ODP Regulations & Waivers

Everyday LivesIssue 

Currently, The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is instituting systemwide changes in the way intellectual disability and autism services are provided and funded in Pennsylvania. Substantive changes are seen in ODP's final form regulations submitted to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) on Friday August 24, 2018. The IRRC has scheduled a public hearing for October 18, 2018. At the hearing ODP's regulations will receive and thumbs up or thumbs down vote from the IRRC. While public comment is encouraged and received and posted publicly on the IRRC website, changes cannot be made at this stage of the regulations. The comments serve only to help the IRRC determine their up or down vote on the entire package of regulations.

ODP received approval from the federal government (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of a new Medicaid Waiver and amendments to its existing Home and Community Based Medicaid Waivers and the regulations are drafted to be consistent with the Waivers according to ODP. 

In addition, PAR is engaged in system redesign discussions to support the vitally important principles and values reflected in Everyday Lives: Values in Action through the regulations and the Waivers. PAR members are concerned about provisions that may not be consistent with Everyday Lives values or provide sufficient financial support for the services that individuals and their families rely as their lifeline. 

Update: The final form regulations sent to the IRRC on August 24, 2018 were approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) on October 18. The regulations are now in the Attorney General's office. ODP expects the regulations to be promulgated in January 2019.

PAR Position

Both the preamble and regulations are important to read and to understand the impact that they will have on you, your family, your organization and on the viability of the system. ODP regulations have historically lasted over twenty years.

Although there are clearly areas of program improvement seen in the final form regulations, there are requirements that add cost. In addition, PAR Members have pointed out a significant concern with the provision at 6100.571 which identifies an update of the data at least every three years that is used to develop the rates, but nothing for the intervening years. This could amount to rate freezes in the intervening years between rebasing the rates. PAR has advocated that the regulations include an annual market-based adjustment factor to keep providers current with costs to prevent rate freezes. The ODP service system just experienced a 10-year rate freeze and any further rate freezes will further exacerbate the workforce crisis that this system has been plagued with due to insufficient funding in the rates. Over 80% of the funding received by providers goes to staffing and staffing-related costs such as training and overtime, yet the rates have not been sufficient to pay anything but substandard wages which results in this valuable workforce to often have to submit to seeking public assistance to make ends meet. The wage assumptions in the rates fall far short of a living wage. See Fix The DSP Crisis.

PAR's position is that Waivers and regulations governing these services must be consistent with ODP’s Everyday Lives: Values in Action. A living wage for the tens of thousands of direct support professionals that provide these services is the key to quality services for individuals and their families.

Comments and Recommendations submitted by PAR include:

Take Action

PAR has formed a Regulations Interpretive Guidelines workgroup to develop recommendations to the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) regarding the interpretation of the regulations. The recommendations will be developed with the "Everyday Lives" values as the framework. This workgroup is open to all PAR Members. If you are interested in joining, please email [email protected] Click here for more information on the workgroup.

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