Today, Governor Wolf announced his plan to create a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in his 2017-2018 budget in order to promote more effective collaboration and service delivery, enhance program effectiveness, and eliminate duplicative processes.
“This new department will streamline government and allow the commonwealth to deliver more effective services to seniors, individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, and those suffering from a substance use disorder as well as promote the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Over the past several months, I have worked closely with these four departments to break down silos and reimagine how we deliver critical services that will provide treatment to those suffering from substance use disorder, ensure children are receiving high quality services, and expand community-based opportunities for seniors. The creation of a new, unified Department of Health and Human Services will not result in any program cuts for Pennsylvanians, but will dramatically improve our ability to deliver services that will improve lives. “
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Media Access Group at WGBH Boston to Provide Closed Captioning and Live Description for PBS Inaugural Coverage
The Media Access Group at WGBH, a service of Boston public media producer WGBH, will provide both closed captioning and live description of President-elect Donald J. Trump's inauguration for PBS NewsHour Inauguration 2017: A Special Report.
The PBS coverage of the inauguration airs live on Friday, January 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m EST.
The described coverage will also be streamed live on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) website at http://www.inaugural.senate.gov.
Commission Moves Toward Modernizing Wireless Phone Text Compatibility
The Federal Communications Commission recently amended its rules to allow phone companies to replace support for an outdated form of text telephone communications, known as TTY, with support for real-time text, to provide reliable telephone communications for Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who have a speech disability.
As the nation’s communications networks migrate to IP-based environments, real-time text technology will allow Americans with disabilities to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow’s communications networks. Under FCC rules, phone companies and manufacturers are required to support accessible text communications services, which for years have taken the form of TTY services. Under the new rules, carriers and manufacturers will be allowed to use the more advanced and interoperable real-time text technology to meet this obligation.
Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas announced that DHS plans to close the Hamburg State Center (Hamburg) for people with intellectual disabilities in Berks County. DHS will also close the civil section of Norristown State Hospital (Norristown) in Montgomery County. The closures are expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete as residents transition to the community.
The closures are part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to serve more people in the community, reduce reliance on institutional care, and improve access to home- and community-based services for Pennsylvanians.
“Individuals experience a better quality of life when they receive care and support in their homes and in their communities, when possible,” said Dallas. “Today’s announcement means we are expanding opportunities for residents to live their lives to the fullest by returning to their homes and communities as contributing members of society.”