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May 11, 2016Alerts

Community Health Choices (CHC) Waiver and Support Service Providers for Individuals who are Deaf/Blind

Friends –

As many of you are aware, the proposed Community HealthChoices waiver is currently available for public comment from the Office of Long Term Living (OLTL).  Disability Rights Pennsylvania is urging individuals, advocates, and organizations to submit comments regarding the lack of a service definition for Support Service Providers (SSP) for individuals who are Deaf-Blind.

The service definitions are available in Appendix C to the proposed waiver as released from OLTL.  There is no definition included in the proposed waiver for SSP services.  This means that this critical service would not be available to individuals who are Deaf-Blind in the Community HealthChoices waiver.  We are requesting that the advocacy community and individuals submit language to OLTL to request that SSP services be included in the Community HealthChoices waiver.

We suggest including the following language in your comments:

We urge OLTL to add a service definition of Deaf-Blind and Support Service Providers (SSP) into the Appendix C Participant Services Document.  An SSP provides services directly to persons who are Deaf-Blind.  They are trained in Orientation & Mobility methods, communication facilitation, and providing environmental and visual information to persons who are Deaf-Blind.  Most SSPs are trained in American Sign Language and/or tactile interpreting.  However, SSP is not a substitute for a certified interpreter when needed for effective communication.  The SSP is a trained facilitator who assists the Deaf-Blind individual in the community.  This can include, but is not limited to, activities such as grocery shopping, visiting stores and restaurants, going to doctors’ appointments or other similar day-to-day activities essential to independent living.  An SSP does not assist with personal care activities such as bathing or grooming.  The service includes training for the Participant in how to use the service.

Comments are due to OLTL by May 23, 2016.  Comments can be submitted to:

Department of Human Services
Office of Long-Term Living, Bureau of Policy
and Regulatory Management
Attention:  CHC Waiver
P.O. Box 8025
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8025.

Comments can also be sent to  The comment form is not accessible to individuals who are Deaf-Blind, and individuals can submit comments by email.

The comment forms can be found at the link below:

Thank you.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
Offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg