Brain Injury

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RCPA’s Brain Injury Committee will conduct an exclusive meeting with representatives from the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL), including Deputy Secretary Juliet Marsala and Director of the Bureau of Coordinated and Integrated Services Randy Nolen. This meeting has been scheduled for May 22, 2024, at RCPA’s office, and will be held from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. While this will be a hybrid meeting, members are encouraged to attend in person if possible. Register for the meeting here.

We are asking members to send topics and/or questions to Melissa Dehoff by May 8, 2024.

ADvancing States and the ARPA HCBS TA Collective Announce Release of Report Summarizing State Experiences with ARPA HCBS Initiatives

April 23, 2024
CONTACT: Camille Dobson

ARLINGTON, VA — ADvancing States and our partners in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) home and community-based services (HCBS) Technical Assistance Collective (TA Collective) are proud to release a report sharing findings about states’ experience in implementing their ARPA HCBS initiatives. While the ARPA infusion of federal dollars into HCBS provided an historic opportunity to try bold, new approaches to supporting people in their homes and communities, states were challenged to make systemic improvements given the time-limited nature of the federal funds.

To gather insights into states’ experiences in implementing their ARPA HCBS spending plans, the TA Collective fielded a national survey in early 2024 that aimed to identify successful strategies used by states implementing their ARPA HCBS spending plans, as well as any barriers hindering their success. Based on responses to that survey, this report highlights the challenges and barriers states faced in thoughtfully executing their initiatives in the midst of a public health emergency. The thirty-three states that responded to the survey shared the top barriers to implementing their projects as planned. These barriers include:

  • Delays in obtaining approval from CMS for both their spending plans and the necessary federal authorities to implement those plans;
  • Lack of staff capacity to design and implement complex initiatives;
  • The time it takes to complete state procurement processes to implement projects; and
  • The need to secure legislative approval and/or budget authority before beginning work.

The report also suggests ways to make any future time-limited investments in the HCBS system more effective, including giving states more time to implement, easing the CMS approval process and providing resources to both states and CMS. Moreover, any future investments should be accompanied by a federal evaluation to glean insights into successful interventions that could be replicated across the country.

While this report highlights challenges and lessons learned, it should be noted that, against all odds, states created transformational change with their ARPA spending plan initiatives. Our hope is that this report — and the recommendations contained therein — serves as a roadmap for any future federal investment in the HCBS system.

This report is also informed by the TA Collective’s work supporting states with their ARPA initiative planning, implementation, and evaluation activities and by observations and analysis of state and federal ARPA HCBS activities. It builds upon the TA Collective’s past work including, Efforts to Evaluate the Impact of ARPA HCBS Investments, an issue brief examining state evaluation approaches, and a summary of the work of the HCBS Sustainability Summit, which provided valuable context on sustaining the HCBS commitment fostered by ARPA investments. Both reports can be found here.

We are grateful to The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Care for all with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund, The SCAN Foundation, and the Milbank Memorial Fund for their support in making the work of the TA Collective possible.

Visit here to read the new report.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) hosted a virtual Transportation Summit on December 11, 2023. Answers to questions asked during that webinar can be found on the Community HealthChoices (CHC) Communications to CHC Participants web page under the heading “Community Meetings/Information Sessions.” The Q&A document is also available here.

Questions about CHC transportation provided through a CHC managed care organization (MCO) should be directed to the CHC-MCO through one of these methods:

AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania Website
Phone: 1-855-235-5115 (TTY 1-800-235-5112)
Questions? Submit inquiries through this contact form.

Keystone First Website
Phone: 1-855-332-0729 (TTY 1-855-235-4976)
Questions? Submit inquiries through this contact form.

PA Health & Wellness Website
Phone: 1-844-626-6813 (TTY 711)
Questions? Submit inquiries through this contact form.

UPMC Community HealthChoices Website
Phone: 1-844-833-0523 (TTY 711)

Questions about the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), including how to contact your local MATP provider, information is found on the MATP website.

For information on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Shared-Ride Program, please visit the Seniors and Persons With Disabilities web page.

The agenda for the May 8, 2024, Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Subcommittee meeting has been released. View the agenda here.

