A Slice of Pie is an ongoing publication keeping our readers informed about important public policy issues. It is the mission of the Policy Information Exchange to educate and inform Pennsylvanians with disabilities, their families and advocates, and the general public, regarding public policy issues and to further the exchange of policy information between the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and federal, state, and local policy makers. The Policy Information Exchange is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

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State News+

State Budget

Governor Corbett introduced his 2011-12 budget proposal on March 8. To meet his goal of balancing the budget without raising taxes, the Governor proposed cuts to many different programs including basic and higher education and several disability-related programs. As we go to press, the state House is about to take up their budget bill, HB 1485. As originally introduced, the bill was the same as the Governor’s request. It was changed in the House Appropriations Committee with an amendment written by the House Republican leadership. To view a copy of the bill, go to www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=1485. While HB 1485 makes changes from the Governor’s budget, the bottom line total spending, $27.3 billion, is the same in both bills. The House Republican majority put more money into education, and did so mostly by cutting the budget of the Department of Public Welfare. Some disability programs were cut further, while others received some increases. A few items of interest from HB 1485:

Office of Developmental Programs (ODP):

  • Waivers Intellectual Disabilities: While state funds are increased, the loss of federal funds adds up to a slight decrease. (Same as Governor’s proposal). Funds are included to:
    • continue current program;
    • transfer 7 people from the Mental Health system;
    • serve 35 people who are living in state hospitals with diagnoses of mental illness and intellectual disabilities; and
    • bring 50 people out of state centers.
  • There’s no waiting list initiative. (Same as Governor’s proposal).
  • They expect to save $27 million by “limiting state reimbursement to group home providers for federally ineligible room and board costs for residents with intellectual disabilities.”
  • The Governor proposed a small increase in state funds for Autism services which, when combined with the loss of federal funds added up to a slight decrease. The House Republican budget cuts state funds by an additional $2.7 million, or more than 20%. Matching federal funds are also reduced.
  • Early Intervention (birth to age 3 and also ages 3 to 5): Funding to continue the program and new funding for additional children. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS):
  • While state funds were slightly increased in the Governor’s proposed budget, the loss of federal funds added up to a slight decrease for Mental Health services which was expected to be sufficient to continue the current program. The House Republican budget would reduce state funds by an additional .6%.
  • The budget includes funds to provide home and community-based services to 90 people currently in state hospitals (CHIPPs) (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
  • The Governor proposes privatizing the forensic units at Torrance and Norristown state hospitals, which is expected to save about $3 million.
  • Behavioral Health Services would be reduced an additional 8% from the Governor’s budget for a total reduction of 10%.

Office of Long Term Living (OLTL):

  • Under the Governor’s budget, state funds for Services to Persons with Disabilities (CSPPPD), which includes the Independence, OBRA and CommCare waivers, would have increased by $20 million. However, the proposed decrease in federal funds would have resulted in a net decrease of 8%. The House Republican budget reduces funding slightly more (a total decrease of 9%).
  • For Attendant Care (which includes both the waiver and state-only Act 150), both state and federal funds would have been decreased in the Governor’s budget, amounting to a 16% reduction. The House Republican budget cuts the Attendant Care line item further for a total decrease of 17%.
  • Under HB 1485, separate line items for Attendant Care, Services to Persons with Disabilities and the Aging Waiver will all be combined in one new line item, “Home and Community Based Services.”

DPW Other:

  • The House Republican budget makes large cuts in the Medical Assistance budget including Outpatient, Inpatient, Capitation and MA Transportation.
  • The House Republicans would restore some funding for the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF). (The Governor had eliminated it.)


  • Neither the Governor’s proposal nor HB 1485 creates a new department. Instead, the Office of Long Term Living remains connected to both DPW and Aging with funding included in the DPW budget (see above).
  • Family Caregiver and Alzheimer’s Outreach are level funded. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)


  • The Governor’s budget included level funding for Drug and Alcohol and no funds for the new Department. The House Republican budget takes $1 million from Drug and Alcohol program funds and moves it to a line item titled, “Transition forDepartment of Drug and Alcohol Programs.”
  • A number of programs, including New Born Hearing Screening and Epilepsy Support Services, would be eliminated. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
  • The line item for Services for Children with Special Needs has been partially restored in HB 1485.

