Volume 15, Issue 2

A Slice of Pie is an ongoing publication keeping our readers informed about important public policy issues. It is the mission of the Policy Information Exchange to educate and inform Pennsylvanians with disabilities, their families and advocates, and the general public, regarding public policy issues and to further the exchange of policy information between the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and federal, state and local policy makers. The Policy Information Exchange is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

Slice of Pie, Volume 15, Issue 2

STATE NEWS

State Budget

Below PIE summarizes some items of interest to the disability community in Pennsylvania’s final 2014-15 budget, HB 2328.  The budget includes funding increases to serve more people in intellectual disabilities, autism, physical disability, aging and home and community based services.  In light of concern about whether there will be enough revenue to balance the level of spending in the budget, it should be noted that some or all of any appropriation can still be held back or “frozen.”  In the past, some line items have been reduced or eliminated when the state makes a decision to reduce spending.  Advocates should continue to monitor the budget to ensure that appropriated funds are actually being spent.  For more information, contact PIE at The Arc of Pennsylvania office at 717-234-2621 or pie@thearcpa.org.

Department of Public Welfare

Intellectual Disability Waivers:  State funding increased by 3.9%, or almost $40 million.  This includes funds to serve an additional 700 people with intellectual disabilities graduating from high school special education programs and 400 people off the emergency waiting list.  The Governor had proposed a larger 5.8% increase.  The final budget, while less than the Governor’s proposal, is intended to serve the same number of people but will start the services later in the year.  As of May 31, 2014, there were 4,185 people on the emergency waiting list.  The budget also includes state funds to move 50 people from state centers to the community.  As of June 2014 there were 995 people living in state centers.

Autism:  The Governor had proposed an increase in state funds of $2.1 million or 12.8%. This included $1.1 million to provide a full year of services to an additional 100 adults with autism who are on the interest list, waiting for services.   The final budget added additional funds amounting to an increase of $3,578,000 over 2013-14.  Apparently, $1.3 million of that increase is for four legislative initiatives funding specific treatment or training programs.

State Centers: Institutions for people with intellectual disabilities receive a 10.6% increase for maintenance of current program.

Community Base Funding Intellectual Disabilities: There’s again a small reduction in base funding.

Services to Persons with Disabilities: This line item includes funding for the Independence, OBRA and Commcare Waivers.  The budget provides an additional $34,026,000 in state funds or a 15.5% increase.  This includes funds to serve an additional 15 people in OBRA, 108 people in Commcare and 1,080 in Independence for a total of 1,203 people. Funding for specialized services in nursing homes has been moved to the Long Term Care line item.

Attendant Care:  The Attendant Care line item, which includes both the waiver and Act 150, would receive an additional $9.7 million or 8.6%.  This provides funds to serve an additional 396 people in the Attendant Care Waiver.  We are told that it also includes funding to eliminate the Act 150 waiting list, which included 286 people as of March 31, 2014.  It also includes funding for a rate increase for personal assistance services and for service coordination.

Adult Protective Services:  There’s no language in the budget, but according to DPW Secretary Beverly Mackereth and the policy office, APS will receive the same amount of funding this year as last.  We’re told that the amount is $3,841,000.

Human Services Development Fund: Level funded.

Human Services Block Grant Pilot:  This block grant pilot was created in the 2012-13 fiscal year in 20 counties.  In 2013-14, it was expanded to serve 30 counties.  Funding for six programs--Community Mental Health, the Behavioral Health Services Initiative, Intellectual Disability Base funds, County Child Welfare Special Grants, Homeless Assistance, and Act 152 Drug and Alcohol—is combined into one block grant and the county is given flexibility on how the money is spent.  In the first year of the pilot, funding for those programs was reduced by 10%.  That 10% cut has not been restored. According to Secretary Beverley Mackereth, the Administration plans to expand to additional counties in 2014-15.

Mental Health:  The budget includes 6% more than the 2013-14 budget ($41.1 million—slightly less than the Governor proposed).  It provides $4.7 million to move 90 people from state hospitals to the community for six months.  No additional funding is provided for community services.  Budget documents note that the 90 CHIPPs (people out of institutions) in 2013-14 enabled the closing of units at Clark Summit and Warren State Hospitals.  This resulted in the elimination of 56 staff positions and saved the state $4.5 million.

