A Message from Disability Rights Pennsylvania
The United States Senate is preparing to vote NEXT WEEK on the Graham Cassidy Amendment that will mean millions, including many people with disabilities, will lose health insurance.
Graham-Cassidy is more devastating to healthcare than any other proposal. It does not simply reduce the ACA’s commitment to healthcare, it ends it all together. Medicaid Expansion and subsidies for individual insurance? Gone in 2026. What’s also gone? Protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Also eliminated are the standards that ensure everyone has access to high quality health plans. What is the same is that it guts Medicaid and radically reduces care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Public Meetings and Comment Opportunities on 2-Year Modification of VR Services Portion of the Commonwealth's WIOA Combined State Plan
The Department of Labor and Industry (Department), Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), announces a period of public comment on its proposed Year 2 of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Portion of the Commonwealth's 4-year Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan (Plan). Given the multi year life of the Plan, states must revisit State Plan strategies regularly, reassess their effectiveness and labor market relevance, and, when needed, recalibrate these strategies to respond to the changing economic conditions and workforce needs of the state. The VR Services Portion is the blueprint for the provision of VR services to persons with disabilities living in this Commonwealth. This notice is provided under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the WIOA of 2014.
The OVR is required to develop and implement its VR Services Portion as part of the Plan, whereas, at minimum, states must submit a modification to the Plan at the end of the first 2-year period of any 4-year plan. These revisions take the form of updates to existing descriptions, previously known as attachments. The Plan from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2020, is currently in effect and is a compliance document on file with the Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration and United States Departments of Labor and Education.
The OVR must obtain public input prior to amending the VR Services Portion of the Plan under 34 CFR 361.20 (relating to public participation requirements). As referenced in 34 CFR 361.20(a), which requires public meetings to be held throughout the state, ''public meeting'' means a gathering of people in a physical or virtual (as in the case of videoconferences or teleconferences) location to gather valuable input from individuals with disabilities, community rehabilitation programs and other stakeholders.
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.
Today, Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement on his intention to allow House Bill 218 to become law without his signature:
“In February, I proposed a budget that balanced by implementing more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies and closing $1 billion in loopholes. For the past several months, Democrats and Republicans have had a robust conversation about our fiscal challenges. We worked in a bipartisan way to reform our pension system to protect taxpayers and employees, and set the commonwealth on a more responsible fiscal path.
“Working with both parties in the legislature, we passed a general appropriations bill that streamlined government by making more than $2 billion in cuts, invested more money in education at all levels, and continued our efforts to fight the heroin crisis.
“This budget invests $175 million in our schools, helps Pennsylvanians who need it the most like those with intellectual disabilities, and invests in key programs to create manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, while allowing the commonwealth to team up with businesses and institutions of higher learning to create jobs and a strong workforce.
“And today, I am going to let this general appropriations bill become law without my signature in the hope that we can continue to work together on a sustainable budget solution that sets Pennsylvania on the right path.
“Just last week, we received a warning that if we did not do the hard work to balance our budget, Pennsylvania’s credit would be downgraded. This independent call to action made it clear we must avoid gimmicks to protect from a downgrade, as we have been able to do since I took office.
“As with pensions, many of the people currently in Harrisburg did not create this problem, but we must face this challenge and address it in a responsible way.
“In the coming days, it is my hope that the General Assembly will come together to pass a responsible solution to balance our books. There are many options available to balance the budget in the long-term like those I presented earlier this year. Our creditors and the people of Pennsylvania understand a responsible resolution must take real and necessary steps to improve Pennsylvania’s fiscal future.”