Department of Community and Economic Development:

  • Funding for Accessible Housing is combined with funding for New Communities in a new line item called, “Keystone Communities.” House Republicans propose reducing the combined line item.
Labor and Industry:
  • OVR is level funded. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
  • The Governor proposed funding Supported Employment at the 2010-11 level; the House Republican budget would reduce it further.
  • Centers for Independent Living (CILs) would be funded at the same level as the current 2010-11 year. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
  • Assistive Technology would have been reduced by 24% under the Governor’s proposal. The House Republicans would restore part of the funding reduction, so that they would receive 10% less than 2010-11.


  • There are still cuts to basic education and higher education, just not as dramatic as what the Governor proposed.
  • Special education is level funded in state funds; supplemental federal ARRA funds do not continue. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
  • Charter Schools for the Deaf and Blind and Approved Private Schools are level funded. (Same as Governor’s proposal.)
Since the Governor delivered his budget request, tax revenues have come in at more than $500 million above projections, but both the Governor and the Republican leadership have so far declined to spend those funds for the 2011-12 budget.
After the House acts on the budget bill, it goes to the Senate which is expected to make major changes. A final bill will be hammered out in a House and Senate Conference Committee, some time before the end of June. Advocates will continue to make their views known until the process is completed.
Contact the PIE office for a more detailed analysis of the current budget proposals or for an update on the budget process.

Governor’s Cabinet

The following individuals have been nominated to serve in a cabinet level position. Those with an asterisk* after their names have been confirmed. The Budget Secretary doesn’t require confirmation.

Secretary of Community and Economic Development – C. Alan Walker
Secretary of Aging – Brian Duke*
Insurance Commissioner – Michael F. Consedine*
Secretary of Transportation – Barry J. Schoch, P.E.*
Secretary of Health – Eli Avila*
Secretary of the Budget – Charles Zogby
Secretary of Public Welfare – Gary D. Alexander
Secretary of Labor & Industry – Julia K. Hearthway
Adjutant General of Military & Veterans Affairs – Major General Wesley Craig*
Secretary of Education – Ronald J. Tomalis*

For biographical information on any of the cabinet members, go towww.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/cabinet_officials/2995 , and click on the name.

DPW Deputies

As we go to press in late May, the following individuals are heading program and administrative offices of interest in the Department of Public Welfare.

Executive Offices:
Office of Administration – Kevin Friel
Office of the Budget – David Spishock
Office of General Counsel – Fran Grabowski (Acting)
Office of Legislative Affairs – Brendan Harris
Office of Policy Development – Angela Logan

Program Offices:
Office of Child Development and Early Learning – Todd Klunk (Acting)
Office of Children, Youth and Families – Cathy Utz (Acting)
Office of Developmental Programs – Kevin Friel (Acting)
Office of Income Maintenance – Phillip Abromats
Office of Long Term Living – Kevin Hancock (Acting)
Office of Medical Assistance Programs – Izanne Leonard-Haak (Acting)
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services – Sherry H. Snyder (Acting)
Bills of Interest

Below we summarize some bills of interest to the disability community. For more information about these or any other state bills, go to:www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm . At the top of the page is a box labeled, “Find Legislation By”, choose “Bill #”, then enter the bill number and click on “Go”.

HB 165. Introduced by Representative J. Evans (R-Crawford). This bill amends the PA Crimes Code to make it a second degree misdemeanor to own a dog which injures or kills a guide, hearing or service dog in certain circumstances. It also provides for repayment of veterinary bills, fines and costs of training a replacement dog. The bill passed the House on March 8, 2011 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 200. Introduced by Representative Briggs (D-Montgomery). The bill would educate student athletes, their parents and coaches about the nature and risk of concussion and head injuries, require coaches to complete a concussion management certification training course and require that a student who shows signs of a concussion or head injury be removed from play. It was introduced and referred to the House Health Committee, January 27, 2011. On February 7, it was sent to the House Education Committee. See also SB 200 introduced by Senator Browne (R-Lehigh) which was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee, February 1, 2011, voted out of Committee and given first consideration by the full Senate on February 8 and is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

HB 317. Introduced by Representative Benninghoff (R-Centre). This bill would change the list of aggravating circumstances related to sentencing for murder in the first degree. It would make it an aggravating circumstance if the victim was “particularly vulnerable due to old age, infirmity or disability.” The bill passed the House on April 4, 2011 and has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 377. Introduced by Representative Everett (R-Lycoming). This bill amends the Uniform Construction Code to, among other things, require the Department to update accessibility standards. It passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law on April 25, becoming Act 1 of 2011.