Behavioral Health:  BHSI is level funded at $43.1 million which includes $17.2 million for Mental Health and $25.9 million for Drug and Alcohol.

Aging Waiver:  The Aging Waiver state line item is cut by more than 28%-- $40.8 million.  This is not an actual cut, but rather a switch from State General Funds to using $141.6 million of Lottery Funds.  Federal Medical Assistance funds are increased $68.2 million (27%).  Lottery and State General Funds are intended to serve an additional 1,764 people in the Aging Waiver. The line item also includes funding for a rate increase for personal assistance services and for service coordination.

Nursing Homes (Long Term Care):  State funding for nursing homes is reduced 12.5% --$103.6 million.  But that is more than made up for by an additional $143.8 million from tobacco settlement funds (a 151% increase) and $25 million in Lottery Funds (an 8% increase).  Funds for Specialized Services in Nursing Homes and for Nursing Home Transition have been moved to this Long Term Care (Nursing Home) line item.

Early Intervention (Birth to age 3): DPW’s Early Intervention program is level funded.

Medical Assistance Transportation:  State funding is reduced by14.3%--$10.4 million.  For the first time, MATP will receive Lottery Funds, $4.9 million.  For the 2013-14 year which just ended, MATP underspent (spent less than was available) by more than $14 million.

Prior Authorization:  The budget anticipates cost savings of $1,223,000 in state and federal funds by implementing a prior authorization process for durable medical equipment in the Aging waiver, and $1.1 million in savings in the other Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) waivers.  Another $206,000 in savings is expected from the Aging waiver and $182,000 from the OLTL waivers by requiring prior authorization for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy provided in the state plan.

Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD):  In the 2013-14 fiscal year, MAWD spent more than was budgeted.  For 2014-15, State funding is increased by $1.2 million or 4%.  Tobacco Settlement funding is eliminated.  The administration plans to eliminate the program in January 2015 as part of the Healthy PA plan. [Update:  In late July, DPW Secretary Mackereth announced that the MAWD program would NOT be eliminated.]

Balancing Incentive Program:  Pennsylvania applied for and will receive increased federal funds under the Balancing Incentive Program.  The additional federal funds will provide for the increases noted above in the number of people with intellectual disabilities, adults with physical disabilities and older Pennsylvanians to receive home and community based services.

Federal Match:  The Federal share of Medicaid costs is being reduced in 2014-15 from 53.52% to 51.82%.  This will cost the state almost $322 million.

Lottery Funds:  This budget draws heavily on Lottery funds.  In 2013-14 Nursing Homes received $309 million in lottery funds; for 2014-15 that number increases to $334 million, an eight percent increase. Lottery funds for the Aging Waiver increase by $141.6 million—a 674% increase.  Advocates have expressed concern about the future ability of the Lottery to sustain this spending.

Cost Saving:  The budget includes a number of cost savings.  It assumes changes in the Medical Assistance benefit package.  This can be done by an amendment to our state plan without federal approval of a waiver.  And it would delay payments to Managed Care and Behavioral Health Managed Care organizations to save money.

Department of Aging

Aging Services: The budget also provides for an additional 800 older adults in the LIFE program and for an additional 500 individuals on the Options waiting list; and $1.4 million for 204 people transitioning from the DPW Attendant Care program to the Aging program.  The $2 million in lottery funds to Senior Centers continues.

Department of Labor and Industry

Transfer to Vocational Rehabilitation Fund:  The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) state match is level funded at $40,473,000.  The additional $1 million, which the Governor proposed to provide on-the-job training for young people between the ages of 18 and 25 with disabilities is not included.

Supported Employment, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Assistive Technology Devices (alternative financing program) and Assistive Technology Demonstration and Training (lending library):  All of these programs are level funded.

Department of Community and Economic Development

PA Accessible Housing Program:  The PAHP program is part of the Keystone Communities line item which is reduced by 45%.  But there may be some unspent PAHP funds that can be carried-over.

Department of Education

Special Education:  Special education received a small 1.9% increase in state funds—the first increase in 6 years.

Early Intervention (for ages 3 to 5) will receive a 7%--$15.5 million-- increase in 2014-15.

Approved Private Schools: Funding for Approved Private Schools is reduced 3%.

