News

PACA MH/DS CONFERNECE
 
Thank you to everyone who attended the PACA MH/DS Spring Conference. Please take a moment to complete a brief evaluation regarding your conference experience.

 

NEW ON PACA MH/DS WEBSITE


We have added a resource to better serve you. You can now find our association upcoming meetings on the left side of our homepage, and non-association events on the right side of the homepage. If your county is hosting an upcoming event and you want us to share it on our website, please send it to lzook@pacounties.org. Checkout the new resource at: www.mhdspa.org! 
 
DENNIS MARION AWARD

The Dennis Marion Impact Award was established in honor of Dennis Marion's commitment to public service throughout his distinguished career. Tragically, Dennis Marion's service to the Commonwealth was cut short when he passed away unexpectedly in 2017. This year's award recipient is Jonathan Rubin, Director of Bucks County Division on Housing and Human Services. To read more about Jonathan Rubin and his achievements, please click on the following link: Award

IDEA CREW INFORMATION POSTED
 
The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) shared products from Idea Crew, which focuses on forensic restoration. These resources have been posted to the Department of Human Services Website. 
 
TRANSFORMING HEALTH SHOW
 
The Transforming Health show aired on WITF on April 25th. There was a discussion regarding mental illness and state hospitals with Dauphin County Administrator, Dan Eisenhauer. Also the conversation included, Department of Human Services Secretary, Teresa Miller among many other people. You can view the show on the WITF Website
 
MAY IS STEPPING UP MONTH OF ACTION!
 
Counties are encouraged highlight their efforts toward reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails during the National Stepping Up Month of Action in May. The Stepping Up Initiative was launched in 2015 by NACo, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation to provide counties with resources to create sustainable, data-driven plans to improve outcomes for people in their communities with mental illnesses. 
 
BERKS NAMED STEPPING UP INNOVATOR
 
Four years ago Berks joined the Stepping Up Initiative to divert  nonviolent offenders with  mental illness away from prison. Berks is one of 11 counties in the United States, and the first in PA, to be recognized for their expertise in collecting data on the number of people in its jail who have mental illness. Congratulations to Ed Michalik, Psy.D. and his staff.
 
PREPARE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR CENSUS          
 
The 2020 census is coming and community response is essential! The next decennial census will be conducted on April 1, 2020 and determine the allocation of resources to our communities. CCAP joins a myriad of associations collaborating with Governor Wolf's Census 2020 Complete Count Commission. The commission will assist in developing strategies to reach populations that are difficult to count. The census is foundational in the allocation of resources on many levels from voter representation, infrastructure, to health needs. An under-count would adversely impact the billions of dollars the state receives in federal funds for a variety of services and programs in both the public and private sector.
 
STATES INDICATE INTEREST IN MEDICAID BLOCK GRANT
 
At least three states, including Alaska, Tennessee and Utah, have indicated that they are interested in receiving block grants or per capita funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But disability advocacy groups say they are concerned that such a shift would not provide adequate funding for people with disabilities who receive health care or home and community based services through Medicaid. In a statement, a CMS spokesperson said he agency does not comment on preliminary state discussions, but said states play an important role in fostering innovation in Medicaid program design and financing. PACA MH/DS will continue to monitor these requests.
 
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ARGUED FOR COURTS TO INVALIDATE ACA
 
On March 25, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a letter with the U.S. Court of Appelas for the Fifth Circuit stating it agreed with the ruling of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas in United States v. Texas, which invalidates the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decision states that as a result of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provision reducing the individual mandate penalty to $0, the mandate was unconstitutional since it was not inseparable from the remainder of the act, the entire act was unconstitutional.

COURT STRIKES DOWN MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS
 
A judge in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued two rulings striking down Medicaid work requirements in two separate cases, one for requirements in Arkansas and the other for Kentucky. The court opinion directs the Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider the states' waiver applications with consideration given to possible loss of coverage. Arkansas's waiver had already gone into effect, and 16,000 individuals had already lost coverage as a result. Until DHS responds, the work requirements cannot be enforced.
 
EXTENDED SOLVENCY REPORTED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY
 
"The 2019 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds" was released on April 22. The Trustees project that all Trust fund scheduled benefits can be paid through 2025. After 2035 the fund would be able to pay approximately 80 percent of scheduled benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance Trust can pay full scheduled benefits through 2052, and about 91 percent of scheduled benefits afterwards. The projections are extended since last year with declines in applications, awards and the number of individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits.

KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION ISSUES UPDATED HCBS STATISTICS
 
The Kaiser Family Foundation issued the 17th annual state survey of Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) enrollment and spending data. Key findings included that 4.6 million individuals (across all eligible populations) receive HCBS, with a bit over half of the enrollment coming from waivers. The national average cost of HCBS per enrollee is $17,800, though there is significant variation among states.
 
TAX INCENTIVES RESOURCE FOR HIRING EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITY

Businesses accommodating or hiring employees with disabilities may qualify for tax credits and deductions, and individuals with disabilities may qualify to contribute to a tax-advantaged savings account to fund disability expenses. The WorkforceGPS is an online technical assistance website and they posted information on their website with different financial incentives available.  
 
FUNDING YOUR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
 
This resource is available from the PA Assistive Technology Foundation. The easy to read guide brings clarity to the complex process of funding assistive technology for people with disabilities and seniors in PA.
 
SECOND CHANCE ACT COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY-BASED ADULT RE-ENTRY PROGRAM
 
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs, (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding under the Second Chance Act to provide grants to nonprofit organizations and Indian tribes to provide reentry services and programs. This program furthers the Department's mission to reduce recidivism and combat violence by facilitating the successful reintegration of former offenders or individuals returning from incarceration. Applicants must register with Grants.gov at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html prior to submitting an application. All applications are due by June 11, 2019.
 
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (SAMHSA) GRANTS


PEOPLE AND PLACES

Cathy Utz resigned from the role of Deputy Secretary for Office of Children and Youth and Families (OCYF), effective May 3, 2019.  Amy Grippi, OCYF's Chief of Staff, will be the primary point of contact.