Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) today highlighted Pennsylvania’s spending plan for approximately $1.2 billion in enhanced federal Medicaid funding made available to states through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This funding will support Medicaid’s home and community-based services (HCBS) system throughout the commonwealth, which helps seniors, people with disabilities, and children with complex medical needs safely live in their community among their family and peers. This funding will strengthen Pennsylvania’s home and community-based services system by allowing more Pennsylvanians access to critical services in their communities and supporting service providers that perform this work every day.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity with this federal funding to support those who have been supporting individuals and families in our communities throughout the pandemic,” said Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “With this funding, we are immediately investing in recruitment and retention of Pennsylvania’s caring workforce, which is crucial to providing home and community-based services.”
DHS received conditional approval of its spending plan on December 1 from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Pennsylvania’s plan focuses on the following areas:
- Increasing access to home and community-based services
- Staff recruiting and retention
- Providing necessary supplies to safely facilitate services
- Additional trainings and learning opportunities through workforce support
- Supporting families caring for their loved one
- Improving functional capabilities of people with disabilities
- Enhancing transitional supports
- Home and community-based services capacity building
Through the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), DHS administers home and community-based service programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. More than 57,000 Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism are served through Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs.
ARPA funding will help ODP address short and long-term workforce needs by supporting recruitment, retention, training, certification, and credentialing for direct support professionals. Additionally, the funding will be used to expand access and training for providers interested in adopting remote technology and strengthen county infrastructure by providing funding to expand staffing to accommodate the growth in the intellectual disabilities and autism home and community-based waiver programs. The enhanced funding will also allow ODP to enhance supports for individuals with disabilities and their families affected by the pandemic by providing peer-to-peer training on topics like re-engaging in community, trauma and wellness, self-directed services, and more.
“Human services are critical to our national infrastructure, and investing in that infrastructure so that people can stay healthy, safe, and participate and thrive within their own communities is a win for everyone,” said DHS Office of Developmental Programs Deputy Secretary Kristin Ahrens. “DHS is committed to using ARPA funding to address issues happening now, and to plan for the future so that we can ensure that these programs are available to those who need them.”
More information about Pennsylvania’s home and community-based services spending plan is available on DHS’s website.
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