Category Archives: Disabilitiies

Heard about “ALPHA”? | This York County initiative is tackling the issue of helping people by bolstering interest in personal care homes

ALPHA

Click on the above graphic to download the entire fact sheet.

“In southcentral Pa, low-income residents are at risk as personal care homes rapidly close” The Hanover Evening Sun

York County’s ALPHA Project facebook page.

“Personal Care Homes (PCHs) are residences that provide shelter, meals, supervision and assistance with personal care tasks, typically for older people, or people with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities who are unable to care for themselves but do not need nursing home or medical care. While available services vary and are based on the individual needs of each resident, services provided at a typical PCH include assistance with:

  • Eating/drinking
  • Walking/getting in and out of bed or chair
  • Toileting/bowel and bladder management
  • Bathing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Arranging for and managing health care
  • Making/keeping doctor’s appointments
  • Assisting with or administering medications
  • Positioning in bed or chair
  • Doing laundry
  • Arranging for transportation
  • Shopping/managing finances
  • Using the telephone/writing letters
  • Caring for possessions
  • Participating in social/recreational activities
  • Using prosthetics
  • Getting and caring for seasonal clothes

Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. They are usually privately-owned, although some are operated by local governments or non-profit agencies. In Pennsylvania, homes may be licensed to care for as few as four people and as many as several hundred. -SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

To find information on a Personal Care Home near you see the Personal Care Home Directory.

October 03 – Financial Empowerment Conference for Individuals with Disabilities

financial empowerment

Learn more and register – click here.

October 3, 2019
Forest Room, Keystone Building
Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is holding its first financial empowerment conference for people with disabilities on October 3, 2019 in Harrisburg and you’re invited! 
“Vision for the Future: Financial Empowerment Conference for Individuals with Disabilities” will bring together individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, nonprofit organizations, and policy makers to discuss, collaborate, and learn about financial education.

The conference is a one-day, free, accessible event open to the public. Registration is required. A limited number of scholarships are available to people with disabilities and their families to help defray the cost of travel and lodging.

“The need is great and growing for accessible, affordable housing” | maybe this is one step toward satisfying that need?

malls to residencesShuttered stores dominate the interior of the Schuylkill Mall which has closed and been demolished in Frackville, Pennsylvania.

This article at Pennlive today, “Dead and dying malls of Pennsylvania, updated: More shopping centers are bleeding retailers.” prompted a revisited look at an idea that’s being floated across the nation.

What will become of these once-popular retail centers? Demolish them? Re-store them? Re-purpose them?

“The retail apocalypse has not been kind to malls. Credit Suisse recently studied the state of mall-based retail and predicted that that about one-fourth of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls — or roughly 220 to 275 shopping centers — will close by 2022.”

The  above is the lead paragraph from this Forbes Magazine article: “Why Malls Should Add Residential To Their Repurposing Plans.”

Te idea that malls offer ideal solutions for affordable, accessible residences is one that has to be considered. Many malls already are on public transportation routes; they already have plenty of parking and they’re “walkable.”

This white paper by New York State Assemblyman Stephen Englebright points out other benefits for older adults and people with disabilities:

  • Mixed-use development that includes housing, shopping, amenities, and
    access to transportation and professional offices provides easy, often
    walkable, access to necessities for daily living and substantially reduces or eliminates use of personal cars—thereby, (1) helping non-driving older people and people with disabilities to remain independent for much longer periods of time, (2) keeping these individuals integrated with others in the community, and (3)  significantly supporting the caregiving efforts of family members.
  • Subsidized housing in place of distressed or vacant strip malls, or developed above prosperous malls, helps address the State’s significant need for additional affordable housing, thereby helping to keep seniors and people with disabilities living in their own communities instead of relocating.
  • Small numbers of affordable units above a box store or strip mall, or incorporated as a component of a mixed-income larger redevelopment of a shopping center furthers the integration of low- and moderate-income families and individuals into the wider community.

Another Forbes Magazine shares the thought: “4 Models Of The Shopping Mall Of The Future.”

In Providence, RI, “You Can Now Live Inside America’s First Shopping Mall for $550 a Month: But there’s already a waiting list for these new micro apartments.”

Seeking candidates for Hamilton Relay 2019 Deaf Community Leader award

deaf community award

Click here to download the application.

