On June 22 the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) issued ODP Alert 080-11, rescinding a previous policy memorandum (ODP Informational Memo #074-11) on rates for non-residential services provided under the Medicaid waiver to individuals with intellectual disabilities. ODP Alert 080-11 canceled effectively the original policy memorandum (ODP Informational Memo #074-11) that had been issued on June 16, 2011 and a formal announcement that had been submitted for publication in the June 25 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. On June 23 the PARF MH MR Finance Committee and the PARF Residential and Vocational Divisions met via teleconference to review all announcements published to date by ODP. DPW noted that its formal notice of payment rates set to be published in the June 25, 2011 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin would be formally withdrawn at a later date. The announcement published in the June 25 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin and now to be rescinded announced that DPW planned to implement new rates for select services funded through the Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support waivers (waivers) and Targeted Service Management (TSM) effective July 1, 2011. They are: supports coordination, home and community habilitation unlicensed, licensed day habilitation (adult training), prevocational services, supported employment, transitional work and all waiver funded respite services, excluding respite camp which is a vendor service. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding rate changes to DPW at the Office of Developmental Programs’ rate-setting mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org, use subject header ”PN Fee Schedule,” or Department of Public Welfare, Office of Developmental Programs, Division of Provider Assistance and Rate Setting, 4th Floor, Health and Welfare Building, Forster and Commonwealth Avenues, Harrisburg, PA 17120. FMI: See www.odpconsulting.net and www.pabulletin.com.
On June 22 the PA Senate approved Senate Bill 200, a measure introduced by Senator Pat Browne (R-16) to increase awareness and prevention of traumatic head injuries among Pennsylvania’s scholastic athletes. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Under the Safety in Youth Sports Act, students showing symptoms of a concussion can be sidelined by officials, coaches, athletic trainers, licensed physicians, licensed physical therapists or other officials designated by the school and barred from participating in games, competitions, scrimmages or practices until evaluated and medically cleared by an appropriate medical professional. SB 200 would include students participating in interscholastic activities, athletic contests or competitions sponsored by or associated with a school entity, including cheerleading, and sports activities sponsored by clubs and school-affiliated organizations. SB 200 sets certain requirements: (a) Requires the PA Department of Health and the PA Department of Education post information on risks of head injuries and concussions on their websites; (b) requires students and their parents review information regarding the risk of head injuries and concussions before participation in scholastic sports activities; (c) requires students showing signs of brain trauma be taken out of a game and be evaluated by an appropriate medical professional who is trained in the management and evaluation of concussions before they return to participation – with penalties for coaches who violate this provision; and, (d) requires training of coaches in the risk of brain injury in scholastic sports in a program certified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the National Federation of State High School Associations. FMI: See www.legis.state.pa.us
Since the Pennsylvania Senate approved the Safety in Youth Sports Act (SB200) on June 22 The Brain Injury Coalition, including PARF, is increasing efforts to gain approval of the legislation by the State House of Representatives. The bill is expected to be considered by the PA House Education Committee on Tuesday, June 28th. PARF members are encouraged to contact their state representative today to ask him or her to support the Safety in Youth Sports Act. Representatives can be located online at http://www.house.state.pa.us/index.com. (Enter your address in the box in the upper right hand corner of the webpage to obtain the name of the local representative. Click on the name of the State Representative for relevant contact information.) PARF members are encouraged to contact the members of the House leadership who will be instrumental in moving this bill through the process toward a final vote and ask them to support the Safety in Youth Sports Act. They are: Representative Paul I. Clymer- Chairman of Education Committee; Representative William F. Adolph Jr. – Chairman of Appropriations Committee; Representative Samuel H. Smith – Speaker of the House; and Representative Mike Turzai – Majority Floor Leader. The Coalition maintains that it is important that this bill be passed before the summer break so that a law can go into effect for the next school year. If delayed until the fall, it would be challenging to implement mid-school year. PA Representative Tim Briggs is leading the effort on the bill in the House of Representatives. Representative Briggs, who introduced a House bill (HB 200) similar to Senate Bill 200, has stressed that giving districts the standard regulations to follow that are set forth in SB200 will protect coaches and school districts from potential lawsuits. Without regulations in place, coaches and school districts remain at risk. FMI: Contact PARF at email@example.com.
All of selections made by PA Governor Tom Corbett for his cabinet have now been confirmed. On June 22 the PA Senate voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Julia K. Hearthway as Department of Labor and Industry Secretary. On June 23 the PA Senate confirmed the nomination of Gary Alexander as secretary of the Department of Public Welfare. FMI: See www.state.pa.us.
In the June 25, 2011 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) published fees for certain services provided to Adult Autism Waiver participants effective July 1, 2011. DPW made changes in the fees for various services: Behavioral Specialist Plan Development; Behavioral Specialist-Ongoing; Community Inclusion; Day Habilitation Services; Family Counseling; Family Training; Job Assessment and Finding; Nutritional Consultation; Counseling; Occupational Therapy; Speech Therapy; Residential Habilitation Services; Respite Services; Supports Coordination-Plan Development; Supports Coordination-Ongoing; Supported Employment; Temporary Crisis Services; and Transitional Work Services. DPW said that it used a market-based approach to develop the fee schedule rates and identified costs that are reasonable, necessary and related to the delivery of the service. DPW said that it also considered provider participation and promotion of provider choice. See www.pabulletin.com.
On June 24 PA DPW Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) distributed ODP Communication Number: Announcement 081-11 on training and resource information to support the implementation of Provider/SCO Monitoring Process scheduled for August 1, 2011. ODP says that the communication is the first of a series of announcements intended to provide information and important next steps to all parties who will be involved in the new Provider/SCO Monitoring process. ODP says that a future communication will announce when Provider/SCO Monitoring resources have been posted. ODP also says that it will be releasing a series of webcasts designed to provide specific information regarding each part of the new Provider and SCO Monitoring process. These webcasts will be available on the SCOIC, PIC and AEIC, by August 1, 2011. Following the release of these webcasts, ODP has scheduled a series of conference calls for Providers, AEs, and SCO Administrators to address comments and questions related to the new processes detailed in the webcasts. The schedule lists the dates and times for the follow-up conference calls. ODP says that registration information for these calls will be provided in a future ODP communication and will be posted on the SCOIC, PIC and AEIC. Although the follow-up conference calls are divided up regionally, if an organization is unable to participate in one of the calls for their region, the organization may register and participate in one of the other calls. The follow-up conference calls will be recorded for those who are unable to participate in any of the calls. The recorded conference calls are to be posted on the SCOIC, PIC and AEIC within one week after the scheduled call times. FMI: See www.odpconsulting.net for ODP Communication Number: Announcement 081-11.