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Changes to Deaf Services

ODP Announcement 21-055 describes how the ending of the Harry M. settlement agreement on July 29, 2021 impacts stakeholders. The Harry M. settlement agreement was approved by a federal court judge on August 20, 2013. This settlement agreement was created to ensure Pennsylvanians who are D/deaf and receive services/supports from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) are provided with necessary communication assistance services. The settlement also includes a requirement to provide communication assessments and reassessments to evaluate expressive and receptive language skills and make recommendations.

ODP will continue to meet all requirements that were imposed by the settlement; however, new D/deaf individuals that enroll in the Consolidated, Community Living, or Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) Waivers will not automatically be scheduled for an assessment. Class Members who previously received a Communication Assessment Report that recommended a reassessment will still receive their reassessment automatically.

Beginning July 30, 2021, when a D/deaf individual is enrolled in the Consolidated, Community Living, or P/FDS waiver, the Supports Coordinator (SC) is to check the “Harry M. Litigation” checkbox in the demographics screen in HCSIS. This indicator alerts the Deaf Services Coordinator of the individual.

Within 30 days of the individual being enrolled in an applicable waiver, the SC should contact the Deaf Services Coordinator for a consultation. This consultation will allow the Deaf Services Coordinator to recommend specific trainings and resources and an assessment, if applicable.

Note: Communication assessments are available in the waivers for adults age 21 and older through the Speech/Language Therapy service. For individuals age 20 or younger, communication assessments are available through Medical Assistance.

Please see the revised Supports Coordinators’ Guide to the Communication Assessment and Reassessment.