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August 4, 2022
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Pennsylvania News


PennDOT Expands Online Services For People With Disabilities

"In an effort to help provide its customers with improved service and increased convenience, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that customers who have a Person with Disabilities Parking Placard can now have the option to renew, receive a replacement or update their address on their permanent Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard online from the comfort of their home."

Read more here



End of COVID PHE Unwinding Process - DHS Helper Portal

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is preparing for the eventual end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Under the federal COVID-19 PHE declaration, Pennsylvania has continued Medical Assistance (MA) coverage for most people unless they moved out-of-state, passed away, or asked to end their MA. When the federal PHE ends, DHS must determine if people are still eligible for MA. MA recipients will have to complete a renewal to maintain their MA coverage. 
 
DHS and our partners at Pennie® (Pennsylvania's official health insurance marketplace) are working hard to make sure that Pennsylvanians can get coverage either through MA, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or affordable coverage available through pennie.com.  

DHS is seeking trusted partners to assist them in this PHE unwinding process through your means of connection to individuals that will need to renew MA benefits. DHS has launched an email newsletter called the DHS Helper Portal (link below). They will use this to send regular communications on the status of the PHE and how to help individuals to stay covered after the requirement to keep MA open ends. 
 
Sign up to become a helper today at Helpers (pa.gov)
 



ODP Announces 2nd Annual Publication of the Resource Guide for Supporting Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Individuals

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is excited to announce the second annual publication of the Resource Guide for Supporting Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Individuals.The purpose of this guide is to offer resources in one central location for those who support or care for someone who is Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind and receives supports from ODP.

The Guide provides some of the most frequently accessed resources to assist in addressing the unique needs of these populations, such as information about American Sign Language (ASL) courses, apps, home modifications, assistive technology, a foundational organizations directory, and so much more!
Development of this guide included input from individuals within the Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, and hearing communities and will be revised annually by ODP’s Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee.

Access the guide here



Community HealthChoices Amendment Effective July 1, 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the Office of Long-Term Living’s (OLTL) Community HealthChoices (CHC) Waiver amendment that transfers oversight of Financial Management Services (FMS) from an OLTL-held contract to an administrative function of the CHC-MCOs and revises waiver performance measure AA-5. The amendment is effective July 1, 2022.

The current approved CHC 1915(c) Waiver document with the FMS amendment can be viewed on the following website: CHC-Supporting Documents (pa.gov). The link to the current approved CHC Waiver can be found under the heading, “Community HealthChoices 1915(b) Managed Care and 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Waivers.”
 
Questions about the CHC waiver amendment that is effective July 1, 2022, can be submitted electronically to RA-PWCHC@pa.gov.
 

Bipartisan Bill Offered by Fitzpatrick, Bacon Supports Parents with Disabilities

"U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Don Bacon (R-NE) on July 12 signed on as original cosponsors of the bipartisan Equality for Families with Disabilities Act, which protects parents and guardians with disabilities against discrimination in state child welfare proceedings."

Read more here



Gov. Wolf Signs Act 76 of 2022 — Expands Psychiatric Telehealth Flexibilities

"Mental health services are now more easily accessible for Pennsylvania residents under a bill sponsored by Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) that has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf."

Read more here. 
 

Casey Introduces Suite of Legislation to Enable Americans with Disabilities to Run for and Serve in Elected Office

"Ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is introducing legislation to support people with disabilities when running for local government elected positions. For many Americans with disabilities, certain barriers mean they are sidelined from running for local elected office and participating in local government. The Removing Access Barriers to Running for Elected Office for People with Disabilities Act would ensure people with disabilities do not lose their crucial, life-sustaining federal disability benefits when they campaign for elected office. The AID (Accessibility and Inclusion to Diversify) Local Government Leadership Act would provide local governments with limited budgets with funding to support accommodations for local elected officials with disabilities."

Read more here
 


Disability in the News

 

Public Health Emergency Extended Through October

On July 15, the Department of Health & Human Services announced a 90-day extension of the nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This extends the PHE to mid-October and could be extended again. This extension allows for many added flexibilities in our nation’s healthcare system.

Read more here. 



Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Releases First-Ever Home and Community-Based Services Quality Measures Set 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance detailing a nationally standardized quality measures for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). These new standards would allow states and CMS to have comparative quality data across states and provide evidence on which to base quality of care improvements initiatives. The measures track access, rebalancing, community integration, and the requirements of the HCBS setting rule.

Read more here
 

Department of Education Releases Discipline Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education released its much-anticipated updated discipline guidance package, including: a fact sheet, a Q&A, and a guide for stakeholders. The guidance stated that schools cannot use exclusionary discipline on students for behaviors that are due to their disabilities. Additionally, it reinforced that restraint and seclusion are not evidence-based strategies for behavior modification. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, “The guidance we’re releasing today will help ensure that students with disabilities are treated fairly and have access to supports and services to meet their needs—including their disability-based behavior.”

Read more here
 
 

Department of Transportation Creates Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights

The Department of Transportation released its Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights. This document summarizes rights provided by the Air Carriers Access Act and its implementing regulations. The rights listed include:
1.    The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.
2.    The Right to Receive Information About Services and Aircraft Capabilities and Limitations.
3.    The Right to Receive Information in an Accessible Format.
4.    The Right to Accessible Airport Facilities.
5.    The Right to Assistance at Airports.
6.    The Right to Assistance on the Aircraft.
7.    The Right to Travel with an Assistive Device or Service Animal.
8.    The Right to Receive Seating Accommodations.
9.    The Right to Accessible Aircraft Features.
10.    The Right to Resolution of a Disability-Related Issue.

Read more here
 



FDA Warns That Therapy Tool Could Endanger Babies With Developmental Delays

"Regulators are warning that a device used in water therapy for babies with developmental disabilities could lead to death or serious injury. The Food and Drug Administration says that parents, caregivers and health care providers should not use what are known as baby neck floats for water therapy intervention, particularly with babies who have developmental delays or other disabilities including spina bifida, spinal muscular atrophy type 1, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy."

Read more here

 
 

EEOC: Hobby Lobby Wouldn’t Let Worker Use Service Dog, Then Fired Her

"A part-time Hobby Lobby clerk in Kansas needed her fully trained service dog to do her work, and that ultimately got her fired, according to federal officials. Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against the national craft retailer in the District of Kansas. The EEOC alleges Hobby Lobby violated the Americans with Disabilities Act."

Read more here



New Push Underway to Train Doctors, Dentists on Developmental Disabilities

"Groups representing the nation’s doctors and dentists are committing to better prepare students in their fields to treat those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a move that could lead to major improvements in care for people in this population."

Read more here
 

Uber Settles US Lawsuit Over Wait Fees for Riders with Disabilities

"Uber will pay more than $2 million and waive wait time fees for passengers with disabilities to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice said Monday. 

The lawsuit alleged that Uber's wait time fees, which begin two minutes after a rideshare vehicle arrives, were discriminatory to passengers who need more time to board due to a disability."

Read more here



The Brains of Children with Autism May Not Always ‘See’ Body Language

"Noticing and understanding what it means when a person leans into a conversation or takes a step back and crosses their arms is a vital part of human communication. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester have found that children with autism spectrum disorder may not always process body movements effectively, especially if they are distracted by something else."

Read more here

Biden Administration Warns Schools About Disciplining Students With Disabilities

"With new guidance, the U.S. Department of Education is putting schools on notice that they need to rethink the way they are disciplining students with disabilities.

Too often, children with disabilities are facing discipline because they do not have the support, services and modifications they need to manage their behavior and they are frequently disciplined in a discriminatory way, with consequences that are more severe than for others exhibiting similar behaviors, the Education Department said."

Read more here

 

Meet The Arc’s Alumni Council

"When The Arc’s Alumni Council was formed in 2017, it was envisioned as a gathering place for former employees and board members of The Arc’s national office, as well as local and state chapters. Nancy Webster is the founder and current chair of the council. She is also the former Board President of The Arc of The United States. As the Alumni Council founder, Nancy recognized that many former staff and volunteers were eager to remain engaged in The Arc’s network but were unsure how to contribute.

The Alumni Council provides a way to capture the rich experiences and knowledge of former employees and volunteers while keeping them connected to The Arc’s mission of supporting people with disabilities to be full members of their communities. Further, each alum offers unique skills, perspectives, and experiences that benefit the entire network, from chapters in small rural communities to those in bustling metropolitan areas."

Read more here
 

Federal Disability Employment Program Bans Subminimum Wage

"A major federal program that facilitates jobs for people with disabilities working on government contracts will soon no longer allow them to be paid less than minimum wage.

Under a rule finalized this month, the AbilityOne Program will prohibit payment of what’s known as subminimum wage."

Read more here

 
Legislative Updates from Katie Yost 

 

 
  • No legislative updates. 
 "Learn More"

 

Trainings/Workshops


Building Relationships: Engaging with Employers to Elevate Competitive, Integrated Employment - Webinar 
August 9, 2022 from 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM


Join the DETAC as they jointly reflect how grantees can strategically engage with employers to foster and promote an environment of shared trust aimed to enhance competitive, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Webinar participants will learn about The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Additionally, two DETAC subject natter experts will highlight innovative strategies to measure the level of current partnership engagement with employers and the impact of your direct and indirect employment services.

Register Here. 
 



Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series: Promising Positive Practices to Address the Mental Health Treatment and Service Needs of People with IDD Throughout the Lifespan
August 11, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 12:15 PM


In this 3-hour training Dr. Joan Beasley will present best practices in mental health services and supports for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities throughout the lifespan. The presentation will include the perspectives of people with lived experiences as well as practitioners. The START model will be presented to demonstrate the effective use of these practices in cross systems crisis prevention and intervention. See the attached flyer for more information.

Register Here
 

ACRE Basic Certification Training - via Zoom
August 17 - 19, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM


The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. To receive certification, participants must attend a 3-day, live webinar training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Register Here
 

Covid Compensatory Services
Friday, August 19, 2022 from 12 - 1:15 PM

Is your child with a IEP still not catching up since COVID? During COVID were education, services and supports missing that have never been provided? Were evaluations provided? Join the upcoming free webinar with Carole Clancy, Bureau Director at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, for COVID Compensatory Services (CCS): Moving Beyond the Impact of COVID-19. From The Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, and co-sponsored by: PEAL Center, The Arc of Pennsylvania, and HUNE.

Register Here.
 

ODP's Webinar on the ID/A Waiver Amendments Effective June 1, 2022
August 19, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


ODP is offering a webinar to discuss amendment changes to the Consolidated, Community Living, and P/FDS waivers (referred to as the ID/A waivers) that were approved by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and have been effective since June 1, 2022.

Register Here

The Arc of PA's Discovery Training
September 7-9, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


This 3-day training will teach attendees a process used as an alternative to traditional vocational assessment in order to support customized employment goals of individuals with significant disabilities that are typically not given consideration for competitive community. In addition to the 3-day training, those seeking certification are required to complete additional fieldwork with a learning partner under the guidance of a mentor. Direct service providers of Advanced Supported Employment/Customized Employment are required to have this certification in PA.

Register Here
 

ACRE Basic Certification Training - via Zoom
September 12 - 14, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM


The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. To receive certification, participants must attend a 3-day, live webinar training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Register Here
 

The Arc US' Virtual Conference on Transforming Crisis
September 13, 2022 from 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM


For Black people, people of color, and particularly those with disabilities, an encounter with law enforcement while in crisis can lead to traumatizing and even fatal outcomes. The introduction of 988, the new national crisis hotline, has created momentum for advocates to push the tide towards a mental
health, peer support, and community de-escalation model for crisis response

Learn about: 
  • How disability, race, and law enforcement interact;
  • The individual, family, and community impact of crisis responses gone wrong; and 
  • Alternatives to law enforcement led crisis response at the local and federal levels
Register Here

The Arc of PA's Customized Job Development Training - Via Zoom
October 3 - 5, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The Arc of Pennsylvania's Customized Job Development training will teach attendees the skills needed to find jobs that meet both the needs of an individual with disabilities while matching the needs of an employer. After the training, attendees seeking certification will then complete approximately 40 hours of fieldwork with a learning partner.

Register Here
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
1007 Mumma Road, Suite 100
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
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