News

BLAIR COUNTY LAUNCHES NATIONS'S FIRST C-SSRS APP TO HELP SAVE LIVES

Blair County is using Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) while providing local crisis centers contact information for those at risk of suicide. Blair County Commissioner, Bruce Erb said, "If this app can save one person's life, this app would be worth everything". To read more, there is a Blair County Press Release and a Recent News Article available. If anyone is interested in having their local contact information placed on the app, please contact Jim Hudack at
 
PRESIDENT RELEASES 2020 BUDGET PROPOSAL
 
President Trump released his proposed budget proposal, which would cut $2.7 trillion over ten years. The cuts target Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice. If the proposal is approved by Congress, $54 billion, or a nine percent, reduction from 2019 for 2020 is needed to meet the 10 year target savings.
 
USDA RULE REDUCES FOOD STAMP BENEFITS
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now reviewing the public comments regarding proposed changes to the food stamp program, which would restrict the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from work requirements to receive food stamps. The regulations would also restrict the ability of states to waive provisions. An estimated 755,000 individuals across the nation may be impacted by the regulations.
 
DHS REPORTS IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE FOR RESIDENTIAL SERVICES

The Department of Human Services' Office of Developmental Programs released Improving the Quality of Residential Services. The report identifies on-going strategic thinking in six areas for improvement: licensing, policy, provider on-boarding and technical assistance and learning for direct service professionals and establishing a learning collaborative to improve the lives of nearly 12,000 individuals with developmental disabilities residing in community-based homes.
 
JOIN OMHSAS CALL FOR CHANGE PROJECT ASSESSMENT
 
The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is asking for broad based input in review the A Call for Change, a document created in 2004 to outline system transformation. In addition to regional listening sessions, an on-line survey is available through May 2019 for individuals who are not able to participate in a regional session.  
Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to: jistemple@pa.gov.
 
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO DELAY MATP BROKERAGE MODEL
 
Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) recently introduced legislation, SB 390, which would delay the transition of the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) to a statewide or regional brokerage model. The legislation is in response to language tucked into what became Act 40 of 2018 which requires the Department of Human Services to seek federal approval to move non-emergency MATP services to a statewide or regional full-risk brokerage model. Since Act 40 was signed into law, counties have raised numerous concerns about access, flexibility and a lack of understanding of local needs and resources, which could potentially increase costs long-term or hinder this critical service for individuals. 
 
STATE'S YEAR-TO-DATE COLLECTIONS AHEAD OF ESTIMATE 
 
The Department of Revenue's February 2019 Collections Report shows that although the state's general fund revenue collections for February were just shy of estimates, fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections remain 1.4 percent above estimates and about 5.7 percent ahead of the prior fiscal year after eight months. The biggest driver of tax revenues for February were corporation tax revenues, as they have been for the entire fiscal year, while sales and use tax collections were also slightly ahead of estimate. While personal income tax collections continued to under-perform, April is typically the largest collection month for that revenue stream. March has historically been the state's largest revenue collection month of the year for business-related taxes.
 
CCAP AWARD NOMINATIONS SOUGHT
 
CCAP is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards honoring Excellence in County Government and Individual Achievements. Award categories include: outstanding commissioner/council member; outstanding chief clerk/administrator; outstanding solicitor; friend of county government; and the affiliate and president's award.

Awards will be presented at the 2019 Annual Conference, August 4-7, in Berks County. Please consider nominating an individual that you feel has made significant contributions to county government. Visit here for information. The nomination deadline is May 17.
 
SAMHSA GRANTS AWARDED TO FIGHT OPIOID EPIDEMIC
 
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded $15 million in funding to the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Human Services in order to establish a new program to provide case management and housing support services for Pennsylvanians with an opioid use disorder (OUD). Sixteen grants were awarded. This is one of the activities funded from the SAMHSA $55.9 million federal grant. Other activities are criminal justice programs and law enforcement initiatives with a focus on re-reentry; and workforce development. With $26.5 million in SAMHSA grants over the past two years, Pennsylvania has received a total of $108 million in funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
 
ODP ANNUAL DATA REPORT RELEASED
 
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has released their 2017-2018 Data Report detailing statistics on individuals served, services provided and costs for services.
In addition to this statistical report, ODP has pledged to publish an annual report based on the performance measures developed by ODP's Information Sharing and Advisory Committee (ISAC).
 
JAIL AND COMMUNITY-BASED TREATMENT FOR OPIOD USE FUNDING AVAILABLE

The Institute of Intergovernmental Research (IIR) released a solicitation on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance which is joining efforts with Arnold Ventures to support a nine-month planning initiative designed to help communities develop a comprehensive continuum of care model that targets the jail population and builds bridges between in-custody and community-based treatment. Up to 15 communities will be selected to participate in the planning initiative. Applicants need to demonstrate the commitment of five key stakeholders to participate in a planning team and readiness to plan towards provision of two forms of medication-assisted treatment in a jail-based setting and a community-based setting. Visit here for more information.
 
MENTAL HEALTH MONTH MATERIAL AVAILABLE FOR MAY
 
Mental Health America (MHA) shared a Mental Health Tool Kit on their website: MHA's website.
 
CONFERENCES AND EVENTS
 
Stronger Together is the 2019 Pennsylvania Mental Health and Wellness Conference to be held May 20 and 21 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey. More information is available from the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association's website.
 
ALICE Active Shooter Training is a two-day training being provided by Pennsylvania's Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs Association. The ALICE Active Shooter Training will be at CCAP in Harrisburg on September 3-4, 2019. Cost for JDCAP members is $450, non-members $525. Additionally, registrants will gain access to exclusive ALICE resources. Visit here to register.
 
Practice is the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities annual conference being held June 24-27  in The Twin Cities, Minnesota. More information is available at the AAIDD website .

Charting the LifeCourse will be held on April 26 at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Summerdale. There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is recommended. Register at MyODP website .
 
2019 PA Suicide Prevention Conference will be held at the Best Western Premier in Harrisburg May 1-2. More information is available online.

PEOPLE AND PLACES
 
Tracey Campanini is now serving as Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), replacing Suzann Morris.
 
Valerie Vicari is serving as the Acting Deputy Secretary of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).
 
Jen Swails as introduced as the new Budget Secretary since Randy Albright stepped down in December.