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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.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) will be holding their monthly Combined Stakeholder webinar on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, from 1:00 pm–2:00 pm.

Please register for the OMHSAS County/County Affiliate/Provider/Advocate Stakeholder Meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

In the meantime, if you have suggestions for agenda topics for January’s webinar, please submit them via email. If you have further questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2021 

Department of Human Services Discusses Spending Plan for Home and Community-Based Services Enhanced Federal Funding to Support Mental Health Services, Children 

Harrisburg, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) today highlighted Pennsylvania’s spending plan for approximately $1.2 billion in enhanced federal Medicaid funding made available to states through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This funding will support Medicaid’s home and community-based services (HCBS) system throughout the commonwealth, which helps seniors, people with disabilities, children with complex medical needs, and many other groups safely live in their community among their family and peers. This funding will strengthen Pennsylvania’s home and community-based services system by allowing more Pennsylvanians access to critical services in their communities and supporting service providers that perform this work every day.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the professionals who care for our most vulnerable, including children, seniors, people with disabilities, and those needing mental health services,” said Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “This enhanced funding through the American Rescue Plan Act will allow employers to recruit and retain skilled workers and allows them to plan for the future to provide training, certification, technology access, and much more.”

DHS received conditional approval of its spending plan on December 1 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. On today’s call, DHS outlined how funding will be used through the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), and the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP).

  • OMHSAS will prioritize funding for workforce recruitment and retention to qualifying providers, specifically mobile crisis mental health services, intensive behavioral health services (IBHS), psychiatric rehabilitation, and family-based mental health services. While many mental health services are not considered HCBS under ARPA, within the parameters of this funding opportunity, OMHSAS also will invest in training clinicians in trauma-informed treatment modalities, technology and training for telehealth, and updating the state hospital system’s technology infrastructure and providing staff training for use of electronic health records to facilitate more efficient transitions to community-based placements and services.
  • OCDEL supported a 3 percent rate increase for Infant/Toddler Early Intervention services, which allows all providers of Early Intervention services, including Service Coordination, to receive a 3 percent rate increase for services. This rate increase went into effect on July 1, 2021.
  • OMAP will use the recommendations of its pediatric shift care nursing work group to inform ARPA spending with a focus on achieving the following goals: improve care and service coordination for children with complex medical needs; support training of private duty nurses; leverage health information technology to allow for the sharing of clinical information; use a value-based payment structure for managed care organizations to improve outcomes of children receiving pediatric shift care nursing services; and facilitate co-training opportunities for both shift nurses and families to help improve coordination, continuity, and support among caregivers.

“When we invest in the caring workforce, Pennsylvania benefits both socially and economically,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “Having care provided in your own home or within your community allows family caregivers to be part of the workforce themselves and it allows those needing home and community-based services to stay safe, healthy, and to thrive.”

More information about Pennsylvania’s home and community-based services spending plan is available on DHS’s website.


RCPA continues to meet with DHS advocating for members on the spending plan and distribution strategies to ensure the workforce issues are front and center of the plan. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Beyond Silos: Highlighting Multisystem Approachesin Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of developing programs and initiatives that work to meet the support and service needs of individuals with complex needs. This issue of Positive Approaches features a sample of cross-office efforts that enable individuals to succeed in their everyday lives. This issue will focus on ways that Pennsylvania has endeavored to better understand and meet the needs of people with complex needs including children with medical complexities and/or behavioral health needs. We offer an overview of cross office capacity building efforts supported in part by the Money Follows the Person (MFP) funds. Finally, this issue will provide overviews of peer support services as a viable support model and of PA Care Partnership philosophy of System of Care (SOC) as a foundation to build behavioral health supports and services for children, youth, young adults, and their families. These efforts here in Pennsylvania are worthy of highlighting as we strive to get better at supporting individuals with intellectual disability and/or autism (ID/A) and individuals with mental health conditions in Pennsylvania.

This issue of Positive Approaches Journal is in digital form, available for viewing online or for downloading. To print a copy of the PDF, online journal, or a specific article, you will find these options within your left navigation bar on any Positive Approaches Journal page. A new window will open with your selected document. In your browser, you may click the Print button in the top left corner of the page or use the Print capability within your browser.

Please submit feedback regarding your experience with the Positive Approaches Journal on MyODP by clicking the image below within this email or by clicking on the feedback image on MyODP within your left navigation bar on any Positive Approaches Journal page.

Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series:
Trauma Informed Care — Overview and Practical Applications

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 (IDA) 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.

  • Invited audience of all professional stakeholders, including direct and clinical supporters for individuals with IDA are encouraged to attend.
  • Registration is required and is without charge to attendees.
  • Three (3) hours of training credit and a certificate of achievement is provided.

Please see the flyer for additional information, including registration information.

If you have questions or concerns regarding registration for this event, please email PA Training.