Drug & Alcohol

Join RCPA as it hosts its 2018 conference October 2 – 4 at the Hershey Lodge. The Conference Committee is excited to release this year’s Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers brochure, with new opportunities to get in on the action – from exhibit hall to an awards luncheon and everything in between.

Don’t miss your chance to be seen and to support the work of this dynamic organization! The event is a highlight for the Pennsylvania mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging provider community.

Benefits for Exhibitors
Exhibit activities take place October 3 – 4. Based on your feedback last year, we have increased the length of time exhibit hall is open and the number of activities offered. RCPA encourages all interested parties to complete the contract now! Events within Exhibit Hall include two lunch meals, a reception, breakfast, coffee breaks, and prize giveaways. Exhibit hours occur during the two busiest days of the conference, increasing the likelihood that exhibitors – an integral component to conference success – have the opportunity to interact with attendees. A “Best of Show” competition provides even more opportunities to engage guests and winners receive a discount on 2019 exhibit rates.

Interaction with conference guests outside of the exhibit area is just as important! Participating in other conference events such as receptions, meals, and educational offerings provides exhibitors greater potential and flexibility to establish opportunities for business. RCPA includes two exhibitor registrations with the exhibit fee; and since exhibitors can attend the entire conference, RCPA encourages organizations to use those registrations fully.

Exciting New Sponsorship Opportunities
The association is privileged to have the backing of the finest organizations in the field for its conference. Through the use of sponsorship circles, RCPA is able to honor all supporting organizations. Within each sponsorship circle, specific events and items such as meals, receptions, conference tote bags, attendee materials, etc. are available, providing additional “name recognition” for sponsors. Please review sponsorship materials and contact Sarah Eyster to reserve your opportunity.

Sign Up Now
The deadline for inclusion in all digital materials is July 31. Sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers who wish to be listed on the website, the mobile app, and in the online conference program must adhere to that deadline.

The association looks forward to welcoming you at the conference! Space and opportunities are reserved on a first come, first-served basis and no reservation is considered complete without payment. For additional questions, please contact Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

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RCPA staff, and several members of the RCPA American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) implementation task force, met with Secretary Jen Smith and numerous DDAP staff to discuss concerns regarding the ASAM implementation. RCPA members are working hard to get appropriate staff trained in the new screening and assessment process.

  1. The in-person requirement has made it difficult and costly due to scheduling, limited training opportunities, and lost revenue from down time. RCPA has been researching the effectiveness of eLearning and continues advocating for allowing some staff to do the online training instead of the in-person training. RCPA has been charged to develop specific criteria for online training; the task force is in the process of doing just that.
  2. It is clear that all appropriate staff will not be trained by the official startup date of July 1, 2018. DDAP will be reviewing the progress in April and a new deadline will be determined.
  3. Supervisors that have had the ASAM training will be able to sign off for the counselors that have yet to be trained. It is important that the supervisors are first priority to be trained.
  4. DDAP is clearly aware of the barriers to training, such as costs of down time and the limited training availability at this time. DDAP has emphasized that there will be no negative consequences to providers due to the inability to get staff trained.
  5. There will be a Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC) summary sheet included with the Web Information Technology System (WITS) to help fill the gap until all appropriate staff are trained.
  6. RCPA has been strongly advocating for financial assistance to members to cover the training costs. After numerous discussions with state officials and behavioral health managed care organizations (BH-MCOs), oversight bodies, and single county authorities (SCAs), it is clear that all are aware of the need for financial assistance. One plan shared by several officials was that some SCAs will be considering providing assistance (including lost revenue from down time) to providers by making year end contract revisions, if funds are available. Several oversight bodies and BH-MCOs have already provided significant support for training and implementation and will continue to do so. All members experiencing problems getting staff trained are encouraged to contact their SCAs. If the SCA does not provide assistance, it is recommended that providers contact their BH-MCOs to request assistance.

DDAP is posting periodic FAQs to their website. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Lynn Cooper.

Lynn Kovich, Deputy Secretary at OMHSAS, held a budget briefing webinar for stakeholders. Topics included state mental health facilities, Community/Hospital Integration Projects Program (CHIPPs) / Southeast Integration Projects Program (SIPPs) summary, regulations overview, 1115 Waiver, Community HealthChoices (CHC), and more. Please see the PowerPoint presentation for details; thank you.

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In December 2017, the General Assembly passed and Governor Wolf approved Senate Bill 446. This new legislation directs the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) to license or certify drug and alcohol recovery houses that:

  • Receive referrals from state agencies or state-funded facilities; or
  • Receive federal or state funding.

