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The Department of Human Services (Department) is making available for public review and comment the Office of Developmental Programs’ (ODP) proposed application for a section 1915(b)(4) waiver for a selective contracting program as well as amendments to the Consolidated and Community Living waivers required to implement selective contracting for Residential Habilitation, Life Sharing, and Supported Living services. The selective contracting program will be referred to as Performance-Based Contracting.

The Department is also making available for public review and comment additional proposed amendments to the Consolidated, Community Living, Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS), and Adult Autism Waivers that are not related to implementation of selective contracting. Changes are proposed to become effective on January 1, 2025.

When performance-based contracting is implemented, all currently enrolled residential providers will have the opportunity to enter into a performance-based contract with ODP. To help support providers with the new requirements and process, ODP will hold provider trainings so that providers have a clear understanding of the process and expectations. As part of this process, providers will submit documentation demonstrating compliance with the performance areas identified by ODP. Additionally, ODP will use data from participant experience surveys, claims, incident management, health risk screening, administrative entities, and a new Performance Analysis Services vendor to evaluate each provider’s performance against the established standards and determine the tier in which the provider will be placed.

Providers will be placed in one of the following tiers based on their performance:

  • Conditional for providers operating under provisional or revoked licenses;
  • Primary for providers that meet current standards and a few additional standards;
  • Select for providers that deliver at least two of the three residential services in the performance-based contracting model and meet enhanced measures; or
  • Clinically Enhanced for providers that offer clinically enhanced medical or behavioral supports and meet enhanced measures.

The Department proposes the following substantive amendments to the Consolidated and Community Living waivers that will support the implementation of performance-based contracting, effective January 1, 2025:

  • Allow for the Department to contract with a Performance Analysis Services vendor that will provide administrative support with data collection, analysis, and reporting functions;
  • Require residential service providers to sign a residential provider agreement, which requires providers to comply with performance standards and reporting requirements outlined in the agreement and ODP policy; and
  • Implement pay-for-performance supplemental payments for residential service providers that meet or exceed performance targets for staff credentialing, employment of individuals served, transition of individuals to Life Sharing or Supported Living services, and reporting on use of technology.

Supplemental payments will be calculated for residential providers meeting or exceeding performance standards as a one-time or combined payment up to 3% of ODP-eligible service revenue from the applicable review period or established payment amount per qualifying event. Providers that have been determined to be a Primary, Select, or Clinically Enhanced provider are eligible to receive the supplemental payments.

  • Pay Licensed Residential Habilitation, Unlicensed Residential Habilitation, Life Sharing, and Supported Living providers that meet the requirements to qualify as a select provider or a Clinically Enhanced residential provider a payment that is in addition to the Medical Assistance fee schedule rate. Select providers will receive a rate add-on of 5% per individual served, and Clinically Enhanced providers will receive a rate add-on of 8%.

Other proposed amendments unrelated to Performance-Based Contracting include:

  • Assuring effective communication for individuals who use American Sign Language through implementation of a new American Sign Language — English Interpreter service. Services will be reimbursed as a vendor service based on the cost that the provider charges to the general public.
  • Promoting health, wellness, and safety by clarifying that individuals who receive services in an acute care hospital will not be disenrolled from the waiver.
  • Supporting the quality of Assistive Technology provided by expanding the qualification requirements for a professional who can complete an evaluation of an individual’s need for Assistive Technology and clarifying that evaluations can be completed for technology costing less than $750 if the service plan team believes it will be beneficial.
  • Increasing community participation and employment by requiring providers of Community Participation Support and Day Habilitation services to annually complete an analysis of each individual’s interests, preferences, skills, and strengths that support the individual’s participation in employment or other community activities.
  • Including revisions to align waiver requirements with regulatory requirements, correct errors, and provide clarification requested by stakeholders.
  • Increasing employment of individuals by allowing indirect activities to be billed through the Benefits Counseling service and improving access to Benefits Counseling for individuals who are not eligible for the Federal Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program.

The Department proposes the following substantive amendments to the Adult Autism Waiver that are not related to implementation of performance-based contracting effective January 1, 2025:

  • Support the quality of Residential Habilitation, Community Home, and Life Sharing services, through alignment of provider qualifications with the qualifications included in the Consolidated and Community Living waivers.
  • Promote health, wellness, and safety by clarifying that Residential Habilitation providers must have a licensed nurse available if the provider serves individuals with needs that require care by a licensed nurse.
  • Promote self-direction, choice, and control by clarifying that Community Transition Services can be used to support individuals transitioning from settings such as Residential Habilitation to private residences in alignment with guidance in the CMS instructions, technical guide, and review criteria for 1915(c) waivers.

View Performance-Based Contracting Information:

View Proposed Changes to the Waivers, Including Changes Not Related to Performance-Based Contracting:

Comments received within 45 days of publication of this notice will be reviewed and considered for revisions to the proposed application for a section 1915(b)(4) waiver as well as proposed amendments to the waivers. Comments should be addressed to Julie Mochon, Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs, 625 Forster Street, Room 510, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Comments may also be submitted to the Department via email using the subject header ”Waiver Comments.”

RCPA will be scheduling a meeting for members to develop comments in response to these proposed amendments. Please contact Carol Ferenz with any questions.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

RCPA’s 2024/25 membership year begins July 1, and this week marks the beginning of our membership renewal period. You can download the membership applications directly from the RCPA website on our Join/Renew page. Dues are owed by July 1, 2024.

