Now You Know 
Welcome to Now You Know, an e-publication from ACHIEVA, Pittsburgh's leader in providing
lifelong supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. 
In This Issue
Did you Know?
ABLE Act Waiting for Signature
Resources on Autism
Impact of the ACC
I Want to Work Campaign
Referral Tool for HCBS
Efforts to Enforce Autism Insurance
Adults with I/DD and Dementia
You Shop - ACHIEVA Gets a Donation!
Day of Giving
ACHIEVA Disability Talks 
Annual Report
Please  cli ck here  or on the picture to view ACHIEVA's Annual
Report. It will give you a  description of ACHIEVA's programs and  services for those we serve.
Mark Your Calendars!
Final Future Planning Session
Join Our Team!
Volume 10 Issue: #15 April 14, 2016

Did you Know?
How do the rules affect provider-owned or operated residential settings? 

The rules do not prohibit provider-owned or operated settings, such as group homes.  However, in addition to meeting the general requirements of the rules regarding community based settings, these residential settings must the meet additional conditions below: 
  • A lease or other legally enforceable agreement to protect from eviction; 
  • Privacy in their unit including entrances lockable by the individual (necessary staff may have keys as needed); 
  • Choice of roommates; 
  • Freedom to furnish and decorate their unit; 
  • Control of their schedule and activities; 
  • Access to food at any time;
  • Visitors of their choosing at any time; 
  • Physical accessibility for the individual
If any of these requirements are limited, the reason must be documented in the individual's person-centered plan, be based on a specific and individualized need, include a clear description of that condition that is directly proportionate to the specific assessed need, include the informed consent of the individual, and have an established time limit for the modification, including periodic review.9  There must also be documentation in the person-centered plan that identifies previously tried less restrictive interventions, lists the positive interventions and supports used prior to any modification, assures that no harm will come to the individual from the modifications, and includes regular collection and review of data to determine the effectiveness of the modification.
9 See, e.g., 42 C.F.R. § 441.301(c)(4)(vi)(F). Physically accessibility may not be modified in the person-centered planning process

ABLE Act Clears the Senate
Senate Bill (SB) 879 was approved by concurrence vote yesterday.  It is on its way to Governor Wolf for signature into law.  The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act provides a savings program to encourage savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. 

Pennslvania's ABLE savings accounts allow up to $14,000 of annual contributions and can be used for a wide range of expenses.  Qualified withdrawals will be exempt from federal and state income tax.  People with ABLE accounts will be able to save up to $100,000 and still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, Medical Assistance and other means-tested federal programs.   To qualify for an ABLE Account, an individual must have a disability that occurred before the age of 26.  Each individual is permitted to have one account which must be opened in the state in which they reside and any person is permitted to contribute to the ABLE Account.  ACHIEVA Family Trust was elated to provide influence in the development of the ABLE Act.
We will continue to keep you posted as the ABLE Act is signed into law and implemented in Pennsylvania.   SB 879 wouldn't have passed without the amazing work  of advocates and providers statewide - the letters, visits, e-mails and calls made a difference to our legislators. 

ABLE Accounts may serve as a useful financial tool for individuals with disabilities in certain situations, but will not serve as a replacement for a traditional Special Needs Trust.  If you have questions on the differences, contact ACHIEVA Family Trust at 412-995-5000.

Resources on Autism
Governor Wolf has declared April as Autism Acceptance Month!   This month's issue highlights a number of key initiatives, including the new online application request process for PA's Adult Autism Programs; Justice and ER trainings; transition-age resources; and the Inaugural State Policy Summit recently hosted by ASERT. 

You'll also find information about support groups, events and free professional training opportunities available across the state.   Click here for the April ASERT Newsletter.

Affordable Care Act
From the Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) Newsletter

This report to the   Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council   highlights Pennsylvania's successes, challenges and unfinished business with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Specific to people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, the report focuses on three critical areas of the ACA: Medicaid expansion; the Marketplace; and long term services and supports. 

The intent of the report is to educate persons with disabilities, family members, advocates and policy makers about the work done on the ACA and the continued opportunities for health system transformations.   The report can be found on the PHLP website at:

Questions about the report can be directed to Janice Meinert at

Giving Students Inclusive Work
The #IWantToWorkCampaign's legislation to ensure young people with disabilities will be able to prepare for work as adults by getting part-time and summer jobs while in high school was unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania Senate.

House Bill 400 now needs a procedural approval in the House before being sent to Governor Wolf for his signature into law.  The legislation will give young people with disabilities an opportunity to obtain part-time employment while still in high school by moving up the timetable getting them job placements and supports by the state's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).  Instead of getting help in their senior year, often just before graduation, OVR staff will begin helping these young people find jobs in the sophomore and junior years.

"Thousands of young people with disabilities will benefit by being able to get jobs while in school and during the summer," said Dr. Josie Badger, #IWantToWork's campaign manager.  "We are very appreciative of the efforts of our legislative champions, led by Senators Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne and Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon to move this bill forward." 

Businesses will benefit from the change coming when HB 400 becomes law.  They will have a way to more easily identify and hire young people with disabilities, who are eager to work and research shows, grow into dedicated, hard-working employees.

