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Update

RCPA would like to thank all sponsors and golfers who donated and participated in the RCPA PAC Golf Outing this year held on Monday, September 27, 2021 at the Hershey Country Club. This year’s golf event raised over $6,500 for the PAC!

Tournament Sponsors
Erie County Care Management, Inc.
Inperium, Inc.

Beverage Cart/Beverage Hole Sponsors
Brier Dlugolecki Strategies
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

 Golf Hole Sponsors
Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy
Comprehensive Financial Associates, Inc. and PA Pension Planners, Inc.
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
enkompas Technology Solutions
Fulton Bank
Hearten
Novak Strategic Advisors
Pinnacle Treatment Centers, Inc.
Wojdak Government Relations

 Their support was crucial for the success of this event.

Winning Golf Team:   Inperium, Inc.
Mark Kellenberger, John Baranowski, Joe Baranowski, and Jeremy Baranowski

Longest Putt:             Charles Barber, Erie County Care Management, Inc.
Closest to the Pin:     Andrew Wigglesworth, Wojdak Government Relations
Longest Drive:           Jeremy Baranowski, Inperium, Inc.
Putting Contest:        Ken Healy, Hope Enterprises, Inc.

As you know, financial support to the RCPA PAC helps us continue our mission of supporting campaigns of state legislators and representatives who advance our interests on health & human services issues. The funds raised through RCPA PAC can make a difference. Being involved in RCPA PAC allows you to help make decisions on who the committee supports and helps to identify those who will join in our successes.

Thank you once again for your generous support and contributions. Please contact Jack Phillips, Director of Government Affairs, for further information on PAC.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has issued a notice announcing the extension of various regulatory provisions under the state disaster emergency declaration that are currently in effect and which were set to expire on September 30, 2021. These are now extended until further notice. A list of the regulations that were suspended in whole or in part and their current status is available here.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

On February 14, 2019, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) released Bulletin 00-19-01, OVR Referral Process for ODP Employment-Related Services. Attachment 4 to the bulletin is the OVR Contact Information for Intellectual Disability/Autism Coordinators. Attached, please find an updated version of this contact information. This version, dated 8-10-21, replaces all prior versions of this attachment. This updated contact information and Bulletin 00-19-01 in its entirety can be found on the MyODP Employment page.

The ISAC Committee met today and the Deputy Secretary and Dr. Cherpes provided an update.

Deputy Secretary Ahrens shared that the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) budget request items were in fact included in the state budget. This includes an initiative to address the waiting list through the addition of 732 Community Living Waiver and 100 Consolidated Waiver placements for emergencies.

The incentive program for providers to transition individuals from group homes to Lifesharing or Supported Living is also included. ODP is working on developing the details of this initiative, which is expected to be implemented in January 2022.

The plan for the American Rescue Plan funds is still being developed by the Department of Human Services (DHS). They have been in discussions with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine the parameters.

The temporarily increased rates for CPS and Transportation Trip will continue to be in effect.  Individuals may exceed their waiver caps, and no one should lose a single unit of service through the pandemic. This is approved by CMS in Appendix K.

Appendix K is approved based upon the federal public health emergency (PHE), which has recently been extended and is likely to be extended again. Appendix K can be in place for 6 months after the PHE has ended. Therefore, Appendix K will be in effect at least until March of 2022, likely though to June.

ODP shared the results of the recent CPS survey that was completed. Providers should keep in mind that individuals cannot be denied services due to their inability or unwillingness to wear a mask.  This would be considered an ADA accommodation.

Julie Mochon provided an update on the Home and Community-Based Settings rule and Pennsylvania’s plan to meet the expectations from CMS.

Leah Sheffield presented an update about ISAC Recommendation #1 — Assure Effective Communication and shared that ODP intends to make changes to this service definition in the new waiver renewals. Ron Melusky also provided information on Self Direction in services.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

As many of you now know, we recently announced that the RCPA Conference this year will be virtual. This was in consideration of the size of conference registration and the health and safety of the attendees. However, RCPA will continue to hold this year’s Golf Outing on Monday, September 27, 2021 at the Hershey Country Club (West Course), 1000 East Derry Road, Hershey, PA 17033. In speaking to many of the golf registrants, and knowing that it is an outdoor venue, we are moving forward with this event!

If you haven’t registered yet, please register here to participate. The event starts at 11:00am registration, lunch at 11:30am, followed by a putting contest and 1:00pm shotgun start. Please see the Sponsorship Form for sponsorship opportunities. Further questions may be directed to Jack Phillips, Director of Government Affairs, or Tina Miletic.

We look forward to seeing you on the golf course.

Today, Governor Wolf announced that Commonwealth employees in state health care facilities and high-risk congregate facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021. Individuals who are not vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Additionally, beginning September 7, 2021, all new external hires in these facilities must be vaccinated before commencing employment.

In addition to the ​”vaccine or test​” requirement, Governor Wolf announced a vaccine incentive for state employees under the governor’s jurisdiction. Starting October 1, 2021, ​all vaccinated state employees under the governor’s jurisdiction are eligible for an additional 7.5 or 8 hours paid time off. The Office of Administration will work with employees and agencies to develop a mechanism for employees to confirm proof of vaccination.

Currently, more than 63​% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, with the state ranking fifth among all 50 states for total doses administered. Members are encouraged to review the vaccine outreach letter to help in promoting vaccinations to those in your facilities. Additional free resources are available on the PA Unites Against COVID website.

Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova from Pexels

Beginning on July 1, 2021:

  • Anyone wanting to be vaccinated can find a vaccine provider at Vaccines.gov.
  • If you need assistance finding a vaccine provider, you can call 1-800-232-0233. You will need to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated with the selected provider. If you have questions about the vaccination process, call the Pennsylvania Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
  • If you are unable to leave your home and wish to be vaccinated, please contact your HealthChoices Managed Care Organization (MCO) or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to coordinate your access to the vaccine.
  • Individuals may also contact the ODP Customer Service Line, Monday–Friday from 8:30 am–4:00 pm, at 1-888-565-9435 (TTY number: 1-866-388-1114) if they are unable to secure a vaccination through these other means.

As a reminder, Support Coordinators (SC) should continue to support individuals with ensuring vaccine access and scheduling vaccination appointments. As such, SCs should be aware of vaccine and vaccination process information.

ODP Announcement 21-048 is intended to supplement — not replace — any federal, state, or local public health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which providers of the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) home and community-based services must comply. Additionally, there may be instances where there are differences in CDC guidance from PA Department of Health (DOH) guidance. In these instances, PA DOH guidance should be followed as the lead agency of the COVID-19 response for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

All direct support professionals (DSPs) should follow risk mitigation recommendations, which include, but are not limited to, infection prevention strategies for universal masking, screening, and handwashing as outlined in the guidance included in this communication.

This announcement includes a chart outlining obsolete guidance and new guidance to be followed by service type, with links to the applicable documents.

ODP encourages any provider who has a question to reach out for clarification and support. The following resources can provide support as appropriate:

  1. Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCAT)
  2. PA DOH at 877-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258)
  3. Health Care Quality Units (HCQUs)
  4. ODP Regional Offices Questions about this announcement may be directed here