PA Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget eliminates state funding ($842 million) designated for seven county human service programs, including community mental health and developmental program services, and it establishes a block grant for human services that would reduce the current outlay to the counties by $168 million. As a result, services will be reduced significantly. PARF is urging members and the general public to call on the Pennsylvania legislature to use its power to stop the Governor’s proposed budget cuts and restore funding for Pennsylvania’s behavioral health, intellectual disability, and autism services. PARF and other members of the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health, Intellectual Disability and Autism (BH/ID/A) Coalitions are urging citizens of Pennsylvania to sign the petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/654/600/747/protect-pennsylvanias-safety-net/.
DPW Sets Home Equity Limits for MA Long Term Services
In the April 28, 2012 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) published a notice on the excess home equity limits for individuals applying for or receiving Medical Assistance and payment of long-term care services. An excess home equity limit of $525,000 became effective January 1, 2012, as required under section 6014(f)(1)(C) of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. DPW says that it anticipates that there will be no fiscal impact of the new limits. The statements of policy provide guidance for determining disqualification for payment of long-term care services due to excess home equity. The standards are required to be published annually in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. They are available to the public upon request at the local county assistance office. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this information to the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Income Maintenance, Edward J. Zogby, Director, Bureau of Policy, Room 431, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. FMI: See www.pabulletin.com.
In the April 28, 2012 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) published a notice on additional class of disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, announcing that DPW would decrease the funding allotted for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-2012 for certain qualifying hospitals that provide a high volume of services to Medical Assistance (MA) eligible and low-income populations. DPW says that this decrease in funding is required to be consistent with the FY 2011-2012 appropriated amount for inpatient hospital services. DPW said that in making these payments, it will ensure that no acute care hospital will receive any DSH payment that is in excess of its hospital-specific limit and the Commonwealth will not exceed its aggregate annual DSH allotment. The FY 2011-2012 fiscal impact is $4.258 million ($1.913 million in State general funds and $2.345 million in Federal funds) pending approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding this notice to the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Medical Assistance Programs, c/o Regulations Coordinator, Room 515, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Comments received within 30 days will be reviewed and considered for any subsequent revision of the notice. FMI: See www.pabulletin.com.
On April 24 the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) Works for Me Program announced that it is seeking to fund projects actively promoting employment for people with disabilities. Reimbursement will be provided up to $5,000 per award for the period of July 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012. This initiative is supported with funds from the CMS Medicaid Infrastructure grant (CFDA# 93.768). The Works for Me Program is seeking applicants to respond to the following initiatives: (a) To engage youth with disabilities and their families to raise awareness and prepare students for post-secondary education and/or employment by collaborating with students, families, education partners and/or businesses. Activities may include but are not limited to the following: Mentorship programs, career or motivational speakers, career fairs, college fairs, events with technical and trade schools, career speakers, character education, career guidance seminars, job shadowing opportunities, field trips, workshops for parents, business representatives at school events, business tours, forums and roundtables with students, families, businesses and educators, publications, and guides; (b) To engage adults with disabilities and employers to raise awareness to promote employment for people with disabilities. Proposals should seek to heighten the awareness of people with disabilities on the benefits of employment and businesses on the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities. Activities may include but are not limited to career fairs, career or motivational speakers, career guidance seminars, job shadowing opportunities, field trips, breakfast meetings, luncheons, forums, roundtables, trainings, business organization presentations, mentoring events, business tours, workshops, info sessions, webinars, and publications. All proposals must be submitted electronically to Kiley Hassinger at email@example.com by Friday, June 15, 2012. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Projects may commence upon notification but must be completed by October 31, 2012. Invoices and final reports must be submitted by November 15, 2012. Payments will follow.
FMI: Please contact Kiley Hassinger at 1-877-268-9894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Projects will be evaluated by a review team and applicants will be notified via email on June 29, 2012.
In the April 28, 2012 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PA Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) issued final-omitted rulemaking that rescinds the current rules for a program under which new employees in the restaurant and food-service industries and their employers could voluntarily agree to a training program during which the employees would receive a training wage that was not less than the statutory minimum wage. Under the program, while the employees were being trained, the difference between their training wages and the employers’ entry-level wages was to be deposited into an escrow account, and upon completion of the training program or the employees’ promotion, these escrow payments were to be remitted to the employees in equal installments over a period equal to the period of training. The employees covered under these regulations were dishwashers, bus-persons, servers, sales staff, cooks, hostesses/hosts and cashiers. The regulations have been defunct for more than seven (7) years. The contact person for this final-omitted rulemaking is Eric Ramsay, Acting Director, Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, 1301 Labor and Industry Building, 651 Boas Street, Harrisburg, PA 17121, (717) 787-3681, email@example.com. FMI: See www.pabulletin.com.
On April 26 the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) briefed the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee (MAAC) on negotiations between the Commonwealth and counties on the development of human services block grants to county governments. OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Blaine Smith described the conversations with representatives of PA county commissioners concerning implementation of the proposed human services block grant as productive. OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Smith said that agreements have been reached on several issues: (a) Payment of the block grant would be in quarterly installments; (b) No joinder program would be harmed; (c) All federal reporting requirements would be met; (d) There would be a county match; and, (e) OMHSAS would examine options for FY 2011-12 carryover funds to mitigate the reduction or to reduce risk. OMHSAS said that it has agreed that it will grant a waiver for counties that are ready. OMHSAS said that county planning process has been suspended and that planning would occur in conjunction with development of a county block grant plan. Meanwhile, OMHSAS has decided that it will rebid the 23 county Behavioral Health contract. FMI: Contact PARF at firstname.lastname@example.org.