Tags Posts tagged with "OMHSAS"


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Attention:  In preparation for the end of the grandparenting period in August, OMHSAS and the PCB will hold a CPS Certification update webinar on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM. Certified Peer Specialists, CPS Supervisors, provider agencies, BH-MCOs, County MH/ID offices, and all other stakeholders are invited to participate in this webinar.  Please register using this link.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Certified Peer Specialists Recognized with Full Certification Process

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 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 this link.

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)

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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.

As part of the Collaborative Capacity Building Initiative under the Money Follows the Person Administrative Funds, the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), in coordination with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), is now offering free Mental Health First Aid courses for families, individuals, professionals, clinicians, and community supporters.

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

ODP and OMHSAS would like to introduce Jen Bankard as the contractor for this program. Jen is a certified MHFA instructor and has served as both a National Trainer and a Quality Evaluator for the MHFA program. You may contact her directly regarding scheduling a course in your area.

Jen Bankard 
email address: jbankard812@gmail.com
phone number: 717-460-1091

It is the hope of ODP and OMHSAS in this joint program to continue to build capacity to support the complex individual in the community. Please contact her now to schedule, and if you should have any additional questions, you may also contact Marlinda Smith at marlsmith@pa.gov. Please help share this information to others for their awareness and participation.


The Department of Human Services is making available for public review and comment the proposed Federal Section 1115 Demonstration waiver application for substance use disorder (SUD) services.

The purpose of this Demonstration is to afford continued access to high quality, medically necessary treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs). Pennsylvania recognizes the importance of a full continuum of treatment services, including residential services that are provided in a cost-effective manner and for a length of stay that is governed by appropriate clinical guidelines.  This Demonstration is critical to provide the necessary funding to support the continuation of medically necessary services.

The goals of this Demonstration are to:

  1. Improve the overall population health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries diagnosed with a substance use disorder by:
    1. Reducing overdose deaths
    2. Increasing the number of Medicaid beneficiaries who access substance use treatment
    3. Increasing the rate of retention in treatment across all levels of care
  2. Decrease utilization of high-cost emergency department and hospital services by:
    1. Decreasing the number of emergency department visits and inpatient admissions
    2. Decreasing the number of readmissions to the same level of care or higher levels of care for a primary SUD diagnosis
  3. Improve care transition across the continuum of substance use services by:
    1. Enhancing coordination of care with other behavioral and physical health services
    2. Enhancing the process for transitions between levels of care

The 1115 Demonstration waiver application is available here. In addition, copies of the application are available upon written request to the Director, Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Program Development, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 11th Floor Commonwealth Tower, 303 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

The Department will hold four public hearings throughout the Commonwealth to accept testimony on the proposed 1115 Demonstration waiver application.  The Department will also present updates and solicit comment on the waiver application at the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee meeting on December 14, 2017.

The schedule of dates, times and locations for the public hearings is listed below:

Public Hearing Schedule

December 4, 2017, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
OMHSAS NE Field Office Conference Room
100 Lackawanna Avenue
Scranton, PA

December 5, 2017, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Norristown State Hospital Auditorium
1001 Sterigere Street
Norristown, PA

December 8, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 am
Child Welfare Resource Center
403 East Winding Hill Road
Mechanicsburg, PA

December 11, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm
Shenango Crossing
2520 New Butler Road
New Castle, PA 16101

Public Comment

The Department seeks public input on the proposed 1115 Demonstration waiver application for SUD services.  The 30-day public comment period began on November 18, 2017 and ends on December 18, 2017.  Persons who wish to testify on the proposed 1115 Demonstration waiver application at one of the public hearings should schedule a time by telephoning (717) 772-7900.  Persons from outside the Harrisburg area may send a written request, including telephone number, to Satoko Hariyama, Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Program Development, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 11th Floor, Commonwealth Tower, 303 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

Individuals also may submit written comments at any of the public hearings or by email or by mail to the address of the contact person identified above.  The Department will consider all comments received by December 18, 2017 in developing the final waiver application.

Persons with a disability who require auxiliary aid or service may submit comments using the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users).

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Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller announced the following three staffing changes within the Department of Human Services (DHS):

  • Executive Deputy Secretary. Leesa Allen, currently DHS’ Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Programs, will be moving into the Executive Deputy Secretary position. Ms. Allen has more than 23 years of experience in the Commonwealth in positions ranging from children and youth case worker to Chief of Staff for the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP). She will continue to support OMAP until her replacement is found.
  • Chief of Staff. Johanna Fabian-Marks will serve as DHS Chief of Staff. Ms. Fabian-Marks is coming from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department where she serves as the Special Deputy and Director of Life, Accident, and Health Insurance Product Regulation. Prior to joining the Insurance Department, she worked on implementation of the Affordable Care Act at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Deputy Secretary, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). Lynn Kovich will become the new OMHSAS Deputy Secretary on November 13. Ms. Kovich has 26 years of experience in direct services and administration in both the nonprofit and government sectors, working with individuals who have developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance use disorders, as well as those experiencing homelessness.

