in any or all of these programs, but for those of you who have not, I encourage you to reach out directly to your local LTC-RISE partner to find out about how to enroll and be included in this and future opportunities that may become available.  

Please go to the DOH LTC-RISE website to read more about this opportunity, see which region serves your facility based on county, and see contact information to find out more about enrolling with our LTC-Rise partners.

On October 7, 2022, the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL)/Financial Management Services (FMS) conducted a stakeholder meeting. During the meeting, a PowerPoint presentation was reviewed. Going forward, these stakeholder meetings will take place on a quarterly basis. There will also be an FMS Advisory Group established. A link to the application to be considered for this group is included in the PowerPoint presentation (slide 23). They are still accepting applications if anyone is interested in this opportunity.