The U.S. Department of Education released three new sets of guidance today to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.
The guidance released today includes a parent and educator resource guide; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.
DHS continues to improve customer service
Governor Wolf’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) have launched a mobile app for Pennsylvanians who have applied for or receive assistance benefits called myCOMPASS PA.
The 2017 Pennsylvania Community on Transition Conference: Pathways to Success: Transitioning into Tomorrow Together, is scheduled for August 9 – 11, 2017. The conference will be held at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel in State College, PA.
Attached are Conference Overview & Call for Proposal Guidelines form. You are encouraged to share this information with all of your network stakeholders.
The deadline for conference proposal submissions is – January 23, 2017
Please direct any questions or concerns regarding this year’s conference to: firstname.lastname@example.org
DHS increases access to high-quality services and improves customer service
Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas was joined by Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks), advocates, and stakeholders to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, moving into DHS.
“The Wolf Administration is committed to increasing access to health care coverage for all Pennsylvanians,” said Dallas. “CHIP is critical to tens of thousands of working families across the commonwealth.”
In the first year at DHS, CHIP enrollment increased from 150,985 in December 2015 to 168,238 in November 2016. DHS expects enrollment to further grow after launching Express Lane Eligibility, which reaches out to families who receive SNAP and/or child care subsidies. Children in these families likely are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid, but have not yet enrolled.
Customer service is at the heart of everything DHS does and the CHIP program has made the following improvements:
DHS anticipates $3.5 million in savings upon completion of the IT systems consolidation, expected to occur in 2018.
In December 2015, Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 857, sponsored by Rep. Pickett, which reauthorized and moved CHIP from the Insurance Department into DHS. The move, intended to streamline processes and reduce the bureaucracy for families throughout the commonwealth, is another example of government that works.
Prior to the move thousands of children were moving between CHIP and Medicaid due to changes in family income on a regular basis. Having the two programs in the same department allowed DHS to improve the quality and coordination of care.
For example, DHS reinstituted the Salzmann Index (already used by Medicaid) at CHIP to help determine whether a child qualifies for orthodontic care. This prevents kids from getting braces with one plan, then losing access to care when switching to another plan.
Children with insurance are more likely to be immunized, receive regular check-ups, receive the behavioral health care services they need, and because children with health insurance are more likely to avoid preventable childhood illnesses and benefit from early detection and appropriate treatment, they generally have better school attendance and performance than the uninsured.
For more information, visit www.CHIPcoverspakids.com.
PA Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas recently announced that Pennsylvania ranked ninth in overall mental health in a recent Mental Health America (MHA) report – an improvement from a 2011 ranking of 15th.
MHA recently released its annual State of Mental Health Report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on several mental health and access measures. Pennsylvania’s overall ranking indicates a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care in comparison to most states. The report includes data about both adult and youth mental health, as well as prevalence and access to care measures:
“We often talk about how education, access to housing, and food all play factors in an individual’s shot at a successful future, but the treatment of mental health issues is another critical piece to that puzzle,” said Secretary Dallas. “While we are making progress, there is still work to be done. There are too many Pennsylvanians that are not receiving the treatment they need to live a happy and healthy life, and we are working to change that.”
The results show that nationally there is increased health care coverage, but states are still falling short in meeting the needs of those with mental health concerns.
The department continues its efforts to provide access to high-quality mental health services and to serve more people in the community. In October 2015, DHS was awarded a planning grant for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The department selected 10 locations, comprised of both rural and urban locations throughout the commonwealth. In December, SAMHSA is expected to grant eight demonstration state awards to test the effectiveness of this new model. If selected, Pennsylvania’s CCBHCs will be implemented in July 2017.
These clinics will allow individuals to access a wide array of services at one location, and remove the barriers that too often exist across physical and behavioral health systems. The increase in coordination and individualized care has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for the adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and individuals of all ages with substance use disorders that will be served by these community clinics.
The CCBHCs provide DHS with an opportunity to improve the commonwealth’s overall behavioral health service system, and move toward more integrated, coordinated, and person-centered care by:
For more information on CCBHCs, click here.