Download entire Rights & Responsibilities document (pdf)

Colasanti Consortium Resource Guide Evaluation Form (pdf)

Topic Questions

  1. What rights do my relative and I have at the State Center or in the community and how can I be assured my rights and the rights of my relative are being protected?
  2. What are my responsibilities and my relative’s responsibilities under these rights?
  3. What is the State Center Bill of Right’s and is there a Bill of Right’s in the community?
  4. What rights do my relative and I have related to restrictive procedures in State Centers?
  5. What right’s do I and my relative have in determining what my relative does during the day and where my relative lives and who they live with in the State Center or in the community?
  6. Is there an appeal process for families and their relatives in the State Center and community related to services, supports, funding, etc. And if there is, what are the appeal procedures I need to follow and who should I contact to start an appeal?
  7. What information is confidential, who has access to confidential information, what information can be shared and where do I go when I have problems accessing information?
  8. What Is Protected Health Information?
    1. Q8-A: Who Sees And Shares My Health Information?
    2. Q8-B: Why is My Protected Health Information Used and Disclosed by DPW?
    3. Q8-C: Do other laws also protect certain health information about me?
    4. Q8-D: Can I Ask DPW to Use or Disclose My Health Information ?
    5. Q8-E: What Are My Rights Regarding My Health Information?
    6. Q8-F: Whom Do I Contact About My Rights or to Ask Questions About This Notice?
    7. Q8-G How Do I File a Complaint?
  9. What are my rights and the rights of my relative when a move from a State Center to the community is being considered?
  10. What rights do my relative and I have under Medicaid, Medicare and other government financial benefits?

Q1. What rights do my relative and I have at the State Center or in the community and how can I be assured my rights and the rights of my relative are being protected?

A1. Any person living at a State Center has the same rights as any other citizen of the United States and the state on Pennsylvania. In addition to the rights we all have as citizens, people with developmental disabilities are additionally protected by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, Public Law 106-402 (DD Act).

Originally authorized in 1963, and last reauthorized in 2000, the DD Act focuses on the needs of the estimated 4.5 million individuals with developmental disabilities. The DD Act ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities participate fully in their communities through full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, religious and educational sectors of our society. The DD Act further ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services, supports and other assistance and opportunities that promote independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in the community.

In addition, Act 26 is part of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code and it makes the neglect of a care-dependent person a crime. This was originally Act 28 and was amended to Act 26 to include ICFs/MR. As a result, it is a crime for a caretaker to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly to cause an injury to a care-dependent person by failing to provide needed services to the person who is receiving care.

For more information:

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Q2. What are my responsibilities and my relative’s responsibilities under these rights?

A2. People who live at State Center’s are expected to follow the code of conduct:

INDIVIDUAL CODE OF CONDUCT
You were admitted to a State Center because the services you need to live successfully in the community were not available at that time. During your stay here, you will learn the skills you need to live and care for yourself in the community to the best of your abilities. To help you learn, and also to make your stay here pleasant, we have developed a list of responsibilities that you have as a resident here and a member of the community at your Center. If you think these rules are unfair, you can ask the Facility Director or the Human Rights Committee to change them. If you think the rules are being used against you wrongly, you may officially complain in writing or verbally about that, too. You may also ask your family or friends or outside advocates to help speak up for you, if you wish. You do not have to worry if you do speak out. It will not be held against you.

While at a State Center, you are expected to:

  1. Respect the rights, property and other persons who are here, both residents and staff. In other words, don’t try to hurt anyone else, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t harm other people’s things and don’t insult, bother or yell at other people or try to deliberately hurt their feelings. Treat everyone else in the same manner you want to be treated and obey the law.
  2. Treat yourself with respect. Don’t hurt yourself or your belongings.
  3. Respect the privacy of others.
  4. Take part in helping to develop a plan of services that you will receive here at the Center and participate in those programs. Let us know what you like, don’t like and are interested in learning and we will try our best to provide opportunities for you.
  5. Follow the “house rules” that you and your fellow residents and the staff may set up in your living area, such as “no smoking in the bedrooms,” “be on time for meals,” etc.
  6. Be considerate of the concerns of the staff on your living area. If you are going to miss meals, go visiting, etc., let someone know where you are going and when you will return. If you are not yet ready to travel around the Center grounds by yourself, stay with your group.
  7. Dress appropriately for the weather and the occasion and practice good personal hygiene. Help keep your personal living space and work space clean and tidy. Take care of your clothes and other possessions.
  8. Obey all traffic rules when traveling on grounds or in the community.
  9. Help keep your Center a safe place to live. Tell a staff person if you see something dangerous that might hurt you or someone else.