HB 420. Introduced by Representative O’Neill (R-Bucks). This bill provides for the buying and selling of medical assistance certified nursing home beds. It was introduced and sent to the House Health Committee on February 3, 2011.

HB 532. Introduced by Representative Saylor (R-York). The bill would provide mandatory insurance coverage for general anesthesia for a dental patient who is seven years of age or younger or who has a developmental disability for whom a successful result cannot be expected for treatment under local anesthesia and for whom a superior result can be expected for treatment under general anesthesia. The bill was introduced and sent to the House Insurance Committee on February 8, 2011.

HB 789. Introduced by Representative Wheatley (D-Allegheny). The bill changes the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.” It was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2011. See also House Resolution 225. Introduced by Representative Boyle (D-Montgomery). It urges Pennsylvanians to use the term “intellectually disabled” to describe individuals with a mental disability. It was introduced and sent to the House Health Committee on April 20, 2011. And see, SB 458. Introduced by Senator Dinniman (D-Chester), which would amend the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act to change the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability”. It is currently in the Senate Public Health and Welfare committee.

HB 1053. Introduced by Representative Gingrich (R-Lebanon). Amends the crimes code in regard to neglect of people who are “care-dependent” and provides for the offense ofabuse of a person who is care-dependent. The bill was voted out of the House on May 23, 2011 and sent to the Senate. See also HB 188 introduced by Representative DePasquale (D-York).

HB 1217. Introduced by Representative Waters (D-Delaware). This bill would establish amental health court division. It was introduced and sent to the House Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2011.

HB 1297. Introduced by Representative Everett (R-Lycoming). This bill provides forrandom drug testing of at least 20% of public assistance recipients as well as drug and alcohol assessment and treatment of recipients. This is one of a package of bills introduced by House Republicans to address welfare fraud and abuse. It passed the House on April 27, 2011 and has been sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. See also SB 719 introduced by Senator Wozniak (D-Cambria) which was sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on February 28, 2011.

HB1301. Introduced by Representative Oberlander (R-Armstrong). This bill tightens the rules for the medical assistance transportation program. This is another of the House Republican welfare reform bills. Advocates have argued that it is unnecessary and will add to the barriers already faced by Medical Assistance recipients in getting timely and appropriate health care. It has passed the House and been sent to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

SB 397. Introduced by Senator M. White (R-Butler). This is the current session’s version of legislation supported by the advocacy community which would establish procedures for prohibiting the imposition of the death sentence in cases of intellectual disabilities (mental retardation). SB 397 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 4, 2011.

SB 639. Introduced by Senator Ward (R-Westmoreland). The bill amends the Family Caregiver Support Act. Among other changes, the bill would: remove the requirement that the caregiver be a family member; establish priority for services to “functionally dependent older” adults and adults “60 years of age or older with chronic dementia” (thus making younger people with chronic dementia a lower priority); raise the maximum amounts payable under the act; and make clear that funding is limited to the appropriation of the General Assembly (no entitlement). It was voted out of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee and given first consideration by the full Senate. It is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee. See also HB 210 introduced by Representative Baker (R-Bradford) which was voted out of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee on February 9, 2011 and given first consideration by the full House.

SB 651. Introduced by Senator Boscola (D-Lehigh). This bill includes a number of election reforms including provisions on selecting accessible polling places. It was introduced and sent to the Senate State Government Committee on February 25, 2011.

SB 678. Introduced by Senator Costa (D-Allegheny). The bill provides for pooled trusts for people with disabilities. It was introduced and sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2011.