“The Challenges of Living with a Disability in America, and How Serious Illness Can Add to Them” – Commonwealth Fund

disability

by Shanoor Seervai, Arnav Shah, and Tanya Shah

“‘My wheelchair equals “my legs.” But under [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] rules, I can only get a new chair every five years,’ says Burt Pusch, a lifelong disability advocate and retired university professor who receives his health coverage through Medicare. ‘A lot of the people I know have wheelchairs that are falling apart. Their chairs are literally being held together with duct tape and wire. These individuals have been denied approval for a new chair because of some arbitrary five-year magic window.’

“Pusch’s experience with Medicare’s policy on replacing durable medical equipment underscores the many ways that the U.S. health care system fails to meet the needs of the 85 million Americans living with disabilities, such as physical limitations, cognitive difficulties, or serious mental illness.

disability quote

“Almost all of us know someone with a disability. Four million veterans — more than one in five — are living with a disability that is the result of a disease or injury that occurred during active military service. And in a split second, an accident at work or while crossing the street could leave any one of us to contend with a changed physical or intellectual reality.”

Read this article at Commonwealth Fund in its entirety; click here.

“The Transportation Quandary for Older and Disabled People Is Two-Fold” – Route Fifty

bus

A recent survey shows the “great need” to serve those who can’t drive or will no longer be able to.

by Lauri Maggi

“Older people want to stay in their homes as they age. But a recent survey finds that when it becomes time to stop driving, they just don’t know what their options are to keep getting around—if any exist.

“A survey by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center found that 68 percent of adults 60 and older who they polled this fall said it would be hard to find alternative transportation options if they needed to stop driving. The poll also included younger disabled people, who said they would struggle even more, with 80 percent responding that it would be difficult to find other alternatives.

“Virginia Dize, co-director of the center, said the survey reveals the ‘great need’ to provide for both older people and those with disabilities.”

Read this article in its entirety, click here.

Almost $1.5M Extended in Consumer Loans to Pennsylvanians with Disabilities for Assistive Technology in 2018

patf logo

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation Celebrates Its Successes in 2018 and Releases its 2018-2019 Annual Report that Outlines the Organization’s Latest Accomplishments, Including the Publication of Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania.


Harrisburg (June 3, 2019)– The latest accomplishments of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) were highlighted at a press conference held today at the Capitol Rotunda at 10:30 a.m., hosted by Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh/ACHIEVA and the in-coming Board President of PATF, and Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of PATF.

PATF continues to achieve outstanding results for individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians, helping them purchase the assistive technology (AT) devices and services they need. The program leverages a small amount of public funding into a large number of loans that strengthen our communities. In addition, the repayment of loans from past borrowers provides funding for future borrowers. Remarkably, even though PATF makes many non-traditional loans, its loan loss rate for the last year is only 2.1%, which is better than the industry nonperformance average.

Through loans valued at more than $36M ($1.5M in 2018) and with over 14,000 Pennsylvanians helped since its founding in 1998, PATF is the only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Pennsylvania that extends consumer loans to individuals with disabilities and their families.

At today’s press conference, PATF released its 2018-2019 Annual Report, demonstrating a continued demand for its financial products. The Report highlights the following noteworthy statistics for 2018-19:

  • 278 no-interest or low-interest consumer loans were extended worth $1.5M.
  • More than 1,178 people were helped through Information & Assistance (I&A) services.
  • 122 trainings were conducted about financial education, funding resources and assistive technology.

Nancy Murray spoke about the importance of helping people with disabilities and family members navigate the complexities of financing their AT needs. She urged everyone to pick up a copy of PATF’s new, comprehensive book, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania. Published in April, 454 people have already downloaded the book from PATF’s website, www.patf.us.

Susan Tachau thanked Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for their long-standing support of PATF. She stated, “We are so grateful to the Governor and our elected officials for making it possible for PATF to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities of all ages and incomes help themselves. Most of our borrowers do not have access to conventional lending markets-and therefore, do not have access to the capital that’s needed to purchase assistive technology. We remain committed to creating programs that are meaningful and respond to our ever-changing world of technology.”

