Mental Health

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The National Council Conference will be held Mon–Wed, March 25–27, 2019, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. 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, November 30, 2018 to take advantage of a special preview rate. RCPA members are offered a more deeply discounted registration; please use the coupon code NatCon19PA (not case sensitive) for an additional $225 in savings. Contact Sarah Eyster with any additional questions.

E&C #SUBHEALTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 27, 2018
Contact: Press Office | (202) 226-4972

#SubHealth Convenes Hearing Titled “Better Data and Better Outcomes: Reducing Maternal Mortality in the U.S.”

Live Webcast
Click here to watch the hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Opening Statement of Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Good morning. Thank you to everyone for joining us this morning to discuss a topic that is important to each and every one of us, maternal mortality. This is a subject matter that has been brought to the forefront by Members of this Subcommittee, actions of State Legislatures, and the media. Having spent nearly three decades as an OB/GYN, I believe it should be a national goal to eliminate all preventable maternal mortality – even a single maternal death is too many.

All too often do we read about stories of seemingly healthy pregnant women who are thrilled to be having a child, and to everyone’s surprise, suffers severe complications, or death during pregnancy, birth, or post-partum. The death of a new or expecting mother is a tragic event that devastates everyone involved, but in many cases these are preventable scenarios.
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Opening Statement of Chairman Greg Walden
Today the Subcommittee on Health is holding a discussion on the critical issue of maternal mortality. In fact, we will examine as issue that is literally a matter of life and death for women all across the country. Thank you, Dr. Burgess, for calling this hearing. As someone with decades of real-world experience as an OB/GYN, you know better than most how important this issue is.

This is a difficult topic, and one that is close to my heart. Far too many mothers die because of complications during pregnancy and the effects of such a tragedy on any family is impossible to comprehend.
Read more

Witness Testimony and Additional Background 
Click here to view the hearing background memo and witness testimony on the Energy and Commerce Committee website.

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ENERGYCOMMERCE.HOUSE.GOV

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 week of September 9–15 is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Week, with Monday, September 10 marking World Suicide Prevention Day. According to a recent CDC report (2018), suicide rates have increased across all age groups over the past two decades in almost every state, including Pennsylvania. As such, we need to work together to recognize the role each of us play in suicide prevention. It is our collective responsibility to address the stigma about suicide and help-seeking. We must educate about the warning signs and how to offer support to those that may be struggling. For our youth in particular, we must recognize that as caring adults, we can be one of the most significant protective factors. Yet, we must also model self-care and healthy coping during stressful times.

In Pennsylvania, we want to do our part to help schools and communities recognize the simple steps that can be taken to contribute to these efforts. Activities and events serve as a way to educate and connect individuals, including those who have been affected by suicide. A range of suicide prevention and awareness activities are scheduled throughout Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world during the month of September. A resource document is attached, which includes examples of activities that you can promote or implement in your school and/or community. A copy of this letter, which may be modified and disseminated within your own school and/or community, is also available here.

Media plays an important role in communicating messages of hope and in sharing resources for prevention. Social media campaigns such as Take 5 to Save Lives are a great way to share information within schools and communities, including information about warning signs, reaching out, and self-care. The #BeThe1To campaign, led by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, encourages 5 action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal: ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect, and follow-up. Consider promoting one of these campaigns or starting your own. Additional ideas, along with sample social media posts, are included in this resource document.

Thank you for the efforts you are putting forth to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental wellness in your school and/or community, not only during the month of September, but every day #AAS365 #stopsuicide.

Contact Robena Spangler, RCPA Children’s Division Director, with questions.

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.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) are holding the quarterly Statewide Positive Approaches & Practices Meeting on Thursday, September 27, 2018, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held at Selinsgrove Center, 1000 Route 522, Selinsgrove, PA 17870.

Pre-registration is not required. Registration is from 9:00 am to 10:00 am the day of the meeting. The topic for this meeting is Managed Care. For more information, contact Marlinda Smith at 814-932-2233 or Heidi Champa.

Also scheduled is Pennsylvania’s Dual Diagnosis Conference, focused on building capacity to better support individuals with complex needs in the community. The theme is Broadening Understanding, Strengthening Support. The conference will be held Tuesday, November 13 – Thursday, November 15, 2018 at Blair County Convention Center in Altoona.

Keynote and Featured Speakers:

  • Brenda Finucane, MS – Geisinger Health Systems, Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute
  • Dan Dubovsky, MSW – Independent Contractor
  • Beth Barol, PhD – Widener University, School of Social Work
  • Matthew Wintersteen, PhD – Thomas Jefferson University, Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior
  • Jim Donovan, MEd – St. Francis University

Session Topics Include:

  • Genetic Testing, Diagnosis, and Next Generation Treatment Approaches;
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders;
  • Supporting the Supporters;
  • Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Brief Intervention ;
  • Finding Solutions Together: Practical Assistive Technology and Tools; and
  • Behavioral Approaches: Functional Assessment and Intervention Planning.