Mental Health

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.