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December 17, 2020
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IWe Wish You A Happy Holiday!  
From the Board of Directors, Staff, & Volunteers of
The Arc of Pennsylvania!


Stay Informed

 

Federal News

President Signs One-Week Funding Bill
On December 11, the Senate passed and President Trump signed a bill to fund the government through December 18.  Efforts continue on a longer-term funding bill.

Senator Casey Introduces Bills to Prevent Harmful Law Enforcement Interactions 
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced two bills to reduce the incidence of harmful interactions between law enforcement and people with disabilities. The Human-services Emergency Logistics Program (HELP) Act (S.4987) would provide funds to states to expand and improve their 2-1-1 systems. State and regional 2-1-1 systems provide information and referrals to address non-criminal, non-fire, and non-medical emergencies. The Safe Interactions Act (S.4989) would provide grants to fund training of law enforcement on interactions with people with disabilities. Trainings would be developed in a partnership between a law enforcement agency and a nonprofit disability organization. Trainings would be a minimum of eight hours, four of which must be led by people with disabilities. The Arc supports these bills.

Pennsylvania News

The Arc of PA Tells Governor to Prioritize People with IDD and DSPs in Vaccine Distribution
The Arc of PA, in a letter to Governor Wolf, stated " As a vaccine becomes available and your administration develops plans for distribution, Pennsylvania must prioritize people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), direct support professionals (DSPs), and family caregivers in the Phase 1A vaccine distribution.  We appreciate that vulnerable seniors have been addressed in the distribution plan, but not including Pennsylvanians with IDD, is a glaring omission."  The Arc is pleased that some changes were made to the vaccine distribution plan.  See next article.


Department of Health Releases COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
The Department of Health has assembled the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan.  This Interim plan is provided as guidance for distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout 66 of the 67 counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by DOH and its public and private partners.  Philadelphia County will receive independent federal funding and is establishing its own COVID-19 vaccination administration plan.  The goal of this interim COVID-19 vaccination plan is to provide a transparent strategy to vaccinate all Pennsylvanians who want to be vaccinated so that Pennsylvanians can return to everyday activities as quickly and safely as possible.  Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that Pennsylvania is slated to receive 97,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 66 counties, with Philadelphia County receiving its own allotment of 13,650 doses, for a total of 111,150 doses for health care workers identified in the state’s vaccine distribution plan.


The Vaccine
The PA Department of Health reports that the vaccine will be available in phases beginning with critical populations due to the limited supply. The first phase is divided into two parts, with the first doses of vaccine administered to health care workers, EMS first responders and residents and staff in congregate care settings.  In the second phase, the department anticipates more vaccine doses will be available. This will allow us to vaccinate those in the first phase who were not yet able. The third phase begins once the department has a sufficient supply of vaccine. In this phase, the entire population will have access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.

PA Cumulative COVID -19 Data (December 2, 2020)
Statewide Totals ---- Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Enrolled in PA's Home and Community Based Services:

  • Total Individuals COVID-19 Confirmed = 2,037 (+556 since 11/25/2020)
  • Total Deaths = 163 (+27 since 11/25/2020)
Public Comment Period Announced on Proposed Amendments to the Intellectual Disabilities/Autism Waivers and the Adult Autism Waiver
The Office of Developmental Programs announced that proposed amendments to the Consolidated, Person/Family Direct Support, Community Living and Adult Autism Waiver, effective March 1, 2021, will be available for comment on December 18th.  The comment period ends on January 18th, 2021.  For more information HERE.  Proposed amendments include allowing certain services to be provided in a hospital, promote self direction, choice, and control by allowing certain services to be provided directly to the participant using remote technology.


Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Updates Guidance to Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)
The updated guidance document is version 2.0 of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) TECHNICAL Guidance for Personal Care Services.    For more information, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) EVV webpage contains the majority of information not contained in this document including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address general, provider, technology and training questions. The DHS EVV page may be accessed HERE
Legislative Updates (From Katie Yost) 
 
  • The House of Representatives has posted their Session days for 2021. You can access it here.
  • Representative Frank Ryan has circulated a co-sponsorship memo calling on Congress to adequately fund Special Education. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Dan Miller has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 113, which would improve the transition to post-secondary schools for students with disabilities by incorporating parts of Sen. Bob Casey’s Federal RISE (Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower) Act. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Dan Miller has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 1548 which would implement a streamlined hiring and promotion process for qualified individuals with significant disabilities. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Dan Miller has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 2189, which would replace the word handicapped” to “accessibility” on parking placards. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Seth Grove has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would establish the Office of Independent Medicaid Director. This position would be responsible to approve or disapprove all Medicaid expenditures in the budget and develop performance measures for those expenditures. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Dawn Keefer has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating her intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 2857, that would implement an annual enrollment period for Medicaid recipients, which would lock all Medicaid recipients into their program for a 12-month period. No legislative language at this time.  
  • Representatives Dan Miller & Brandon Markosek have circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating their intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 2798, which would require the Department of Human Services to annually set rates for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) based on the national market consumer index. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Christine Howard has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating her intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 1344, which would include individuals with intellectual disabilities under hate crimes protections. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Joseph Hohenstein has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 2785, which would institute a pilot program where curriculum is established and taught to student in K-12 on the contribution of individuals with disabilities in politics, economics, and society. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Karen Boback has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating her intent to re-introduce last session’s House Bill 2684, which would update the Family Caregiver Services Act to include individuals who care for loved ones with disabilities. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Jeanne McNeill has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would allow for a child to remain in a school while there is a residency dispute between school districts and parents. No legislative language at this time.
  • Senator Mario Scavello has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would provide for a loan forgiveness program for qualified college graduates entering the mental health, intellectual disability, and drug & alcohol treatment professions. No legislative language at this time.
  •  Senator Bob Mensch has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to re-introduce last session’s Senate Bill 890, which allows individuals with disabilities to increase their earnings under a new category, Workers with Job Success, under the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). No legislative language at this time.
  • Senators Camera Bartolotta and Judy Schwank have circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would expand Early Intervention services for infants born to mothers who have postpartum depression. This would include postpartum depression as an “at risk category” for early intervention tracking under the Early Intervention Services System Act. No legislative language at this time.
  • Senator John Blake has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would mark February 2021 as Turner Syndrome Awareness Month. No legislative language at this time.
  • Senator Christine Tartaglione has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would award additional points for individuals with disabilities who are taking a civil service exam. No legislative language at this time.
  • Senator Christine Tartaglione has circulated a co-sponsorship memo indicating her intent to re-introduce last session’s Senate Bill 852, which would permanently establish the Office for People with Disabilities. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Kathleen Tomlinson has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would require the use of the Special Education Funding Formula for funding special education services in PA charter and cyber schools. No legislative language at this time.
  • Representative Jessica Benham has circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would require the use of the Special Education Funding Formula for funding special education services in PA charter schools as part of an 8 bill package focused on charter school reform. No legislative language at this time.

 
Office of Developmental Programs

Announcements & Communications

20-114 UPDATE: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Modifications to Medication Administration Course Requirements as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

20-113: Public Comment Starts December 18, 2020 for Proposed Amendments to the ID/A Waivers and Adult Autism Waiver

20-112: Now Available: Registration for the Department - Certified Incident Investigator (CI) Initial Certification Course

20-111: New Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) Supports Coordination Organizations (SCOs) Qualification Process

20-101 UPDATE: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Temporary Closure of Older Adult Daily Living Centers, Structured Day Habilitation, and Licensed Facilities Where Community Participation Support Is Provided Due to Community Spread or When Staff or Individuals Are Diagnosed with COVID-19, and the Process for Reopening Facilities

Support Broker Certification Training January 2021 

Thresholds for Community Spread Report

DHS CARES Act Funding Tracking Final Report is Live!

ODP Reference Manual on Community Healthchoices for Administrative Entities Webinar January 2021

Communication and... Series

Take Action & "Learn More"

 

Take Action Now!