ODP Bulletins:
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued four new Bulletins which can be viewed at: http://services.dpw.state.pa.us/olddpw/bulletinsearch.aspx .

  • Clarification of Permissible Arrangements for Psychologists (OMHSAS-11-05) was issued on March 8, 2011 and is effective on that date. The Bulletin clarifies the allowable arrangements for licensed psychologists that are associated with the provision of Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) in the Medical Assistance (MA) Program.
  • Administrative Investigations (OMHSAS -11-06) was issued on March 10, 2011 and is effective on that date. The Bulletin provides a uniform policy and procedure for the definition, reporting, and investigations of consumer abuse in all Pennsylvania State Mental Hospitals.
OMHSAS Bulletins:
The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has issued two new Bulletins which can be viewed at: http://services.dpw.state.pa.us/olddpw/bulletinsearch.aspx.
  • Clarification of Permissible Arrangements for Psychologists (OMHSAS-11-05) was issued on March 8, 2011 and is effective on that date. The Bulletin clarifies the allowable arrangements for licensed psychologists that are associated with the provision of Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) in the Medical Assistance (MA) Program.
  • Administrative Investigations (OMHSAS -11-06) was issued on March 10, 2011 and is effective on that date. The Bulletin provides a uniform policy and procedure for the definition, reporting, and investigations of consumer abuse in all Pennsylvania State Mental Hospitals.
OLTL Rate Changes
On January 1, 2011, the Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) implemented several changes to the payments and policies in its home and community based services programs for people with disabilities and seniors. The impact of these changes has caused some providers to limit or stop offering one or more services to consumers; it is expected that additional providers may soon stop as well. Providers, consumers, and advocates have recommended changes to the Administration in policy and timing to ensure system stability during the development and implementation of new rates and policies that meet federal rules. For more information on those recommended changes, contact Tina Seidel, President, Pennsylvania Providers Coalition Association at 570-344-7211 or tseidel@nepacil.org .
OBRA Waiver Renewal
The Office of Long Term Living (OLTL), through the DPW Office of Medical Assistance Programs, has submitted an application to renew the OBRA waiver for 7/1/11 through 6/30/16. The OBRA waiver is currently closed to new consumers. The renewal includes several changes, including: the addition of residential habilitation service; the addition of Services My Way; level of care determinations by Area Agencies on Aging; and the inclusion of the same quality assurance, financial management services and service planning processes used in other OLTL waivers.

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State & National News+

The legislative redistricting process in Pennsylvania began in May when the five-member state Legislative Reapportionment Commission met for the first time. The Commission is charged with using 2010 census data to redraw the boundaries of legislative districts. Commission Members are: House Majority Leader Representative Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny); House Minority Leader Representative Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny); Senate Majority Leader Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester); Senate Minority Leader Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny); and Chairman, Superior Court Justice Stephen McEwan.
HCBS Waivers
On April 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would revise the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers under section 1915(c) of the Social Security Act. The proposed rule would give States the option to combine different disability groups in one waiver, and spells out expectations for person-centered plans of care. The rule also describes service settings which would not eligible to have waiver services provided in them because they are not viewed as home and community-based. In addition, the rule clarifies the timing of amendments and public input requirements when States propose changes to HCBS waiver programs and service rates. The comment period is through June 14, 2011. The proposed rule and information on the submission of comments is at: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/04/15/2011-9116/medicaid-program-home-and-community-based-services-hcbs-waivers .
Dual Eligibles
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that its Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, is asking for input and ideas about the Alignment Initiative. The Initiative is aimed at better coordination of health care for people who are eligible for both programs. The Office wants public input on: care coordination, fee-for-service benefits, prescription drugs, cost sharing, enrollment, and appeals. The idea is that if the benefits in the two programs were aligned better, states could save money with more efficient services, and health outcomes could improve. Regional listening sessions will be held, and the deadline for comment is July 11, 2011. The informational bulletin is at www.cms.gov/CMCSBulletins/downloads/Info-Bulletin-4-14-11.pdf .

