October 8, 2020
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Federal News

CMS Announces New Federal Funding for 33 States 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced supplemental funding to states, including PA for planning and capacity building activities to accelerate long-term care system transformation design and implementation, and to expand Home and Community Based Services capacity,  Read more here.
CMS Announces Guidance on Nursing Home Visitation 
CMS is revising the guidance regarding visitation in nursing homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Read more here.  

Education Department Office for Civil Rights Creates Guidance on COVID
The Education Department Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on civil rights during COVID. 

Pennsylvania News

PA Cumulative COVID -19 Data (September 30, 2020)
Statewide Totals, Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Enrolled in PA's ID/A Services:

  • COVID-19 Confirmed = 1342
  • Deaths = 131

Penn State Receives Funding for Communication Research
A new, five-year, $4.6 million award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) will fund research, technology development, training, and dissemination to assist people who cannot communicate through speech or writing. To continue reading, go to:

COVID Alert PA App Now Available  
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released the COVID Alert PA exposure notification application. It is now live in the Google and Apple stores, and you can download it for free. Click for info.

Pennsylvania Employment First Oversight Commission Issues Report to Governor & General Assembly
2020 Report to Governor Wolf and the General Assembly is available here.

Announcement DS-03: Inclusion of All Children in Early Childhood Education Programs in Pennsylvania
This Announcement provides guidance on strategies that promote inclusion for all children, sets an expectation from Office of Child Development and Early Learning that high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs are inclusive of children with disabilities, and identifies resources available to local ECE programs. This Announcement provides OCDEL’s response to federal policy issued in 2015. Click to read.

PA Supreme Court Advisory Council Develops Guidance for Judges Handling Guardianship Cases
In an effort to help judges navigate the complex issues involved in guardianship cases, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts has published the first edition of the Pennsylvania Guardianship Bench Book.  Read the document here.

Administration Announces Health Reform Plan that Focuses on Affordability, Access, Equity and Value for All Health Needs
Amid the pandemic, rising health care costs and magnified health inequities, Governor Tom Wolf today unveiled a plan that addresses comprehensive health reforms focusing on both physical and behavioral health and promoting affordability, accessibility and value in health care.

Legislative Updates (From Katie Yost) 

  • The Special Education Funding Commission has requested that the deadline to provide their report to the General Assembly be extended until November 30th.
  • HB 2202: Representative Klunk’s bill to expand Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities was amended and passed out of the House Health Committee on September 29th. It in now eligible to be brought for a full vote before the House.  
  • HB 1363: Representative Tom Murt’s Bill of Rights for Individuals with Disabilities was brought before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on October 6th. It was amended in committee by Senator Brooks with a vote of 6 to 5.
  • SB 890: Senator Mensch’s expansion to the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities was voted out of the Senate unanimously on October 5th. It will now go to the House for consideration.
  • 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.
  • SB 1350: Senator Pat Browne has introduced legislation that would allocate CARES Act money to support expenses of the state government. This legislation includes proposed funding for home and community based supports and services as follows:
    • ID State Centers - $7,813,000.00
    • ICF/ID - $11,500,000.00
    • ID Base - $ 913,000.00
    • Community ID Waiver - $123,233,000.00
    • Autism Services - $1,445,000
    • Early Intervention (B-3) - $3,605,000
This legislation has been re-committed to Senate Appropriations.
  • HR 1010: Representative Mike Sturla introduced a resolution recognizing the essential work performed by individuals with disabilities during the 2020 pandemic.  The House voted unanimously on September 30th.
  • HR 1043: Representative Karen Boback has introduced a resolution designating the month of November 2020 as ‘Family Caregiver Month’ in Pennsylvania.
  • SR 395: Senator Christine Tartaglione introduced a resolution designating the month of October 2020 as ‘National Disability Employment Awareness Month’ in Pennsylvania. It has been referred to Senate Rules and Executive Nominations.
  • SR 396: Senator Christine Tartaglione introduced a resolution recognizing the essential work performed by individuals with disabilities during the 2020 pandemic. It has been referred to Senate Rules and Executive Nominations.


