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Update

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) has updated the Benefits Planning Provider Agreement to include two more services as well as some updated language. The document includes the full agreement, along with example templates for the deliverables for each service.

Jennnifer Radick, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with OVR that specializes in the Ticket to Work Program and Benefits Counseling/Planning, has shared a letter reaching out to employment service providers. If, after reviewing this agreement, you are interested in becoming an OVR Benefits Planning Provider, you can contact Jennifer using the below information:

Jennifer Radick, MS, CRC
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Department of Labor & Industry
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Bureau of Central Operations
(610) 329-4814

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

Following up on the previous RCPA Alert regarding the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Notice for Public Comment, please note that comments may be submitted via email OR sent directly to the following address:

PA Insurance Department
Attn: Katie Merritt, Policy Director
1326 Strawberry Square,
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Comments will be accepted until Friday, August 5, 2022.

The department is looking to hear from consumers, advocates, and other organizations about challenges they have experienced accessing various provider types. The notice is divided into two categories: physical health services and behavioral health services, including substance use disorder treatment.

On behalf of its behavioral health provider members, RCPA is compiling comments to submit to PID, although members who prefer to submit their comments and experiences on their own are encouraged to do so. Providers wanting to submit comments as part of an RCPA response can send them to Drug and Alcohol Division Director Jason Snyder. PID will accept comments until Friday, August 5, so please submit your comments to RCPA by Friday, July 29.

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) is pleased to announce new provider enrollment portal enhancements designed to improve a provider’s enrollment experience. Providers will enter the enrollment portal from PROMISe™ using their existing registered login criteria. Upon successful login, providers will have access to these new enhancements:

  1. Applications for adding additional service locations, revalidations, and reactivations will prepopulate parts of your application;
  2. After logging into the portal, existing providers will be able to submit change requests to update their provider file without the need to complete a full application; and
  3. Proof of provider enrollment status with PA Medicaid is available to view and print.

See the PROMISe Quick Tips update for more information. If you do not have an existing login, please select “Register Now” in the Provider Login box and complete the process options. Additional enhancements are planned and will be communicated through future banner alerts and quick tips.

If you have further questions, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.

The ODPANN 22-054 Update is to inform all interested parties that important infrastructural changes to the Medication Administration Training Program will now be rescheduled to take place from Friday, July 1 – Sunday, July 31, 2022, which will cause an outage. If you attempt to conduct a class or complete any training on the system during this outage, your work will be lost.

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The time for the Drug & Alcohol Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, has been changed from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. Please see the full schedule below:

  • 9:30 am–11:00 am – This portion of the meeting will be for provider members only.
  • 11:00 am–12:00 pm – This portion of the meeting will be for all members.

Instructions for participating in each portion of the meeting will be sent the day prior. RCPA Staff will ensure that everyone receives the appropriate registration instructions.

If you haven’t done so yet, please register for the meeting here. If you have any questions, please contact Jason Snyder.

The Department of Human Services recently issued an announcement regarding upcoming Sandata Alternate Electronic Visit Verification (Alt EVV) Town Hall meetings. The EVV Town Hall will include an overview of the integration process for both Home Health Care Services and Personal Care Services. DHS is requiring all previously certified Alt EVV vendors to recertify with newly updated Alt EVV technical specifications.

The Town Hall meetings are scheduled for:

  • April 11, 2022, from 1:00 pm–2:30 pm; OR
  • May 27, 2022, from 12:00 pm–1:30 pm.

The previously shared date for the Town Hall meeting (March 25, 2022) has been rescheduled to the April 11 date. The content for both meetings will be the same. Due to capacity limits, advanced registration is required.

Questions about EVV should be sent via email.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

RCPA staff reviewed the Governor’s proposed budget, and while many details still need to be sorted out, RCPA can provide some high-level facts about the proposed budget from the House Democrat Appropriations Committee 2022/23 Executive Budget Proposal At–A-Glance and the Governor’s 2022/23 Executive Budget Spreadsheet. Of note, please see pages 12–13 for the Department of Human Services line items and page 6 for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

The highlights of the Governor’s proposed budget include:

Education Funding

  • Spending $43.7 billion in state General Funds;
  • $1.55 billion, a 24% increase, in basic education funding;
  • $1.25 billion to be distributed through the fair funding formula;
  • $300 million in Level Up funding to the 100 most underfunded districts; and
  • $200 million, a 16% increase, in special education funding.

Economy

Proposed increase to state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour effective July 1, 2022, including tipped workers, with 50 cent annual increases up to $15 per hour ($74.6 million direct revenue increase).

Protecting the Most Vulnerable

  • $91.25 million ($190.1 million total funds) to increase MA rates for skilled nursing facilities, effective January 2023, to comply with regulatory changes planned for July 2023;
  • $50 million, or a 44% increase to state supplemental programs for aged, blind, and individuals with disabilities, to increase the personal care home state supplement from $439.30 to $1,351.80 per month;
  • $75 million in federal funds to recruit and retain behavioral health providers;
  • $36.6 million to invest in critical county behavioral health services;
  • $15 million in federal funds to stabilize payments to substance use disorder treatment providers and assist with pandemic related expenses;
  • NEW: $14.3 million to increase the monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit from $20 to $35 for 75,000 to 95,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities;
  • NEW: $280,000 to implement Agency with Choice, preserving the ability for home and community-based waiver participants to choose their worker while allowing workers to obtain the support of an agency;
  • $18.8 million to serve an additional 832 individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism currently waiting for services;
  • $1 million to provide community placements for individuals residing in intermediate care facilities;
  • $1.25 million to discharge 20 individuals from state hospitals through the Community Hospital Integration Project Program (CHIPP);
  • $2.4 million for Department of Aging and Department of Human Services to strengthen older adult protective services (8 positions), create a child welfare crisis response team (4 positions), and support increased regulatory, licensing, budgetary, and administrative functions (30 positions) through increasing complement;
  • NEW: $8 million to extend postpartum coverage for birthing parents eligible for Medical Assistance to 12 months;
  • $15 million, a 77% increase, to implement additional evidence-based home visiting and family support services to 3,800 additional families;
  • $1.8 million to support court-appointed volunteer advocacy; and
  • NEW: $10 million for State Disaster Assistance, a new initiative to provide disaster assistance to individuals and to improve access to safe, secure, and weathertight homes.

In addition to the above proposed funding, the Governor and Democratic legislative leaders support allocating the unused American Rescue Plan funds from last year’s budget to various programs, which are outlined in the Democrat’s American Rescue Plan Act — State Fiscal Recovery plan, to help Pennsylvanians rather than letting the funds be transferred to the General Fund to sit in reserve.

The above information is a high-level overview of the Governor’s budget proposal. The specific line items contained in the Governor’s 2022/23 Executive Budget Spreadsheet are the overall dollars allocated for health and human services. The Department of Human Services (DHS) has not yet released their Budget Blue Book, which breaks down these line items and provides a detailed dollar amount allocated to specific human service programs. We are being told the DHS Blue Book should be available with this specific information at the end of February or the first week of March. Once RCPA obtains the Blue Book and reviews it, we will provide members with a more detailed summary and analysis.

As a reminder, the Governor’s Proposed Budget is just that: a proposal. The General Assembly will now hold budget hearings; a complete hearing list can be found here. The General Assembly and the Governor will conduct budget negotiations after the House and Senate budget hearings conclude to hopefully finalize the Commonwealth’s 2022/23 budget by June 30. If you have any questions, please contact Jack Phillips.