PA Charter Schools for the Deaf and Blind:  Charter schools for children who are deaf and blind received a 2.6% increase.

Department of Health

Services for Children with Special Needs is level funded.

The AIDS Programs and AIDS Special Pharmaceuticals line items are combined and level funded in state dollars.

Epilepsy Support and Tourette Syndrome:  The Governor proposed eliminating funding for these two programs. The General Assembly has restored level funding.

Sickle Cell will be cut from $1,260,000 state dollars to $1.2 million.

Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

Assistance to Drug and Alcohol Programs:  State program funding is level.  Administrative funds for the Department are increased by 33.7%.

Bills of Interest

Below we summarize some bills of interest to the disability community from the 2013-2014 session. For more information about these or any other state bills, go towww.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm.    At the top of the page is a box labeled, “Legislation Quick Search”. Enter the bill number and click on “Search”.  The site contains lots of useful information.  So take a few minutes and check it out.

HB 21. Introduced by Representative Glen Grell (R-Cumberland). This bill allows psychologists to testify on competence to stand trial. It is similar to HB 1405 from last session, which passed the House unanimously, but did not receive third and final passage in the Senate before the end of the last session. HB 21 passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on March 19, 2014, becoming Act No. 21 of 2014.

HB 993.  Introduced by Representative Thomas R. Murt (R-Montgomery).  This is the bill which would change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services.  It passed the House. The Senate also passed the bill, but amended it to add a fraud tip line.  So the bill has gone back to the House for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 1218. Introduced by Representative Stanley Saylor (R-York).  The bill amends the

Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, to, among other things, provide for early termination of leases by individuals with disabilities when they need to move into a facility or a family member’s house to receive care.  The bill passed the House on May 6, 2014 and was referred to the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, May 16, 2014.

HB 1474. Introduced by Representative John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia).  The bill would stop the practice of denying a needed transplant solely on the basis of having a mental or physical disability. It was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee on June 17, 2014.

HB 1702. Introduced by Representative Chris Ross (R-Chester).  The bill empowers the Department of Aging to license and inspect community adult respite service providers.  It passed the House on March 19, 2014.  It has been voted out of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, given first consideration by the full Senate and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

HB 2111. Introduced by Representative Jim Marshall (R-Beaver).  The bill requires a doctor, who receives positive test results on a test for Down syndrome, to provide the expectant or new parent with educational information prepared by the Department of Health (DOH). The DOH educational information is to include up-to-date, evidence-based information about Down syndrome and contact information for resources to assist in treatment options, education and support services. The information on the website must conform to the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care as adopted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.  The bill passed both chambers and was sent to the Governor for his signature on July 9.  See also SB 1339 introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) which was referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, April 17, 2014.

HB 2212. Introduced by Representative Pam Snyder (D- Fayette).  This bill would enable the Department of Public Welfare to issue guidelines and adopt rules and regulations about the rights of minors to consent to outpatient mental health treatment.  The bill was voted out of the House Human Services Committee and given first consideration by the full House.  It is currently in the House Rules Committee.

HB 2405. Introduced by Representative Thomas P. Murt (R-Montgomery).  The bill is called “Turning High School Graduates with Disabilities into Taxpayers Act.”  It would require the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to develop connections between local education agencies and private employers needed for successful transition from high school to competitive employment.  The program would be paid for by providing enough state match to pull down all available federal VR funds.  It was introduced and referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee on July 1, 2014.

SB 137. Introduced by Senator John R. Gordner (R-Columbia). The bill amends the Speech-Language and Hearing Licensure Act and renames it, the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Licensure Act. It spells out the definition of “audiologist” to require education, training and clinical experience as well as a license. It passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by the Governor on July 2, 2014 becoming Act No. 106 of 2014.

SB 428. Introduced by Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). This bill provides for pooled trusts for people with disabilities. It passed the Senate on June 17, 2014 and is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 1316. Introduced by Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh).  The bill would put the special education funding formula into law.  It also relates to Approved Private Schools and Charter Schools.  It has been voted out of the Senate Education Committee and the Appropriations Committee.  It has received three considerations in the Senate, but was tabled before a vote on final passage.

