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Arc Erie Conference - 2022

May 27, 2022

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Watch Individual Sessions

Planning a life of personal significance

  • How do I create a vision for a good life?
  • How do I know about and understand all the different resources available in the community?
  • How do I engage in future planning?

If these questions resonate with you, then by attending, you will leave with some strategies to start person-centered planning.

Jack Butler, B.A., is the Director of Person-Centered Supports at Achieva. Jack has worked at Achieva for 27 years providing a continuum of services, including direct care, human resources, training, and engagement in person-centered thinking, planning, and action.  He is an Ambassador of Charting the Lifecourse framework and a University of Delaware Leadership Graduate and speaker.  One of his most recent professional achievements has been working to end the practice of paying people piece rate and subminimum wage.  Achieva has shuddered and sold 7 of 7 previously operated sheltered congregate settings and shifted supports to 100% community-based.


The importance of future planning

Individuals with disabilities and their families face significant challenges in planning for their futures. Concerns about the future are very real. The presentation will focus on how Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Accounts can assist in that planning, and still enable the individual with a disability to maintain essential government benefits such as Medical Assistance, Medicaid Waivers, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicare. We will also discuss our Charitable Residual Account Program. This program provides supplemental support and services for children and adults with disabilities who are unable to pay for services or support on their own. Individuals can apply for grants to cover things such as home and vehicle modification, assistive technology, and recreational activities.

Maria Smith is Director of Education and Outreach of Achieva Family Trust, a division of Achieva. She has been with the Family Trust for the past 23 years. Before her role as Vice President of the Trust, Maria worked for many years in the Allegheny County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Program. Before leaving Allegheny County, she was the Deputy Director of Mental Retardation Services (now known as Intellectual Disabilities).  

Patty Yerina is the Coordinator of Education and Outreach at Achieva Family Trust. Prior to joining the Trust six years ago, Patty worked for Achieva Vocational Supports in a sales and marketing position for five years. Patty is an experienced presenter on Future Planning and, among other things, facilitates a monthly newsletter and speaker series on disability-related topics.


Assistive Technology

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), a statewide non-profit organization, will provide information about assistive technology and how these devices can help students who are transitioning into adulthood live more independently and safely. The presentation will also include an overview of smart home devices, including smart speakers, doorbells with a camera, sensors, and items that can control the environment. Information about funding resources will also be provided because it’s not enough to know about AT – it’s essential to understand how to get what you need!

Susan Tachau co-founded Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) in 1998 and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since 2003. Susan is a co-author of PATF’s publications Smart homes Made Simple: Your Guide to Smart Home Technology, Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management, and Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania. Susan serves on several Boards of Directors and Advisory Committees, including the National Disability Institute, National Disability Finance Coalition, and PA Statewide Independent Living Council. Susan and her husband are the parents of three adult children, one of whom is an assistive technology user.

Tracy Beck is PATF’s Lending and Operations Director. She is responsible for implementing policies and procedures that expand opportunities for accessing assistive technology devices as well as managing the day-to-day operations of the loan program. Tracy has over 25 years’ experience in the social service and education field. Her area of expertise is in program design and evaluation, and housing for people with disabilities. Prior to joining PATF, Tracy was the Executive Director of Residential Living Options, an organization that assisted people with disabilities in creating housing options. She also serves on numerous committees and boards that promote independent living for people with disabilities. Tracy is the past president of the Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania.


Using Medicare and Medicaid

This presentation includes:

  • Basic information about how Medicare works – its function, characteristics, and vocabulary
  • The concept of dual eligibility - individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid – and coordination of these benefits in accessing healthcare services
  • The impact of CHC on the utilization of Medicaid coverage by dual-eligible beneficiaries

Mr. McKendree is the Pennsylvania Healthcare Benefit Solutions program director, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency helping people access affordable healthcare services through counseling, education, and advocacy. Before his work at PHBSP, Bill was program manager for the Allegheny County APPRISE office – Pennsylvania’s Health Insurance Assistance Program. During his 13 years at APPRISE, more than 20,000 residents of Allegheny County were helped each year as they navigated through the complexities of state and federal healthcare benefit programs.

And before running Allegheny County APPRISE, he was director of the Western Pennsylvania Center for Aging Services, helping Pennsylvania’s seniors access medical, legal, and social services. In addition to his work at PHBSP, Bill teaches at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy and is preceptor for the School of Pharmacy’s Experiential Learning Program at the Birmingham Free Health Clinic (on Pittsburgh’s South Side). He also regularly teaches health law and health care policy classes at Penn State University, La Roche University, and Community College of Allegheny County.