Calling all Bloggers – Paid Opportunity

Calling all Bloggers – Paid Opportunity

Do you have a story to share that connects to a broader disability rights perspective? Rooted in Rights is seeking article pitches between 400-600 words that are focused on disability rights topics. Compensation per published piece is $150. Submit pitches via this form:


Posted Via Policy Information Exchange (PIE).

Wolf Administration Discusses Negative Impact of Proposed Cuts

Wolf Administration Discusses Negative Impact of Proposed Cuts to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Funding

House Bill 218 would devastate funding to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) Dr. Dale Adair was joined by county agencies, providers, and other advocates at the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association to discuss the $9 million in cuts to mental health and substance use disorder services proposed in the House Republican budget, House Bill 218.

“The proposed cuts to mental health funding within House Bill 218 would jeopardize the way counties perform mental health services to some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. The last time funding was cut to mental health programs, the counties were unable to absorb the costs and critical programs ceased,” said Dr. Adair.

The proposed budget includes a reduction of $5 million in community mental health county allocations. This cut will jeopardize available funding to serve individuals leaving state hospitals to live in the community with related impact on serving individuals in the forensic unit.

In addition, there is a reduction of $4 million to county behavioral health funding, which would eliminate the amount that was included for treatment costs for 1,200 individuals not eligible for Medical Assistance who are newly able to receive substance use disorder treatment through the Centers of Excellence.

“Our providers have mastered the ability to do more with less during times of fiscal constraint, but without sufficient funding over the long term, there is only so much each provider can do to meet service needs,” said Richard S. Edley, PhD, President and CEO of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), the state’s largest and most diverse health and human services trade association. “Funding reductions have a negative effect both on those providing services as well as those receiving services. Funding cuts don’t just hurt the organizations receiving the funding. The cuts ultimately hurt the individuals and their families who rely on services and assistance through providers.”

Governor Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget included continuing the $20.4 million investment in creating 45 Centers of Excellence to improve opioid treatment outcomes, providing $13.4 million to partner with PCCD to increase access to naloxone for first responders and expand specialty drug court, and maximizing the $26.5 million in federal Cures Act funding annually for the next two years to help address the opioid epidemic.


For more information on DHS and OMHSAS, click here.

Information Posted Via PA DHS.

AAPD Announces the Summer Internship Program Class of 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce the Summer Internship Program Class of 2017.

AAPD’s Summer Internship Program provides the opportunity for students with disabilities to gain hands-on professional experience to help advance their career goals. Through the Summer Internship Program, AAPD seeks to give a class of students with disabilities the skills, resources, and networks they need in order to not only become employed, but to be employed in meaningful and high-level positions. Our Summer Internship Program engages students and recent graduates with disabilities from all across the United States. Because we cover the costs of travel and housing, in addition to providing a living stipend, we are able to recruit a diverse class of interns that may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in a program like ours. For many of these students, participating in AAPD’s Summer Internship Program is their first exposure to the broader disability community, which empowers them to be self-advocates and sets them on a path to employment.

In addition to placing each intern on Capitol Hill, in government agencies, national nonprofit organizations, or the private sector, AAPD also matches each intern with a mentor connected to the disability community. The program begins with a week of Orientation to help the interns get acclimated to living in the city as well as to establish a base understanding of the history of the disability rights movement and current policy issues impacting people with disabilities. The AAPD Summer Internship Program is unique and effective because we offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond the normal 9-5 intern work-week. Outside of the internship hours, AAPD connects the interns to a variety of guest speakers, events, and professional development opportunities.


ContactZach Baldwin

Phone: 202-521-4310


The 2017 Internship Class includes:


Learn more about the 2017 Summer Interns here!

The 2017 AAPD Summer Internship Program would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Thank you Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, AT&T, the Arconic Foundation, Google, and the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia for supporting these students!


The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site:

Posted Via American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

DRP Opposes the U.S. Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act

Disability Rights Pennsylvania Opposes the United States Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act

As a leader in the advancement of the civil rights of people with disabilities for forty years (40), Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is opposed to the Better Care Reconciliation Act introduced today by the United States Senate (Senate).  We are deeply concerned about the direction Congress is headed and the impact this legislation will have on rights, independence, and health of individuals with disabilities.  Today, on the eighteenth anniversary of the historic Olmstead Supreme Court decision that ensured that individuals with disabilities must receive services in the most integrated setting, the United States Senate has proposed a bill that will force people with disabilities to lose access to health care and community based supports.  This bill decimates the promise of Olmstead that allows people with disabilities to participate and thrive in their communities.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act ensures that people with disabilities will lose access to critical health and mental health care.  The decision to allow states to either Block Grant or create a Per-Capita payment will result in the program being eligibility based instead of an entitlement.  Individuals will only get services if funding is available, and if there is not enough funding then individuals will be placed on a waiting list.  Waiting lists for services will grow exponentially and individuals with disabilities could be placed in life threatening situations.  This bill will result in even less funding available over time than what the House bill proposed.