HR 697. Introduced by Representative Daniel L. Miller (D-Allegheny).  This resolution urges Congress to pass and the President to sign the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2013 (ABLE Act- S. 313/H.R. 647) to provide an improved quality of life for individuals with disabilities through tax-exempt savings accounts.  The resolution was reported out of the House Human Services Committee on June 25, 2014.

HR 826. Introduced by Representative Matthew E. Baker (R-Bradford).  The resolution recognizes the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and honors the Council for working to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.  The resolution was adopted June 2, 2014.

HR 903. Introduced by Representative Thomas P. Murt (R-Montgomery).  The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review and report on the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Developmental Programs’ implementation of the Olmstead decision.  It was adopted on June 27, 2014.

Special Ed Funding

As noted in the budget summary, Special Education will receive a $20 million increase this year.  While that is not a large percentage of the budget, it is the first increase in six years.  Also new is the funding formula which is included in the Fiscal Code bill which accompanied the budget.  The formula is based on a calculation that weighs factors including student needs, poverty, property tax levels and “rural and small district conditions.”  It was originally proposed in Senate Bill 1316, and is based on recommendations of the Special Education Funding Commission.  It will apply only to traditional public school districts, not charter schools.

Balancing Incentive Program

The Department of Public Welfare has received approval effective July 1 for their application under the federal Balancing Incentive Program. The state will receive additional federal Medicaid funds to increase access to Home and Community-Based Services. The funds will allow the state to serve additional people in the Office of Long Term Living and Office of Developmental Programs waivers. The state is working with consumers and other stakeholders on the details of how they will also: establish a “No Wrong Door-Single Entry Point” application and enrollment system for home and community based services; assure that case management services are conflict-free; and provide for common data in assessment instruments.

Healthy PA

Healthy Pennsylvania is the Corbett administration’s alternative to Medical Assistance expansion in Pennsylvania.  As of this writing, the plan is still under review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS will either approve the application as-is or request modifications from the state. The proposal changes the state’s current Medicaid programs and creates a private insurance option for those newly eligible under the federal Affordable Care Act.  The state plans to begin implementing Healthy Pennsylvania on January 1, 2015, and the recently passed state budget assumes significant savings based on implementation. Nine insurance providers have signed up to provide insurance under the Healthy PA plan. Required monthly premium payments, limits on benefits such as durable medical equipment and mental health treatment and different benefit tiers are a few of the changes that could happen to Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania if the Healthy PA plan is approved as submitted to CMS.

HCBS Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule requires states to review their Home and Community Based Services waivers.  Pennsylvania’s Offices of Developmental Programs and Long Term Living have begun their review of the HCBS waivers. Both program offices are seeking stakeholder input to review their programs and develop a transition plan to address any identified areas that need to be strengthened. The program areas include a review of how services are provided in community settings, (both residential and non-residential), day programs and pre-vocational settings and clearer requirements for person-centered planning. CMS has not yet issued anticipated guidance on non-residential programs. For information about ODP programs contact Julie Mochon at 717-783-5771and for OLTL programs e-mail RA-waiverstandard@pa.gov.

Accessible Cabs

Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission in July approved regulations which implement Act 119 of 2012, creating requirements for taxicab services which provide wheelchair accessible service in Philadelphia. The regulation, 3036 Philadelphia Parking Authority #126-6, provides for services, standards and dispatcher and driver requirements.  It provides for the sale of new medallions only to be used by wheelchair taxis.  A goal of the regulations is to get more accessible cabs on city streets.

OLTL Bulletins

The Office of Long Term Living has issued three new Bulletins which can be seen at www.dpw.state.pa.us/publications/bulletinsearch/index.htm.

  • Act 150 Program Sliding Fee Scale for 2014 (59-14-06) was issued on May 12, 2014 and was effective on January 1, 2014. The Bulletin provides the most recent Sliding Fee Scale for all OLTL Service Coordination Entities working with Act 150 Program participants.
  • Financial Management Services Information (51, 54, 55, 59-14-07) was issued on May 12, 2014 and was effective on that date. The Bulletin lists OLTL procedure codes and billing information for FMS and participant-directed services.
  • Service Coordination After-Hours Coverage (51, 55, 59-14-07) was issued on June 19, 2014 and was effective on that date. The Bulletin describes Service Coordination Entities’ responsibility to provide 24-hour phone coverage so that OLTL program participants can access service coordination services during non-business hours.

