Authors Posts by Kristen Houser

Kristen Houser

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What:
HB 137, Rep. Quinn
This bill is intended to compel individuals who overdose to obtain a screening and referral for addiction treatment by making immunity from prosecution contingent upon their doing so within 30 days of receiving emergency services for the overdose.

Contact (phone or email):
Hon. Stan Saylor
Chair, House Appropriations Committee

Hon. Matthew Bradford
Democratic Chair, House Appropriations Committee

Please review the members of the House Appropriations Committee – if you live or operate a program in the district of any of these members, please contact that member as well.

When: By December 16, 2019

Why: HB 137 has significant potential to have serious unintended consequences that may ultimately result in deaths, avoidance or delay of medical care, and overburdening an already stressed system of care for Pennsylvanians struggling with the disease of addiction.

Talking points:

  • Ask the Committee Chairs and any other committee members to VOTE NO when HB 137 comes before the committee
  • Many people who are actively using drugs have a deep distrust of emergency responders and fear of being arrested and prosecuted for drug related crimes, despite the passage of “David’s Law.” Word-of-mouth accounts of inconsistencies by police and prosecutors maintain this fear and are a barrier to contacting emergency assistance, even during an overdose.

If passed, this bill is very likely to exacerbate these fears and further inhibit or delay calls for assistance in a life and death situation when seconds count.

  • For individuals who are not yet ready or contemplating beginning treatment, mandating treatment is ineffective and may deter them from seeking help in the future.
  • Many providers of drug & alcohol treatment are working near or at capacity, particularly for patients whose care is paid for with public dollars. This bill will increase the demand for treatment providers to spend time and dollars on evaluations for people who are not ready or interested in treatment. This essentially deters resources from people who are actively seeking care.
  • From the bill, it is also unclear whether an individual would still be prosecuted if their screening does not indicate a referral for treatment, or if they receive a referral but do not enter treatment.
  • We share the concern for the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvanians who are overdose survivors and consider them a priority population. We also recognize that people who suffer from the disease of addiction may require a variety of kinds of engagements with helping professionals before deciding to enter treatment. Each of the commonwealth’s 47 Single County Authorities has a warm hand-off policy that involves emergency personnel, physical and psychiatric health services, Certified Recovery Specialists, primary care, and pain management physicians, as appropriate, to engage this vulnerable population in a variety of ways.
  • We know that the decision to enter treatment that leads to sustained recovery cannot be legislated.

Questions, contact Kristen Houser, RCPA Director of Drug & Alcohol Division, or Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is accepting applications from SCAs who shall expand or create a collaborative between local law enforcement, treatment professionals, and recovery support providers to establish a diversion program. Active and engaged relationships with the local District Attorney, identified local police departments, Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment providers, and Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) shall be foundational to such an initiative. Rather than experiencing legal consequences for an OUD, individuals shall receive treatment and support services for the underlying cause of the arrest.

Reminder: Questions can be submitted via email through tomorrow, November 20, 2019 by 5:00 pm. Applications are due by December 5.

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Business Team Concept: FUNDING

DDAP is accepting applications from SCAs who shall expand or create a collaborative between local law enforcement, treatment professionals, and recovery support providers to establish a diversion program. Active and engaged relationships with the local District Attorney, identified local police departments, Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment providers, and Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) shall be foundational to such an initiative. Rather than experiencing legal consequences for an OUD, individuals shall receive treatment and support services for the underlying cause of the arrest. Applications are due by December 5.

Learn more on the Funding Opportunities page.

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naadac-announcement_03

November 5, 2019

Contact your lawmakers today and urge them to cosponsor the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (S.1365H.R.2569). Tackling our nation’s addiction crisis starts with a commitment to treatment and recovery services.

Call-to-Action

The bill recognizes the scope of the crisis and the resources necessary to truly affect change. The bill provides state and local governments with $100 billion in federal funding over ten years to expand access to evidence-based treatment and recovery support services. The bill also recognizes the importance of workforce development by authorizing $500 million in workforce development funding for professionals treating substance use disorders.

NAADAC is proud to champion this legislation and was thrilled to support its introduction. We ask now that you help us advocate for the resources needed to build an SUD workforce that meets the demands of the crisis.

Contact your lawmakers TODAY: Please call the U.S. Capitol directly at 202-224-3121 and urge your Representative/Senator to cosponsor the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (S.1365H.R.2569). Click here to find your U.S. Representative and click here to find your U.S. Senators.

What You Need to Say: “As an addiction professional and constituent, I strongly urge you to cosponsor the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (S.1365/H.R.2569).

The CARE Act seeks to address the ongoing addiction crisis by providing state and local governments with dedicated resources for SUD treatment and recovery services and for building a workforce that meets the challenges of this ongoing crisis.”


 

Thank you for your dedication to support those in need of addiction and mental health prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support!

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Yesterday (November 4), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) and State Opioid Treatment Authorities (SOTAs) regarding Medicare’s coverage for opioid use disorder treatment services furnished by OTPs.

Additionally, CMS will host a call on Tuesday, November 12 to help OTPs understand the new benefit and how to enroll in Medicare. Please share the following announcement with your members and encourage them to attend.

Opioid Treatment Programs: Enrolling in Medicare
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Register here for Medicare Learning Network events.

Starting January 1, 2020, under the CY 2020 Physician Fee Schedule final rule, CMS will pay Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through bundled payments for opioid use disorder treatment services for people with Medicare Part B.

During this call, learn about the new benefit, the Medicare program, and how to enroll. For more information, visit the OTP web page.

Target Audience: Fully certified and accredited OTPs and related staff, as well as interested stakeholders.

If members have further questions, please contact RCPA Drug & Alcohol Division Director Kristen Houser.

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Empty vintage congress hall with seats and microphones.

The Human Services Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has scheduled a public hearing on SB 675 related to the Licensing of Prescribers of Suboxone. The hearing will be on Tuesday, November 19 at 9:00 am in Room 60, East Wing.

The list of individuals who will testify is being finalized. It is our understanding that the goal of the hearing is to find a compromise between support and opposition of the bill. Individuals may submit requests to testify or submit additional comments directly to the Committee Chairs and copy to the Executive Directors of the Human Services Committee; both Erin Raub and Ashley McCahan.

If you have any further questions, please contact RCPA Drug and Alcohol Division Director, Kristen Houser.