Drug & Alcohol

The National Council Conference will be held Mon–Wed, April 23–25, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Washington, DC. This event is the health care industry’s foremost behavioral health conference. Each year, more than 5,000 leaders like you explore health care’s greatest innovations in practice improvement, financing, integrated health care, technology, policy and advocacy, and professional development at the National Council Conference. Pennsylvania is consistently among the most well represented groups from around the country.

Please register before Friday, December 1, 2017, to take advantage of a special preview rate. RCPA members are offered a more deeply discounted registration; please use the coupon code 18memberPA for an additional $225 in savings. Contact Richard Edley with any additional questions.

Early bird registration has been extended for the 2017 RCPA Conference, to be held at the Hershey Lodge, Tuesday to Friday, October 10–13. This is your last chance to take advantage of the discounted early bird rates! The deadline for early bird registration and discounted rates is now Wednesday, September 20. Please be sure to register by Wednesday to receive these special rates.

This year’s annual conference features a Keynote Address from Teresa Miller, newly named

DHS Secretary, as well as two plenary presentations; one from Jean Bennett of SAMHSA and also a panel discussion with Pennsylvania’s Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne, OLTL Deputy Secretary Jen Burnett, ODP Deputy Secretary Nancy Thaler, OMHSAS Acting Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico, OMAP Deputy Secretary Leesa Allen, and DDAP Acting Deputy Secretary Jen Smith. The moderator for this panel will be Charley Curie, national consultant, past SAMHSA Administrator, and past OMHSAS Deputy Secretary. The conference also features over 70 workshops offering continuing education. New this year is the Executive Level Track of workshops. In addition, there are several networking receptions, an awards dinner, exhibit hall, and entertainment. Register here for early bird savings.

If more information or assistance is needed, please contact Sarah Eyster. We look forward to seeing you in October!

A significant number of “avoidable” visits to US emergency departments (EDs) are for mental health and alcohol problems, as well as dental problems, which the ED is not fully equipped to treat. Using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the researchers analyzed data on 424 million visits made to US EDs between 2005 and 2011 by patients aged 18 to 64 years. The researchers “conservatively” defined “avoidable” ED visits as discharged ED visits that did not require any diagnostic tests, procedures, or medications. The authors of the study from the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, San Francisco note that: “Emergency physicians are trained to treat life- and limb-threatening emergencies, making it inefficient for patients with mental health, substance abuse, or dental disorders to be treated in this setting.” The study was published online August 31 in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

For practitioners, hospitals, and policymakers in Pennsylvania, reports like this and others raise the question: Where can these patients be best served in the community when urgent and emergency behavioral care services are not available in Emergency Departments? And also, how can communities and health care systems plan and practice whole person emergency care in an era of integrated and co-located physical and mental health care?

The federal US Department of Education has issued an announcement that extends its deadline to September 20, 2017, for public comments concerning regulations and policy guidance that commenters believe ought to be repealed, replaced, or modified.

RCPA issued an Info on July 18, 2017 that included pertinent information on this request and the original deadline. The deadline has been extended to September 20, 2017. Members are encouraged to submit comments directly to the federal agency and/or may send input to RCPA (no later than September 13, 2017) for inclusion in its response.

RCPA has received notice that the long-awaited psychiatric outpatient regulations have been posted for comment. RCPA has been fighting long and hard for the regulatory changes that appear to be in this document and will be creating a task force to fully and comprehensively analyze the proposed document in the next weeks. In the meantime, RCPA is asking members to hold “wish” requests and concentrate on the previous work of the RCPA Stakeholder Work Group from 2014, before submitting anything other than supportive comments. Please contact Sarah Eyster for more information.

The Department of Human Services proposes to amend 55 Pa. Code Chapters 1153 and 5200 relating to outpatient behavioral health services and psychiatric outpatient clinics. The proposed rulemaking was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on August 12, 2017, and can be accessed here.

Written comments, suggestions, or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking may be submitted to the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Attention: Michelle Rosenberger, Bureau of Policy, Planning and Program Development, Commonwealth Towers, 11th Floor, 303 Walnut Street, PO Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3675 or by email during the 30-day comment period which closes on September 11, 2017.

August 17, 2017
3:30 – 5:00 pm ET


  • Mitchell Berger, SAMHSA
  • Peggy O’Brien, IBM Watson Health
  • Colleen LaBelle, Boston University Medical Center
  • Mark Stringer, Missouri Department of Mental Health
  • Molly Carney, Evergreen Treatment Services

Register for free
The webinar will cover a forthcoming update to the 2014 SAMHSA report on Medicaid Coverage and Financing of Medications to Treat Alcohol and Opioid Use Disorders and will review information on state Medicaid payment policies for medication assisted treatment (MAT).  Speakers also will present case studies of innovative MAT models. This up-to-date information about Medicaid MAT coverage will be helpful for consumers and family members, providers, health plan and Medicaid staff, policymakers and government officials.
After this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand how MAT currently is covered under Medicaid at the state level
  • Understand barriers to MAT coverage and possible actions to improve coverage
  • Be able to describe some innovative financing models

Questions? Send via email.
Disclaimer: This webinar is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views and opinions expressed and the content of the webinar are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS.