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Authors Posts by Jason Snyder

Jason Snyder

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is awarding $9 million to single county authorities (SCAs) to establish or expand crisis stabilization services for individuals who present with substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health symptoms. Such services include assessment and stabilization of acute physical and psychiatric symptoms, which may include medical management and behavioral interventions, induction on medication-assisted treatment, level of care assessments, short-term stays, and connections to supportive services.

Grants of up to $3 million will be awarded to eligible SCAs and can be applied toward a range of activities, including construction and building infrastructure, staffing, and programming. The SCAs may provide or coordinate the services.

SUD crisis stabilization services must have the capacity to recognize and manage individuals presenting with a wide range of SUD-related symptoms, mental health disorders, and developmental disabilities. Funds can be applied toward a range of activities, including construction and building infrastructure, staffing, and evidence-based programming.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly allocated its 2022 $17 million portion of Pennsylvania’s $1.07 billion opioid settlement to DDAP. The overall settlement was reached between states’ attorneys general and Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

DDAP plans to use the remaining money from this year’s opioid settlement allocation to provide treatment and recovery support services to communities of color; address workforce issues; and fund services in the Kensington area of Philadelphia with a $1 million grant. Read more about the crisis services grants.

The Pennsylvania Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Human Services (DHS), and Aging (PDA) are highlighting available resources for grandparents who are raising grandchildren and demonstrating the need for additional supports for these grandparents because of the overdose crisis.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, there were more than seven million grandparents living with their grandchildren, and over two million were responsible for their grandchildren’s basic needs. In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that nearly 260,000 children live in households headed by grandparents or other relatives.

Read the full press release.

Gov. Wolf today signed into law two bills with major significance to the commonwealth’s efforts to address the addiction and overdose death epidemic.

Act 146 is a wide-ranging statute that includes language making medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) available without prior authorization through commercial insurers and Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). Act 111 amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to explicitly exclude fentanyl test strips from the definition of drug paraphernalia, effectively legalizing them.


Act 146

Act 146 puts into statute a 2018 agreement Gov. Wolf brokered with commercial insurance companies and a Department of Human Services’ directive to Medicaid MCOs that ensured Pennsylvanians had unrestricted access to MOUD when they need it. The new law specifically reads:

Section 2157.  Medication-Assisted Treatment.

(A) Minimum Requirement — An insurer or MA or CHIP managed care plan shall make available coverage of at least one prescription drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid use disorders, including coverage of at least one of each of the following without prior authorization:
(1)  Buprenorphine/naloxone prescription drug combination product.
(2)  Injectable and oral naltrexone.
(3)  Methadone.

(B)  Coverage and Cost Tier — If a Medication-Assisted Treatment prescription drug set forth in Subsection (A) is covered as a pharmacy benefit, then the insurer or MA or CHIP managed care plan shall cover the prescription drug on the lowest nonpreventative cost tier of the health insurance policy or MA or CHIP managed care plan.

Subsection (B) requires payers to make the medications outlined in Subsection (A) available at the lowest cost share for non-preventative drugs.

Earlier versions of the bill included language that prevented prior authorization only for the initial treatment or prescription but did not preclude subsequent prior authorizations. Additionally, earlier language also limited the prior authorization waiver to only one drug used to treat OUD. RCPA worked with House leadership and other stakeholders to negotiate broader, more expansive language.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill sponsored the legislation.


Act 111

Act 111 goes beyond fentanyl test strips and excludes from the definition of drug paraphernalia any “testing products used for personal use in determining whether a controlled substance contains chemicals, toxic substances or hazardous compounds in quantities which can cause physical harm or death.”

Over the last few years, more legislation and public health policy aimed at reducing the harm associated with drug use has been introduced and adopted, marking a significant shift in attitudes toward and acceptance of harm reduction.

Rep. Jim Struzzi sponsored the legislation.

SR 352, a resolution introduced by Sen. Brooks that directs the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to study and issue a report on the specific data, calculations, and mechanisms that the Department of Human Services uses to determine the amount of Medical Assistance capitation funding ultimately paid to drug and alcohol addiction treatment providers within the Commonwealth, was adopted by the Senate on Tuesday, 49-0.

SR 352 directs JSGC to issue a report of its findings, along with any statutory or regulatory recommendations, within seven months of the adoption of the resolution.

JSGC serves as the bipartisan and bicameral research agency of the General Assembly. It provides the legislature with a readily available mechanism for conducting interdisciplinary studies.

The complete resolution, which includes a detailed listing of requirements of what JSGC must analyze and report, can be viewed here.

Last March, the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Community & Economic Development (DCED) announced the availability of more than $1 million in grant funding for recovery houses to provide safe housing for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD). The grants, funded through the $1.2 million awarded to Pennsylvania through the SUPPORT Act from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are designed to assist existing recovery house facilities with physical upgrades to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances, including the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, which is needed to receive a recovery house license through DDAP.

The federal government requires DCED to annually report on the performance of the state’s Recovery Housing Program. The annual report can be found on the DDAP website.

Comments on the Recovery Housing Program Annual Performance Report may be emailed to David Grey, Chief of Compliance, Center for Community and Housing Development. Comments will also be accepted by telephone by calling 717-787-5327 or through written comments submitted to:

David Grey
Center for Community and Housing Development, Department of Community and Economic Development
400 North Street, 4th Floor, Commonwealth Keystone Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

All comments must be received by 12:00 pm October 30, 2022.

For more information about this comment period, email David Grey or call 717-787-5327. For more information on this funding opportunity and to apply visit Funding Opportunities.

Photo by Michael Schofield on Unsplash

Up to $20,000 in debt relief is available to those who received a Federal Pell Grant in college and meet the income requirements. Up to $10,000 in debt relief is available to those who received a Federal Pell Grant in college and meet the income requirements.

The U.S. Department of Education is providing this one-time debt relief as part of the Biden-Harris Administration student debt relief plan.

Apply for student debt relief, or get more information at Federal Student Aid.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Registration is open for the fourth annual virtual psychostimulant symposium, “Overcoming Barriers & Making a Difference.” The symposium will be held Wednesday and Thursday, December 7–8, 2022.

Pennsylvania continues to see a rise in stimulant misuse. However, data continues to show that polysubstance use has increased among individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD), as well. The symposium will use data to tell the story of what is happening across the state and nationwide. In addition, it will focus on addressing current issues that prevent individuals from seeking treatment or maintaining their recovery, barriers to treatment, and strategies to help them while making a difference in Pennsylvania’s communities. The goal of the symposium is to educate and provide resources to attendees to assist in their work to help Pennsylvanians suffering from SUD.

Attendance is free, but registration is required. Register today.

Call 610-494-8044 or email registration with questions.