At its 2011 Annual Conference PARF will be offering its 2011 Employer Awards to PARF member organizations and their partners for promoting the employment of people with disabilities. The PARF 2011 Annual Conference will be held from Tuesday, September 20 to Friday, September 23, 2011, at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA. For information on the conference see http://www.parf.org/uploads/2011-Conference-Registration-Brochure.pdf. Also, click on http://www.parf.org/site2/?page_id=11 and scroll down to 2011 Conference Registration Brochure and click on the title. The objective of the PARF employer awards program is to demonstrate how organizations and local employers are working together in assuring that people with disabilities have opportunities in the workplace. PARF is calling upon PARF member organizations and encouraging them to submit a one-page narrative demonstrating their work with a local employer in assisting people with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment. Please submit nominations by August 19, 2011 to PARF Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or call PARF at (717) 657-7608.
On July 18 PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) clarified the current status of PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) funding for transportation to psychiatric rehabilitation services (PRS) throughout the state. Recent policy statements by DPW indicated that Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) services would not be made available for transportation of clients to PRS programs because psychiatric rehabilitation services (PRS) are not Medicaid in-plan services. See MATP OPS #06-2011-023. Access to PRS for many of the more than 4,000 persons with serious mental illnesses receiving psychiatric rehabilitation services (PRS) throughout Pennsylvania would have been restricted by a loss of MATP services and supports. The policy also threatened the financial viability of PRS programs. In response, the PA Behavioral Health Coalition, including PARF, and its partners in early July 2011 called upon DPW, including Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), to act to assure access to services. On July 11 MATP issued a memo to its providers that services are to continue up to July 31, 2011, and, one week later, on July 18, OMHSAS issued a memorandum clarifying both the policy and intention on DPW support for transportation to psychiatric rehabilitation services. OMHSAS said that DPW will continue to pay transportation costs under the MATP for transportation to behavioral health services covered under the Medical Assistance State Plan approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). OMHSAS said that DPW has requested that the county MATP offices continue to coordinate trips to PRS until further notice. OMHSAS said that it is working with the affected counties and BH-MCOs to identify options for continuing transportation and using the most appropriate option(s) based on local resources. OMHSAS said that it is also working with county programs on PRS rate adjustments and reinvestment plans to cover the cost of transportation for PRS and that MATP will reimburse counties in the interim. OMHSAS has targeted close of business on July 31, 2011 as the date on which responsibility for PRS transportation will end for the MATP and coverage will begin for the effected county BH programs and BH-managed care organizations. The goal is to ensure that services remain uninterrupted. OMHSAS is requesting that the BH-MCOs and PRS providers coordinate efforts to insure that consumers impacted by these changes will know how they will continue to receive services. PARF members seeking to inquire or comment on the DPW statements should contact PARF at email@example.com.
On July 22 the PA PW Office of Developmental Programs issued a memorandum (ODP Communication Number: Informational Memo 096-11) as an urgent reminder to certify now for the v5010, PES Users Upgrade to Version 3.57. The nature of the communication is technical and is intended for people who have a claims processing role in their organization. The memo informs people who submit Pennsylvania Medical Assistance (MA) electronic claims and support individuals who participate in the ODP Consolidated waiver, Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) waiver, and base programs that all electronic claim submissions must be v5010 compliant and certified before January 1, 2012 or else claims submitted January 1, 2012 and forward will be denied. SCOs and SCs will not have to certify for the v5010 with PROMISe™. More information is provided in ODP Informational Memo 096-11. See www.odpconsulting.net
On July 22 the PA PW Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) issued an update on its work in implementing regulatory amendments to the 55 Pa. Code Chapters 2380, 2390, 6400 and 6500 that were announced on August 28, 2010, in the Pennsylvania Bulletin Volume 40, Number 35. ODP Communication Number: Announcement 095-11 states that since the new regulations came into effect, the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has been working on revisions to the Licensing Inspection Instruments (LIIs) and Scoresheets. The latest version of these documents, are now available. These documents are now available on the following websites: ODP Consulting System http://www.odpconsulting.net (ODP Resources > Webcasts and Video Presentations > Regulation Amendment Webcast and Supporting Documents> Scoresheets> Licensing Inspecting Instruments). Documents will also be available at http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/provider/doingbusinesswithdpw/developmentalprograms/developmentalprogramsproviderlicensing/index.htm. ODP advises providers to contact the appropriate Regional ODP Licensing Administrator, the ODP Customer Service Line (1-888-565-9435) or send an email to the ODP Regulations Comments Mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or for additional information. FMI: The full version of the amendments can be found at: http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/055/055toc.html; scroll down to see the individual chapters.
On July 18 the Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced that it will hold three forums during August to gather public input on health insurance exchanges. Health insurance exchanges are a one-stop shopping resource for those who are looking to buy health insurance. They offer consumers and businesses a variety of choices when they are in the market for a health insurance plan. The Insurance Department said that it is actively seeking input from all parties impacted by the formation of health insurance exchanges. The forums will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., as follows: (a) Tuesday, Aug. 9: Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh/Monroeville Convention Center, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, PA, 15146; (b) Thursday, Aug. 11: Crowne Plaza Liberty Convention Center, 260 Mall Blvd., King of Prussia, PA, 19406; and (c) Tuesday, Aug. 23: Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey, 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA, 17111. Information about the upcoming forums and related materials are available online at www.insurance.state.pa.us; click on “Health Insurance Exchanges Forums.” Interested parties can also register for the forums and submit comments via that link. For those unable to attend, video of the forums will be available via the web at www.insurance.state.pa.us.
On July 15 Pennsylvanians were invited to share their ideas for highway planning during a series of public hearings to update the state’s 12-Year Transportation Program. Updated every two years, the Transportation Program serves as a “blueprint” of prioritized transportation projects. The update is overseen by the 15-member State Transportation Commission (STC), which includes the Transportation Secretary, ten (10) private citizens appointed by the governor, and the majority and minority chairs of the state Senate and House Transportation Committees. PennDOT is required by law to prepare and submit to the STC a program of transportation improvements which it recommends be undertaken during the next 12 years, listing only those programs and projects that are reasonably expected to be funded. The Department of Transportation and its 23 regional Planning Partners will administer the hearings on the following dates (specific start and end times will be set closer to the hearing dates): (a) Thursday, August 11 at the Ramada Altoona Conference Center, 1 Sheraton Drive, Altoona, PA 16601 (public hearing/business meeting); (b) Thursday, August 25 at the Marriott Pittsburgh North, 100 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Township, PA 16066; (c) Friday, August 26 at Wyndham Gettysburg, 95 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA 17325; (d) Thursday, September 15 at Shawnee Inn, One River Road, Shawnee on Delaware, PA 18356; and, (e) Friday, September 16 at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 190 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Citizens planning to attend a hearing should contact the STC Office at 717-787-2913 at least 24 hours in advance. Anyone wishing to schedule a five-minute time slot to present oral testimony should contact the STC Office at least one week before the public hearing date. Residents can submit written testimony via email, fax, mail, or by completing the “Project Abstract Form” found at www.dot.state.pa.us Written testimony can be sent directly to STC via email at RAPennDOTSTC@state.pa.us, faxed to 717-787-5247, or mailed to: State Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 3633, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3633. All written testimony must be received by September 30 to be considered for the 2013 Transportation Program. FMI: See www.dot.state.pa.us and click on the “Public Participation 2013 Program Update” hyperlink.