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May 27, 2021
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"Building Capacity & Making Connections for the 21st Century"

The Arc of Pennsylvania’s
2021 Advocacy Policy Conference
June 7th and June 8th, 2021
A VIRTUAL EVENT!
 
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED
REGISTER HERE.

Check out the website for the most up to date agenda.
This is a NO COST event, however, donations are greatly appreciated!
 
Stay Informed

 

Federal News

FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Now Open
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Learn more

COVID-19 Vaccine Rule From CMS Open for Comment
On May 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new rule to improve COVID-19 vaccine access for older adults and people with disabilities in congregate settings. This is an interim final rule, which will go into effect on May 21, 2021. However, you can still provide comment on the rule to CMS until 5:00 p.m. ET on July 12, 2021. The rule specifically asks for input from the public on future actions CMS could take to help ensure the health and well-being of individuals living in congregate settings. Read more about the rule here.


Pennsylvania News

New Website Helps Pennsylvanians Find Vaccination Sites
The Department of Health recently transitioned to using Vaccines.gov to help Pennsylvanians find a COVID-19 vaccine location. The new map allows users to search for providers by the type of COVID-19 vaccines they offer. Vaccines.gov , also known as Vaccine Finder, is a free, online service that provides the latest vaccine availability at providers and pharmacies across the United States. This trusted website has been used previously for various other types of vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for People with Disabilities --- 1 (833) DRP-2-VAX or vaccine@disabilityrightspa.org 
Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP), a leader in disability rights advocacy for more than forty years, will operate a Vaccine Hotline to assist Pennsylvanians with disabilities who are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  
Please contact the DRP Vaccine Hotline if you:

  • are denied a reasonable accommodation at your vaccination site
  • encounter physical accessibility or effective communication barriers at your vaccination site
  • can’t leave your home to get the vaccine due to a disability
  • need transportation to get to your vaccination appointment
  • need help finding a vaccination appointment due to a disability
  • would like more information about the importance of receiving a vaccine 

Through the Vaccine Hotline, DRP staff can provide legal advice to Pennsylvanians with disabilities on how civil rights laws ensure their ability to access the COVID-19 vaccine.  Staff may also provide information, resources, and/or direct assistance related to scheduling a vaccine, connecting with transportation services, and resolving problems that are preventing a person with a disability from getting the vaccine.  Information and resources are also available on the Vaccine page of DRP’s website at https://www.disabilityrightspa.org/covid19/#vaccines.  Individuals who speak languages other than English should state their language and an interpreter will be connected to the call. Callers using the Pennsylvania Relay Service can dial 711.  More information HERE.  Visit Vaccine Resources

Enterprise Case Management System Update 
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is in the early stages of implementing an Enterprise Case Management (ECM) system to support the administration and management of various DHS-supervised programs.  When implemented, ECM will support a statewide child welfare case management system; enrollment and case management for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS); intake and management for hearings and appeals; application, enrollment, and support services for programs administered by OLTL. (Office of Long Term Living). ECM will replace several legacy systems across program offices through the implementation of one common solution, including Home & Community Services Information System (HCSIS) which is used by the Office of Developmental Programs.  
ECM At a Glance

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Available Now
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is available for renters of residential properties who are at risk of eviction or utility shutoffs due to hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of tenants and receive rental assistance directly if the tenant is eligible. If you are in need of assistance, don't wait. Apply today.  Pennsylvanians can submit applications for ERAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us.  More information about ERAP can be found at www.dhs.pa.gov/erap.

Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) for Early Intervention (EI) 2021-2022 Meeting Schedule Announced
  • August 5, 2021
  • October 7, 2021
  • December 2, 2021
  • February 3, 2022
  • April 7, 2022
  • June 2, 2022
All meetings will be held from 12:30-2:00 pm, unless noted on the agenda for the meeting.  All meetings will be held virtually via Zoom until further notice.  If you have any questions, please contact Gina Federico at gfederico@pattan.net.

The State ICC's 2019-2020 annual report is now available on the PaTTAN website and SICC padlet.  Read the report HERE.
Legislative Updates (From Katie Yost) 
 
  • Senator Michele Brooks has introduced Senate Bill 621, which would require that every provider receiving state allocations of COVID-19 vaccine, including the Department of Health, publish when and where they have vaccine available, with a contact phone number in a newspaper of general circulation on a weekly basis. The bill has been referred to Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Senator Lisa Baker has introduced Senate Bill 704, which would expand institutional sexual assault to include assaults by caregivers on care dependent individuals, thereby eliminating the loophole that permits perpetrators to falsely claim that the victim consented. The bill was voted unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now eligible to be brought forward for a vote before the Senate.
  • Senator Elder Vogel has introduced Senate Bill 705, which would define telemedicine, offering guidelines outlining who can provide telemedicine services, and providing clarity around insurance company reimbursement for these services. The bill has been referred to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
  • Representative Curt Sonney has introduced House Bill 1446, which would allow students with IDD set to graduate at the end of the 2020-2021 school year the option to opt-in for the 2021-2022 school year. The bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.
  • Representative Kate Klunk has introduced House Bill 1500, which would amend the Abortion Control Act to prohibit the abortion of any child solely due to a diagnosis of possible down syndrome. The legislation was voted out of the House Health Committee with a vote of 15-10. It is now eligible to be brought forward for a vote before the House.
  • Senator Jake Corman’s Senate Bill 664, which would allow students with IDD set to graduate at the end of the 2020-2021 school year the option to access an additional year of school during the 2021-2022 and would give parents of students K-12 the ability to request their child repeat a grade level due to education regression during the COVID-19 pandemic, was voted out of the House Education Committee as amended with a vote of 24-1. It is now eligible to be brought forward for a vote before the House.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS FROM
 
