HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is highlighting 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.
“The enhanced federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act will allow Pennsylvania’s home and community-based service providers to address an immediate need that so many employers are facing right now: recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce,” said Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “The caring workforce in Pennsylvania has been showing up for seniors, children, and people with disabilities throughout the pandemic and long before. We owe them our thanks and this support to ensure that they have the resources they need to be successful.”
DHS received conditional approval of its spending plan on December 1 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid 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 Long-Term Living (OLTL), DHS oversees long-term services and supports covered through Medicaid, which primarily helps older Pennsylvanians and people with physical disabilities have the support or resources they need to live safely while receiving assistance with daily care and living as necessary. OLTL serves over 400,000 Pennsylvanians through its programs.
ARPA funding will enable OLTL to invest in direct care workers by providing increased wages for those providing personal assistance services. To strengthen the workforce, active providers of personal assistance, community integration, and residential habilitation are eligible for a portion of $46.5 million, which is earmarked to help in recruiting and retaining workers. Adult day program providers also are eligible for a portion of a $13 million investment in their workforce and to make changes to facilities ensuring services are delivered safely. Information on the amount that providers will receive will be posted to the OLTL website once it is available.
As part of a longer-term strategy, OLTL also plans to use funding to enhance home and community-based services that will allow providers to address social determinants of health, purchase remote support technology and technology for electronic health records, develop and provide training to staff, and more.
“All Pennsylvanians benefit when we invest in the people and organizations that are caring for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Office of Long-Term Living Deputy Secretary Jamie Buchenauer. “The enhanced funding through ARPA will make a difference for Pennsylvania’s caring workforce right away by providing higher wages, retention and recruitment incentives, and subsidized benefits. It also will allow us to address issues that existed before and have only been made worse by the ongoing pandemic such access to technology and training.”
More information about Pennsylvania’s home and community-based services spending plan is available on DHS’s website.
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