Drug & Alcohol

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.

To more formally recognize the value of peers in the workforce, Pennsylvania is moving to a new full peer certification offered by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB). This new formal certification will be necessary to provide Medicaid billable peer support services.

To make this transition as easy as possible for current Pennsylvania Peer Specialists, there will be a time-limited grandparenting process for those who wish to obtain the new full certification during the grandparenting period.

The grandparenting period began March 1, 2018 and ends August 31, 2019.

The requirements for the grandparenting process must be met but no additional exam will be required.

The requirements to become grandparented are:

  • You must have completed the two-week peer specialist training from one of the recognized training vendors. Those two vendors are the Institute for Recovery and Community Integration and RI Consulting.
  • Complete the CPS Grandparenting Application and sign and date a Peer-specific code of ethical conduct.
  • Signed and notarized release form.

There is no initial cost to peers for obtaining the credential as the grandparenting fee is being underwritten by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

The new CPS certification will be valid for two years. To avoid a lapse in certification, recertification should occur before the end of the two-year certification period. Recertification requires obtaining 36 hours of CEUs every two years and a $50 two-year recertification fee.

This new formal certification through the PCB is designed to help strengthen the profession and give CPSs a stronger voice, while maintaining the essence of peer support in delivering recovery oriented services. We urge you to complete the process now, during the grandparenting period, to ensure you can continue to do the great work that you do.

REMEMBER: This new formal certification will be necessary to provide Medicaid billable peer support services.

The CPS Grandparenting Application can be found at the following link: www.pacertboard.org/cps

Requests for paper applications and/or questions should be addressed to:
Mail: PCB, 298 S. Progress Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17109
Phone: 717-540-4455
Email: info@pacertboard.org

The following organizations participated in the development of the new certification process:
Pennsylvania Peer Specialist Workgroup
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS)
Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association (PMHCA)
Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (PaPSC)
Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB)

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Task Force Annual Meeting will be held on Monday, September 17, 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm at the Child Welfare Resource Center in Mechanicsburg. Anyone (member or non-member) is welcome to come and hear about the work of the task force over the past year and to learn about some very exciting work that is on the horizon.

The 2019 goal is to have children and adults who are diagnosed be provided with appropriate FASD interventions. This is an achievable goal and one that the task force has been longing for and working on for over 10 years. It is within our reach.

If you have any questions, please contact Lyn Becker.

This is an excellent study focusing on peer providers. The purpose of this study was to identify and assess states with best practices in peer provider workforce development and employment. A growing body of research demonstrates that peer providers with lived experience contribute positively to the treatment and recovery of individuals with behavioral health needs. Increased employment opportunities have led to policy concerns about training, certification, roles, and reimbursement for peer provider services.

A case study approach included a national panel of subject matter experts who suggested best

practice states. Researchers conducted 3 to 5-day site visits in four states: Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Data collection included document review and interviews with state policymakers, directors of training and certification bodies, peer providers, and other staff in mental health and substance use treatment and recovery organizations. Data collection and analysis were performed in 2015.

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