For Immediate Release
May 4, 2011
Contact: William Kepner, United Disabilities Services (UDS), 717.397.1841
Concerned Pennsylvania seniors and people with disabilities, community service providers and disability advocates held a press conference today at 3:00 in the Capitol Rotunda. The speakers described the impact of recent and proposed Office of Long Term Living payment policy changes on services to individuals who daily rely on home care workers to assist them with essential personal care. Speakers stated that the changes are likely to result in many disability services providers being financially unable to continue to provide one or more of the services in the near future, and that these payment policy issues are not related to the sufficiency of the current or proposed state appropriations that fund these programs.
Provider representatives described the actions they may need to take in the next 60 days, including issuing staff lay-off notices and not accepting new consumers into the program. Individuals with disabilities using personal assistance services and disability advocates shared their concerns about disruptions in service or service provider, and presented petitions urging policy makers to take immediate action to prevent disastrous human and financial consequences.
The services affected by the payment policy changes include personal assistance services for both the consumer-directed and agency models, financial management services that assist individuals to employ and pay their workers, and service coordination. The affected programs are Attendant Care and the OBRA, Independence, Aging and COMMCARE waivers. As of 6/30/10, these programs served about 33,000 adults. For many months stakeholders have been urging the Office of Long Term Living to develop and implement these necessary and long-overdue rate changes simultaneously. The presenters believe that providers, consumers, and the Office of Long Term Living can work together to get the Right Rates First, which will stabilize the system, remove uncertainty, and establish long term sustainability for essential services to people with disabilities and seniors.
Stakeholders called on the Corbett Administration to implement policies so that critical services are not interrupted while new payment rates are developed and implemented. They maintained that it is only through a healthy and stable community service system that the goals of rebalancing long term care, expanding consumer choice, and promoting independent living can be accomplished. Speakers included policy-makers, providers, and consumers of personal care services from across the state who described the need for payment policies that ensure the ongoing sustainability of the home and community services system in Pennsylvania.