Drug & Alcohol

The RCPA staff and conference committee would like to thank you all for sponsoring, exhibiting, advertising, and/or attending the 2018 RCPA Annual Conference.

It’s official: The 2019 RCPA Annual Conference will be held September 24–27 at the Hershey Lodge, in Hershey, PA — be sure to mark this landmark event on your calendars!

It is our hope that, as you plan your 2019 events, you will once again consider supporting and attending the conference. Some other key dates to remember:

  • The 2019 Call for Workshop Proposals will be sent out by the end of January.
  • The request for sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers will be sent out by the end of February.

For any questions about the RCPA Annual Conference, please contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Conference Coordinator. We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

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This message is to inform our members that Wenona (Wake) Wilson is no longer at the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP); the position of Bureau Director for Quality Assurance is now vacant. DDAP will not be naming anyone in an acting capacity but are considering all options for filling the position as quickly as possible. If RCPA members were working on any projects directly with Wenona, please contact Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico so that they can determine how to get you the information needed or to designate someone else to participate in relevant meetings. DDAP will be working to ensure that operations continue to run as smoothly as possible. RCPA wishes the best to Wenona as she moves on to a new path.

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RCPA sent this information out previously; however, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has reported that there was very little response. This information is critically needed as DDAP advocates for support for services provided. Members have been providing some services that are costly but never reimbursed; DDAP is working to rectify this. Please complete the survey ASAP — Your input is needed, thank you.

Below is the request from DDAP:

Dear SUD Treatment Provider,

With the current transition to ASAM, DDAP and DHS are working to establish provider designations for 3.5 and 3.7 levels of care. To accomplish this, providers of residential services were asked to complete a survey to provide information necessary for this designation process. However, a large portion of providers did not complete the requested information. This will impact those of you who contract (or plan to contract) with an SCA or BH-MCO. Therefore, it is imperative that a survey be completed for each licensed facility delivering these levels of care.

Below are two links for the same survey. If you have difficulty accessing the survey using one link, please try the other; however, complete only ONE survey per licensed facility.

If you have already completed the survey as a result of the two prior requests to do so, please DO NOT complete it a second time. If you are receiving this email, but are not the person within your agency who would be responsible for completing the survey, please forward it to the appropriate person. Preparation is already underway to notify those providers who have already responded. It is the responsibility of the provider organizations to complete this information in order to receive a level of care designation by the state. Thank you for your attention to this request.

Please contact RCPA Drug and Alcohol Division Director Lynn Cooper with questions.

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The University of Wisconsin is offering a free online training program called “Training for Systems Change: Addressing Tobacco and Behavioral Health” – with up to six hours of free CME/CEUs.

Provided by:
Doug Tipperman, MSW
Tobacco Policy Liaison
Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Contact RCPA Drug & Alcohol Division Director Lynn Cooper with questions.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is now accepting applications to participate in in a pilot program, the Opioid Misuse Prevention Project (OMPP).  The program is a new initiative targeting early, upstream prevention to reduce the risk factors that lead to substance misuse in general and opioids, in particular.

Ten sites will receive five years of funding to implement a public health campaign and two evidence-based programs – Lifeskills Training (LST) and Strengthening Families 10-14 (SFP) – to middle school/junior high school youth and their families. Applications are due in PCCD’s eGrants system November 15, 2018. To learn more, watch a 20-minute video about the rationale, core components, and how to apply for OMPDD funding, and visit the Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Support Center (EPISCenter) website for additional application support materials.

About the Program
This evidence-based prevention response to Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic relies on a combination of LifeSkills Training (LST) and Strengthening Families 10-14 (SFP). LST is a middle-school drug education and prevention program offered universally in the classroom; SFP is a family management and parenting skill development program offered to families with youth ages 10 to 14.  When offered in conjunction with each other, these programs have been shown to reduce the abuse of prescription pills by youth into their mid-twenties.

Pilot Program Implementation

  • The pilot version of the project will be implemented in 10 school districts in the Commonwealth.
  • Participating sites will be selected through a competitive process and will require a partnership between the school district, a local non-profit agency, and the Single County Authority.

The EPISCenter at Penn State University will coordinate technical assistance to ensure successful implementation.

RCPA has been collaborating with the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and other statewide health care associations on Senate Bill 780 (SB 780). SB 780 establishes the Telemedicine Act, which will authorize health care providers to use telemedicine and require insurers to provide coverage and reimbursement for its use (a detailed summary of the bill can be found here).

Currently, SB 780 is in jeopardy. The bill, which was unanimously approved by two Senate committees, the full Senate, and the House Professional Licensure Committee, could die before a House vote is taken. The Insurance Federation is strongly advocating against the bill with rank and file members and leadership. They assert the bill provides opportunities for fraud and lower quality of care.

Between today and the weekend, it is imperative that supporters of this bill contact their House members directly and ask them to “Tell House Speaker Mike Turzai to bring the bill up for a vote in the House without amendment on Monday, October 1.” This is our final opportunity to secure passage of a bill that will expand access to health care for all Pennsylvanians by requiring insurers to pay for telemedicine services if they pay for the same service in person.

If the bill is not voted in the House, we will have to introduce a new bill during 2019, the beginning of a new legislative session, ending nearly two years of advocacy on this critical issue.

Again, between today and the weekend, it is imperative that supporters of the bill contact House members directly and ask them to “Tell House Speaker Mike Turzai to bring the bill up for a vote without amendment in the House on Monday, October 1.”

Here are the top talking points to support the main message:

  • We want consistency in payment from insurers (We are not directing how to negotiate rates);
  • 38 states have some type of law requiring this coverage;
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said more must be done to expand payment for telemedicine services and lessen restriction for patient access;
  • The bill will ensure greater access for primary and specialty care;
  • Fewer people will have to travel if they are isolated, older, or without transportation (especially in rural and urban areas);
  • It will expand the reach of care to people with opioid use disorder and behavioral health needs;
  • It will help providers manage patients’ chronic conditions and avoid hospital admissions or readmissions;
  • It will help schools address physical and behavioral health issues; and
  • Help caregivers of elderly or seriously ill patients.

There are already protections in place to ensure appropriate care is provided through telemedicine. Providers are governed by state licensing boards, follow a medical code of ethics, and there are strong insurance fraud laws in place to protect against such behavior.

Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.