As a reminder, the meeting is being conducted in person and as a webinar with remote streaming from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Honors Suite, 1st Floor, at 333 Market Street Tower, Harrisburg, PA. Additional information, including the conference line numbers, webinar links, etc. are provided below:

Comments and questions may be sent via email.
Conference line:
Bridge Number: 1-562-247-8422
PIN: 573-997-798#

Hole torn in a dollar bill with medicaid text

On April 25, 2024, at 12:00 pm, a virtual statewide briefing will be conducted on Medicaid unwinding and expanded enrollment options. This event will feature Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Melissa Herd, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Val Arkoosh, and Pennie Executive Director Devon Trolley.

The agenda will include a briefing on what’s happening at the federal level when it comes to Medicaid, an update on the Medicaid “unwinding” process currently wrapping up in Pennsylvania, and the expanded eligibility requirements for enrolling in Pennie coverage even when it’s not open enrollment.

To register, please visit here.

Photo by Michael Schofield on Unsplash

The While House issued a press release announcing that the Access Final Rule will be released later today. These regulations include:

  • The Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Rule, which will require all nursing homes that receive federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid to have 3.48 hours per resident per day of total staffing, including a defined number from both registered nurses (0.55 hours per resident per day) and nurse aides (2.45 per resident per day);
  • Introducing the requirements of the rule in phases to make sure nursing homes have the time they need to hire staff, with longer timeframes for rural communities;
  • Ensuring adequate compensation for home care workers for HCBS operations of in-home care (both Personal Assistance Services and Community Habilitation) by “requiring that at least 80 percent of Medicaid payments for home care services go to workers’ wages. This policy would also allow states to take into account the unique experiences that small home care providers and providers in rural areas face while ensuring their employees receive their fair share of Medicaid payments and continued training as well as the delivery of quality care;”
  • The state requirement to be more transparent in how much they pay for home care services and how they set those rates, increasing the accountability for home care providers; and
  • The creation of a state home care rate-setting advisory group made up of beneficiaries, home care workers, and other key stakeholders to advise and consult on provider payment rates and direct compensation for direct care workers.

We will continue to monitor the details of these regulations and Pennsylvania’s plans to comply. If you have any questions, please contact Fady Sahhar.

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

Part 1: Navigating Evidence: Finding and Synthesizing Literature for Evidence-Based Practices
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT;
12:00 pm – 1:00 MDT; 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Register Here

Part 2: Making Evidence-Based Practices Work: Strategies and Outcomes
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT;
12:00 pm – 1:00 MDT; 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Register Here

Michael Peterson, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Clinical Transformation Specialist

Speaker Bio:
Michael works as a Clinical Transformation Specialist, where he focuses his efforts as part of a Clinical Transformation team to promote a culture of evidence-based practice at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota. Michael is also a speech-language pathologist with 12 years of clinical experience working with children and adults with childhood-onset conditions. He applies his clinical experience and advanced training in knowledge translation and implementation science to partner with and guide clinical staff to bridge the gap between evidence and clinical practice.

Objectives: At the end of these sessions, the learner will:

Part 1: Navigating Evidence: Finding and Synthesizing Literature for Evidence-Based Practices

  • Describe how to search for literature using PICOT questions
  • Identify resources to support appraisal of relevant papers
  • State the purpose of synthesis tables in supporting evidence-based practice decisions
  • Describe how to use synthesis tables to make evidence-based practice recommendations

Part 2: Making Evidence-Based Practices Work: Strategies and Outcomes

  • Describe how frameworks guide implementation of EBP
  • State how barriers and facilitators influence implementation of EBP
  • Describe implementation strategies
  • List different kinds of outcomes to monitor implementation of EBP

Audience: This webinar is intended for all interested members of the rehabilitation team.

Level: Intermediate

Certificate of Attendance: Certificates of attendance are available for all attendees. No CEs are provided for this course.

Medicare binary sign concept illustration design over black

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced two days of interactive training webinars that will cover Medicare basics. The webinars will be offered on April 16 and 17, 2024, from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Attendees can attend one or both days, and space is limited. CEUs will not be offered. The topics for the webinars include:

Day 1 — Medicare enrollment and eligibility; SSA and CMS roles and responsibilities; cost and coverage under Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance); why enrolling on time is important; and an overview of Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies.

Day 2 — Medicare drug coverage (Part D); Medicare Advantage Plans; coordination of benefits; how to detect and report suspected Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse; and different resources to help you find answers to Medicare policy and coverage questions.

To register for these events, visit the CMS National Training Program website. The webinars will be recorded and posted to the NTP website. To view the recordings, visit here.