RCPA congratulates each of these individuals and commits to working with them in a constructive manner to advance the best interests of our shared constituencies.

OMHSAS is looking to create a productive and cohesive group to collaborate on the development of comprehensive Inpatient Regulations. The regulations will contain four (4) subchapters that will address the provision of: Inpatient, Extended Acute Care, Residential Treatment Facilities for Adults, and Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities for Individuals under age 21.

The invitation to collaborate on this process will be limited to one or two representatives per group. Please consider who from your organization might be your best representative for each event.

For your information and planning purposes, Sarah Eyster, RCPA Mental Health division and Robena Spangler, RCPA Children’s Division have RSVP’d and plan to attend all events when possible. The complete invitation and schedule of events is available here.

We are looking forward to the work ahead and providing you with the updates as the process moves along.

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The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is seeking RCPA members that have established adult mental health-community health care collaborative care relationships. Provider organizations would participate in a SAMHSA project similar to the adolescent suicide prevention initiative led by OMHSAS in the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. OMHSAS is leading this effort which will be guided by researchers at Drexel University and Thomas Jefferson University with successful history of grant development, design, training, and research related to SAMHSA suicide prevention grants to Pennsylvania.

Funding will target suicidal adults by focusing on continuity of care with a specific interest in the transition of care from hospital emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric units into outpatient and other less-restrictive services. The funding encourages the improvement of suicide assessment skills, screening, and coordination of care between mental health, primary care, emergency rooms, and inpatient hospitals.

The grant can enhance collaborative care systems with the following suicide prevention resources:

  • Suicide gatekeeper training to all staff;
  • Suicide safety planning for all staff;
  • The Behavioral Health-Works screening and referral systems; and
  • Training in empirically supported treatment models to target suicidal adults.

The grant would also partner with SAMHSA’s child Garrett Lee Smith Grant and thus offer the opportunity for screening for adolescents and training in adolescent-focused suicide treatments.

Grant is due Monday, April 17, with funding to start in September 2017 and last for three years. Grant writers at Drexel and Thomas Jefferson Universities will need a description of the adult mental health provider organization, the current health care network, and care coordination capacity. Interested organizations should contact Guy Diamond, who will plan a conference call with interested organizations.

Please join the Office of Long-term Living (OLTL) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) for an informational webinar on Community HealthChoices (CHC) on Friday, March 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm. The webinar will feature a presentation from OLTL’s Chief of Staff, Kevin Hancock. Kevin will provide an update on CHC, describe progress to date, and discuss next steps. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of the presentation.

Background on CHC
The commonwealth is in the process of implementing CHC. CHC is a mandatory managed care program for eligible individuals, providing physical health services and long-term services and supports, such as attendant care services. CHC is being geographically phased in across the commonwealth beginning in January of 2018 in 14 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, followed in July 2018 by five counties in the southeastern portion of the commonwealth. The CHC implementation will be completed in January 2019, when the remaining counties are implemented. The move to CHC will assist DHS in continuing to provide quality services.  CHC managed care organizations will be required to coordinate covered services, Medicare, and behavioral health services for enrolled participants.

To register for the webinar, please follow this link. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing connection information. Please note, the connection information you receive will be unique to you and should not be shared with others.

Reminder: All CHC-related information can be found here. Comments can be submitted electronically. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Long-Term Living Bureau of Policy and Regulatory Management at 717-783-8412.

A listserv has been established for ongoing updates on the CHC program, titled OLTL-COMMUNITY-HEALTHCHOICES. If you would like to update or register your email address, please follow this link.

Please join the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 10:00 am for a webinar on the new Peer Support Services (PSS) bulletin and standards, including information on expanding the service to include youth and young adults. Peer certification will also be discussed.

The webinar will include:

  • An overview of the new standards
  • Information on expansion of services to youth and young adults, including employee clearances, training resources, and other issues
  • Peer Certification

You are welcome to attend in person in the Clothestree Conference Room (Room 12-48, Commonwealth Tower, Harrisburg). If you plan to attend in person, please RSVP to Cristal Leeper by 12:00 pm on Friday, March 31, and you will receive additional information concerning meeting logistics. Please note, you will be responsible for any parking charges.

If you would like to attend via webinar, please register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing connection information. Please note, the connection information you receive will be unique to you and should not be shared with others. Please send any questions to Cristal Leeper.