Take Action & "Learn More" Opportunities

It's Time for the Senate to Act!
Tell Congress to Include the Disability Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills


Advocacy for CARES Act Funding for HCBS
The Arc of PA is advocating to our State Legislature and Governor Wolf to allocate $270 million of the remaining CARES Act Funding towards alleviating the impact of COVID-19 on Direct Support Professionals and the Community Based System. We have set up an Action Alert campaign for our chapters and members to use to contact their PA Elected officials via email on this issue.  You can access the link to our campaign here:

Announcing The Arc of United State's New Strategic Framework - The Arc U.S. new Strategic Framework for the Future of The Arc is here!   Our framework represents two years of listening, planning, and thinking about the future we want to help build—plus thousands of thoughts and dreams from people just like you. 



PADDC is developing its Five Year Strategic Plan and we need your help. We want to know what you think are the most important issues facing people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. The survey may take you about 10-15 minutes to complete.  Please note that we are specifically seeking the input of individuals with a disability and their families. We ask that you complete the survey by October 21, 2020.  Link to PADDC Survey

Person Driven Planning for Life after High School – Meeting the Needs of All - Sponsored by The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education.  Register online by visiting the PaTTAN website at

  • Why Person Driven Planning? Not About Us Without Us - October 27, 2020 (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
  • Tools for Person Driven Planning - December 15, 2020 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM)
  • Benefits Counseling – Key to the Plan - February 16, 2021 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM)
  • Empowering Youth in PA - Resources for Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy - April 20, 2021 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM)
2020 – 2021 State Task Force Meeting with Assigned Presentation Topics - (Time for all State Task Force meeting of the 2019-2020 school year 10:00 am – 12:00 pm).  STF Website Link here.   
  • Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 10:00 am – 12:00 pm - Questions when it comes to secondary transition
  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 -10:00 am – 12:00 pm - Using items like Live Binder for a place to stockpile online
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2021 -10:00 am – 12:00 pm - Have Peal come in (or discuss virtually) the resources they offer
  • Wednesday, May 12, 2021- 10:00 am – 12:00 pm- Students with IEPs and School Police (rights and responsibilities. Best Practices)
PA Partnerships for Children Releases 2020 State of the Child 
Do you know how your county compares to others in Pennsylvania when it comes to child welfare, health insurance coverage, educational opportunities and other important measures of child well-being?  The updated county-based “State of the Child” profiles provide a snapshot of each county’s data, alongside statewide data and information on counties with similar geographic profiles.  Download Your County's Profile!


Hands on a keyboard and the text: Voters With Disabilities Can Now Apply To Vote Using An Accessible Remote Ballot Marking System
Complete information about the Accessible Remote Ballot Marking system and how to apply is available here.  Voters with disabilities who want to vote using the accessible remote ballot marking system must FIRST apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot using the same process as other voters.  Most voters will be able to submit that application online.  You do NOT have to wait for that application to be approved.  Instead, as soon as possible after you submit that application you should submit a request for an accessible remote ballot.  You can request an accessible remote ballot by completing and submitting the accessible web-based request form found here.  Alternatively, you can complete the accessible PDF application form found and submit it by mail to your County Board of Elections or by email to
Learn about the PA ABLE Savings Program!  Free webinar for individuals with disabilities, families and professionals.  A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.  To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.  Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.
 Offer PA ABLE Savings Program to Your Employees For FREE:

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: The Arc of PA Strategic Planning, Intellectual Disabilities/Autism Coalition, Special Education Stakeholder Meeting, Centering Equity as a Leader, Provider Oversight Subcommittee of ISAC, ISAC, IM4Q Steering Committee, Leadership Academy, PA Disability Weekly Meeting, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call/PA Disabilities Planning Council, State Chapter Executives Meeting,  Facebook Live with Auditor General, PA Schools Work, and various meetings with local chapters & executives, 

Katie Yost, Manager of Government & Chapter Relations:  Various virtual meetings with the PA House and Senate, PA Developmental Disabilities/Policy Information Exchange, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call, Meet the Candidate Series, Intellectual Disabilities/Autism Coalition Money Talks, and PA Schools Work.
To view archived copies of In Touch:
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
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Lemoyne, PA 17043
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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