Wednesday, January 09, 2008

PA DPW "Listening Sessions" on Attendant Care

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's Office of Long Term Living announced a series of “Listening Sessions” for January & February, 2008, to provide a forum for public input & comments on changes to the "Attendant Care and Aging Waivers", to be renewed by the Commonwealth with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

This set of "Listening Sessions", sponsored by the
PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW), is distinct from the "Town Meetings", sponsored by the PA Department of Aging (PDA) also to be held in January & February, 2008. See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting Town Meetings for PA's "Plan on Aging" (12/28/07).

What is the OLTL?

According to its Press Release regarding the "Listening Sessions" (PDF, 2 pages), the new Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) was created by DPW and PDA:

The Office will combine DPW’s Office of Social Programs Bureau of Home and Community Based Services, DPW’s Office of Medical Assistance Programs Bureau of Long Term Care Programs, staff and initiatives of the Governors Office of Health Care Reform and several functions within PDA (e.g. administration of the Aging Waiver).

The Office of Long Term Living was formed to assist in rebalancing Pennsylvania’s long-term living system and in providing opportunities for those who are elderly and people with disabilities to live independently. * * *

What is the "Attendant Care Program"?

According to DPW's explanation of the "Attendant Care Program", Pennsylvania residents aged 18 through 59, who are mentally alert but who have physical disabilities, may be eligible to receive services through this Program.

The purpose of the Pennsylvania Attendant Care Program is to enable individuals with physical disabilities to perform activities of daily living.

Consumers have ultimate control of their attendant care services including the right to recruit, hire, train, supervise, pay and, if necessary, terminate their attendants.

The Attendant Care Program includes the Attendant Care Waiver and the Attendant Care Act 150 Program.

Services available may include:

  • In-home personal assistance services
  • Supports Coordination services
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
  • Community Transition Services (available only through the Attendant Care Waiver) * * * [Links added.]
What is the nature of a "Waiver" Program?

According to DPW's explanation of "Support Services Waivers", a "waiver" is a shortened term for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program.

This program provides funding for supports and services to help you to live in your home and community. Waivers offer an array of services and benefits such as choice of qualified providers, due process and health and safety assurances.

The name waiver comes from the fact that the federal government "waives" Medical Assistance/Medicaid rules for institutional care in order for Pennsylvania to use the same funds to provide supports and services for people closer to home in their own communities. * * *

What is the purpose of the "Listening Sessions" about the Waivers?

According to DPW's "
Attendant Care Waiver Program", the process is underway to review & revise Pennsylvania's Attendant Care Waiver, which must be renewed by July 1, 2008, by CMS.
The Bureau is seeking information and comment from individuals impacted by the ACW.

Comments may be submitted via email to Comments received by BHCBS will be reviewed and used to develop a final Waiver Application to present to CMS.

In response to CMS requirements and to promote consistency within the Waivers, the Office of Long Term Living is reviewing the operations of the Attendant Care and Aging Waivers.

There will be a series of “
Listening Sessions” held across the Commonwealth in January and February 2008. * * *
When & where will the sessions be held?

According the the
announcement of the “Listening Sessions”, there will be two “Listening Sessions” on each day in five locations. The morning session (9:00 a.m. to 12 noon) will focus on the Aging Waiver. The afternoon session (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) will focus on the Attendant Care Waiver.

These are the session locations & dates:

WilliamsportWednesday, January 23
Messiah Senior Community Center, Messiah Lutheran Church, 324 Howard Street, Williamsport, PA 17702

MeadvilleThursday, January 24
Lew Davies Community Building
1034 Park Avenue Meadville, PA 16335

Monday, January 28
The Rutherford House, 3300 Parkview Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17111

YoungwoodWednesday, January 30
Westmoreland County Community College
, 145 Pavilion Lane (Founders Hall), Youngwood, PA 15697

NorristownWednesday, February 6
The Human Services Center,
1430 DeKalb Street (Route 202 North), Norristown, PA
Registration for a session can be addressed to:
Office of Long Term Living
Attention: Listening Sessions
P.O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Comments may be made in person or by prior submission. For more information, contact the Office of Long Term Living by telephone at (717-772-2525), or by email (

to Marielle F. Hazen, Esq., of Harrisburg, PA, for alerting me about these "Listening Sessions".]