ODP Bulletins

The Office of Developmental Programs has issued two new Bulletins which can be seen at www.dpw.state.pa.us/publications/bulletinsearch/index.htm

  • Listing of Obsolete and Current ID Bulletins (00-14-03) was issued on March 13, 2014 and was effective on that date. The Bulletin lists all ODP bulletins that are in effect as of March 13, 2014.
  • Accessibility of ID Services for Individuals Who Are Deaf (00-14-04) was issued on April 8, 2014 and was effective on that date. The Bulletin clarifies the requirement to provide communication assistance to individuals who are deaf and served by or enrolling in County MH/ID or ODP programs.

OMHSAS Bulletin

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs has issued two new Bulletins which can be seen at www.dpw.state.pa.us/publications/bulletinsearch/index.htm

  • OMHSAS Guidelines for the Approval of Telepsych Services in HealthChoices (OMHSAS-14-01) was issued on March 18, 2014 and was effective on that date. The Bulletin clarifies and reissues guidelines the Department uses to approve telepsych programs.
  • Enrollment and Payment of Licensed Providers that Provide Behavior Specialist Consultant Services to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (OMHSAS-14-02) was issued on May 23, 2014 and was effective on May 26, 2014. The Bulletin notifies licensed providers how to enroll and be paid for services.

Elections

Tom Wolf defeated a number of candidates to win the Democratic primary election for Governor.  He will face incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley in the fall general election.  State Senator Mike Stack won the Democratic race for Lieutenant Governor.

Some other items of interest in Pennsylvania’s May primary election:

  • State Senator Leanna Washington lost the Democratic primary in Philadelphia’s 4th Senatorial District. She was under investigation by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane for allegedly using her elected office for political and financial gain. Among others under investigation, state Representative J.P. Mirada lost in the 197th Legislative District’s Democratic primary, while state Representative Vanessa L. Brown won in the 190th Legislative District Democratic primary
  • As a result of redistricting, two races in the state House pitted incumbent Democrats against each other.  In the 112th Legislative District in Lackawanna County, Representative Frank Farina ran against Representative Kevin Haggerty with Farina winning. Representative Harry Readshaw ran against Representative Erin Molchany in the new 36th Legislative District of Allegheny County.   Representative Readshaw defeated Representative Molchany.
  • State Representative Ryan Aument defeated state Representative Gordon Denlinger for the 36th Senatorial District (Lancaster County) seat opened up by Senator Mike Brubaker’s retirement.
  • In the 50th Senatorial District (Crawford), opened by the retirement of Senator Bob Robbins, state Representative Michele Brooks defeated state Representative Greg Lucas in the Republican primary.

The General Election for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, all of the state house and U.S. House and half of the state senate will be held on November 4.  The last day to register before the November election is October 6. The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is October 28.  The last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots is October 31.

Senate Changes

The 2013-14 session of the PA General Assembly ends on November 30, 2014.  The House and Senate are only scheduled to be in session for 15 and 11 days respectively between now and then.  But things are still changing.  In the state Senate, for example, there have been a number of changes in Republican majority committee chairs, including: Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) to chair the Aging and Youth Committee; Senator Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) to be chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) to chair the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

Staff Changes

Steve Suroviec, former Executive Director of The Arc of Pennsylvania, has been appointed as the new Deputy Secretary of DPW’s Office of Developmental Programs, effective July 1.  He had been serving as Executive Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Peri Jude Radecic began work July 1 as Chief Executive Officer of the Disability Rights Network of PA.  She had served as Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, that state’s protection and advocacy agency.

NATIONAL NEWS

Federal Budget 2015

The President’s proposal for the federal budget for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2014 was sent to Congress in March. Both the Senate and House have developed their own versions as well. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 established the budget levels for the upcoming year so now the appropriations committees will decide how the funding should be distributed within that limit. There is about a $2 billion difference between the Democratic and Republican proposals for discretionary spending on education, training, employment, social services and health.