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National News+

2011 Federal Budget
In mid-April, after having passed seven Continuing Resolutions (CRs) to keep the government operating, Congress finally voted to approve a budget for the 2011 fiscal year that began October 1, 2010 and ends September 30, 2011. It includes a .2% across the board cut for non-Defense spending, including disability programs. So programs such as DD Councils, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and Protection and Advocacy agencies all are cut .2%. The final budget was signed on April 15 as P.L. 112-10.
Because the final budget passed in the form of a long-term CR, rather than an appropriations bill, most programs do not have a specific dollar figure. Federal departments will determine the amount of funding for many individual programs, unless the programs were included in the legislative language of the CR. The CR requires departments to provide a spending or operating plan for FY 2011 within 30 days of passage.
2012 Federal Budget
On February 14 President Obama proposed a $3.818 trillion budget for the next fiscal year beginning October 1, 2011. In the House, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a Budget Resolution (H Con Res 34) that would set low spending limits and would make other significant changes to programs like Medicare and Medicaid. These changes would greatly affect people with disabilities and their families. For example, in addition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Ryan proposal would convert Medicaid to a block-grant to the states, removing the entitlement. Under the proposal, Medicare would change to a voucher to purchase coverage for those turning 65. It’s not clear what would happen to people with disabilities under age 65 who depend on Medicare for health care. The Ryan proposal also reduces the top income tax rate for both taxpayers and corporations from 35% to 25%. The House passed the Ryan budget resolution on April 15 and it was referred to the Senate. For more information on the Ryan plan, go to http://budget.house.gov/fy2012budget. For a summary by Families USA of the impact on people with disabilities and seniors, go tohttp://familiesusa2.org/assets/pdfs/House-Budget-Resolution-Scorecard.pdf.
On April 13, President Obama announced an alternative plan that would cut deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years and that would include a cap on increases in Medicare and Medicaid spending. Details on the President’s proposed budget are available atwww.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/overview. The President’s proposal includes cutting non- security discretionary spending to levels recommended by the Fiscal Commission that issued its report last December, and holding defense and security spending to below the rate of inflation. Obama’s proposal counts on savings from: implementing the Affordable Care Act; holding down Medicare cost growth; and reducing spending on prescription drugs. It does not block-grant Medicaid but calls for making it more flexible, efficient and accountable. For more information on both the Ryan and Obama proposals, go to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities www.cbpp.org , or the Kaiser Family Foundation www.kff.org.
ADA Employment Regs
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its final rule implementing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) on March 25, 2011. The new rules provide guidance to individuals and employers about the expanded definition of disability that was included in the ADA amendments. For more information, or to read the new rules, go to www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa_info.cfm.
ADA Settlement
The U.S. Justice Department, in late March, settled a case with Inova Health System to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can communicate effectively during the provision of medical services. The agreement, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, resolves a complaint that Inova failed to provide sign language interpreters to a pregnant woman and others who are deaf and need interpreters to communicate effectively with health care providers. To learn more about the settlement or hospitals’ communication obligations under the ADA call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or go to www.ada.gov. To e-mail an ADA complaint, the address is ada.complaint@usdoj.gov.

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Legislative Directories
Hot off the presses! PIE has a limited number of copies of the directory of the 2011-12 PA General Assembly. In addition to listing contact information for all members of the state house and state senate, the directory includes photos of members, committee lists and more. Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation is also included. To request copies of the directory contact the PIE office at 800-692-7258 or pie@thearcpa.org.

White House Calls
The White House has begun hosting monthly phone calls to update the disability community on disability issues and to introduce people who work on disability issues in the federal government. To be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list and to sign up for calls, go to www.whitehouse.gov/disability-issues-contactand fill out the contact form.

Legislative Toolkit
The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Alliance with the National Association of Governors’ Committees on People with Disabilities has produced a toolkit on how states can pass Disability History Legislation. It includes information on state legislative systems and process and basic etiquette tips on working with legislators. It’s available at www.dol.gov/odep/alliances/roadmap.pdf.

Rights Newsletter
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division reports on their activities in a newsletter, the Disability Rights Online News. The Division enforces laws against: discrimination based on disability in employment, housing, access to businesses serving the public, access to government programs and services including voting and public transportation; and unconstitutional conditions in institutions. To read the newsletter, go towww.ada.gov/disabilitynews.htm.

