Pennsylvania Continues Commitment to Improve Access to Long-Term Supports for Older Pennsylvanians and Individuals with Disabilities

May 01, 2014, 13:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Aging

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Public Welfare today submitted an application on behalf of the Corbett Administration for federal assistance that will help further connect older Pennsylvanians and adults with disabilities to community-based services.  

The application is for the federal Balancing Incentive Program, an optional program which provides states with enhanced federal funding if they commit to making improvements to how individuals access home and community-based programs. If approved, Pennsylvania would join 19 other states in this program and receive $94.2 million in federal funds for long-term, community-based supports. 

"This program will continue Governor Corbett's commitment to help older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities stay in their own homes and communities," Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said. 

Through the application, the Corbett Administration commits that it will take several steps to improve access and information sharing around long-term supports by:

  • Creating a web page that provides information on all Medicaid community- based supports for older Pennsylvanians, adults with physical disabilities, persons with intellectual disabilities, persons with autism and persons with serious mental illness;
  • Creating an information and referral tool that allows individuals to identify which programs may support their long-term needs, how to enroll and where to call for more information;
  • Making available a toll-free hotline to answer questions about local programs and supports; and
  • Improving the timeliness of eligibility determinations for Medicaid long-term supports.

The federal government has 60 days to review Pennsylvania's application. If the application is approved, it's anticipated that Pennsylvania could receive the enhanced federal funding starting July 1, 2014.

Governor Corbett's proposed budget for fiscal year 2014-15 will increase assistance to older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities and serve an additional:

  • 1,764 older Pennsylvanians through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Aging Waiver;
  • 1,599 individuals with physical disabilities in community settings;
  • 700 young adults with intellectual disabilities graduating from the education system;
  • 400 individuals with intellectual disabilities who are on the emergency waiting list; and
  • 100 adults with autism spectrum disorders will be served in the autism waiver program.

"We continue to be committed to finding community-based, person-centered support for those in need of long-term care," Secretary of Welfare Beverly Mackereth said. 

Pennsylvania's application to the federal government included 25 letters of support from consumer groups, advocacy groups, long-term care providers and local county agencies.  

"We appreciate the level of support from our partners and will continue to involve them as we seek to make improvements in our Medicaid long-term care system," Mackereth continued. 

For more information, visit

Media contact:   
Eric Kiehl, DPW, 717-425-7606
Christina Reese, Aging, 717-783-1550

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging