Health Care Quality Unit
The Advocacy Alliance serves as facilitator of the HCQU, the responsible entity to the County Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Programs for monitoring the overall health status of individuals with developmental disabilities receiving services through Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Programs in Lebanon, Lancaster, Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Franklin, Fulton, York and Adams counties. The HCQU works to support and improve the developmental community service systems by building capacity and competency to meet the physical and behavioral health care needs of persons with developmental disabilities.
The primary activities of the HCQU includes: reviewing the individual’s health and systems of care; providing clinical health care expertise to residential and day program providers; providing health related training; and integrating community health care resources with state and regional quality improvement structures and processes. The primary goal of the HCQU is to assure that the individuals served by developmental disability programs are as healthy as they can be, so that each individual can fully participate in community life.
The HCQU staff is comprised of Health Care Professionals (Registered Nurses) and a Behavioral Health Coordinator (Master of Social Work or related field), who arrange and conduct Health Risk Profiles and educational trainings for persons with developmental disabilities living in both group home and non-group home settings.
The Health Risk Profile is more commonly referred to as the HRP, which is an instrument designed to screen for physical and behavioral health risk factors and provision of healthcare services for persons with developmental disabilities. While the HRP does provide individual data, it is not a comprehensive instrument for individual health problems. The intended use of the HRP is to identify an area of risk that may require further evaluation by the individual’s primary care provider. When the information gathered is in aggregate form, it provides a profile of the current state of the health of persons with developmental disabilities being served. Using the HRP to establish a data set of health information allows the developmental disability system to identify systemic health patterns and trends, which in turn ensures that resources can be appropriately steered to areas of need.
Persons receiving developmental disability services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are eligible to participate in the process necessary to complete the HRP.
The HCQU provides educational programs and clinical expertise to families, provider staff and consumers of developmental disability services. Since not all communities have health care providers who are knowledgeable about the unique health care issues that face persons with developmental disabilities and since not all are practiced in communicating effectively with provider agencies, supports coordinators and planning teams, the HCQU helps to fill these needs. In addition, the HCQU serves as a resource to providers, families and others who support people in community settings in order to help them solve health care problems with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.