Money Follows the Person
Two new reports from the Money Follows the Person demonstration have been released. The first is, “Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration: A Profile of Participants,” which profiles participants who transitioned from the start of the program through June 2010. The second report, “Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration: Overview of State Grantee Progress, January – June 2010” summarizes the progress of the demonstration in 29 states and the District of Columbia. More than 8,500 people who lived in institutions for six months or more have been helped to return to homes or community-based residences. For both reports, go to www.mathematica-mpr.com/health/moneyfollowsperson.asp#pubs.

The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University has published a report, entitled Medicaid Buy In: Enhancing Earnings & Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities. The Medicaid Buy In is a federally authorized program that has been adopted in 42 states and the District of Columbia. The program in Pennsylvania is called MAWD—Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities. The program allows people to work and continue on Medicaid. Experts estimate that over 75% of adults with psychiatric disabilities, like people with other disabilities, are unemployed. The study highlights many of the positive effects of the program for people with psychiatric disabilities. For more information on the Medicaid Buy In program, go to www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/buyin.htm . A PowerPoint of the report is available at http://tiny.cc/0y263 . For more information about MAWD, go towww.dpw.state.pa.us/fordisabilityservices/healthcarema/medicalassistancebenefitsforworkerswithdisabilities/index.htm.

Sheltered Work
In a January 2011 report, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) looks at segregated work, sheltered environments and the sub-minimum wage to determine whether they meet the needs of people with disabilities and comply with federal law. Their report, “Segregated & Exploited: The Failure of the Disability Service System to Provide Quality Work,” identifies barriers to employment and makes recommendations. It’s available atwww.ndrn.org/images/Documents/Resources/Publications/Reports/Segregated-and-Exploited.pdf.

The National Institute for Urban School Improvement has published, “Inclusion and the Other Kids: Here’s What Research Shows so Far About Inclusion’s Effect on Other Students without Disabilities.” The 12 page report is available at www.urbanschools.org/pdf/OP_Kids.pdf.

Long Term Care Guide
On March 23, 2011, the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care published Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care: A Consumer’s Guide to Choices and Advocacy. The guide is intended to educate people with disabilities and older adults about long-term living services and supports and to support self-advocacy. It also provides information to help people currently living in nursing homes move back into the community. To view or download a copy, go to www.theconsumervoice.org/piecing-together-quality-long-term-care. Portions of the guide are available on audio. Hard copies can be ordered for a fee.

Assisted Living
The assisted living (AL) licensing regulations took effect on January 18, 2011. As of mid-May, over 20 facilities have applied for licensure as an assisted living facility and six have been licensed. For more information on AL, including a directory of facilities, go to www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/assisted_living/19891.

Respite Resources
The Department of Aging, in coordination with its Advisory Council and grantees, has begun to implement the Lifespan Respite Care grant from the federal Administration on Aging. One of the first initiatives is to develop a comprehensive website for lifespan respite resources in Pennsylvania, including a link to find registered providers through the National Respite Locater at www.archrespite.org . The statewide grantee, UCP/CLASS is inviting all providers to contact them to become listed. Contact Dori Ortman at 412-992-1646, or by email at respite@ucpclass.org.

Rights Web Course
A free, self-paced web course is available to provide an overview of disability rights laws and available resources. The course is intended for people with disabilities, their advocates, rehabilitation counselors, social service providers or anyone with an interest in disability rights. For more information, go towww.adaptiveenvironments.org/neada/site/web_based_trainings#14.

End of Life
AARP has released a report about physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST). People with a terminal conditions talk with their doctors about their preferences, which can range from aggressive treatment to limited treatment to comfort care. At least 12 states have POLST programs in place and most other states are in the planning stage. The report addresses safeguards in cases of surrogate decision-making, and providing training to the medical community. To read the report, go to www.aarp.org/health/doctors-hospitals/info-04-2011/polst-04-11.html.

The AARP Public Policy Institute has published a new report, “Home and Community-Based Long-Term Services and Supports for Older People.” It’s available at www.aarp.org/content/aarp/en/home/health/health-care-reform/info-05-2011/fs222-health.html.

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