DDAP will make regulatory changes for the licensure or certification of drug and alcohol recovery houses on or before June 17, 2020. Once these changes are in place, only licensed or certified drug and alcohol recovery houses will:

  • Be eligible to receive federal or state funding to deliver drug and alcohol recovery housing services; and
  • Be eligible to receive referrals of individuals whose treatment is funded with federal or state funding.

In addition, state or county courts must give first consideration to facilities that are licensed or certified when making residential recommendations for individuals under their supervision.

Note: This is good news. While there are some excellent recovery residences in PA, RCPA members are reporting that there are some others, mostly out of state companies, causing PA citizens great suffering and even death. These entities are falsely representing themselves — and they are not getting the clients they recruit into the level of care needed for recovery. RCPA has expressed concern regarding the time frame in which this will be completed (2020). We hope to work with DDAP as soon as possible to figure out how to zero in on the most harmful “safe houses/recovery houses” and stop them from causing additional damage. For further questions, please contact Lynn Cooper.

The Alliance of Community Service Providers has opened online registration for their 16th Annual Conference for Direct Support Professionals (DSP). The event will be held Friday, April 20, 2018, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Philadelphia Hilton on City Avenue. The conference is open to all direct support professional staff who provide services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, behavioral health needs, and/or substance use disorders.

Several workshops are scheduled throughout the day focusing on adult mental health, children and families, addictions, intellectual disabilities, advocacy, and professional development. For more information and to register, use this link.

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RCPA members are working hard to get appropriate staff trained in the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) screening and assessment tool. The in-person requirement has made it difficult and costly due to scheduling, limited training opportunities, and lost revenue from down time. RCPA has been researching the effectiveness of eLearning and trying to make a case for allowing some staff to do the online training instead of the in-person training; it is important to note that it is not only the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) that is requiring the in-person training. RCPA’s communications with The Change Company (that owns all rights to the ASAM) made it clear that all staff using ASAM must attend the in-person, two day training. All staff providing assessments and all counselors that will be working with the ASAM criteria must be trained. Some of RCPA’s larger members have over 200 staff that must be trained in person, which makes it a major challenge.

Some Positive Updates Include:

  1. It is clear to all that the July 1, 2018 deadline will be impossible to meet; as a result, DDAP will be reviewing the progress in April and a new deadline will be determined.
  2. DDAP is clearly aware of the barriers to training, such as costs of downtime and the limited training availability at this time. DDAP has emphasized that there will be no negative consequences to providers due to the inability to get staff trained.
  3. There will be a Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC) summary sheet included with the Web Information Technology System (WITS) to help fill the gap until all appropriate staff are trained. However, it is crucial that members continue the difficult process of getting appropriate staff trained as soon as possible.
  4. RCPA has been strongly advocating for financial assistance to members to cover the training costs. After numerous discussions with state officials and behavioral health managed care organizations (BH-MCOs), oversight bodies, and single county authorities (SCAs), it is clear that all are aware of the need for financial assistance. One plan shared by several officials was that some SCAs will be considering providing assistance (including lost revenue from down time) to providers by making year end contract revisions, if funds are available. Several oversight bodies and BH-MCOs have already provided significant support for training and implementation. All members experiencing problems getting staff trained are encouraged to contact their SCAs. If the SCA does not provide assistance, it is recommended that providers contact their BH-MCOs to request assistance.

DDAP is posting periodic FAQs to their website. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Lynn Cooper.

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On January 10, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency related to the opioid epidemic that directly impacts treatment in Pennsylvania. The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) regulation 28 Pa. Code §715.25, which prevents Narcotic Treatment Providers (NTPs) from establishing medication units, is being waived for the 90-day duration of the disaster emergency declaration. In addition, a permanent waiver can be requested.

Questions regarding this policy bulletin and exception requests shall be directed to Wenona Wake, Bureau Director for Quality Assurance for Prevention and Treatment, Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensing, at 717-783-8675 or via email.

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Governor Wolf is removing pre-authorization requirements for some medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction. In an effort to help people get treatment more quickly, the state will remove a pre-authorization requirement for Medicaid recipients prescribed some types of medication which are helpful for recovery. Pre-authorization can take up to 24 hours to process, and the administration hopes the change will prevent situations where people struggling with addiction must decide whether to pay out of pocket for the medication, risk going into painful withdrawal, or make no changes at all. Treatments like Suboxone and Vivitrol require a prescription from a doctor; they often also require a pre-authorization from insurance. With the waiver in place, a prescription alone will be enough to ensure that Medicaid recipients receive coverage for such treatments. See the Governor’s press release here.