Drug & Alcohol

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) Notification Protocol for Formal Licensing Actions and Incidents, is currently outlined in Bulletin #00-19-02 released in August 2019. On October 21, 2019, OCYF convened a meeting to bring together representatives from entities covered within the scope of OCYF Bulletin #00-19-02, to discuss the intent of the notification protocol, and to develop recommendations for improvements to the process.

From the meeting, the following improvements were agreed upon and will be released in new bulletins as described below.

  • A new bulletin will be issued promptly to remove the issuance of a notification regarding removal of staff under an approved plan of supervision. These notifications are no longer being sent. This bulletin will also remove any notifications listed that are duplicative of one another, specifically those that would equate to a citation and issuance of a licensing inspection summary (LIS), as those already trigger a notification.
  • Pending the implementation of CPSL amendments, another bulletin will be issued to include a quarterly report that will be provided to county agencies and dependency and delinquency judges, providing aggregate child abuse and substantiation data for child residential or day treatment facilities, approved foster or pre-adoptive homes, and youth development centers and youth forestry camps. If/when the CPSL is amended to permit the release of specific aggregate data, a new bulletin will be issued that will provide for county agencies and dependency and delinquency judges to receive substantiation information at the conclusion of an investigation, regardless of whether they are the placing county for the child or youth for these same placement settings.

RCPA was grateful to participate in this process and commends OCYF and the systems stakeholders for the collaborative partnership on this initiative The Department of Human Services (DHS) is moving forward with implementing these changes to ensure the safety and well-being of Pennsylvania’s children and youth. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Clinics across the nation are now eligible to apply for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grants, under a funding opportunity announcement released this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The National Council has long advocated for increased funding for the grant program. We also have been a forceful advocate for expansion of CCBHCs to all 50 states. Not only does the $200 million SAMHSA will make available this year represent a $50 million increase from 2019, the funding is now available to clinics nationwide – an important step toward expanding the CCBHC model across the country.

The CCBHC program supports clinics in expanding access to a comprehensive array of mental health and addiction services in community-based settings, while improving their ability to coordinate care with other health system partners and collect and report on quality metrics.

Clinics applying for Expansion Grants are eligible for two-year grants of up to $2 million per year. Organizations in all 50 states may apply for grants, though priority will be given to clinics in the 24 states that received CCBHC planning grants in 2016.

The National Council will host an informational call to provide more details about CCBHC status, training opportunities, and lessons learned from prior cohorts. Stay tuned for more details and registration information.

SAMHSA has established a March 10 deadline for grant applications. Read the official SAMHSA announcement for more information on the program requirements.

Our website includes more information on CCBHCs, which remain among the National Council’s highest priorities.

See our blog for more details.

RCPA has been notified by the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) / Bureau of Community Corrections (BCC) of a new referral process for Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) or Mental Health (MH) services for reentrants. This initiative is part of a continued effort to reduce and maintain the Department budget, to streamline services, and to offer consistent and needed programming.

Effective immediately, any referrals made to the BCC for AOD or MH services should be made as a last resort. This includes any inpatient placements as well. It is the responsibility of the person making the referral to find placement through other community resources first, when possible. In many cases, reentrants either have or are eligible for medical assistance. Medical assistance will allow a range of services to be funded under their contracts.

If a reentrant is in need of services, reach out to the statewide single county authority (SCA) helpline first. The number to call is 800-662-HELP (4357). A more complete list of every SCA, every county MH office, and their contact person is being formulated and will be forthcoming in the near future. Until those lists are distributed, please use the SCA HELPLINE number that is provided. It can be a starting point for both AOD and MH services, and inpatient beds in the county.

The correspondence from the Department of Corrections / BCC can be found at this link.

For our RCPA members currently providing these services, please contact RCPA Criminal Justice Division Director Jim Sharp and/or RCPA Drug & Alcohol Division Director Kristen Houser to discuss the potential impact on your services.

Registration for NatCon20 is open! Get a head start on the registration rush by securing your seat today. Hear from world-renowned speakers like bestselling author, Brené Brown; participate in discussions on provocative topics like mass violence and the mental health of migrant children; and experience new activities like a CEO boot camp.

To thank Pennsylvania for all of the support over the years, the National Council is offering RCPA members the discount code 2020NATCONPA. This code will give your members $150 off NatCon20 registration.

Avoid the Hassle of Hotel Logistics

NatCon launched an Expedia.com-style platform to take the burden of hotel booking off your shoulders. This one-stop shop makes it easier to search for hotels by distance, price, and brand, and it includes a map view of accommodations, among other benefits. Please note you must first register for NatCon20 to access this new resource and book your hotel room.

Don’t miss the excitement of NatCon20, April 5–7, 2020, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Please note – the first day of NatCon will be held on a Sunday. Registration and housing will open in early September. Contact the National Council directly with any questions.

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Nalaxone saves lives, and it can be obtained at no cost at the Pennsylvania Department of Health booth (737) from 8:00 am – 9:00 pm on Wednesday, January 8 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, while supplies last. Please share this information with staff, clients, friends, and family members who may need to obtain Nalaxone. The full article can be found here.

Pennsylvania Launches ‘Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters’

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced a focused multi-agency effort and anti-stigma campaign, ‘Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters,’ aimed at expanding resources and the state’s comprehensive support of mental health and related health care priorities in Pennsylvania. The governor announced several initiatives and reviews the administration will undertake for commonwealth agencies to bolster the effort. Further, over the coming weeks, agencies will announce additional initiatives. The governor was joined by mental health advocates, social workers, educators, military veterans, and cabinet secretaries in making the announcement… [read full release here].

RCPA President & CEO Richard S. Edley, PhD, stated “RCPA recognizes and supports the efforts of Governor Wolf and his administration in reducing stigma, enforcing parity, and improving access to services for those in need of mental health assistance. We will continue to work with the administration on these efforts and look forward to partnering on critical initiatives.”

This new report, compiled by George Washington University’s Health Information and the Law project, maps out the current substance use treatment confidentiality policies and landscape in Pennsylvania, and explores some of the challenges impacting Pennsylvania stakeholders. This is a thorough review that looks at how policies have been integrated into regulations and licensing, and how different payers and conditions may change the rules that apply to which information may or may not be shared. This topic will be an area of focus for both RCPA and DDAP in the coming year – please take the time to review this information, and share with your staff.

This report was commissioned by Vital Strategies as an external, non-partisan review of current policies. Contact RCPA Drug & Alcohol Division Director Kristen Houser with questions.