PAR Mail 2018-065 | April 11, 2018
Membership Meeting: Sec Miller, ANCOR CEO & Autism Bureau Update
Attending the April 5, 2018 PAR Membership Meeting from left, Barbara Merrill, ANCOR President and CEO; Nancy Thaler, ODP Deputy Secretary; Teresa Miller, DHS Secretary; Shirley Walker, PAR President and CEO.
DHS Secretary Miller Keynotes Membership Meeting

Speaking to the April 5, 2018, PAR General Membership meeting, PA's Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller told the 125 attendees that the Administration remains deeply committed to ID/A issues and was proud of the state's FY 17/18 $400 million (state and federal funds) increased investment in ODP programs. Secretary Miller noted rate increases in the FY 17/18 budget of $249 million in state and federal funds and Governor Wolf's FY 18/19 budget proposal to fund 800 students graduating in the current year for 9 months of ODP services, and an additional 800 students graduating the following year with one month's service to assure that students entering the adult system do not "fall off the cliff" or end up on long waiting lists for adult services. She also addressed pending ODP regulations.

PAR members raised a variety of issues to the Secretary including:
  • the continuing DSP Crisis with no proposed rate increases in Governor Wolf's FY 18/19 Budget Proposal;
  • inconsistent treatment by local jurisdictions to group homes regarding their tax exempt status;
  • potential differences between ODP and the Department of Health regarding the Nurse Practice Act's delegation of duties (stay tuned for more information on an upcoming PAR Nursing and Health Services meeting);
  • implementation of the Autism Insurance Law;
  • implementation of Medical Marijuana.


ANCOR LEADER BARBARA MERRILL URGES PAR FOCUS ON CONGRESS

Barbara Merrill, President and CEO of ANCOR , PAR's national provider association, called upon PAR members to be vigilant in monitoring Congressional activity. She thanked PAR for being the first 100% ANCOR membership pilot association. Through this agreement, PAR members are automatically members of ANCOR through their PAR membership.

ANCOR has been at the center of the national debate regarding protecting Medicaid - the source of over 50% of the funding for PA's Medicaid and ODP programs. Merrill thanked PAR members, noting that PAR members were among the most active in advocating to PA Members of Congress in last year's debate over the Graham Cassidy bill and other efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act accompanied by a push to slash billions of dollars from the Medicaid program.

Despite last year's success in protecting Medicaid, Merrill warned that the recent tax cut bill may foretell future attempts to cut Medicaid funding. She urged members to stay active and to take advantage of ANCOR's weekly member briefings and continue the remarkable level of advocacy that PAR members have shown.


AUTISM LEADER UPDATES MEMBERS

Nina Wall, Director of the PA Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) , updated PAR members about collaborative efforts between providers and the autism community to improve services for Commonwealth citizens with autism.

Wall mentioned numerous training opportunities that the Bureau of Autism is making available for providers on best practice.

She was accompanied by Amy Alford, Eastern Clinical Consultant for BAS, who gave specific examples of assistance the Bureau can provide to providers on a variety of topics including the justice system, child welfare, physical health, employment, voting, LGBTQ issues, school to transition issues and other concerns.

Wall indicated a new PA Autism Needs Assessment was undertaken in 2017, and urged PAR members to attend the PA Autism Training Conference on June 5-7, 2018.