Wolf Administration Announces Vendor Selection for Upcoming Rise PA, Statewide Resources and Referral Toola

Theresa MillerTheresa Miller, secretary of the Department of Human Service (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)
Eases Care Coordination, Resource Connections for Health Care and Social Service Systems

HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller has announced the selection of a vendor for Resource Information and Services Enterprise – or RISE PA – an upcoming statewide resource and referral tool.

RISE PA is a collaborative effort between multiple state agencies, counties, and local non-profits and community organizations, health care, and social services providers. Aunt Bertha, the selected vendor, will create an interactive online platform that will serve as a care coordination system for providers including, health care and social services organizations and a closed-loop referral system that will report on the outcomes of the referrals. It will also serve as an access point to search and obtain meaningful information to help Pennsylvanians find and access the services they need to achieve overall well-being and improve health outcomes.

“No one person or provider can help a person fully address all of their needs on their own, and that is okay. We want to make sure that we are focused on how to promote a more holistic approach to health and well-being and that we are ensuring that individuals’ and families’ needs are met through the delivery of the right service at the right time,” said Secretary Miller. “RISE PA will allow us to break down walls in the health care and social service system and improve health outcomes and quality of life for Pennsylvanians at a time when a seamless connection is needed more than ever.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the urgent need for an easily accessible, person-centric system to assist the public in locating resources and to efficiently and effectively connect individuals with critical services such as food, housing, transportation, child care, and employment programs, as well as many other needed critical services and forms of assistance. This tool will supplement in-person interactions between social services organizations and clients and help ease access to services and supports beyond normal hours.

Aunt Bertha was selected through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued in July 2020. The RISE PA implementation plan includes an initial regional launch starting with the following counties: Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York Counties during the first quarter of 2021.

“This is a monumental achievement that will have a huge impact on the people we serve throughout the commonwealth. It would not have been possible without the hard work from staff and stakeholders from multiple sectors and disciplines both in and outside of state government,” said Dan Jurman, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Advocacy and Reform and co-chair of the Resource and Referral Tool Advisory Committee. “This is the first consequential step toward having “no wrong door” for residents of Pennsylvania who are looking for help, and to being able to use data in real-time to make the kind of meaningful improvements that will help us do just that; not only help them, but empower and equip them to not need our help over and over again.”

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Once implemented, anyone in Pennsylvania will be able to access this tool from their personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices to find information about services and resources, and self-refer to participating agencies. RISE PA will also allow service providers to assess an individual’s needs during a physician’s office or emergency department visit, when receiving case management services, or seeking assistance from a community-based organization, among others. The tool will also gather data that can help the commonwealth and its partners better understand the needs of Pennsylvanians and identify service gaps across the state. By looking at critical social determinants of health, including employment, child care, transportation, food security, access to health care, and housing stability, commonwealth agencies and partners at the county and local level can help the people they serve achieve better long-term health outcomes and maximize the impact of health care dollars.

“This is a huge leap forward for the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians,” Emily L. Katz, co-chair of the Resource and Referral Tool Advisory Committee and interim executive director of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (PAMCO). “Through this effort, Pennsylvanians will have access to an online tool which will immediately connect families to the resources they need.”

Individuals, service providers, government agencies, caregivers, educational institutions, faith-based groups, and advocates will be able to use this tool to help navigate the system of resources, and work together to reduce duplication of services as well as the time it takes for individuals to receive much-needed services. RISE PA will allow service providers to bridge the gaps that make service continuity and follow-up on referrals difficult

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“Governor Wolf and this Administration have worked since day one to ease access to health care and services that can improve quality of life for people across Pennsylvania,” said Secretary Miller. “RISE PA is a continuation of this commitment, and we look forward to implementing it across Pennsylvania and helping people as they navigate across systems and organizations so they know that they are not alone on their path to a better life.”

More information will be shared as DHS and its partners prepare for the initial launch.

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