Remember, just as each of you has rights, you also have responsibilities. You must respect the rights of others if you are going to expect them to respect yours. The two go together.

For more information, contact the Human Rights Committee Chair of your State Center. Your Social Worker can put you in touch with this person.

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Q3. What is the State Center Bill of Right
s and is there a Bill of Rights in the community?

A3. STATE CENTER BILL OF RIGHTS – 12/17/2002
According to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1999, the United States Congress has found that “[D]isability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently, to exert control and choice over their own lives, and to fully participate in and contribute to their communities through full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of United States society;”

As a citizen of the United States and a resident of a State Center in Pennsylvania, you have rights that are important for you to know. The State Centers and community providers are committed to protecting your rights and empowering you to assert your rights to the fullest extent. Someone from the State Center will tell you about your rights when you are first admitted, annually thereafter and as you need. If you use another method of communication or don’t speak English, someone from the Center will tell you your rights in your language or mode of communication. Also, if you have questions about any of your rights, and want to learn more about them, someone from the Center will help you learn what you want to know.

The following is a list of rights that you have at the State Center (This list does not exclude any other rights that you have as a citizen of Pennsylvania and the United States):

  • Right to be free from abuse and neglect . You have a right to be free from abuse and neglect. No one is allowed to hit you or yell at you. No one is allowed to make fun of you or tell jokes about you or make you feel bad. If you need help with your personal care, like going to the bathroom, brushing your teeth, or being safe, you have a right to have help for these things. It is not okay for people to ignore you when you need help. If people are talking about you when you are there, you have a right to be included in the talk.
  • Right to respect and fairness. You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect by everyone.
  • Right to be free from unnecessary restraints.You have a right to be free from unnecessary restrictions, restraints and medications. If someone has to hold you to keep you from being hurt, it should be done in a way to not hurt you. If someone has to hold you to keep you from hurting others, it should be done in a way to not hurt you. If medicine is needed to help keep you and others safe and healthy, the medicine should be the smallest amount that works.
  • Right to be free from experimental programs. You have a right to be free from experimental programs that are testing things like new medications.
  • Right to freedom of expression. You have a right to freedom of expression. You can use the telephone to call your family and friends. Your family and friends can call you on the telephone. You can send letters, cards and presents to your friends and family. Your family and friends can send letters, cards and presents to you. You can use the computer to send e-mails to your family and friends when one is available. You may meet privately with people to make complaints.
  • Right to personal possessions. You have a right to your personal possessions. You can keep your things in your room and in your home, on/in your own shelves, dressers and other furniture as space allows. Your things cannot be taken away from you unless you use them to hurt yourself or others. Your things will be given back to you when it is safe and they won’t be used to hurt people.
  • Right to choose and have access to personal belongings.You have the right to choose and have access to all your personal belongings, including grooming items.
  • Right to choose clothing.You have the right to choose, purchase and have access to clothes that you like and that are comfortable for the weather.
  • Right to manage money.You have a right to have, spend, and manage your money if you are able, and you have a right to have help in doing so if you need it. If you want or need help to manage your money, you will get this help. You have a right to have assistance to use your money to go to stores or use catalogues to shop for things you want. You have a right to have help to use a checking account, money access machines and vending machines.
  • Right to vote in elections.You have a right to vote in elections. You have a right to have assistance in understanding how and why you vote. You also have a right to have someone help you understand information about the election in which you are voting.
  • Right to a lawyer or advocate.You have a right to a lawyer or advocate. You have a right to have a lawyer or advocate if you need help to express concerns or to try to make changes in your life.
  • Right to be paid for work.You have a right to be paid for work you do at the facility outside of taking care of yourself and your own possessions.
  • Right to personal privacy.You have a right to personal privacy. You should receive personal care such as dressing, grooming, bathing and toileting in a private manner. People who are going to help you need to explain what they are doing and you have a right to tell them when you don’t want their help. You have a right to a private place to go when you want to be alone.
  • Right to confidentiality.You have a right to confidentiality of information about you. Only people who are involved with your program can look at your records. The only exceptions are for legal or regulatory reasons. People who work with you cannot talk about your private information where other people can hear them.
  • Right to private conversations.You have the right to have private conversations or meetings with your family, friends and advocates on the phone or face to face.
  • Right to send and receive mail unopened. You have the right to send and receive mail unopened. If you need staff to help open your mail, they should do it in front of you. If staff helps you read it they must keep your information private. This includes regular mail and e-mail on the computer.
  • Right to be informed about your rights.You must be informed about the rights and your responsibilities as a resident at the State Center in a way that you can understand.
  • Right to attend your meetings.You have a right to be at your meetings so that you can tell people what you want and to help make your plan of care. You have the right to have family, friends or an advocate with you at your meetings.
  • Right to read your chart.You have a right to read your chart or to have someone read it to you. If you disagree with what you read, you have a right to complain about that to someone at the Center and to expect an answer about your complaint.
  • Right to refuse treatment.You have a right to refuse treatment if you disagree with it. The Center must get consent from you or your guardian to restrict any of your rights. You have a right to question or to complain if the Center restricts your rights against your wishes and to expect a response about your complaint.
  • Right to information and choice of services.You have a right to have information about all of the services that are available to you at the Center and in the community and to receive the services that you choose in the least restrictive setting.
  • Right to choose community services.You have a right to leave a Center if you are here voluntarily. If you are here involuntarily, you have a right to leave when the supports and services necessary for you to live safely in the community are available.
  • Right to notification of program changes.You have the right to be notified of changes in your living area and/or day program and to voice your opinion regarding that decision. You have a right to participate in the planning for any changes in your living area or day program at the Center.
  • Right to choose day program services.You have a right to choose and help plan your day program activities. You have the right to not perform any work for the Center. If you choose to work for the Center, you must be paid for the work you do, other than taking care of yourself and your personal possessions.
  • Right to participate in Center activities and events.You have the right to participate in all the activities and events at the Center. You have the right to assistive devices such as switches, communication devices and mobility aids to help you participate fully in everything that is available to you.
  • Right to religious freedom.You have the right to attend or not to attend religious services of your choice and to practice your religious customs. If you need help with practicing your religion, someone from the Center will assist you.
  • Right to marriage and intimate relationships.You have a right to marry, have intimate relationships with a consenting person and to raise a family. If you are married, you and your spouse have a right to visit privately or share a room if your spouse lives at the Center, too.
  • Right to pursue interests and hobbies.You have the right to pursue your interests and hobbies and also to make friends and develop relationships.
  • Right to a clean, safe and personalized environment.You have the right to live in a place that is clean, safe and personalized with your possessions. You also have the right to work and enjoy recreational activities in a place that is clean and safe.
  • Right to adequate nutrition.You have the right to have enough food to eat, food that is nutritious and food that reflects your likes and culture.
  • Right to have complaints addressed by the Center.You have a right to have your complaints addressed by the Center and to appeal any restrictions of your rights that may be put in place. A lawyer or advocate can help you to make your appeal. You have a right to have the complaint handled in a private manner whenever possible.