In addition, there is still a requirement to provide institutional based care.  This bill will all but ensure that Pennsylvania will not have enough funding available for Home and Community Based services and supports in any way that allows people to meaningfully participate in their communities or work.  Optional services such as employment, person driven services and home and community based long-term supports would not be required to be provided by the state.  People with disabilities will have no guarantee that any home and community based services will be available ten years from now.

We call on the Senators in Pennsylvania to stand up for the promise of Olmstead and replace this bill with legislation that supports the needs of people with disabilities by retaining the current Medicaid financing system.

For more information about the rights of people with disabilities visit


Posted Via Information provided by Disability Rights Pennsylvania.


CMS Extends Timeline to Complete HCBS Transition Work

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Informational Bulletin

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released an informational bulletin noting that states will have an additional three years (until 2022) to comply with the home and community-based settings rule.

The informational bulletin notes that “…states should continue progress in assessing existing operations and identifying milestones for compliance that result in final Statewide Transition Plan approval by March 17, 2019. However, in light of the difficult and complex nature of this task, we will extend the transition period for states to demonstrate compliance with the home and community based settings criteria until March 17, 2022 for settings in which a transition period applies. We anticipate that this additional three years will be helpful to states to ensure compliance activities are collaborative, transparent and timely.”  You may read more at


What this means for Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs

Compliance with the rule and the requirements of the transition plan have not changed. The CMS bulletin however provides three additional years to fully meet the settings requirements.


  • The service definitions in the proposed ODP Consolidated and P/FDS waivers will remain the same. We will consider extending the dates for compliance with Community Participation Support requirements and limiting facility based services to a maximum of 150 participants at any one time.


  • Waiver transition plans will be revised to initiate provider self-assessments for settings compliance to the spring of 2018 (originally scheduled for the fall of 2017).


  • Waiver transition plans will be revised to build in additional time for providers that are found to be out-of-compliance so they can come into compliance by March 17, 2022.


For more information about the Community HealthChoices Waiver Transitions; You can read our original post here.

A Time to Learn Our History

In conjunction with National DISABILITY Pride Day,

Speaking For Ourselves

is proud to present

A Time to Learn Our History

…what was, who we are currently

& who we will be in the future!

at the National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

June 17, 2017
11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come see our colorful and informative History Panels about Speaking For Ourselves Hear our stories! See our short & entertaining videos!

*Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Coalition Honoring People with Disabilities in Pennsylvania

Community HealthChoices (CHC) Waiver Transitions – DRP

Community HealthChoices (CHC) is a managed care program that will better coordinate the way participants receive their physical health services and long-term services and supports (LTSS) so that Pennsylvania can serve more people in their homes and their communities. CHC will serve Medicaid participants 21 years of age or older who also receive Medicare, need LTSS in their home or community, or are in nursing facilities. Today, there are five waivers in which participants receive LTSS. In the future there will be two ways.


CHC: will serve participants currently in the Aging, Attendant Care, Independence, and COMMCARE waivers. OBRA participants who are nursing facility clinically eligible will also move to CHC.

OBRA Waiver: will continue to serve participants 18 years of age and older who have a severe developmental disability requiring the level of care provided in an intermediate care facility/other related conditions (often referred to as ICF/ORC).

As CHC is phased in, there will be several steps taken to assure the individuals continue to receive services. The attached document shows the timeline of when these steps will occur.



What will happen?

·         Since CHC only serves participants 21 years of age and older, participants in the Attendant Care and Independence waivers who are between 18 to 20 years of age will be enrolled in the OBRA Waiver to receive LTSS services.

·         The OBRA Waiver will provide the same services available in Attendant Care and Independence waivers.  

·         It is DHS’ priority to ensure that participants’ services are not impacted in any way.


When will this happen?   

Southwest Zone: August 2017 to October 2017

Southeast Zone:  February 2018 to May 2018

Remaining Zones:  August 2018 to October 2018



What will happen?

·         The COMMCARE Waiver will end December 31, 2017. Any new applicants who would have been eligible for the COMMCARE Waiver after September 1, 2017, will be eligible for and enrolled in the Independence Waiver.

·         This means that participants who are receiving services in the COMMCARE Waiver who do not live in the Southwest Zone will be enrolled in the Independence Waiver before December 31, 2017. 