"Given the chance, people can succeed regardless of whether or not they have a disability.  House Bill 400 offers young people with disabilities an opportunity to be employed and be productive, tax-paying members of society, just like everyone else," said Robert Nelkin, chief executive of the United Way of Western Pennsylvania, a major funder of the #IWantToWork campaign.

Pennsylvania invests an average of $200,000 on the education of a young person with disabilities.  Without job experience before graduating from high school, research shows three out of four young people with disabilities will never work.

The #IWantToWork self-advocacy campaign helps young people with disabilities in Pennsylvania get jobs and internships while in high school.  Our goal is to let Pennsylvania policymakers know more needs to be done to help young people between the ages of 18 and 21 by sending a strong message that young people with disabilities are ready to work, are good workers and are great for businesses and employers.

Tool for HCBS
From the Health Law PA News

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) launched a new online Information and Referral Tool to help individuals, family members and advocates identify available programs and resources that will allow older adults and people with disabilities remain in their homes and communities.  The tool asks a series of questions. 

Based on the person's responses, the tool offers suggestions on county and state funded programs that provide services to help people remain living as independently as possible.  The tool does not link individuals to services that are privately funded.  DHS started developing this tool last year.  They launched a "trial run" of it earlier this year and solicited feedback from various stakeholders to make improvements and correct any problems. 

People who use the tool are not required to provide any personal identifying information and the tool does not save responses to the questions asked.  The goal of the tool is to help people learn about program options available based on the person's identified needs and how to access this help.  The tool is not used to apply for a specific program; however, the tool can make referrals to certain programs or connect the person to an online application, when available, if someone chooses these options.

Click here to read the article in the newsletter.

Efforts to Enforce Autism Insurance
From the Health Law PA News

Following PHLP's successful lawsuit against Independence Blue Cross regarding coverage of autism services in school and several meetings between PHLP, families, providers, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, there has been an expanded effort by these state agencies to ensure that commercial health insurers are covering autism service costs as required by the Autism Insurance Law (Act 62 of 2008). 

Families of children with autism and other supporters of Act 62 have raised concerns about Medicaid paying for services that should be covered by commercial insurers subject to Act 62 for children that have both insurances.  On April 15th, DHS will begin to recoup payments made by Medicaid for certain autism services from commercial insurers.  Medicaid rules require that it be the payer of last resort.

Click here to read the article in the newsletter.

Parents Taking Action: Empowering Latina Mothers of Children with ASD

Thursday, April 21, 2016
3 - 4 p.m. DST

Latinos represent the fastest growing population in the US, and Latino children are one of the fastest growing ASD populations.  Despite this growth, they are one of the most underserved groups with respect to diagnostic services, health care and specialty autism services.  Dr. Sandy Magaña will discuss the development of a culturally-based approach to addressing informational needs of Latino parents, which is essential in order to better support their children with ASD.  She will present preliminary findings of a randomized controlled trial that is underway to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed model.

Click here to register.

Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with I/DD

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
1 - 2 p.m. DST

This webinar emphasizes emergency preparedness for individuals with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities, their families and support networks. Topics covered include: understanding different types of emergencies, self-preparedness, preparing a "to-go" bag, evacuation and sheltering, advocacy and inclusion in community emergency planning efforts.

Click here to register.

Advancing Sexual Self-Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Thursday, April 28, 2016
3 - 4 p.m. DST

Many people with disabilities experience profound marginalization in multiple human rights domains, including disparities in sexual and reproductive health. This webinar will address the rights to sexual citizenship of people with disabilities and ways to advance sexual self-advocacy as a best-practice strategy to facilitate empowerment among people with disabilities. Findings from an exploratory study that examined how people with intellectual and developmental disabilities define and experience the concept of sexual self-advocacy will be discussed.

Click here to register.

Capable Care of Adults with I/DD and Dementia Workshop
The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices is having a workshop on  Dementia Capable Care of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia on Tuesday, May 17 - 19, 2016 at 1992 Ewings Mill Road, Coraopolis PA 15108.

Workshop Website/Online Registration:

Parking Shuttle: Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 2044 Ewings Mill Rd, Coraopolis, PA 15108.

Click here for the flyer with indormation on the training options.

You Shop - ACHIEVA Receives a Donation!
ACHIEVA will receive a $5 donation for every person who signs up at in the month of April.

Just visit  www.iGive.comfill out a few boxes, choose ACHIEVA and install the iGive button that does all the work for you.  Keep the button installed until July 15 and we get $5.  It's just that easy!

Once you signed up, help us out by spreading the word on your social media accounts.

Day of Giving
ACHIEVA/The Arc of Westmoreland's Preschool Readiness Program relies on donations to fund the program.  Families do not have to pay for services.  Your money will go toward helping children get the highest quality instruction possible, all without cost to their families.  

By donating, you can help a young child to blossom into a preschool-ready student!  Preschool Readiness needs: $300.00 for an outdoor playhouse $150.00 for a new sandbox with sand. The minimum Day of Giving donation, $25.00, buys bubble soap, an important sensory activity!  You have the power to help children and families in Westmoreland County on their way to a bright future.

Click here for ACHEVA/The Arc of Westmoreland in Westmoreland County.


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