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Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

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The Importance of Place in Trauma-Informed Care: A Wellness Approach
May 15, 2024
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Registration now open 

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) have announced 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 next presentation will focus on the connection between trauma-informed care and positive support, framed in a wellness perspective. Critical to this effort was the creation of a safe place, the wellness center, specifically selected and modified to reduce the possible re-traumatization of individuals with ID/A or a dual diagnosis.

See the announcement for a full session description, presenter biographies, and information on how to register.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2024
CONTACT: Camille Dobson
202-898-2578

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 Information Sharing and Advisory (ISAC) Committee for the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) met on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Deputy Secretary Ahrens gave an update and reminded members that on Friday, April 19, 2024, ODP published two very important announcements:

  • ODP Announcement 24-038: Open for Public Comment: Proposed Waiver Amendments and Rates for Services Funded Through the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW); and
  • ODP Announcement 24-039: Open for Public Comment: Proposed Implementation of Performance-Based Contracting for Residential Services, Waiver Amendments to the Consolidated, Community Living, and Person/Family Directed Waivers, and Rates.

Public comments are due June 4, 2024, for both of these announcements.

The proposed rates will be dependent on the governor’s budget passing with the proposed increases for ODP services remaining intact. Deputy Secretary Ahrens urged all stakeholders to advocate with legislators to keep this funding in the budget. Governor Shapiro has been visiting programs and sharing publicity about the importance of these services.

The Deputy Secretary also reviewed the current plans for Performance-Based Contracting for Residential Services with ISAC members. ODP has shared provider preparedness tools with the Residential Strategic Thinking Group for their feedback before publishing the provider preparedness tools and holding provider forums to support providers as they get ready for PBC implementation.

Provider preparedness tools include a Residential Provider Performance-Based Contracting Preparedness Assessment, which comes with a template to support providers developing plans to improve performance on the standards ahead of implementation in January 2025.

Once comments are reviewed and analyzed and any revisions made, the waiver application and amendments will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for review, and negotiations implementation target date is January 1, 2025.

RCPA is holding a meeting with our members to develop comments for submission to ODP on Thursday, May 9, 2024, from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm. We ask that you register for this meeting here in order to share your thoughts and help us as we develop our response.

For any questions, please contact Carol Ferenz.

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)
Email

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.