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Authors Posts by Carol Ferenz

Carol Ferenz

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The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has published the proposed Fee Schedule Rates for services funded through the Consolidated, Community Living, Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS), and Adult Autism Waivers and Base-Funded Program, residential ineligible services, as well as the accompanying rate assumption logs. These rates are proposed to become effective July 1, 2024.

Comments received by 11:59 pm on June 4, 2024, will be reviewed and considered for revisions. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed rates. Comments may be submitted to the Department via email, and RCPA will schedule a meeting with our members to develop our comments.

Proposed Fee Schedule Rates and Department-Established Fees for Community-Based Services in the Consolidated, Community Living, and P/FDS Waivers and Base-Funding:

Adult Autism Waiver: 

* The proposed AAW fee schedule rates have not been posted

Comments about rates for services in the Consolidated, Community Living, and P/FDS Waivers and base-funding should be addressed to Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs, Division of Provider Assistance and Rate Setting, 4th Floor, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

Comments about rates for services covered in the Adult Autism Waiver should be addressed to Jamie Bonser, Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs, 625 Forster Street, Room 510, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

We understand that the waiver amendments, including the details regarding Performance-Based Contracting, are scheduled to be published in the PA Bulletin this weekend, and we will share those with members as soon as they are available.

We would like to thank business member Paul Stanalonis for sharing an impact analysis he developed today. Please note that this comparison is based upon the rates that have continued to be in effect throughout COVID, and were not adjusted as originally planned by ODP.

Please contact Carol Ferenz with any questions. A meeting announcement will be sent to members once a date and time is confirmed.

From Senator Frank Farry’s Newsletter on April 12, 2024:

Last week, I held a press conference to announce the findings from the Joint State Government Commission report mandated from House Resolution 212 – which I authored while serving in the House of Representatives. The report reviewed the services provided by the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) to individuals with disabilities, including work opportunities and living arrangements.

The press conference was held at Associated Production Services (APS), a packaging company in Feasterville that is employed predominately by individuals with disabilities. Currently, ODP in their rate setting penalizes operations like APS because there is not a community element. However, we heard from many of the working individuals along with their families that they are happy working at APS with their peers. It is a clean, safe, and structured environment, and they consider it their community.

Watch what the workers of APS and their families had to say:  

In 2017, we held a rally at the Capitol with workers from APS and similar workplaces, their families, and service providers advocating for “My Work. My Choice.” I cannot believe we are still talking about this today. One astounding issue is that to participate in a work program like APS, you need to be found ineligible for other programs and it is considered a workplace of last resort. That doesn’t sound like choice.

The report reaffirms that choice should be paramount in the services provided by ODP. The number one recommendation in the report is “promote freedom of choice.” I am going to use this report as the blueprint to continue to advocate for programs like APS to stay open and ensure individuals with disabilities are treated fairly by the government, including having the freedom to choose where they live and work. View full press conference and learn more.

The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging will be holding a hearing tomorrow to discuss the long-term care workforce. The hearing will be to address the shortages and legislation to improve the caring professions. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (PA), Chairman of the Committee, has invited Nick Smith, an NADSP-certified direct support professional from Philadelphia, to provide testimony. It is rare that direct support professionals have the opportunity to testify before the United States Senate, and NADSP invites you to watch Mr. Smith on Tuesday. Insights gained from such hearings can inform the development of legislation aimed at addressing workforce issues.

HOW TO WATCH:

The hearing will be livestreamed on the committee page. To access the livestream, visit here. Details are below:

United States Senate Special Committee on Aging
Full Committee Hearing
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
10:00 am (EDT)
Featuring Nick Smith, DSP-1, SPIN, Philadelphia, PA

LEARN MORE

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is hosting a series of public comment webinars to provide an overview of how it proposes to implement performance-based contracting for residential services effective January 1, 2025. Additional proposed changes to the Consolidated, Community Living, and Person/Family-Directed Support Waivers that are not related to performance-based contracting will also be covered.

The proposed changes have not been published yet. As soon as they are available to review, we will share the document with our members. We will also reconvene our Performance-Based Contracting Committee in order to develop our comments. We encourage our members to submit comments to ODP, and share your thoughts with us as well to include in our response.

Sessions will be held for specific stakeholder groups. Preregistration is required. To register, follow the registration link under the session that best defines your role. Registered participants will have the opportunity to provide verbal comments on the waiver amendment during the session.

Registration Link

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

On Monday, April 8, 2024, there will be an eclipse event and parts of Pennsylvania will have a view of a total solar eclipse. The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is reminding everyone that it is not safe to directly view an eclipse with the unprotected eye. Severe eye damage or blindness can occur. It is only safe to view an eclipse through specialized eye protection for solar viewing. Regular sunglasses, even if they are very dark, will not protect your eyes. Viewing any part of the bright sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the lenses will instantly cause severe eye injury.

When considering any outdoor activities during the eclipse, be aware that some individuals may not understand the risk for eye damage and blindness by looking at the sun without protect eyewear or may be at risk to remove their protective eyewear.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has created a website with information about safe eclipse viewing.