PMHCC Programs


Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care

PCHC was created in 1989 by the Philadelphia Office of Mental Retardation Services (now Intellectual disAbility Services, IDS) to address the historic problems experienced by people with intellectual disabilities in readily accessing quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care. Until 1999 PCHC provided a resource solely available to Philadelphia. However in January of 1999, PCHC expanded to serve and support the four suburban counties in the Southeastern Region of Pennsylvania. While PCHC staff provides no direct health care services, a wide range of initiatives and strategies at the local, regional, and state levels promote quicker access and more responsive health care. The Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs considers PCHC the model for its Health Care Quality Unit (HCQU) initiative, and currently eight HCQUs function across the Commonwealth. PCHC's unique approaches to improvement of systemic supports for health care for people with intellectual disability are developed through collaborative efforts with Regional and County staff as well as families, individuals with intellectual disability and residential provider agencies.

Throughout the SE Region, PCHC works with each county to develop an agenda of priorities in the health care arena. Activities undertaken in each county may range from training, the development of review tools, and health records evaluation to trend and risk analysis of unusual incident data, and the development of policy and procedures. PCHC provides training in over 100 different health related topics for audiences of varying sizes and expertise. Training is provided to health professionals upon request.

Visit the PCHC website

 PCHC staff provides technical assistance in locating health care  practitioners and navigating health insurance plans including the  physical and behavioral health HealthChoices Managed Care  Organizations (MCOs), and Medicare. PCHC also works with the  Special Needs Units of the physical  health MCOs and with the  behavioral health MCOs to improve understanding of the needs, as well as capacity, to support people with intellectual disability who live in the SE Region of Pennsylvania. Finally, PCHC advocates with Commonwealth funding entities, such as the Office of Medical Assistance Programs and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, to increase understanding of the needs of individuals with intellectual disability relative to community health care services.

PCHC continues to assist Philadelphia with efforts to ensure that Pennhurst and Embreeville class members obtain appropriate health care. Additionally, PCHC works with the State Regional Office of Developmental Programs and the four suburban county offices to support the Embreeville class members in accessing health care.

These initiatives have involved, among other things, working with the Philadelphia Office of Intellectual disAbility Services to develop, implement and maintain policy mandates as described in the health care plan for former Pennhurst residents; and with the Commonwealth, designing and implementing a risk assessment tool (Health Risk Assessment) for the Embreeville class members. PCHC continues to assist the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Office of Mental Retardation and the five counties in developing a comprehensive plan for supporting the health care needs of Embreeville class members. This comprehensive plan includes review of Embreeville class member status in several areas such as dysphagia/swallowing, dual diagnosis supports, oral hygiene and health care planning. Through these projects PCHC has developed a number of health related review tools that may be more broadly used to determine adequacy of supports or current status. Additionally, training developed specifically to support class members in both legal actions, has wide spread application and is generally available.

Dental care and psychiatric care continue to be the most challenging areas of the community health system. PCHC has worked diligently to address access in both areas, to increase understanding of the needs of people with intellectual disability, and to increase support staff understanding of their responsibilities vis a vis health services. In addition to participating in the Commonwealth’s Dental Summit committee, hosting forums for local dental providers, and offering technical assistance, an oral hygiene training program has been developed in conjunction with a local provider, Special Smiles, for direct service staff. In the area of psychiatric support, PCHC staff has devised reviews by health professionals to better illuminate the needs for individual supports as well as hosting multiple forums to further clarify systemic needs. Training is widely provided to address all areas of psychiatric support for audiences consisting of intellectual disability staff, families and individuals with intellectual disability, nurses, and mental health professionals.

PMHCC supports the PCHC program with human resources, fiscal, facilities and IT services.