If the Center must restrict your rights in order to keep you or other people around you safe, it must be reviewed by the Human Rights Committee and approved by the Facility Director. Additionally, if you, your family or friends think that any of your rights are limited against your wishes, you can question that decision and make a complaint to the Human Rights Committee or Facility Director. In addition, there are several groups that you can call to ask for help to do this: the Disability Rights Network, Pa ARC, State Human Relations Commission, etc.. State Centers also have a complaint process in place and you can go to a staff person at the Center that you trust to get information about how to use that process if your rights have been restricted or violated.

In the community, providers must be licensed or approved by the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). All of the regulations that are used by ODP to license community providers contain a list of rights to protect you that are very similar to the State Center Bill of Rights. In addition, you have rights as a citizen of the United States and a resident of Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact your Social Worker or Supports Coordinator.

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Q4. What rights do my relative and I have related to restrictive procedures in State Centers?

A4. Whenever a restrictive procedure is considered for a resident of a State Center, there are very specific procedures that must be followed. First, a Team Meeting is held to discuss the issue. The Team is made up of the residential services aides, the residential services worker, residential services supervisor (who is the QMRP, Qualified Mental Retardation Professional), the psychology staff, the primary care nurse, primary care physician and additional staff such as the OT/PT staff or dietary, depending on the issue. The Team comes to a consensus on the issue and if there’s an action that needs to be taken and it’s considered to be restrictive, the information is added to the person’s Right’s Packet, Clinic Support Plan and or Mental Health Support Action.

