Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP)

The Adult Community Autism Program, ACAP, is one of two programs in Pennsylvania specifically designed to help adults with autism spectrum disorder participate in their communities in the way that they want to, based upon their identified needs.

Below are responses to some frequently asked questions regarding general information about the Adult Community Autism Program. If you can't find the information you are looking for here, please call the Bureau of Autism Services toll free at 1-866-539-7689 or email us at: RA-acap@pa.gov.

You can also contact the ACAP service provider by calling 717-220-1465 or 1-877-501-4715, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to speak to someone directly about ACAP services, or visit their website at  Keystone Autism Services - Adult Community Autism Program. You cannot, however, apply for ACAP through Keystone Autism Services.  To apply for ACAP, call the Bureau of Autism Services, BAS, at 1-866-539-7689 and choose Option 2.

General Program Questions

What is the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP)?
The Adult Community Autism Program, ACAP, is a managed care program in Pennsylvania. It is a fully integrated, comprehensive system of care that includes physical health, behavioral health, social, recreational, transportation, employment, therapeutic, educational, crisis, in-home support, and independent living services.
Benefits of the ACAP model include:
  • Person-Centered ISP – assessment based, outcome driven
  • Behavior Support Plan (if needed)
  • Crisis Intervention Plan (if needed)
  • One-stop shop – continuity, flexibility, integration and coordination of services
  • Team approach – with the center being the participant and the family/caregiver
  • Based on the wants and needs of the participant
  • Fully integrated – continuity of care
  • More efficient provider communication and coordination of care. 
What are the goals of the Adult Community Autism Program? 
  • Increase a person's ability to care for themselves
  • Decrease family/caregiver stress
  • Increase quality of life for both the person and the family
  • Provide specialized supports to adults with autism spectrum disorder based on need
  • Help adults with autism spectrum disorder reach their employment goals
  • Support more involvement in community activities
  • Decrease crisis episodes and psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Support development of peer and social networks 
What are some other important features of ACAP? 
  • Provides a holistic approach and integration of physical health and behavioral health, as well as home and community-based supports.
  • Becomes participant's health plan
  • Currently available in four counties only (Cumberland, Dauphin, Chester, and Lancaster)
  • Support greater participation in community activities
  • Keystone Autism Services and their network of providers (e.g., primary care physicians, dentists) provide most of the services  
Where is ACAP offered?  

ACAP is offered in Dauphin, Lancaster, Cumberland and Chester counties. 

Does the Bureau of Autism Services plan to expand the ACAP to include other counties? 

Expansion of ACAP across the state is dependent on available resources. 

How many adults can be served through ACAP? 

ACAP can serve 200 adults (including reserved capacity).  

If I am already receiving services, can I still apply for the Adult Community Autism Program? 

Yes. You can request an application while receiving services from another waiver program, but, before you enroll in ACAP, you will need to disenroll from the other waiver program. Timelines are coordinated, however, so that you will continue to receive services from the old program until ACAP services start. 

What role does the individual with an ASD play in the Adult Community Autism Program? 

The participant is at the center of all service planning and service delivery. During the service planning process ACAP participants share their goals, likes and dislikes to help determine what services they will receive. Once enrolled in ACAP, the participant is actively involved in the services they receive and their ongoing services plan.  

What role do families play in the Adult Community Autism Program?  

At the participant’s request, families have the opportunity to provide information during the service planning process and to provide feedback about the program. Decreased family stress is one goal of the program and is assessed each year. The participant, however, is at the center of his or her planning and can determine who is part of his or her team.  

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS   

Who is eligible for the Adult Community Autism Program?   

In order to be eligible for ACAP, a person must be age 21 or older, a U.S. citizen or qualified alien, reside in the service area, and meet certain diagnostic, functional and financial eligibility criteria (listed below). 

Diagnostic Criteria:  

Have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) applicable at the time of the diagnosis. 

Functional Eligibility:  

Must have substantial functional limitations in three or more of the major life activities listed below:

  • self-care
  • understanding and use of receptive and expressive language
  • learning
  • mobility
  • self-direction
  • capacity for independent living 
Additional eligibility criteria: 
  • Be financially eligible for Medical Assistance as determined by your local County Assistance Office
  • Be certified as requiring services at the level of an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF)
  • Not be enrolled in a Medical Assistance Home and Community Based Waiver program at the time of enrollment
  • Not be enrolled in a Medical Assistance managed care organization at the time of enrollment in the plan
  • Not be enrolled in the Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) Program at the time of enrollment in the Plan 
Can someone with a diagnosis of an intellectual disability enroll in the Adult Community Autism Program? 