PA Office of Developmental Programs

 

21-040: Open for Public Comment: Appendices I and J, Proposed Fee Schedule Rates, and Proposed Department-Established Fees for the Renewal of the Adult Autism Waiver(AAW)

21-032 UPDATE: Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022 Individual Support Plan (ISP) Renewal Guidance

20-101 UPDATE: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Temporary Closure of Adult Daily Living Centers, Structured Day Habilitation, and Licensed Facilities Where CPS is Provided Due to Community Spread or When Staff or Individuals are Diagnosed with COVID-19

Wolf Administration and Rite Aid Partner to Ease COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling for People with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism

MyODP News Online Digest Ending May 7th 2021

Wolf Administration Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Assistance with Internet Bills, Electronic Devices

New MyODP Podcast: Nothing is Out of Reach: Making Accommodations to Open Possibilities

Office of Developmental Programs' June Training and Event Calendar

Autism & The Courts: Western Regional Panel--Register Now!

Thresholds for Community Spread Report Ending May 21, 2021

Incident Management Update Regarding Individual -to Individual Abuse and Serious Injury

Free Webinar: COVID-19: Considerations on Safely Reopening for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism (ID/A)

Save the Date for PATC 2021

Ready for the Everyday Lives 2021 Virtual Conference?
Take Action & "Learn More"

 

Take Action Now

Appendices I & J of the Adult Autism Waiver, Proposed Rate Setting, Fee Schedule Available for Comment  The Department of Human Services is making available for public review and comment proposed appendices of the renewal of the adult autism waiver, as well as the rate setting methodology used to develop the proposed fee schedule rates for services funded through the adult autism waiver and the proposed department-established fees for residential ineligible services. The rates will be effective October 1, 2021. Comments received within 30 days of publication of this notice will be reviewed and considered for revisions.  Additional information HERE.   
Trainings/Workshops

2021 Multifamily Affordable Housing Conference - Registration is now open for the Multifamily Affordable Housing Conference on July 21-22, 2021! Click HERE to register.   You can see the online agenda HERE.   

The HCBS Access Act: A Law 70 Years in the Making - Thursday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m. ET, REGISTER NOW.  Only decades ago, there were few options or supports for someone with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live and participate in their community.  Though we’ve made great progress, people still face long waitlists for services, shortages and turnover of direct support workers, and a lack of affordable and accessible housing.  Congress has proposed a bill, the Home and Community-Based Services Access Act (HAA), to address these issues and update the system of support for people with disabilities so community-based services can be available for ALL. Come learn about barriers in the current system, the proposed changes, and what you can do to make sure these changes become a reality!  REGISTER

The Arc US Summer Leadership Institute - This year’s Summer Leadership Institute theme, Leading During Times of Change, will put a focus on how your organization can prepare for whatever the future holds next.   Join us virtually from July 12-14 to build valuable connections, find solutions to shared challenges, and learn.  SEE SCHEUDLE AT A GLANCE.  REGISTER.October 5 - 7, 2021
 
2021 Pennsylvania Autism Training Conference - This year's virtual conference will offer featured speakers, breakout sessions, panels, personal stories, and numerous other valuable learning opportunities.  
Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Register in advance for the symposium HERE.  Check HERE for more information on the symposium:  

June's Money Talks webinar in which we will wrap up the series by discussing StudyMoney.us and Other Financial Education Resources for People with Disabilities. It is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Learn more and register HERE

New Information/Research

PATF Launches StudyMoney.us Website Offering Free Financial Education for People with Disabilities, and $1,000 #StudyMoneyWithUs Giveaway - PATF is pleased to announce the launch of a newly rebuilt and redesigned financial education website, www.studymoney.us.  This new, fully accessible, and user-friendly website makes financial education readily available to people with disabilities, their family members, advocates, and educators everywhere, at no cost. As part of PATF’s commitment to helping people with disabilities invest in their financial future, the non-profit pledges to contribute $1,000 in savings to five people ($200 each) as part of a two-week #StudyMoneyWithUs Giveaway.  Read the official press release here.   Visit StudyMoney.us

New Resources to Rally Our Advocates Around Proposed Disability Funding - The Arc US launches a #MedicaidCantWait campaign toolkit, which includes sample social media, graphics, sample letters to the editor, and more to use in your ongoing efforts.  DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT   We also wanted to remind you to check out our updated #MedicaidCantWait webpage , which includes key shareable resources, a video explaining the need for increased Medicaid HCBS funding, and a call to action you can use to encourage your network to tell Congress why HCBS matters to them!
LEARN MORE (From the Office of Developmental Programs)

Mental Health and Coping During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic - 
Additional resources for Mental Health Awareness month...The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a Mental Health and Coping during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic resource page which is full of timely and topical resources.  Read full article

 

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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
Shirley Keith Knox, LSW, Communications Director, Editor



 
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