Contact your members of Congress - urge them to:

 
 
Check out our YouTube Channel HERE.  
Trainings/Workshops

Making Employment Work, ACRE Basic Certification Training by The Arc of Pennsylvania - The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training.  Live webinar training takes place on January 13-15, 2021 from 9am to 12am and 1pm to 3:30pm each day.  Registration: Register HERE for the training.  If an agency is interested in registering extra staff please contact Jen Hipps at registration@includemepa.org. 

Supports Broker Certification Training - Virtual Classes held January 6-8, 2021.  Course is FREE, but by registering, you certify your intent to work as a supports broker in Pennsylvania.    If you have any questions regarding the online modules or classroom certification registration, please contact Denise Becket dbeckett@temple.edu.  More on Supports Broker Certification Training on the Institute's website:  disabilities.temple.edu/pds/supports-broker-certification.html
Research/New Ideas

Positive Approaches Journal: The Data IssueData is all around us and the ways we use data have an important impact on how our world is changing. In this issue of Positive Approaches, we bring you a wide array of approaches to how people are thinking about, using, and displaying data.  This issue of Positive Approaches Journal is in digital form, available for viewing online or for downloading at:  https://www.myodp.org/mod/book/view.php?id=30097.  The Positive Approaches Journal is published quarterly. For additional information, please contact: RA-PWODPTraining@pa.gov  

Companies Pry Open the Web for People With Intellectual Disabilities - Companies are looking to expand online accommodations. Many of their websites are accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments, and now some businesses are addressing accessibility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  For more information HERE.       
For Parents
 
Supporting Children to Understand and Use Face Masks - The way children feel about face masks during coronavirus restrictions can depend on age. Babies and younger children pay a lot of attention to faces. So they might feel anxious or upset when they can’t see the faces of family members, caregivers, and other familiar people. This article offers ideas for how to talk with children about face masks and provide age-appropriate information.   Click HERE.  
 
More Conversations = More Brain Growth - Don’t you wonder sometimes what’s going on inside your little one’s head? Developmental cognitive neuroscientist Rachel Romeo, PhD. and her colleagues at MIT studied the way young children’s brains respond to language. They found it wasn’t the number of words that resulted in positive brain development and higher verbal knowledge, but the amount of back-and-forth conversation.  Learn more from a video or article, in English or Spanish HERE

Our E-Learning Series provides resources to Parents who find themselves teaching children at home.

 
Click HERE to find the ELearning Series

Supporting Inclusive Education -
NEW
Help for Parents with Children Learning at Home
Strategies for Challenging Behavior
Disability Acceptance Through Literacy Virtual Book Study Group:  Study groups for parents, teachers, and professionals and groups for students.  Book Study Groups begin meeting in February.  They are discussing "Out of My Mind" by Sharon M. Draper. Please email jbillig@includemepa.org for information and to sign-up.  Visit the Include Me Website for additional information HERE.
LEARN MORE (From the Office of Developmental Programs)


Woman With Autism Brings Unusual Message To The Streets - Read Full Article

How to Protect Yourself and Others - Read full article
 
COVID Fatigue: Maintaining Mental Health During a Global Pandemic - Read full article
 
New CDC Guidance - Protect your Home from COVID-19 - Read full article
 
ODP Podcast - A Supporter's Toolbox - Read full article
 
Holiday Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Read full article

Social Stories for the Holidays - Read full article
 
Wolf Admin Announces New Mitigation EffortsRead full article

Your Voice in Harrisburg
 

Upcoming Activities from The Arc of PA Staff:  In the next two weeks, The Arc of PA staff will be participating in these meetings and activities of special interest: 

Sherri Landis, Executive Director: Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call/PA Disabilities Planning Council, and a celebration of the holidays.

Katie Yost, Manager of Government & Chapter RelationsPA Developmental Disabilities/Policy Information Exchange, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call, and a celebration of the holidays.
 
To view archived copies of In Touch:

In Touch Archives

 

 
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
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Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.234.2621 | 1-800-692-7258
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The Arc of Pennsylvania 
Serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Sherri Landis, Executive Director
Shirley Keith Knox, LSW, Communications Director, Editor



 
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