Drug & Alcohol

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is concerned about the rise in hepatitis C cases in Pennsylvania (PA), particularly among persons who inject drugs (IDU).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing for those who currently inject any type of drug (Opioids, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, etc.) or have injected drugs in the past, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago.  PA has experienced a dramatic increase in hepatitis C infections in individuals with injection opioid and/or heroin addiction who are 18 to 35 years of age.  DDAP recommends that all licensed drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities perform a risk assessment for HCV and refer to medical or community based providers for necessary screening/testing as appropriate.

 

Because many individuals you serve are at high risk for hepatitis C, you play an important role in combating this public health issue.  If you have current practices that you believe are effective in combating this disease, we would appreciate you sharing these with us so we can promote them across the field.  Please send this information to DDAP Treatment, Prevention & Intervention Bureau Director, Angela Episale, at aepisale@pa.gov.   

 

Through improved identification and treatment of individuals with hepatitis C, we can begin to reduce the spread of this disease.  Please remember to obtain consumer consent and maintain confidentiality when sharing test results with the consumers’ primary care physicians or other physical health specialists involved in hepatitis treatment.  In some cases, you may be able to utilize a Qualified Service Organization Agreement (QSOA) to permit the exchange of patient identifying information.  If you have questions about when this is possible, please contact our Division of Licensing Acting Director, Gary Stauffer, at gstauffer@pa.gov.

 

For more information regarding hepatitis C testing of IDU clientele, please contact:

 

Charles Howsare, MD, MPH

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator

PA Department of Health

717-787-3350

chowsare@pa.gov

 

Thank you for your critical assistance in controlling hepatitis C in PA.

 

Contact Person: Angela Episale, 717-736-7438

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has determined there is a need to remove barriers to treatment access and to assist facilities in their efforts to effectively utilize physical plant and human resources to best meet the needs of individuals entering residential treatment.

With this goal in mind, DDAP has decided a facility may be permitted, upon request and approval by DDAP, to utilize empty beds in one activity to conduct services provided in the other activity, otherwise referred to as ‘flex beds’.

This process only applies to a facility already licensed to provide both Residential Detoxification (hospital or nonhospital) and Residential Rehabilitation (hospital or nonhospital) at the same location.  This process does not apply to any non-residential treatment activities.

The Department assigns each treatment activity with a specific capacity limit.  Residential Detoxification and Residential Rehabilitation Activities are assigned capacities based on the number of beds in a facility in relation to the required square footage in each room.

Prior to the ‘flex bed’ approach, when a facility had several empty beds in one activity, but was overflowing in the other, the facility was required to remain within the capacity granted by the Department for that activity and would need to refer the patients elsewhere or turn them away from treatment.

The ‘flex bed’ approach will allow the facility to place additional individuals in empty beds of the other licensed activity.  For example, a facility in need of an additional detoxification bed would be allowed to utilize an empty residential bed, thus more fully utilizing the available beds.  The reverse would also be permitted.  For personnel purposes, facilities may utilize counselors as primary care staff on the detox unit when utilizing the additional detox beds; however, staff from detox must meet staffing regulations to qualify for residential program (i.e., an LPN qualifies as detox primary care staff; however, does not meet qualifications as primary care staff in residential programs).  This approach may assist facilities from turning clients away from treatment or needing to refer them elsewhere.

A facility must submit an exception request to be considered for approval to flex beds between the residential detoxification and residential rehabilitation activities.  Please refer to Licensing Alert 4-97 on the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs web page at www.ddap.pa.gov for specific instructions on how to submit an exception request.  Further clarification regarding ‘Licensed Capacity’ can be found at Licensing Alert 1-94.

Facilities approved to flex beds will be subject to a review of that approval during the annual licensing inspections or other on site reviews.  When a facility finds it is constantly utilizing a set number of beds in excess of the approved capacity for any particular activity, the facility is encouraged to submit a capacity increase request for that activity.

Any questions should be directed to Gary Stauffer, Acting Director, Program Licensure Division, at 717-783-8675.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) issued this Request for Information (RFI) to seek input for improving Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP). By soliciting the knowledge of stakeholders and industry leaders from Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, the department seeks to broaden its perspectives regarding potential strategies and solutions to enhance efficiencies and management of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services for Medical Assistance (MA) consumers.

RCPA would like to congratulate the Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) for being awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grant, for $886,200. The application process was led by Dr. Dale Adair, OMHSAS medical director.

Pennsylvania was one of 24 states awarded this one-year grant. Authorized under Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, the planning grants are part of a comprehensive effort to integrate behavioral health with physical health care, utilize evidence-based practices on a more consistent basis, and improve access to high quality care. The planning grants will be used to support states to certify community behavioral health clinics, solicit input from stakeholders, establish prospective payment systems for demonstration reimbursable services, and prepare an application to participate in the demonstration program.

The criteria used to certify community behavioral health clinics emphasize high quality and evidence-based practices. Populations to be served are adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and those with long term and serious substance use disorders, as well as others with mental illness and substance use disorders.

The planning grants are the first phase of a two-phase process. When the planning grant phase ends in October 2016, awardees will have an opportunity to apply to participate in a two-year demonstration program that will begin in January 2017. Under the demonstration program, no more than eight states with certified community behavioral health clinics will provide behavioral health services to eligible beneficiaries and be paid using an approved prospective payment system.

Information is available online about the planning grants and demonstration projects; or by contacting RCPA Mental Health Policy Specialist, Sarah Eyster.

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) has compiled the responses from the survey conducted on the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). Many of the questions that were posed in response to the survey are answered through the following handouts, as well as on the state’s CPSL website. Members are strongly encouraged to review the website and handouts.

The OCYF is coordinating with Bureau of Human Services Licensing to host a webinar for providers in November, in order to address questions on CPSL and provide further clarification. Additional details for this webinar will be available in the near future. After your organization has reviewed the materials provided, please send any additional, unanswered questions you may have to Nicole Good at OCYF by Friday, October 9, 2015. These questions can then be addressed during the webinar.

On Friday (September 18), Stan Mrozowski informed RCPA staff and others that he had relinquished his position as Director of the Children’s Bureau at the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). Dr. Mrozowski noted that “there have been discussions recently in the Department of Human Services about the role of the Bureau and the decision has been made to make a change.” In his farewell message, Stan noted that “I leave with immense satisfaction about the many accomplishments over the past 12 years during which I have been the Director of the Children’s Bureau. I have very few regrets – mostly only that we did not do even more to help children and families in the Commonwealth. I also leave with appreciation for having worked with so many fine people who truly care about youth and families. I will truly miss the friendship and the collegiality that has made the work so rewarding.” RCPA will follow up with OMHSAS leadership to explore and report on any other changes that are planned for their management of children’s behavioral health services in the future.