·         It is DHS’ priority to ensure that participants’ services are not impacted in any way.


When will this happen?   

COMMCARE Waiver participants residing outside of the Southwest Zone will be enrolled in the Independence Waiver by their service coordinators between July 2017 and November 2017.   

COMMCARE participants in the Southwest Zone will transition to CHC on January 1, 2018.



What will happen?

·         OBRA Waiver participants whose level of care determination was completed before November 18, 2016, will get an assessment to determine their eligibility for CHC. Those determined ineligible for CHC will remain in OBRA.

·         DHS is working with the Area Agencies on Aging, service coordinators, and providers to ensure assessments are completed in a timely manner. Participants will be contacted by their Area Agency on Aging to schedule a time for the assessor to meet with them to go through the assessment process. 


When will this happen?      

Southwest Zone: May 2017 to August 2017

Southeast Zone: October 2017 to February 2018

Remaining Zones: April 2018 to August 2018


*There are no additional transitions for Aging Waiver participants. Aging Waiver participants will simply transition to CHC when CHC begins in their zones.

ASAN – #ProtectOurCare

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been asking you to get involved in our fight to defend health care. Your advocacy has been amazing – you’ve called your Members of Congress, attended town halls, and taken to social media to stand up for your right to access health care. Now, we’re pleased to announce the release of a few new tools to help you contact your Members of Congress by mail.

Visit our new Postcard Center for templates and talking points that you can use to ask your Members of Congress to #ProtectOurCare. If you need more information about how to format or address your letter or postcard, check out our factsheet on writing to elected officials. Once you’ve written your message, you can make your voice go farther by spreading the word on social media – snap a picture with your postcard or letter and share it using the hashtag #ProtectOurCare.

Remember, your Members of Congress work for you. You can make a difference by letting them know how health care policy impacts your life, and reminding them that you are watching what they do next. Make sure Congress gets the message – Nothing About Us Without Us!

Let’s Speak Up! and Let’s Get to Work!

Let’s Speak Up! and Let’s Get to Work!

People with disabilities and allies are invited to join us for conversation and a Free meal!

Let’s Talk About:

Self Advocacy

Self Advocates and Advocates

Everyone’s Rights

After We Eat, Let’s Talk About:

Getting ready to work

Looking for and finding a job

Applying and Interviewing

Support and accommodations

Keeping your benefits

Who can help


When we learn new things, we are powerful!


Reserve your place by June 7th! Seats are limited!

Call Regina at 724-456-1460 OR email

Tell Regina the day and place that works best for you.

Tuesday June 13, 3:30 to 7:30 pm at Hoss’s Steak and Seafood

                           2432 PA-257, Cranberry, PA 16319


Wednesday June 14, 3:30 to 7:30 pm, Hoss’s Steak and Seafood

     18817 Smock Hwy, Meadville, PA 16335


Meet Power Coach

Sam “the Man” Maxwell

Sam has been involved with SAU1 for about 10 years now. He started back when it was under the umbrella of Vision for  Equality. He came back when SAU1 staff called him one day asking him if he wanted a job doing office work, which led him to be a power coach as well.

Right now Sam has a couple of jobs with SAU1. He does office work like laminating, shredding and other tasks at the Greenville office. He is also a power coach for the Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA) which is managed by SAU1. Sam travels to our meetings to learn material and practice his skills so he can coach others on things they need to know, like “Let’s Speak Up!” and “Let’s Get to Work!”.

Sam says he really likes working for SAU1 because it’s a good job that allows him to help other people stand up and advocate for themselves. He likes to travel as a coach to tell others his story and listen to their stories. It’s important to Sam that he makes a difference by coaching and it gets others to stand up for themselves because he stands up for himself by example.


The Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA) is funded and approved by the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and managed by Self Advocates United as 1, Inc.  Email


To download this flyer, to give to someone who may not have internet access, please click HERE.



WIPA Program Advisory Meeting Announcement

Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA)
Program Advisory Meeting Announcement

If you receive SSI/SSDI or support individuals who receive SSI/SSDI in employment, then we want to hear from you.

Come and learn about WIPA services and other community employment resources that are available. Let’s talk about how we can work together to help people receiving Social Security benefits reach their employment goals.

Come out and join us in helping people with disabilities fulfill their work goals. When all people work, everyone benefits!

WHEN: Thursday, June 8, 2017 12-3pm

WHERE: Northampton County Human Services, 2801 Emrick Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18020

PLEASE RSVP by calling or texting (215) 980-7730 or e-mail us at by June 1, 2017. If you need any environmental or language accommodations, let us know by May 25, 2017