Acquired Brain Injury Network Of Pennsylvania, Inc.

"Empowering Survivors and Family Members to Rebuild Their Lives."
Public Affairs


To promote the needs of the brain injury community, ABIN-PA must participate in national, state and local government affairs along with all the other nonprofits - because those who are not 'at the table' are 'on the table' and risk the loss of important opportunities! There are so many meetings for ABIN-PA to attend that we need volunteers to help cover them. Even if you don't speak up at the meeting, you can report back to ABIN-PA. This will allow ABIN-PA to follow-up on issues that are important to the brain injury community. We need eyes and ears at the meetings marked '@' - we need people who don't give up easily because it can be very frustrating!


ABIN-PA E-LIST FOR BRAIN INJURY AND DISABILITY NEWS

For frequent emails on brain injury and disability issues, newcomers can sign up for the eList

through 'Get the Newsletter' - otherwise, use Email ABIN-PA (in the column to the left).


STATE GOVERNMENT MEETINGS YOU CAN ATTEND

Survivors and family members are welcome to attend certain advisory and planning meetings within state government. These meetings are free, open to the public, and sometimes include lunch. The State encourages and values wide participation, however the Corbett Administration disbanded the groups that were not legally mandated in an effort to save money. For more information, join the ABIN-PA eList or use the E-mail button in the left menu column.

@The legally mandated Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council of the Department of Labor & Industry still advises the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Go to the Council website at http://www.parac.org/ for meeting dates and locations.  

@The federally funded Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board under the Department of Health still includes survivors, family members, families, state employees from many departments in state government, providers, agencies and organizations. This Board is funded by a federal TBI Act Grant to the Department of Health and is charged with carrying out the TBI State Action Plan of the DOH. The Board meets quarterly in Harrisburg. Marlene Nathans, an appointed Advisory Board member, is ABIN-PA's liaison to this group, but more volunteers are needed. For more information, you can try: www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=558143&mode=2. This Board coordinates brain injury efforts across departments and within the Department of Health. This Board is chaired by Mike Miller. Look for the 2005 TBI Advisory Board State Summit at   www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/lib/health/familyhealth/executive_summary_of_tbi_summit.pdf and the DOH TBI State Action Plan at www.dsf.health.state.pa.us/health/lib/health/familyhealth/tbistateactionplan.pdf. Email ABIN-PA for more information about the Harrisburg meetings.

@The legally mandated Medical Assistance Advisory Council and related groups still meet - and it would be to the advantage of the brain injury community if those local to Harrisburg would attend meetings. Please use Email ABIN-PA to request more information. No one from ABIN-PA is attending these meetings.

@The legally mandated advisory groups for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services still meet - and it would be to the advantage of the brain injury community if those local to Harrisburg would attend meetings. Please use Email ABIN-PA to request more information. No one from ABIN-PA is attending these meetings.

@The legally mandated advisory groups for the Office of Developmental Programs still meet - and it would be to the advantage of the brain injury community if those local to Harrisburg would attend meetings. Please use Email ABIN-PA to request more information. No one from ABIN-PA is attending these meetings.

@Beginning with the Rendell Administration under Governor Rendell's Executive Order # 2006 09, there has been a Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities with an Executive Director and an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee meets quarterly in Harrisburg but the appointed chair resigned, and the co-chair recently passed away. While the Advisory Committee was very active during the Rendell Administration under the leadership of the original Executive Director, Ed Butler, the 'GAC' has taken a passive role under this administration to date. Devon Grant, the current Executive Director, can be reached at 866-229-9337. Barb Dively is an appointed member and attends meetings, but volunteers are needed.

Previously, under the Rendell Administration, the Brain Injury Recovery Task Force & related Work Groups developed plans and budget recommendations for Secretary Estelle Richman. Many survivors and family members attended the initial meeting and participated in the Work Groups which were held by toll-free teleconferencing. The final report may still be online at: www.dpw.state.pa.us/About/Secretary/BrainInjuryRecovery/ or use the E-mail button in the left column for information. 

Previously, under the Rendell and prior Administrations, the Community Living Advisory Council or the CLAC advised the Secretary of Public Welfare and the Office of Long Term Living on all state action involving waivers. This was a cross disability group that was supposed to include CommCare, Independence, OBRA & Attendant Care Waiver recipients; however, no CommCare Waiver participant was ever appointed. Dan Rohrback was an appointed member and attended these meetings. You might try to find prior records at: www.dpw.state.pa.us/About/Secretary/AdvisoryCommittees/HCBSTeam. Meetings were held every other month from 9:30am to 4:00pm in Harrisburg.   

Under the Ridge and Rendell Administrations, the Home & Community Based Services Stakeholder Planning Team was a cross disability advisory group including self-advocates, family members, agencies, disability organizations, state employees from many DPW Offices and programs, and providers. The HCBS SPT advised the Secretary of Public Welfare and the Office of Long Term Living on all issues impacting persons with disabilities who were receiving state services. Meetings were held every other month from 10:00am to 3:00pm in Harrisburg. Barb Dively was an appointed member and attended these meetings. There may still be information at:  www.dpw.state.pa.us/About/Secretary/AdvisoryCommittees/HCBSTeam/.

Under the Rendell Administration, the brief HCBS SPT Brain Injury Workgroup included survivors, family members, state employees from many departments and programs, and providers. Secretary Estelle Richman charged this group with developing an ideal plan for all ages. Recommendations were approved by the HCBS SPT on 08/25/06 as the Brain Injury Recovery BlueprintThis Work Group was attended by Brenda Eagan Brown, Denny Byrne, Barbara Dively, Cheryl Dougan,  C.B. Miller, Mike Miller, Joseph Neve, Maureen Neve, Dan Rohrback, Jr., Caroll Rottmund, Pat Strenk, Kim Wolf, and Donald Zeigler. A BIWG subgroup including Jackie Culbertson, Cheryl Dougan, Kristin Ahrens, and Barbara Dively worked on a adding Support Brokers to the CommCare Waiver. 

 


CONTACTING LEGISLATORS IN HARRISBURG, PA

In Harrisburg, PA, the General Assembly is composed of legislators in the House and Senate. You have one Senator in the Senate and one Representative in the House.

Bills start in the Senate or the House but mustl be passed by both. Each legislative session lasts two years and ends on November 30. If a bill does not pass by then, it must be re-introduced in the next session. Each year, the budget must be passed by the end of June.

To find your legislators, go to www.legis.state.pa.us and click on House or Senate, then type in your address.

For frequent news on state matters, join the ABIN-PA E-list by Emailing through this website.

 


CONTACTING LEGISLATORS IN WASHINGTON, DC

In Washington DC, Congress is composed of legislators the House and the Senate. You have one Representative in the House who serves a specific geographical area of the state. You have two Senators in the Senate who each serve the entire state - currently Senators Casey and Toomel.

To find your Representative, call 866-864-6483 with your address and zip code or go to: www.house.gov/representatives

To find your Senator go to: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

The most important matter that comes up every year concerns the appropriations for the Traumatic Brain Injury Act. This Act funds PA's TBI Advisory Board through a grant each year. Every five years, the Act itself must be re-authorized.

For frequent messages on national matters, join the ABIN-PA E-list by emailing through this website.


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