On March 3 PA Senate Appropriations Committee heard opposition to cuts to payments for mental retardation services proposed in the Governor’s Executive Budget for FY 2010-2011. Seven (7) of the seventeen (17) members of the Senate Appropriations Committee questioned the proposed $6.1 million cut to community mental retardation funding. The one percent (1%) decrease that is proposed in the Governor’s Executive Budget is the sum of a $6 million reduction in state funding and the resulting loss of $11 million in federal funding. At the March 3 hearing on the state budget held by the Senate Appropriations Committee, senators voiced concerns that echoed those raised by members of the House Appropriations Committee at the January 24 state budget hearing held by the PA House Appropriations Committee. Senator Pat Vance (D-Cumberland), who is also Chair of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, referred to the $17 million cut in services for people with intellectual disabilities as “unconscionable.” Senator Mary Jo White (R-Venango) described the proposed one percent (1%) cut in payments for mental retardation services providers as “a train wreck waiting to happen.” Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) said that she wondered why the state would choose to cut mental retardation services. “Why have we chosen to do that in this particular program when other parts of the budget were flat-lined or actually increased?” Senator Boscola asked. In addition to Senators Vance, White and Boscola those others who opposed the Governor’s proposed cut included Senators Baker, Smucker, Waugh, and Greenleaf. FMI: For a summary of the hearing click on http://www.pasenategop.com and scroll down to “Department of Public Welfare.”
The Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is initiating the first Pennsylvania statewide survey of trained Certified Peer Specialists to better understand CPS training and employment experiences. OMHSAS is receiving assistance from the University of Pennsylvania Collaborative on Community Integration (www.upennrrtc.org) and the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (http://www.pmhca.org/?page=coal).The purpose is to collect data to support the value of peer support as a service. The survey is open to anyone who has completed the CPS training in PA, regardless of your current work status (i.e., unemployed, employed full- or part-time, volunteer) or the types of position you are in (e.g., peer specialist/peer support, case manager, advocacy, policy advisor, county administrator, etc.) The link to the survey is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DDM8X8K. Closing date for responding to the survey is March 15, 2010. FMI: Contact Olga Levshits at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has announced that it will be developing standards and delivering training modules for competency in serving individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex Consumers (LGBTQI). OMHSAS says that its goal is to train front line staff, including peer specialists, therapists, case managers and others, to more effectively work with persons in a culturally competent fashion. OMHSAS says that it will develop and offer an array of courses in the coming year on competencies for working with individuals that identify as part of the LGBTQI communities. This course will provide a foundation for the upcoming LGBTQI curriculum to be offered. A three (3) day Cultural Competency Training will be offered at the Grantville Holiday Inn on April 13, May 18 and June 30, 2010, for 40 front line staff.
FMI: For information on the application criteria and for an application form, contact Carol Ward-Colasante at email@example.com.
The Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council (PA SILC) in partnership with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) is accepting comments from the public on the Draft State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for federal fiscal years 2011-2013 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2013).The Draft SPIL may be reviewed online at www.pasilc.org. Individuals may request a printed copy by contacting the PASILC office at 717-364-1732. The dates, times, and locations of the hearings are: Liberty Resources, Inc., 714 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 on March 23 from 2 PM to 7 PM; at
Avalon Hotel and Conference Center, 16 West 10th St, Erie, PA 16501 on March 25 from 2 PM to 7 PM; at Harrisburg Homewood Suites, 3990 Tecport Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111 on April 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To request accommodations, please call the SILC office at 717-364-1732. Individuals may submit feedback by April 5, 2010 by mail at PA SILC, 200 Locust Street, Suite 200A, Harrisburg, PA 17101 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: 717-236-8800 or Phone: 717-364-1732. FMI: See http://www.pasilc.org/.
In the March 6 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) announced an expansion of the Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) program. The Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) Program is the Commonwealth’s replication of the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Model. DPW is asking organizations interested in participating as a LIFE provider, in the proposed service areas that are listed in the announcement, to contact DPW. Providers will be responsible to provide a specific package of services to individuals enrolled in the program, who are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA) and have been determined to require nursing facility services. To be considered for a LIFE site, organizations must be enrolled in the MA Program, meet the requirements included in the Federal PACE regulations and LIFE Provider Agreement, and have a completed feasibility study through an approved PACE Technical Assistance Center. Questions regarding the PACE Protocol or the feasibility study through a PACE Technical Assistance Center should be directed to Leo LaPlante, Bureau of Community Development, (717) 783-7375. Organizations that feel they meet the criteria listed in this notice and are interested in being considered to provide services under LIFE should submit a letter of interest, along with a copy of their completed feasibility study no later than 90 days from the date of this notice, to Bureau of Community Development, Office of Long- Term Living, 555 Walnut Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Current LIFE providers interested in expanding beyond their designated zip code area are also invited to respond. Responses should be directed to the previously listed address and include a letter of interest, along with a market analysis of the area of interest.
In the March 6 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Community And Economic Development (DCED) proposed an amendment to its Action Plan for the Distribution and use of Community Development Block Grant—Recovery Funds. The 2008 Action Plan is an update of the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Plan for FFY 2004-2008. Due to revised activities for a small number of grantees, this minor amendment contains a revised Action Plan for the distribution and use of Community Development Block Grant—Recovery (CDBG-R) funds. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the Commonwealth an allocation of $12,434,921 in CDBG-R funds, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (42 U.S.C.A. § 5301).The purpose of CDBG-R funds is to provide expedited funding for community development projects that will stimulate the economy and provide job creation and job retention benefits. The Department will award CDBG-R funds on a formula basis to local governments, which includes 13% of the funds for competitive/discretionary projects. The eligible activities include many of the regular activities eligible under the CDBG Program with several exceptions. The Action Plan also includes the list of projects that grantees will undertake using CDBG-R funds and local government contact information about those projects. This minor amendment to the Action Plan will be submitted to HUD on or before March 19, 2010. Copies of the Action Plan and a list of projects can be obtained at: http://www.newpa.com. Persons who would like additional information about this amendment should contact Jody Michael, Department of Community and Economic Development, Center for Community Development, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17120. FMI: See www.pabulletin.com.