HARRISBURG, Pa., March 24, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Aging (PDA) have collaborated to create PA Link to Community Care. This initiative will enhance Pennsylvanians' ability to learn about and access a wide variety of long-term supports and services available through federal, state, and county agencies for persons with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians.
"We are committed to serving more people in the community and the IRT and COMPASS improvements are great tools to achieve that goal," said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "Most people prefer to live at home, not in a facility, and we are working hard to help individuals with a disability and older Pennsylvanians to live where they choose and how they choose, just as any of us would want."
The first public phase of the project was launched March 12, with an online information referral tool (IRT) and improvements to DHS' COMPASS application. The next phase of the project will be to launch the PA Link to Community Care website, which will further enhance the commonwealth's efforts to help individuals locate aging, disability, and other long-term care services in their county.
"While our call center presently responds to individual questions about aging and disability services, the PA Link to Community Care website will extend our availability beyond typical office hours and will better support individuals who prefer to do their own research on available long-term services and supports," said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. "Based on the desire of the individual, these efforts further demonstrate our commitment to serve as a highly visible, accessible, and trusted resource for information intended to link persons with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians with the help and support necessary to age in place."
In the first phase, Pennsylvanians can use the IRT anonymously to input information about themselves, a loved one, or client. The IRT will guide them through a series of questions, then provide a list of resources that are based on the client's specific needs, in areas such as: intellectual disability, autism, physical disabilities, aging, addiction, mental illness, veterans' needs, or help paying for prescriptions.
COMPASS is an online application where people can apply for many health and human service programs, such as Medicaid, cash assistance, or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). With the COMPASS improvements, Pennsylvanians can submit applications for long-term living services and supports or request services for intellectual disability services, autism services, and early intervention services.
Anticipated to be launched this summer, the PA Link to Community Care website will serve as a companion piece, providing flexibility, and additional opportunity for Pennsylvanians to access important information about available long-term services and support programs.
The site will be an extension of our existing PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources call center whereby caregivers, family members, or individuals in need of information currently call in to ask about aging and disability services.
Pennsylvania was one of 21 states to receive federal funding for the initiative. The commonwealth spent the $104 million in federal funds directly on services to help people to remain living in their homes and communities rather than in facilities.
Diana Fishlock, DHS, 717-425-7606
Kirstin Snow, PDA, 717-787-3368
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Pennsylvania Department of Aging