Next, the family member or the designated consent giver are contacted for permission to implement the restrictive procedure. If there is a need to start the restrictive procedure immediately, the family member/consent giver will receive a phone call and asked to give witnessed verbal consent as well as follow up with a request for written consent in the mail. Once consent is obtained, this is taken to the Human Right’s Committee to review. If approved, the Human Rights Committee Chair will sign, recommending approval by the Facility Director. The Facility Director or their designee must then sign for final approval. The restrictive procedure also may not be approved by the Facility Director or their designee and returned for further justification.

For more information, contact the Human Rights Committee Chair of your Facility. Your Social Worker can put you in touch with this person.

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Q5. What rights do I and my relative have in determining what my relative does during the day and where my relative lives and who they live with in the State Center or in the community?

A5. The annual meeting for your relative … that is called the ISP (Individual Supports Plan) … is the place and time to ask the questions about what your relative does during the day and where your relative lives and who they live with in the State Center or in the community. To be the most effective advocate for your family member, you should participate in the State Center or community provider events that you are invited to attend, especially the ISP meeting that takes place once a year. Also, spending as much time as you can with your relative will help you know more about what they like and don’t like … so you can help them make the right choices for themselves. Attending the ISP meeting also will give you an opportunity to know more about the staff that support your family member and develop a better relationship with them. Being a part of what happens at the State Center or community program will allow you to make informed judgments about the quality of care that is provided for your family member.

And remember, any time you have a question or concern about the supports and services provided to your relative, contact the appropriate staff immediately. You don’t have to wait for the ISP meeting.

For more information, contact your Social Worker at the State Center or the Supports Coordinator in the community.

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Q6. Is there an appeal process for families and their relatives in the State Center and community related to services, supports, funding, etc. And if there is, what are the appeal procedures I need to follow and who should I contact to start an appeal?

A6. The appeal process should be very similar at each of the State Centers since it is the policy of each Center that every person served has the right, without fear of intimidation or reprisal, to file a complaint or grievance and to appeal any agency decision.

State Center staff will maintain an aggressive, pro-active stance relative to such grievances/appeals, especially by being advocates for those persons who are unable to file grievances and need help in doing so.
PROCEDURE:

  1. Any person living at the Center, or their parent, relative, advocate, guardian or friend may file a grievance/appeal with any staff member.
  2. A staff member receiving a grievance/appeal from any of the above is to refer it to one of the following offices for resolution:
    1. Administrative Service’s Director’s Office
    2. Health Service’s Director’s Office
    3. Facility Advocate Office
  3. Any person noted in #2 above who receives a complaint or grievance or appeal should immediately notify the Facility Director and the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of the nature of the grievance/appeal while seeking resolution. If the grievance/appeal raises the possibility of abuse, the abuse policy and procedure will immediately be implemented. When resolution is obtained, a report noting the complaint/appeal and its resolution is filed with the Facility Director, with a copy to the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee.
  4. All grievances/appeals are to be resolved as soon as possible but no later than within ten (10) working days after being received.
  5. If a grievance/appeal is not resolved to the satisfaction of the person filing it, additional recourse may be had by appealing to:
    1. Department of Public Welfare Disability Rights Network of PA ;Office of Developmental Programs 3540 North Progress Avenue ;Room 302, Health and Welfare Bldg. Harrisburg, Pa. 17110 ;Harrisburg, Pa. 17120 Telephone: 717-657-3320 ;Telephone: 717-787-1848
    2. Bureau of Civil Rights Compliance Department of Public Welfare; Southeastern Regional Office Bureau of Civil Rights ;1400 Spring Garden Street Compliance; Philadelphia, PA. 19130 Rm 412 Health & Welfare Bldg; Telephone: 215-351-2230 Harrisburg, PA 17120 ;Telephone: 717-787-1126
    3. Pa. Human Relations Commission; 101 South Second Street – Suite 300; Harrisburg, Pa. 17105; Telephone: 717-787-4410

For more information, contact your State Center Social Worker.

For family members/guardians and individuals receiving supports and services in the community, there is a Dispute Resolution Protocol that must be followed when an individual’s supports and services have been denied, reduced, suspended or terminated. For more specific information about the Protocol and the rights and responsibilities of all involved, contact your Supports Coordinator.

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Q7. What information is confidential, who has access to confidential information, what information can be shared and where do I go when I have problems accessing information?

