Drug & Alcohol

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The Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) is seeking a Drug & Alcohol Division Director. Successful candidates will offer experience and familiarity with the Pennsylvania Drug & Alcohol (D&A) system services and supports. Position responsibilities include responding to RCPA member needs in the D&A area, overseeing all related policy and regulatory issues, and working with key policymakers, including elected officials, commonwealth administrative personnel, and others to influence and report on policy matters. Master’s degree (MA) or equivalent is required, or four to ten years related experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience. See job description for details; contact Tina Miletic to apply or for more information.

(Source: National Council for Behavioral Health, Capitol Connector, June 20, 2019)

On Tuesday, the House voted to pass the “Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (HR 3253),” which would extend funding for certain Medicaid programs. Under the provision, funding for the eight-state Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program would be extended for another two and a half years until December 21, 2021. There was overwhelming bipartisan support of HR 3253, passing with a vote of 371-46. The bill must now go to the Senate for a vote before the CCBHC demonstration program expires on June 30, 2019. Read more.

Later today, Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to announce another renewal — the sixth one since he first made the declaration on January 10, 2018 — of a state opioid disaster declaration. Pennsylvania state law regarding disaster declarations is written to address, primarily, natural disasters, and Wolf’s opioid disaster declaration was the first-of-its-kind health emergency-related disaster declaration. Under state law, a state of disaster emergency may be continued by the Governor for no more than 90 days, unless renewed by the Governor or terminated, at any time, by a concurrent resolution approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. His office says he plans to talk about two new opioid-related initiatives at the presser this afternoon in the Governor’s Reception Room in the Main Capitol, and he’ll be joined by State Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith, members of the Opioid Command Center, and state legislators. Questions, please contact Jack Phillips.

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RCPA is pleased to announce an important change in personnel. Lynn Cooper will be leaving her current position as Drug and Alcohol (D&A) Division Director and will now be the Director of Cross Systems Development/Western Region Representative. She will specifically be further developing activities in Western PA while addressing important cross-systems projects that have been raised recently.

RCPA will be hiring a new D&A Director to take on these responsibilities, based out of the RCPA office in Harrisburg. This is obviously a big change for Lynn, given her 24 years working in this area (and others) for RCPA, as well as its predecessor, PCPA.

This change is effective immediately; however, there will be a transition period as needed until a new D&A Director is hired. Please join us in welcoming Lynn to this new and exciting role. Contact Richard Edley with any questions.

Bucks County Democratic lawmakers are proposing legislation designed to punish drug treatment and testing companies that use vulnerable patients to help boost their profits. State Senator Steven Santarsiero, D-10, of Lower Makefield, and Representatives Tina Davis, D-141, of Bristol Township and Perry Warren, D-31, of Newtown Township, on Thursday unveiled a proposed bill that would make it a felony for health care providers, including drug and alcohol treatment centers, to give or receive money, perks, or other compensation in exchange for patient referrals. The number of licenses for drug and alcohol treatment programs issued in Pennsylvania jumped from 570 to 824 between 2012 and last year, with the biggest surge in the last three years, according to Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) data. To read the complete article, please use this link. Questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

(Source: The Intelligencer; “Legislation would make patient-brokering illegal in Pennsylvania” by Jo Ciavaglia, June 7, 2019)

The Washington Post hosted an event recently, focused on the mental health and addiction crisis in America, where Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) joined actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close to speak about the importance of expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCHBCs). See video excerpts below:

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is partnering with the University of Pittsburgh Child Welfare Resource Center to recruit for the Pennsylvania Citizen Review Panels (CRPs). The CRPs are groups of volunteer citizens who examine policies, procedures, and practices of state and local agencies and make recommendations for improvement to DHS. CRPs partner with state and local children and youth agencies, relying on maintaining respectful and positive relationships with these agencies to complete their work. To learn more about Pennsylvania’s CRPs, including their mission, vision, function, and members, visit this website. Please also see the website for our recruitment video.

They are currently working to recruit additional members to all three regional panels in the Northeast, South Central, and Southwest. Brochures for each panel as well as a general CRP flyer are below. Each brochure lists the counties within each region. Information on regions can also be found on the CRP website. The recruitment period will remain open until June 15.

It is requested that you forward this information on to your contacts and/or provide the names and contact information of individuals you feel would be a good fit for the panels and are located within one of the three regions. An online application can be accessed through the “Join” page on the CRP website. Referral information can be sent to the CAPTA Program Development Specialist, Kari Coccagna, via email or at 717-795-9048.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is required to license, oversee, and ensure compliance with certain minimum standards for health, safety, and well-being. DHS inspects facilities to ensure compliance with state licensing requirements. As a part of the licensing process, providers submit plans of correction (POCs) in response to deficiencies noted during the inspection of their facility and captured in the Licensing Inspection Summary. Providers must submit an acceptable POC for violations identified during inspections in order to receive or maintain a license. In the POCs, providers must demonstrate compliance with requirements but also the ability to remain in compliance and ensure corrective actions are implemented for any deficient practices to prevent reoccurrence.

DHS is developing a POC training curriculum to assist providers in producing effective POCs that address the root cause of the deficiency. We are seeking provider input as part of the development of this training. Please click on the SURVEY LINK to assist DHS in the development of an effective provider POC training. The curriculum is planned for release this summer.

If you have any questions about the information contained in this email, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Dept of Labor and Industry

May 3, 2019

L&I Seeks Public Input on Proposed Changes to Pennsylvania’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services Plan

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today encouraged Pennsylvanians to provide comments on proposed changes to the state’s vocational rehabilitation services plan. Pennsylvania expects less federal reallocation funds for the vocational rehabilitation program and must adjust the plan.

“Our primary goal throughout this process is to ensure that services continue to be provided to as many people with disabilities as possible across the commonwealth,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “I urge interested Pennsylvanians to provide us with their feedback.”

Due to the anticipated decline in federal reallocation funds, the independent Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation recently voted unanimously to begin the process to close the Order of Selection, in essence creating a temporary waiting list for new OVR customers. Services would continue for current OVR customers with an Individualized Plan for Employment, as well as Pre-employment Transition Services for students with disabilities, as required by federal law.

The proposal is available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments will be accepted for 30 days, until 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, and should be emailed to OVRFeedback@pa.gov, with “OOS closing all categories” in the subject line. Written comments may also be mailed to OVR Central Office, c/o Cindy Mundis, 1521 North 6th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102.

Public meetings will be conducted in-person throughout the state in each OVR district office on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Individuals who are unable to attend in person can participate via phone. All meeting sites are accessible and interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be present at each public meeting.

Following the public comment period, the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will review OVR’s request to temporarily close the order of selection. If approved, the waiting list is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2019.

For more information, visit the OVR page on the Department of Labor & Industry’s website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov

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The Pennsylvania Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Loan Repayment Program provides grant funding for educational loan repayment to health care practitioners where the high use of opioids is evident and where a shortage of health care providers exists. Educational loan repayment is an incentive to recruitment and retention of practitioners for service in counties with a high prevalence of substance use disorder, as well as underserved communities.

The Request for Applications (RFA) #67-86 can be downloaded from this web page.

  • Applications are being accepted from May 1, 2019 until 11:59 pm June 3, 2019.
  • Program information, application procedures and application instructions are found in RFA#67-86.
  • All applications must be submitted via the SUD Loan Repayment Program’s web-based application through the link on the above web page.
  • Questions regarding this RFA must be submitted via email on or before May 12, 2019. No questions will be answered via phone or email. Answers to all questions submitted by May 12, 2019 will be posted on the above website by May 17, 2019 and will be considered an addendum to the RFA.