Please contact Tieanna Lloyd at (717) 963-3609 or via email with any questions, and thank you for your continued support of the association. We look forward to working with you during the 2024/25 membership year!

The U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is pleased to announce a notice inviting applications on April 5, 2023, for the Disability Innovation Fund Pathways to Partnerships Innovative Model Demonstration Project (Pathways to Partnerships), Assistance Listing Number 84.421E. The application deadline is June 5, 2023.

The Pathways to Partnership program is the largest discretionary grant administered by RSA, with an estimated $224 million available to fund multiple innovative model demonstration projects administered through partnerships among state vocational rehabilitation agencies, state or local education agencies, and centers for independent living focused on the creation of systemic approaches to improve access to pre-employment transition services for children and youth with disabilities.

As children and youth with disabilities move through the school system, many do not have exposure to self-advocacy training, careers, and independent living opportunities. This historical funding opportunity advances a key goal of the Biden-Harris Administration to pave a clear and robust path to independent living and competitive integrated employment as children and youth with disabilities transition from high school to postsecondary endeavors.

The Notice Inviting Applications and additional information, including the Application Package, can be found at the following resources:

  • RSA website (link to the Federal Register Notice and additional information)
  • NCRTM: OSERS will conduct a pre-application meeting specific to this competition on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at 2:00 pm ET to respond to questions. More details are forthcoming. Please continue to check for more information.
    The teleconference information, including the 84.421E pre-application meeting summary of the questions and answers, will be available within six business days after the pre-application meeting.
  • GRANTS Government website (link to application package)
  • QUESTIONS: OSERS invites you to send questions via email in advance of the pre-application meeting.

The Office of Financial Resources at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be conducting a webinar on how to develop a competitive grant application. The same webinar will be offered on two dates: February 23, 2023, and March 7, 2023, both at 2:00 pm (ET).

Webinar: How to Develop a Competitive Grant Application

The webinar will address:

  • The three registration processes that need to be completed;
  • Preparing to apply for a grant;
  • Key components of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO);
  • Responding effectively to the evaluation criteria; and
  • Resources and technical assistance that are available.

Information on how to access the webinar can be found on the Training Events web page. There is no need to register in advance. If you would like to receive the slides prior to the webinar, you can make a request electronically.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has the following grant opportunities that are currently available:

Pennsylvania Industry Partnership Program (IP) Grant:

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announces the availability of approximately $4,000,000 in funding for the Pennsylvania Industry Partnership (IP) Program Grant awards. L&I will be supporting Industry Partnership Programming through the competitive award of grants of up to $250,000 to support Industry Partnerships across the commonwealth to improve economic growth, while preparing workers with training for their current positions and future advancement. Projects funded through Industry Partnership grants should identify workforce, education and training, and economic development gaps; coordinate regional needs to support industry needs; identify public and community resources to address industry-identified needs; and increase collaboration among businesses within a targeted industry sector. Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, non-profit and non-governmental entities, community-based organizations, educational and post-secondary educational organizations, labor organizations, business associations, and economic development entities.

More information can be found here, including info on an upcoming bidder webinar on 10/6/22. The IP grants close on 10/28/22. If you have questions or concerns regarding this grant opportunity, please email L&I.

Schools-to-Work Program (STWP) Grant — Round 3:

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announces the availability of approximately $2,500,000.00 of funding for the Schools-to-Work Program (STWP) Grant award(s). L&I will be establishing a STW Program through the competitive award of a grant(s) to a sponsor(s) in partnership with schools in the commonwealth to support the establishment or enhancement of a workforce development partnership between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create pre-apprenticeship apprenticeship pathways. This NGA seeks applications to support this statewide initiative. Grant awards may not exceed $250,000.00.

L&I also has funding currently available for school-to-work program grants. The STWP grant closes on 10/12/22. If you have questions or concerns regarding this grant opportunity, please email L&I.

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

ODP Announcement 22-055 communicates the process for Administrative Entities (AEs) to validate that new Provider Applicants have satisfied all Waiver Provider Qualification requirements effective May 1, 2022.

Pursuant to 55 Pa. Code §6100.82 (relating to enrollment documentation) and the service qualification requirements specified in Appendix C of the Consolidated, P/FDS, and Community Living Waivers, in order to become a qualified provider, applicants must submit required provider qualification documentation designated for new provider applicants. CEOs of provider applicants must successfully complete ODP Provider Applicant Orientation training, which includes pre-registration module webcasts and a full day, face-to-face session. Upon completion of each training component, the CEO must pass a post-test to earn and be issued a Certificate of Achievement.

The New Provider Applicant Process for licensed and unlicensed services is available for provider applicants on MyODP using the following pathway:

  • Resources > Intellectual Disability Resources > Waiver Services > Qualification and Enrollment.

These guiding documents steer applicants through the complicated qualification/enrollment processes.

Additionally, a detailed flowchart depicting the process to apply for and obtain a Certificate of Compliance for licensed services is available on MyODP through the same path specified above.

NOTE: Announcement 19-044 “Qualification Process for New Providers” will become obsolete as of the date of this publication.

Providers who plan to qualify for ODP’s Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) must contact the Bureau of Support for Autism and Special Populations (BSASP) via email to begin the initial qualifications. Templates and additional documentation can be found below:

Please read the full announcement for more details.