Yes, as long as they meet all the eligibility criteria listed above. 

If I am found eligible for the Adult Community Autism Program, how long can I remain in the program? 

There is no time limit or maximum age limit. Participants are assessed each year to ensure they continue to meet all eligibility requirements. 

Can I apply for more than one Pennsylvania waiver or the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) at the same time, or will applying for one make me ineligible for the other ones? 

You may apply for more than one waiver or the Adult Community Autism Program at a time, including the Adult Autism Waiver. Individuals may not, however, enroll in more than one.  

What happens to my waiting list status for the Person/Family Directed Support waiver or the Consolidated waiver if I enroll in ACAP? 

An individual can be on a waiting list for another program while receiving services from ACAP. Applicants should discuss their individual situation with program staff from the Bureau of Autism Services and their county office.  

APPLICATION PROCESS  

How do I request an application? 

There are two ways to request an application for Pennsylvania’s adult autism programs: by phone, or online. Applications may not be requested via email or through this website. 

To request an application by phone: 

Call 1-866-539-7689 (toll free number) and follow the prompts to select the Adult Autism Waiver or the Adult Community Autism Program. Leave a message with the following information:

  • Name of person who wishes to apply
  • Telephone number
  • Address
  • County of Residence
  • If you are calling on the behalf of the person who wishes to apply also leave your name and daytime phone number. 
To request an application online: 

Visit the Information Referral Tool (IRT): http://www.dhs.pa.gov/irt

  • The IRT asks a few basic questions and will link individuals who indicate an interest in Autism Services to the COMPASS website.
  • Once connected to COMPASS, select “Submit a Referral.”
  • After answering some additional questions, the referral is submitted electronically to the Bureau of Autism Services
What happens after I request an application? What are the steps and the timeline in the application process? 

After the request for an application is made: Someone from the Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) will call to ask general information questions. If an individual meets the basic eligibility requirements (autism diagnosis, age, resident county), their name will be placed on the ACAP waiting list based on the date/time of their referral.   When openings are available, individuals are notified by BAS on a first-come-first-serve basis to begin the application process. 

What will the application packet include? What paperwork will I need to fill out? 

BAS will begin the application process by calling to schedule a time to conduct the Functional Eligibility Assessment. The location of the assessment is determined jointly with you; generally, your home is preferred. If basic functional eligibility requirements have been met, the application packet, including assessments, will be given to you, some of which your physician will need to complete. Staff from BAS are available to answer your questions and help you with the forms if you need it. Details about this process are below.

After you receive the application packet: You have 45 days to return the application packet to BAS. You can call and request an extension if you are having difficulty completing the packet on time.  If it isn’t returned on time, we will assume you are no longer interested in applying for ACAP. If you do become interested again at a later date, you will have to call BAS and place your name back on the waiting list. If you have questions about completing the application packet, please call 1-717-425-5692 and someone from BAS will return your call and assist you in completing the application packet.

Financial eligibility for Medical Assistance is a requirement for ACAP. If you do not have Medical Assistance at the time of application to ACAP, you will need to apply for Medical Assistance through your local County Assistance Office.   If you are not eligible for Medical Assistance, you will receive a Medical Assistance denial letter from your County Assistance Office. If you receive a denial letter from your County Assistance Office, the ACAP application process will not continue. You must meet the financial eligibility criteria for Medical Assistance to enroll in ACAP. If you are employed, you may still be eligible for Medical Assistance under the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program. Your County Assistance Office will be able to assist you in this area.

After BAS receives your completed information: BAS will decide if the application process can continue based on your eligibility.   Once BAS determines your eligibility, your application will be sent to Keystone Autism Services (KAS).

  • If BAS determines that you are not eligible, you will receive a denial letter.

After Keystone Autism Services receives your application: Keystone Autism Services will call you to set up a meeting to gather additional information and complete other assessments to be used in the development of your initial Individual Support Plan (ISP).
Keystone Autism Services will meet with you to develop and review your initial ISP. If you agree to enroll, you will start ACAP the first day of the next month. You must dis-enroll from any Medical Assistance HealthChoices program (ACAP will provide medical services) and any home and community- based waiver program that you are enrolled in, if any, at the time of enrollment in ACAP. 

Can a participant be dis-enrolled from the Adult Community Autism Program for any reason? 

You can voluntarily disenroll from ACAP at any time for any reason. Additionally, you can choose to transfer from ACAP to the Adult Autism Waiver if you choose to do so. You cannot, however, transfer back into ACAP without placing your name back on the waiting list.

You must maintain financial eligibility and your annual recertification (MA51 – Medical Evaluation Form) to stay enrolled in ACAP. Your Supports Coordinator will help you with this process.

Available Services  

What types of services does the Adult Community Autism Program offer?  

All physician services (including emergency services provided by a physician, psychiatric services, and direct access to a woman’s health specialist to provide women’s routine and preventive health care services)

  • Audiologists' services
  • Certified registered nurse practitioner services
  • Chiropractors' services
  • Dentists' services
  • Health promotion and disease prevention services
  • Hospice Services
  • Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) services
  • Medical supplies and Durable Medical Equipment
  • Mental health crisis intervention services
  • Non-Emergency medical transportation to services covered under the Medical Assistance Program
  • Nursing facility services
  • Optometrists' services
  • Outpatient psychiatric clinic services
  • Podiatrists' services
  • Prosthetic eyes and other eye appliances
  • Respiratory services
  • Assistive technology
  • Career Planning (includes Vocational Assessment and Job Finding)
  • Community Transition Services
  • Day Habilitation
  • Family Support
  • Home Modifications
  • Homemaker/Chore Services
  • Non-Medical Transportation
  • Nutritional Consultation
  • Personal Assistance Services
  • Residential Habilitation Services
  • Respite
  • Specialized Skill Development (includes Behavioral Specialist Services, Systematic Skill Building, and Community Support)
  • Supported Employment
  • Supports Coordination
  • Therapies: Speech/language, Occupational, Physical/mobility, Counseling
  • Transitional Work Services
  • Vehicle Modifications
  • Visiting Nurse Services

Other services are covered under Medical Assistance (fee-for-service): Inpatient facility, ambulatory surgical center, home health care, clinic-including family planning, transportation, renal dialysis center, laboratory, x-ray clinic, pharmacy. 

How are individual services determined for participants in the Adult Community Autism Program? 

You are at the center of service planning and ISP development.  Services are based on assessed needs as well as your interests.  The ISP team includes you, your Supports Coordinator, your Behavioral Specialist (if applicable), your legal guardian (if applicable), and anyone else you or your legal guardian chooses to have involved.  

Is there a maximum amount (cap) of ACAP-funded services a participant can receive? 

No, services are based on your ISP. 

Do services change over time? How? 

Services in the ISP will change as your needs change. This is determined at the annual review or whenever changes are needed. 

Does the Adult Community Autism Program pay for transportation? 

Non-medical and non-emergency medical transportation services are available in ACAP.   Non-Medical Transportation means you can get to and from your authorized services. Non-Medical Transportation is also available to you for transportation to and from other services, work, and community activities when other transportation resources, including natural supports, are not available. Natural supports may include friends, family, community members, neighbors, or coworkers.  Non-Medical Transportation can also be used when it is determined that you are unable to utilize alternate transportation resources, such as public transportation, due to unavoidable health and safety risks. 

Does the Adult Community Autism Program pay for housing? 

While the Residential Habilitation service in ACAP does include a housing component, it is not designed as a housing alternative for ACAP participants.   Residential Habilitation is a service to help improve skills to live in the community.  Residential Habilitation Services are provided in a licensed community home (not a participant’s or participant’s family home).  Like all services in ACAP, a participant must have an assessed need for Residential Habilitation Services.   Residential Habilitation is designed for participants who are unable to live independently at home, either alone or with family.
ACAP does not pay for housing outside of the Residential Habilitation service.
 
A participant receiving Residential Habilitation services must contribute 72 percent of his or her monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment to Keystone Autism Services for room and board. ACAP Community homes must be licensed by the Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Programs in accordance with Title 55 PA Code Chapter 6400. 

How does the Bureau of Autism Services monitor program quality? 

Monitoring of the program is an ongoing process throughout the year and includes the following: reports, on-site reviews, interviews with participants, an annual quality review by an outside agency, quality performance outcome measures, and oversight of provider qualifications (including training). Participants are interviewed to find out if they are getting the services in their plan, if they are happy with their services, and if they are treated well by their providers. BAS also checks to make sure participants are healthy and safe. 

Additional ACAP Documentation: 

View the current ACAP Agreement.

View the current Appendices to the ACAP Agreement.

Coming soon... New/Revised Keystone Autism Service Participant Handbook

Coming soon... New/Revised Keystone Autism Services Provider Directory