UCP Central PA Advocates for the Independence, Full Citizenship, Development, and Support of Individuals with Disabilities

UCP of Central Pennsylvania is an advocate for federal and state legislation and initiatives that promote the independence, full citizenship, development, and support of people with disabilities.

Promoting Independence, Full Citizenship, Development and Support

To that end, we encourage site visitors to join us in advancing our efforts to secure equal and unhindered access to education, employment, transportation, public accommodations, and government services for individuals with disabilities and to support our cause on disability-related issues such as accessibility, equality, and inclusion. We seek meaningful reform through several avenues: legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy, and public awareness and education.

We direct your attention to the following action alerts

The Special Education Funding Commission, established by Act 3 of 2013, was charged with developing an improved formula to distribute special education funding. There are approximately 270,000 students in Pennsylvania who qualify for receiving special education. While special education needs have continued to grow, special education funding has been the same for the past five years. The Commission released its report with funding formula recommendations on December 11th. Highlights of the report include recommendations to use: actual student counts for all cost categories; accurate weights to reflect students’ costs; and the same formula for students who attend charter and cyber charter schools. The next step is approval by the General Assembly.

read full report

The Senate held a second hearing on November 21 on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Advocates are urging the Senate to take another vote to ratify the treaty; a vote last December fell five votes short of the two-thirds needed to pass. Over 800 disability, civil rights, faith, business, and veterans groups support ratification. To date, 138 countries have ratified the convention.

read about the treaty and testimony

On November 14, 2013, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit of a DPW program which followed complaints from consumers and their direct care workers about Financial Management Services in Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) and Office of Developmental (ODP) programs during the transition to a new statewide provider. DePasquale said the audit shows, “long-term mismanagement of home care worker payroll providers caused undue financial and emotional strain on tens of thousands of people. Thousands of workers had paychecks delayed for up to four months. Thousands of care recipients switched to a more expensive care model that is costing taxpayers at least $7 million annually.”

DPW had agreements with 36 different providers for payroll services of home care workers across the state. Auditors found that DPW did not adequately monitor these providers resulting in numerous instances of noncompliance with applicable state and federal laws, regulations, and financial services standards by some of the providers. DPW issued a request for applications in January 2012, and in August 2012 selected Public Partnerships Limited LLC (PPL), of Boston, Massachusetts. In January, the state transitioned from the 36 payroll providers to PPL.

The audit found that the new vendor was not prepared to pay all direct care workers by the January 1, 2013 deadline. The audit also found significant flaws in the procurement process used to select Public Partnerships Limited. “The fact that the procurement process was unfair to other vendors is nearly as disturbing as DPW’s disregard for the workers and home care participants harmed in this process,” DePasquale said.

The Department acknowledged that mistakes were made. But Secretary Beverly Mackereth said the department has worked hard to fix the problems so that now all validly submitted time sheets by workers are paid within two weeks of submission, which is the normal time frame for payment.

The report includes six findings and seven recommendations for DPW to implement to improve its oversight of home care worker payroll services.

read the full 95 page report

Earlier this year, the House and the Senate each passed spending bills for the 2014 fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2013. The two measures were about $90 billion apart and use different assumptions about the need for further sequestration cuts. When there is not enough time to settle differences and pass appropriations bills, Congress usually passes a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running for a set time period. This year, several issues may affect the passage of a budget bill: disagreement over whether sequestration cuts should continue or be stopped; the need to raise the debt ceiling for federal borrowing in October or November; and disagreement over continued funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In early December, U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) reached an agreement on the federal budget which became the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The agreement between Republicans who control the House and Democrats who control the Senate eases the across-the-board cuts that took effect earlier this year under sequestration. The $63 billion in sequester relief over two years will be split equally between defense and non-defense discretionary programs. Disability advocates say the deal would bring some relief from further cuts to many programs. It reduces the deficit by about $23 billion and sets discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion, about halfway between the Senate budget level and the House budget level. The two year budget deal means that Congress can return to their normal budget process instead of funding by Continuing Resolution as has been done over the past three years. It would avoid another government shut-down for the next two years.

The House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 59) on December 12 and the Senate passed it on December 19. The President is expected to sign the bill. The budget bill sets the overall funding limits, from which the Appropriations Committees set specific funding levels for individual programs. The spending limits set in the Act allow the appropriations committees to restore some funding to human services, housing, transportation and disability programs which had been scheduled for sequestration cuts. Appropriations are expected to be made quickly, before the current Continuing Resolution expires on January 15, 2014.

In an effort to satisfy both parties, the budget does not include new taxes or cuts to key programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. It does not deal with the debt limit which has been suspended until February 7 or with unemployment compensation benefits set to end on December 31 for people who have been unemployed for a long time.

read summary of Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013

In July Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare Beverly Mackereth announced that the Department intended to form two workgroups to explore models of care for people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, also known as “dual eligible beneficiaries”. The dual eligible workgroup will study the care needs of those who are dual eligible and the models available to improve care and control costs. Specific models mentioned include but are not limited to Integrated Care, enrollment of dual eligible individuals into Medicaid managed care, intensive case management programs and managed fee-for-service systems.

The long-term care workgroup will study how long-term care is delivered to identify how that system can be improved. The goal of the workgroups will be to develop recommendations for the state to pursue in the future. Both groups’ findings and recommendations will be presented to the General Assembly as well as the general public.

We also collaborate with various local and state organizations

  • Policy Information Exchange (sponsored by the Developmental Disabilities Council)
  • Disability Rights Network
  • The ARC of Pennsylvania

We encourage you to contact your state and national legislators on issues of importance to you

  • Pennsylvania General Assembly
  • United States House of Representatives
  • United States Senate

Get In Touch

UCP Central PA
55 Utley Drive
Camp Hill, PA 17011 map/directions

Local: 717.737.3477
TTY: 717.737.0158
Toll-Free: 800.998.4827
Fax: 717.975.3333

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