The Pennsylvania 2017-18 State Budget includes:
$26.5 million to serve more people in the community and strengthen support for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism.
The Department of Human Services (Department) is soliciting public input on the use of electronic visit verification (EVV) systems for Medicaid-funded personal care and home health care services in Pennsylvania.
The 21st Century Cures Act, Public Law 114-255, was signed into law on December 13, 2016. Section 12006 of the Act (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1396b(l)(1)) requires all states to implement the use of electronic visit verification for Medicaid-funded personal care and home health care services.
EVV is a system that electronically verifies that personal care and home health care services were delivered. According to the Act, EVV for personal care services must be implemented by January 1, 2019, and for home health care services by January 1, 2023.
The EVV system may be maintained and operated by the state, a state contractor or a provider agency. The Act requires that the system verify the type of service provided, individual receiving the service, individual providing the service, date of the service, location of the service delivery and time the service begins and ends. Services may be verified by the recipient’s home landline telephone, smart phone, biometric recognition systems or fixed visit verification device--an electronic random numbers device in the beneficiary’s home.
Wolf Administration Discusses Negative Impact of Proposed Cuts to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Funding
Today, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) Dr. Dale Adair was joined by county agencies, providers, and other advocates at the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association to discuss the $9 million in cuts to mental health and substance use disorder services proposed in the House Republican budget, House Bill 218.
“The proposed cuts to mental health funding within House Bill 218 would jeopardize the way counties perform mental health services to some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. The last time funding was cut to mental health programs, the counties were unable to absorb the costs and critical programs ceased,” said Dr. Adair.
The proposed budget includes a reduction of $5 million in community mental health county allocations. This cut will jeopardize available funding to serve individuals leaving state hospitals to live in the community with related impact on serving individuals in the forensic unit.
In addition, there is a reduction of $4 million to county behavioral health funding, which would eliminate the amount that was included for treatment costs for 1,200 individuals not eligible for Medical Assistance who are newly able to receive substance use disorder treatment through the Centers of Excellence.
“Our providers have mastered the ability to do more with less during times of fiscal constraint, but without sufficient funding over the long term, there is only so much each provider can do to meet service needs,” said Richard S. Edley, PhD, President and CEO of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), the state’s largest and most diverse health and human services trade association. “Funding reductions have a negative effect both on those providing services as well as those receiving services. Funding cuts don’t just hurt the organizations receiving the funding. The cuts ultimately hurt the individuals and their families who rely on services and assistance through providers.”
Governor Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget included continuing the $20.4 million investment in creating 45 Centers of Excellence to improve opioid treatment outcomes, providing $13.4 million to partner with PCCD to increase access to naloxone for first responders and expand specialty drug court, and maximizing the $26.5 million in federal Cures Act funding annually for the next two years to help address the opioid epidemic.
For more information on DHS and OMHSAS, click here.
Wolf Administration Advocates for Legislative Support of Funding for Intellectual Disabilities Waitlist
Governor Wolf’s proposed budget would move 1,000 individuals off waitlist
Today, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Nancy Thaler was joined by providers, stakeholders, and families affected by the current Intellectual Disabilities (ID) waitlist at The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA, advocating for Governor Wolf’s proposed 2017-2018 budget and its positive effect on the waitlist.
“Governor Wolf’s budget adds critical funding to move people off the waitlist and provides needed relief and support to Pennsylvania families,” said Thaler. “Without these funds, families in need of emergency and critical care will not have access to the necessary, high-quality services their loved one needs.”
Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed May Mental Health Awareness Month
Today, the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with PA System of Care Partnership, PA Healthy Transitions Partnership, and Youth M.O.V.E. PA, hosted the 2017 Mental Health Awareness Fair in Harrisburg to raise awareness and understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders. Governor Tom Wolf has proclaimed May Mental Health Awareness Month.
"Mental illness and substance use disorders affect Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. Only about half of those people, however, seek treatment,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “The department is committed to increasing awareness and providing quality care to these individuals so that all Pennsylvanians who need help can get it.”
Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) joined the event to speak about the challenges he has seen in trying to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.