Workforce Bill

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is awaiting the President’s signature. The bill, which the President has said he will sign, would prohibit individuals age 24 and younger from working jobs that pay less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first try vocational rehabilitation services.  People already in sheltered workshops and earning less than minimum wage can continue to do so.  It also would require state vocational rehabilitation agencies to work with schools to provide pre-employment transition services to all students with disabilities.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, introduced as the SKILLS Act, combines funding streams, modernizes, and improves a number of other programs that assist people to work.  It reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and  the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The reauthorization is for six years and requires programs to report their success rates. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Death Penalty

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida cannot rely solely on an IQ score to determine whether an inmate has an Intellectual Disability.  The 5 to 4 decision in Hall v. Florida expands on the Atkins v. Virginia case in which the Court held that the death penalty could not be imposed on a person with Intellectual Disabilities, but left it to the states to define intellectual disabilities.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, used the term “intellectually disabled,” rather than the term “mentally retarded,” which was previously used by the court in its opinions.

Fines Increase

For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has increased the fines that the federal government can impose for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The maximum civil penalty for violations of ADA provisions requiring restaurants, movie theaters, schools and other businesses open to the public to be accessible and accommodate people with disabilities was raised from $55,000 to $75,000.  For any subsequent offenses, the fine will jump to $150,000 from a prior maximum of $110,000.

RESOURCES

HCBS Final Rule

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Disability Rights Network, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities have started a web site, http://hcbsadvocacy.org/ for advocates to follow implementation of the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) final rule. See article describing the final rule elsewhere in this issue. The website provides both state and federal resources to help track what states are doing to comply with the rule and includes information about parts of the rule.

Inclusion Case

UCP’s annual report, The Case for Inclusion, ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) on outcomes for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).  The report offers state and national data. With 1 being the best score, Pennsylvania’s overall rating is 16th.  To read or download the report, go to http://cfi2014.ucp.org/.

AARP Report

A recent report by the AARP ranks Pennsylvania 42nd among the states for Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers.  The report, State Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard, is atwww.longtermscorecard.org/.

Long-Term Care Initiative

On April 7, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched a Long-Term Care Initiative to develop a better way to finance and deliver long-term services and supports (LTSS). It released a white paper, America’s Long Term Care Crisis: Challenges In Financing and Delivery, which highlights challenges and key questions. The report notes that there is significant agreement that the current bias toward institutional care under Medicaid should be eliminated. The Initiative is led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, former White House and Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. They plan to issue bipartisan policy recommendations in late 2014.

Social Security Data

In May, the Social Security Administration released. “Earnings and Employment Data for Workers Covered Under Social Security and Medicare, by State and County, 2011.”   It’s available at www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/eedata_sc/2011/index.html.

Voting Newsletter

The Disability Voting Coalition of Pennsylvania has published two newsletters which are posted at www.dvcpa.org  as a PDF and Plain Text.

Fighting Discrimination

The PA Human Relations Commission 2012-2013 Annual Report is available on their website.  Read about efforts to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunity in PA at www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/publications___faq/18983/annual_report/709209

Advocacy Videos

There are a number of videos produced by the Disability Rights Network of PA and the Disability Advocacy Support Hub (DASH) project to help with your advocacy.

Breaking Barriers Part I:  A dialogue about how disabilities affect Latino families.

Breaking Barriers Part IIHow Latino families of people with disabilities have overcome the challenges which they face.

Community OrganizingHow to organize for successful advocacy with examples from the organizing to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Express Talk: Passing the Americans with Disabilities Act and Moving it Forward:  Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how to use it to advance your rights.

Financial Powers of Attorney: Question and answer format explaining what a financial power of attorney is and other common money-related issues for individuals with disabilities.

Guardianship:  Question and answer format explaining guardianship of the person and the estate.

Health Care Substitute Decision-MakingQuestion and answer format addressing common issues related to health care substitute decision-making.

Trusts and Estates: Question and answer video addressing different kinds of trusts and estate planning for individuals with disabilities.

Rights of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People:  A series of videos on the rights to clear and effective communication.  Each video addresses how to secure people’s rights in a different setting or situation:

To view the videos, go to http://www.paddc.org/resources/videos/.  These videos were supported with grants from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council. For more information, contact Lan Do at 1-800-692-7443 ext. 312 or Ldo@drnpa.org.

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THE ARC OF PENNSYLVANIA PIE STAFF:

Maureen Cronin

Ashlinn Masland-Sarani 

Chris Dimov

Gwen Adams

 

CONSULTANTS:

Terry Roth

Vini Portzline

Joan W. Martin

Theotis Braddy