Ted Dallas, Secretary, Department of Human Services, and Teresa Osborne, Secretary, Department of Aging, released a communique today to inform Pennsylvanians of the commonwealth's decision to lengthen the transition time for the start of the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program. Instead of beginning on January 1, 2017, the first phase (in the southwest) will now begin on July 1, 2017.
The announcement stated the ongoing commitment to ensure that everyone impacted by CHC understands and is comfortable with the program prior to it going live. Over the past year, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Aging have listened to and talked with countless consumers, caregivers, providers, advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders; and received comments from scores of Pennsylvanians about the design, implementation, and ultimate transition to CHC. While the process has been deliberate, purposeful, and time-intensive, they believe that it has positively impacted and influenced the program.
Dallas and Osborne stated the decision to extend the start date builds on this approach and allows more time for the 420,000 Pennsylvanians who will ultimately benefit from CHC to understand the program adjustments that will occur, including how access to and receipt of home- and community-based services will be improved. The departments will continue to work with all stakeholders, such as the Area Agencies on Aging and Centers for Independent Living, on a robust CHC education and outreach effort to ensure they reach as many consumers and caregivers as possible. The department leads stated they are confident that with the additional time announced today they will successfully meet this important goal.
All other established CHC timeframes will remain the same. The selection of managed care companies, changes in the commonwealth’s information technology systems, and other changes are still proceeding on the same timeframe. The implementation of phases two and three (the southeast and remainder of the commonwealth) also remain on the previously announced timelines of 2018 and 2019, respectively.
To learn more about Community HealthChoices click here.