Pennsylvania policymakers spoke about their continued commitment to provide essential public and private funding for the program. Speakers included:

  • Senators Camera Bartolotta, Bob Mensch, and Christine Tartaglione; and
  • Representatives Sheryl Delozier, Patty Kim, Brandon Markosek, and Melissa Shusterman.

Additional speakers included:

  • Ms. D.J. Stemmler, PATF borrower featured in the 2018-2019 Annual Report, stated “PATF was willing to fund the van and the adaptive equipment-something most commercial banks won’t do. Without this loan, I wouldn’t have been able to continue to work.”
  • David Gates, Esq., Senior Attorney, PA Health Law Project and PATF Board member, who discussed the importance of integrating financial education into community programming and he encouraged attendance at PATF’s upcoming conference, Vision for the Future: Financial Empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities on October 3, 2019 at the Keystone Building, Harrisburg.
  • Matthew Seeley, Esq., Executive Director, PA Statewide Independent Living Council, who discussed blending PATF funding with PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) funds for the purchase of his van so that he could work and be active in the community.
  • Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin, PA AgrAbility Project, who talked about PA’s AgrAbility Program, a program that helps farmers with disabilities remain in production agriculture, and their collaboration with PATF.

Nancy Murray closed the press conference by announcing that PATF was honored to be included again in the Governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 in a line item called Assistive Technology Financing (or Devices), within the Department of Labor & Industry. The appropriation supports PATF’s operations on behalf of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes throughout the Commonwealth. PATF is advocating for an increase of $50,000 (total of $500,000) to support the costs associated with outreach and underwriting new loan applications and providing financial education trainings and one-on-one coaching.

SOURCE: news release

Pain and Disability | Clinical, behavioral and public policy perspectives

pain and disability

Click on the graphic to view as .pdf file.

Come to the OVR JOB FAIR on Wednesday, June 12 | PA’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation job fair provides opportunity

ovr job fair

 

Wolf Administration Prepares for Coordinated, Community HealthChoices Third Phase Launch

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today held the first of a series of information sessions for health care and service providers in preparation for the third phase of implementing the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program. CHC will coordinate health care coverage to improve quality for older Pennsylvanians and those with physical disabilities, serving more people in communities rather than in facilities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life.

The third phase is scheduled for January 1, 2020, and will cover counties in central, northeast, and northwest Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

chc logo

“The Department of Human Services has seen great success with the CHC rollout in the Southwest and Southeast,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “The phased rollout of CHC has given us time to listen to participants, providers, and stakeholders and hear their experience with the program so that by 2020, we will be delivering the best care possible to more than 400,000 seniors and adults with physical disabilities across the commonwealth. We look forward to expanding the service offerings to the final regions in January 2020 and are preparing providers and eligible participants for this transition.”

Ahead of the final implementation, DHS has coordinated efforts with the managed care organizations to host provider information sessions as well as participant information sessions. Throughout May and June, provider sessions are being held in various locations around the Phase Three zone. In the fall, participant information sessions will be held offering eligible community members the opportunity to learn more about this program and to gather resources and ask questions to choose a plan that will meet their needs. Information about which counties are included in the final phase of implementation is available here.

“CHC is providing options for so many Pennsylvanians in their communities,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “This is especially noteworthy because we know that the majority of older adults want to age in place. CHC is serving seniors so that they can have the opportunity to work and spend time with their families, all while having access to long-term services they need.”

CHC was established to enhance care and service coordination, improve health outcomes, and increase availability of community living options for individuals requiring long-term services and supports. By offering these services and supports in a managed care delivery system, DHS is working towards better quality of services for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities as well as budget predictability. Preliminary data from the Southwest shows that in CHC’s first year, the rate of individuals served in the community increased from 49.7 percent to 52.2 percent.

“One of our top priorities is to continue to enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the supports and services available to serve more people in communities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life,” said Secretary Miller. “This continued investment demonstrates a commitment to supporting elderly Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities.”

CHC was first launched in southwest Pennsylvania in January 2018 and southeast Pennsylvania in January 2019. Currently, more than 210,000 older Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities have an active voice when choosing how and where they receive their services and supports through CHC. The rollout in the remainder of the state will include approximately 143,000 individuals. When fully implemented across the state, CHC will impact more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Click here for more information on the CHC program.

This listserv has been established for ongoing updates on the CHC program.