Mental Health

(From DHS Secretary Miller)

Effective March 25, Valerie Vicari is serving as Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). I would like to thank Lynn Kovich for her service to OMHSAS and Pennsylvania.

Valerie has been working in the ever-evolving human service field for over 25 years.  Her work has included experience in the children and youth service system and the behavioral health service system, both drug and alcohol services as well as mental health services.  Her various roles have included direct service, case management, county administration, and Commonwealth administration.  Valerie has been a leader within the behavioral health arena since the inception of the Medicaid Behavioral Health HealthChoices program in 2008.  She was part of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services team that brought innovative behavioral health community programming to Pennsylvania.  Some examples of service development include telepsychiatry, Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) programs, Long Term Structured Rehabilitation programs (LTSR), and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams.  As services evolved, telepsychiatry, CPS and ACT programming expanded to include individuals who have both behavioral health issues as well as forensic involvement.

Valerie’s most recent position has been the Chief Executive Officer at Torrance State Hospital since June 2016.  The oversight responsibilities include but are not limited to the civil psychiatric services, the Regional Forensic Psychiatric Center (RFPC) and the Sexual Responsibility Treatment Program (SRTP).  There are over 300 patients served at Torrance State Hospital on an ongoing basis.  In her leadership role at Torrance the hospital has become tobacco free, telepsychiatry has been developed within the forensic unit and numerous recovery focused initiatives have commenced.

People are complex, and their overall health is shaped by a variety of factors, many of which may not be visible or evident based on a conversation. We must equally focus on behavioral health and physical health and their interconnected nature in order to truly help the people we serve. Our mental and physical health do not exist in isolation, and both are influenced by the external circumstances in a person’s life.

You may know that we are working to improve care for Pennsylvanians by encouraging a whole-person focus that includes social determinants of health as well as physical and behavioral health needs. We want to encourage our physical and behavioral health providers and social service providers to work together to ensure that people do not slip through the cracks so we’re able to make a meaningful difference in their lives. Your work can help us move towards better long-term health outcomes for Pennsylvanians who use our services, and I am excited to partner with each of you to meet this goal.

On behalf of Governor Wolf, we are grateful to your commitment to the commonwealth and people affected by mental health and substance use disorders. Thank you for the work you do to elevate these issues and help people live better lives every day.

Thank you,

Secretary Teresa Miller

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The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) wants to hear from you about what has worked and what should change in the public mental health system. In the Fall of 2018, the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council challenged OMHSAS to re-visit A Call for Change, to assess how far Pennsylvania’s  behavioral health system that serves Children, Youth and their families, as well as Adults and Older Adults has progressed with Transformation, and to identify priorities for future efforts.

Western Region
March 29, 2019
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Woodlands Foundation (The Lodge)
Address: 134 Shenot Rd, Wexford, PA 15090

Central Region
April 2, 2019
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: OMHSAS Central Office- Clothestree
Address: 303 Walnut Street, 12th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Southeast Region
April 10 and 11, 2019
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Norristown State Hospital Building 33 (Multipurpose Room)
Address: 1001 Sterigere St, Norristown, PA 19401

Northeast Region
Lehigh Area – April 22, 2019
Morning Session: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Location: St. Marks Evangelical Lutheran Church
Address: 201 E. Juniata St, Allentown, PA 18103

Afternoon Session: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: Northampton County DHS
Address: 2801 Emrick Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18020

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area – April 23, 2019
Morning Session: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Advocacy Alliance- Media Center
Address: 841 Jefferson St, Scranton, PA 18510

Afternoon Session: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Location: Luzerne County Human Services Bldg.
Address: 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

The assessment phase will include regional on-site listening sessions, intended to generate broad-based stakeholder input and dialogue. In addition, OMHSAS is posting an online survey to obtain input from stakeholders who are unable to attend a session. The survey can be accessed through May 1, 2019 at this link.

Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to this email.

From OMHSAS

Call for Change Project
In 2004, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Advisory Committee formed a Recovery Work Group, tasked to explore how to transition the adult mental health system in Pennsylvania into a more recovery-oriented approach. The Recovery Work Group was convened, by invitation, to discuss the process of developing a blueprint for building a recovery-oriented service system in Pennsylvania. This collaboration of broad-based stakeholders resulted in A Call for Change, a document that would outline a destination for Systems Transformation and provide guidance on strategies for how to get there.

Because A Call for Change focused on transforming the adult-serving behavioral health system, in 2010, the OMHSAS Children’s Bureau proceeded with developing a document to guide transformation of the child-serving system to one that promotes resiliency for children, youth, and their families.  A Call for Change: Transformation of the Children’s Behavioral Health System in Pennsylvania was drafted as a strategic plan, identifying an ideal array of services, goals, and prioritized action steps to achieve systems change.

Several years have passed since these documents were developed.  In the Fall of 2018, the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council challenged OMHSAS to re-visit A Call for Change, to assess how far Pennsylvania’s  behavioral health system that serves children, youth, and their families, as well as adults and older adults, has progressed with transformation, and to identify priorities for future efforts. OMHSAS agreed to support the assessment of progress and the issuance of A Call for Change, 2019. 

The assessment phase will include regional on-site listening sessions, intended to generate broad-based stakeholder input and dialogue.  Information will be provided on the OMHSAS Listserv as soon as details for the in person listening sessions are available. In addition, OMHSAS is posting an online survey to obtain input from stakeholders who are unable to attend a session.

Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to this email.

New Publication
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the Criminal Justice System: Brief Guidance to the States

The opioid epidemic has significantly penetrated the criminal justice (CJ) system. This brief provides guidance to state governments on increasing the availability of evidence-based MAT in CJ settings. By including the CJ system as a path to treatment, states may see an increase in access to and retention in treatment, and lower rates of overdoses, re-offending, and re-incarcerations. In this brief, states are provided an overview of the issue, the challenges to incorporating MAT, key considerations for establishing MAT in CJ settings, and existing standards/guidelines.

Inventory#: PEP19-MATBRIEFCJS  |  Download the Brief Guidance

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

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RCPA congratulates Chuck Ingoglia on being appointed President and CEO of the National Council. We have enjoyed working with Linda Rosenberg, and look forward to continuing our work together with Chuck in advancing human services policy and practice.

 

WASHINGTON, DC (March 11, 2019) – The National Council for Behavioral Health, today announced that its board of directors unanimously selected Chuck Ingoglia as the next president and CEO for the organization. He will succeed Linda Rosenberg, the current president and CEO on June 1, 2019… (read full release from the National Council here).

Folders with the label Applications and Grants

Two funding opportunities have been published by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant windows. One is for the program as has been operated annually (Traditional DLT) and one is for projects related to prevention, treatment, or recovery for opioid use disorder in rural areas (Opioid DLT). Please note the applications are not the same and the programs have different funding window closings.

Who is eligible?
For both programs, eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:

  • Most state and local governmental entities;
  • Federally-recognized Tribes;
  • Non-profits;
  • For-profit businesses; and
  • Consortia of eligible entities.

For more information see the documents below or visit the USDA website.

Registration, directions, and required documentation are below

Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs (JDCAP) and the ALICE Training Institute have teamed up to bring ALICE Instructor Training to Consumer Service Professionals and County Agencies at the County Commissioners Association of PA (CCAP) office on September 3-4, 2019. This two-day instructor course is designed to teach proactive survival strategies for violent intruder or active shooter incidents. The goal of the ALICE program is to provide individuals with survival-enhancing options for those critical moments in the gap between when a violent situation begins and when law enforcement arrives on scene.

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate and is a useful strategy for everyone: law enforcement, schools, universities, hospitals, businesses, and places of worship. Completing the ALICE Instructor Training course provides individuals with certification in ALICE Training and allows them the opportunity to bring ALICE strategies back to their places of work. Additionally, registrants will gain access to exclusive ALICE resources. ALICE is in line with recommendations from the US Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

About ALICE Training Institute
The ALICE Training Institute is changing how schools, universities, and businesses respond to armed intruders. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate), developed after Columbine, teaches strategies to survive a life-threatening event. Supported by educators and law enforcement across the country, ALICE is quickly becoming the new standard of care.

Registration Flyer   |   Waiver Release

The Department of Health (DOH) published final-form sexual assault victim emergency services regulations January 26, 2008 and amended 28 Pa. Code Part IV, Subpart B (relating to general and special hospitals) to add specific requirements for hospitals relating to the provision of sexual assault emergency services.

Hospitals that decide they may not provide emergency contraception due to a stated religious or moral belief contrary to providing this medication are required to give notice to the DOH of the decision. Hospitals that refer all emergency patients to other hospitals after institution of essential life-saving measures and decide not to provide any sexual assault emergency services are required to give notice to the DOH of the decision, and the DOH must annually publish the lists of hospitals in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that have chosen not to provide emergency contraception under 28 Pa. Code § 117.57 or any sexual assault emergency services under 28 Pa. Code § 117.58. The following lists were published on Saturday, February 23, 2019 in accordance with those provisions and do not create any new obligations for hospitals or relieve hospitals of any existing obligations.

The following list of hospitals have provided notice to the DOH that the hospital may not provide emergency contraception due to a stated religious or moral belief:

Hospital Name City, Zip Code
Holy Spirit Hospital Camp Hill, 17011
Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital Jersey Shore, 17740
Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Darby, 19023
Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Philadelphia, 19143
Suburban Community Hospital East Norriton, 19401
Millcreek Community Hospital Erie, 16509
Muncy Valley Hospital Muncy, 17756
Nazareth Hospital Philadelphia, 19152
Physicians Care Surgical Hospital Royersford, 19468
Regional Hospital of Scranton Scranton, 18501
Sacred Heart Hospital Allentown, 18102
St. Joseph Medical Center Reading, 19603
St. Mary Medical Center Langhorne, 19047
UPMC Mercy Pittsburgh, 15219
Williamsport Regional Medical Center Williamsport, 17701

 

The following list of hospitals have provided notice to the DOH that the hospital may not provide any sexual assault emergency services due to the limited services provided by the hospital:

Hospital Name City, Zip Code
Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation—Scranton Scranton, 18501
John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine—
Wilkes-Barre
Wilkes-Barre Township, 18702
Kindred Hospital South Philadelphia Philadelphia, 19145
OSS Health York, 17402
Physicians Care Surgical Hospital Royersford, 19468
Rothman Orthopedic Specialty Hospital Bensalem, 19020

 

Additional information regarding the sexual assault victim emergency services regulations and emergency contraception, and an up-to-date list of hospitals not providing emergency contraception under 28 Pa. Code § 117.57 or not providing any sexual assault emergency services under 28 Pa. Code § 117.58, is available on the Department’s website.