A7. THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) provides and pays for many types of health and social services and they determine who is eligible to receive those services. When DPW does these things, they collect personal and health information about you and/or your family. The information collected about you and/or your family is private and, therefore, is “protected health information.”

DPW does not use or disclose protected health information unless permitted or required by law. DPW must follow new laws protecting the privacy of your protected health information. These new laws are known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules. When DPW uses or discloses protected health information, they have responsibility to make every reasonable effort to limit its use or disclosure to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose.

This notice explains your right to privacy of your protected health information and how DPW may use and disclose that information. DPW is required by law to follow the terms of this notice and reserves the right to change this notice. If DPW makes an important change in the privacy policies or procedures, they will provide you with a new privacy notice either by mail or in person.

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Q8. What Is Protected Health Information?

A8. Protected health information is information about you that relates to a past, present or future physical or mental health condition, or treatment or payment for the treatment that can be used to identify you. This information includes any information, whether oral or recorded in any form, that is created or received by DPW or persons or organizations that contract with DPW. This includes electronic information and information in any other form or medium that could identify you, for example:

Name (or names of your children) Telephone Number
Address DPW Case Number
Date of Birth Social Security Number
Admission / Discharge Date Medical Procedure Code
Diagostic Code

 

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Q8-A. Who Sees And Shares My Health Information?

A8-A. DPW professionals (such as caseworkers and other county assistance office and program staff) and people outside of DPW (such as employment and training contractors, health maintenance organization [HMO] staff, nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers and administrators) may see and use your health information to determine your eligibility for benefits, direct treatment or for other permitted reasons. Sharing your health information may relate to services and benefits you had before, receive now, or may receive later.

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Q8-B. Why is My Protected Health Information Used and Disclosed by DPW?

A8-B. The law says that DPW may use or disclose your protected health information without your consent or authorization for the reasons described below.

  • For Treatment: DPW may use or disclose information so that you can receive medical treatment or services. For example, they may disclose information your doctor, hospital or therapist needs to know to give you quality care and to coordinate your treatment with others helping with your care.
  • For Payment: DPW may use or disclose information to pay for your treatment and other services. For example, they may exchange information about you with your doctor, hospital, nursing home or another government agency to pay the bills for your treatment and services.
  • For Operating Our Programs: DPW may use or disclose information in the course of our ordinary business as they manage their various programs. For example, DPW may use your health information to contact you to provide information about appointments, health-related information and benefits and services. They may also review information they receive from your doctor, hospital, nursing home and other health care providers to review how their programs are working or to review the need for and quality of health care services provided to you and/or your family.
  • For Public Health Activities: DPW reports public health information to other government agencies concerning such things as contagious diseases, immunization information and tracking some diseases, such as cancer.
  • For Law Enforcement Purposes and As Required by Legal Proceedings: DPW will disclose information to the police or other law enforcement authorities as required by court order.
  • For Government Programs: DPW may disclose information to a provider, government agency or other organization that needs to know if you are enrolled in one of their programs or receiving benefits under other programs such as the Workers’ Compensation Program.
  • For National Security: DPW may disclose information requested by the Federal government when they are investigating something important to protect our country.
  • For Public Health and Safety: DPW may disclose information to prevent serious threats to health or safety of a person or the public.
  • For Research: DPW may disclose information for permitted research purposes and to develop reports. These reports do not identify specific people.
  • For Coroners, Funeral Directors and Organ Donation: DPW may disclose information to a coroner or medical examiner for identification purposes, cause of death determinations, organ donation and related reasons. They may also disclose information to funeral directors to carry out funeral-related duties.
  • For Reasons Otherwise Required By Law: DPW may use or disclose your protected health information to the extent that the use or disclosure is otherwise required by law. The use or disclosure is made in compliance with the law and is limited to the requirements of the law.

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Q8-C. Do other laws also protect certain health information about me?

A8-C. DPW also follows other federal and state laws that provide additional privacy protections for the use and disclosure of information about you. For example, if DPW has HIV or substance abuse information, they may not release it without special, signed written permission that complies with the law. In some situations, the law also requires DPW to obtain written permission before they use or release medical or mental health/mental retardation and certain other information.

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Q8-D. Can I Ask DPW to Use or Disclose My Health Information?

A8-D. Sometimes, you may need or want to have your protected health information sent to someone or somewhere outside of DPW for reasons other than treatment, payment or operating their programs. If so, you may be asked to sign an authorization form, allowing DPW to send your health care information somewhere other than for treatment or payment purposes or for operating their programs.

