Pennsylvania State Budget & Policy Update

Office of Long Term Living Program Updates

OLTL is proposing Medicaid Waiver amendments where there were public comment opportunities for both CHC and OBRA Waivers.

 

Community Health Choices (CHC) and Managed Long Term Supports & Services (MLTSS) Updates

New sessions added with PA CILs: CHC continues to be implemented: for 2018, it was rolled out in Southwest PA (Region 1-Pittsburgh region, 14 counties), in Southeast (Region 2-Philadelphia region, 5 counties) in 2019 with trainings this year related to 2020 implementation in the rest of Pennsylvania’s 48 counties in Northwest, Central and Northeast in 2020 (Region 3).

 

Vulnerable Populations Executive Order by Governor Wolf

In late July, Governor Wolf announced an Executive Order to address issues regarding protections for vulnerable populations. This pertains to improving protections and populations protected under Child Protective Services (CPS), Adult Protective Services (APS) and Older Adult Protective Services (OAPSA). Read Governor Wolf’s July announcement or read Governor Wolf’s September announcement. In noting this action, it is also important to state while Pennsylvania has an APS law in Act 70 of 2010 and funding, unlike other populations with protected services, PA does not have related (APS) regulations which would provide greater clarity and statewide consistency.

Closure of 2 Institutions: State Centers Intellectual Disabilities

In mid-August, Governor Wolf and ODP Secretary Ahrens announced the closure of 2 of the largest state institutions in Pennsylvania which primarily house people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Polk Center in Venango County (NW PA) and White Haven State Center in White Haven (NE PA). Since then, there has been much publicity and recent hearings with PA Senate Health & Human Services CMTE (September 24, 2019) and PA House Health and Human Services CMTES (joint one for both committees on October 21, 2019) in Harrisburg along with regional hearings on this issue at each closure location. Along with The Arc of PA, PA DDC and other community based disability organizations, PA SILC supports the closure of these institutions along with ensuring that these individuals receive the community care needed. Bills opposing both closures have moved forward SB 906 and HB 1918 in late November and are to be voted on December 16-19, 2019 when PA Legislature returns. To support community living, please contact your PA House members, particularly those on the Appropriations Committee to oppose the bills, support closing state institutions and empower individuals to receive services in the community.

 

Employment

PA Employment First 2019

Read the Year One Employment First Report

 

PA Labor & Industry (L&I) / Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) Updates with PA DHS Employment related actions, Employment First Update

As was previously, OVR had decided to start an Order Of Selection (OOS) or VR Waiting List, effective July 1, 2019. There are over 2,000 individuals known to be on that waiting list. Pennsylvania recently received additional federal funds for VR but not enough to reverse course here.

For employment related measures with PA DHS, several things are in process. For PA ODP, ODP submitted Medicaid Waiver amendments which would address employment supports (effective July 1, 2019) since OVR started its OOS process. OLTL has also submitted Medicaid Waiver Amendments for CHC and OBRA Waivers that would address employment services but are not retroactive (like ODPs). Both ODP and OLTL Amendments were submitted. While ODP’s amendments were approved, OLTL’s must still be approved by the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS). OMHSAS has also hired staff to support employment issues.  All of this is also related to Pennsylvania’s ‘Employment First’ efforts; more information about Employment First. More information on OVR’s Order Of Selection. PA Bulletin also has related PA DHS employment information.

 

Update on MATP, Transportation Broker- Take PHAN Transportation Survey Due by December 11, 2019

As many of you may recall, Pennsylvania as to move toward a transportation broker for the Medical Assistance Transportation (MATP) and Community Health Choices (CHC) Transportation as a result of Act 40 of 2018. The Governor and PA Legislature slowed that down with the passage of Act 19 of 2019 which required PA DHS (Human Services) to do a study in conjunction with PennDOT and Department of Aging to gauge impact. PA Legislature held hearings: PA Senate did a joint one with Health & Human Services and Transportation CMTES on November 20 where advocates testified and PA House Transportation CMTE on October 28. Thanks to the efforts of transportation advocates and state policy makers, more community input has been received but it is unclear if department will either modify or abandon the proposed transportation broker.

To provide feedback to PA Health Access Network (PHAN) on transportation programs and potential impact of transportation broker, click to see English and Spanish versions to complete by December 10, 2019. This information will be shared with PA DHS and other stakeholders.