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“*05/14/2008 Feds Approve PA Autism Waiver!”

I found this on the Pennsylvania Health Law Project website and thought folks living with Autism might find a glimmer of hope in it if they haven’t heard about it already.  The address the article was located at is … http://www.phlp.org/Website/alerts.asp#autismwaiver  From reading it over, it sounds like PA is the fist in the country to get federal approval fo a housing program specifically for adults with Autism

*05/14/2008 Feds Approve PA Autism Waiver!

On May 14, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) approved Pennsylvania’s request to use federal Medicaid funds to establish a program that provides home and community based services for adults with autism. This program is know as the Autism Waiver and is the first such program for adults in the nation to receive federal approval. The $20 million-a-year waiver program will serve up to 200 individuals initially. Waiver eligibility is limited to people who:

•  Have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder; Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified; Rett Disorder as determined by a licensed psychologist or physician.

•  Are 21 years old or older.

•  Have significant functional limitations

•  Have countable income below $1,911 (for 2008) and assets (not including house or car and other “exempt” assets) below $8,000. Parent’s income and assets do not count.

The Autism Waiver is designed to provide community-based services and supports to meet the specific needs of adults with ASD. The participant will choose a Supports Coordination Agency which will then conduct state-specified assessments and work with the participant and individuals he or she chooses to develop an Individual Support Plan (ISP). Services include Day Habilitation, Respite (for caregiver family members), Supported Employment, Therapies, Assistive Technology, Behavioral Specialist, Community Inclusion, Community Transition, Environmental Modifications, Family Counseling, Family Training, Job Assessment, Nutritional Consultation, Temporary Crisis, and Transitional Work. The waiver offers only agency-managed services. The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) intends to submit a waiver amendment to add participant-directed services at a later date.

Individuals may request services by calling a new toll-free number for DPW’s Bureau of Autism Services at 1-866-539-7689. Waiver slots will be divided by regions with persons who are not receiving state or federally funded “long term care” services (including other waivers) having top priority. During the first 6 weeks, slots for these people will be given out on a random basis. Persons receiving state or federally funded long term care services or on other waivers will only be eligible for the autism waiver slots if every applicant without services has already received a waiver slot.

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