The authorization form tells DPW what, where and to whom the information will be sent. You may cancel or limit the amount of information sent at any time by letting DPW know in writing.

If you are younger than 18 years old and, by law, you are able to consent for your own health care, then you will have control of that health information. You may ask to have your health information sent to any person who is helping you with your health care.

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Q8-E. What Are My Rights Regarding My Health Information?

A8-E. As a DPW client, you have the following rights regarding your protected health information that DPW uses and discloses:

  • Right to See and Copy Your Health Information: You have the right to see most of your protected health information and to receive a copy of it. If you want copies of information you have a right to see, you may be charged a small fee. However, you may not see or receive a copy of: (1) psychotherapy notes or (2) information that may not be released to you under federal law. If DPW denies your request for protected health information, they will provide you with a written explanation for the denial and your rights regarding the denial. DPW does not receive or keep a file of all of your protected health information. Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers (including an HMO, if you are enrolled in one) may also have your protected health information. You also have a right to your health information through your doctor or other provider who has these records.
  • Right to Correct or Add Information: If you think some of the protected health information DPW has is wrong, you may ask DPW in writing to correct or add new information. You may also ask DPW to send the corrected or new information to others who have received your health information from them. In certain cases, DPW may deny your request to correct or add information. If they deny your request, DPW will provide you with a written explanation of why your request was denied. DPW will also explain what you can do if you disagree with their decision.
  • Right to Receive a List of Disclosures: You have the right to receive a list of where your protected health information has been sent, unless it was sent for purposes relating to treatment, payment or operating their programs, or if the law says DPW is not required to add the disclosure to the list. For example, the law does not require DPW to add to the list any disclosures they may have made to you, to family or persons involved in your care, to others you have authorized them to disclose to, or for information disclosed before April 14, 2003.
  • Right to Request Restrictions on Use and Disclosure: You have the right to ask DPW to restrict the use and disclosure of your protected health information. DPW may not be able to agree to your request. In fact, in some situations, DPW is not permitted to restrict the use or disclosure of the information. If DPW cannot comply with your request, they will tell you why.
  • Right to Request Confidential Communication: You may ask DPW to communicate with you in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask DPW to contact you only by mail.

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Q8-F. Whom Do I Contact About My Rights or to Ask Questions About This Notice?

A8-F. You can contact the DPW HIPAA helpline, toll-free at 866-741-5719 to discuss your rights or to ask questions about this notice. You can also contact your Social Worker, Supports Coordinator, caseworker or health care provider or write to DPW’s Privacy Officer, 3rd Floor West, Health and Welfare Building, 7th and Forster Streets, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

You can receive important information or updates to this notice by visiting DPW’s website

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Q8-G. How Do I File a Complaint?

A8-G. You may contact either office listed below if you want to file a complaint about how DPW has used or disclosed information about you. There is no penalty for filing a complaint. Your benefits will not be affected or changed if you file a complaint. DPW and its employees and contractors cannot and will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.

  • Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; Department of Public Welfare Privacy Officer; 3RD Floor West, Health & Welfare Building; 7th and Forster Streets; Harrisburg PA 17120.
  • Region III; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services OFffice for Civil Rights; 150 S. Independence Mall West – Suite 372; Philadelphia PA 19106-3499

For more information, visit the Department of Public Welfare’s website.

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Q9. What are my rights and the rights of my relative when a move from a State Center to the community is being considered?

A9. Each person who lives in a State Center has an annual meeting called the Individual Support Plan (ISP) which provides an opportunity to review the person’s programs for the coming year. Family members are invited to attend and provide their opinion, concerns and input at these meetings to help ensure that their relative receives quality supports and services, personalized to their needs and wants.

If a move to the Community is being offered or considered for your family member, an ISP meeting will be established and the issue of your rights and the rights of your relative will be discussed. Your input as a family member is invaluable to the Team at this time and states for the record what you believe will be in the best interest of your relative.

For more information, contact the Social Worker for your family member at the State Center.

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Q10. What rights do my relative and I have under Medicaid, Medicare and other government financial benefits?

A10. People who live at State Centers have the same access to Medicaid and Medicare as the general population, along with SSA and SSI that provides the majority of funding for their care, supports and services at State Centers or in the community.

For more specific information, contact the Social Worker for your family member at the Center. You also can also get information online and other informational topics associated with the Colasanti Consortium.

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