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Authors Posts by Jason Snyder

Jason Snyder

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Dr. Michael Lynch, UPMC Health Plan’s Medical Director of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Services, has been named Medical Director of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Dr. Lynch also serves as Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

DDAP has not yet officially announced Dr. Lynch’s position but is planning to. Yesterday, Dr. Lynch announced his position on LinkedIn, which indicates he will continue in his other current roles.

UPMC Health Plan is the commercial insurance arm of UPMC. Community Care Behavioral Health, UPMC’s behavioral health managed care organization, is a sister company. Both UPMC and Community Care Behavioral Health are RCPA members.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) proposed minimum rates for each ASAM level of care. The rates are effective Jan. 1, 2022. According to DHS, the behavioral health managed care organizations must increase the rate being paid to any provider currently below the minimum. Providers being paid above the minimum will not be reduced to the minimum.

The rates have been posted and can be accessed through DHS’ website under “Behavioral HealthChoices Provider Resources.”

RCPA will share any additional information on the minimum rates as it becomes available. Please contact RCPA Drug and Alcohol Division Director Jason Snyder with any questions.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) Office of Justice Programs has announced the following funding opportunities.

  1. Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction (SAEDR) Category 1 funds are now available for the implementation of new projects focused on the adult community. Funding is available to nonprofit organizations to provide evidence-based or research-based approaches to prevention, intervention, training, treatment, and education services to reduce substance use or to provide resources to assist families in accessing these services. The funding guidelines for this category provide the necessary information to complete this application.
  2. Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction (SAEDR) Category 2 and 3 funds are now available to support the implementation of strategies aimed at combating opioid/heroin overdoses in Pennsylvania communities. Under this solicitation, funds are being made available for new projects designed to educate the public about the dangers of substance use and/or reduce demand for these substances under the following two categories. The funding guidelines for these categories provide the necessary information to complete this application.
    • Category Two funds are intended to educate youth, caregivers of youth, and employers about the dangers of substance abuse and increase the awareness of the benefits of a drug-free Pennsylvania through media-related efforts that may include public service announcements, public awareness campaigns, and media literacy. Special consideration will be given to projects that focus on the use of opiates within the Commonwealth.
    • Category Three funds are intended to educate employers, unions, and employees about the dangers of substance use in the workplace and provide comprehensive drug-free workplace programs and technical resources for businesses, including, but not limited to, training for working parents to keep their children drug-free.

For questions, email PCCD with the specific funding opportunity in the subject line.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) recently updated its Department Funding web page to include documents outlining how the department is spending its funding by source, including:

  • Supplemental Funding;
  • Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant Supplemental Funding;
  • American Rescue Plan;
  • State Opioid Response II;
  • McKinsey Settlement; and
  • Medical Marijuana Revenue.

DDAP will update this page as new funding sources are announced.

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Following the Commonwealth Court’s decision to deny the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania’s (DASPOP) request for a preliminary injunction against key pieces of the ASAM transition, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) participated in RCPA’s Drug and Alcohol Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14. You can read the court’s opinion here.

Despite establishing a deadline by which providers must align with the ASAM Criteria, including the “PA-Specific Alignment Requirements,” and in particular referencing the changes in IOP ratio, daily therapeutic hours, and credentialing as “PA-Specific Alignment Requirements” of the ASAM transition on its website, DDAP argued in court that these are “guidelines,” not requirements. The challenge for providers, however, is that the single county authorities (SCAs) and behavioral health managed care organizations (BHMCOs) have signaled all along that they will require providers to comply with these pieces of the ASAM transition through contracts. Now, DDAP’s pivot to calling them “guidelines” has created confusion among providers and payers. RCPA has contacted each of the five BHMCOs and the Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA) to ask whether DDAP’s testimony and the court’s decision will change their approach to enforcing the guidelines/mandates in question through their contracts. We will pass along any relevant information we may receive. In addition, DDAP told us it will be issuing guidance and clarification on these guidelines right before or after the new year.

At RCPA’s D&A Committee meeting last week, DDAP Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico explained how ASAM explicitly defines its criteria versus DDAP’s interpretation of that criteria and what it is now calling recommended guidelines. For example, while the ASAM Criteria explicitly calls for daily clinical hours, DDAP has established six to eight daily therapeutic hours as the application of ASAM’s criteria in Pennsylvania. As DDAP has communicated all along, Deputy Secretary DiDomenico explained that if providers can demonstrate the ability to provide individualized care in ways other than what DDAP “recommends,” it will consider those.

DDAP also said at the meeting that nothing has changed with the court’s decision, which we would interpret to mean that unless a provider has been approved to provide care in a way other than what DDAP recommends, providers must be aligned with their guidelines by Jan. 1, 2022. For example, unless a provider has been approved to provide intensive outpatient services at a ratio other than 1:15, that provider must meet the 1:15 guideline. DDAP also said at the meeting that it is working with the MCOs and SCAs to develop a monitoring tool with the goal being development of a collaborative monitoring process so that providers will not need to be monitored for ASAM alignment by multiple payers. Deputy Secretary DiDomenico also said that monitoring of ASAM compliance would focus on ASAM Criteria as explicitly written in the ASAM Criteria 3rd Edition.

Lastly, House Bill 1995, which would have forced DDAP to go through the regulatory review process any time it made changes that affect licensed addiction treatment providers, has stalled in the Senate. After sailing out of the House of Representatives on a timeline that would have enabled it to pass the Senate and land on the governor’s desk before Jan. 1, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee did not take up the bill for vote. With the General Assembly recessed through the end of the year, there is no possibility of HB 1995 providing relief to providers on the confusion around these ASAM guidelines before Jan. 1.

Given the contradictions and confusion, we will share any guidance we get from DDAP as soon as we get it. Please contact RCPA Drug and Alcohol Division Director Jason Snyder with any questions.

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The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will provide an update on the settlement with opioid distributors and manufacturers. The update, to be provided by David Wade, senior advisor to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, will include prospective strategies for distributing settlement funds as well as an opportunity for questions. The first of the updates will be held Wednesday, Dec. 22, for the Southeast Region. See below for links to the virtual meetings and dates of all meetings.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) will host the virtual events, which are intended for county and local elected officials, county drug and alcohol authorities, and for DDAP stakeholders including prevention, recovery, and treatment service providers. The event is not intended for media.

Southeast
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021
Time: 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Counties: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 267-332-8737,,570057258#  United States, Philadelphia
Phone Conference ID: 570 057 258#

Northeast
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Counties: Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, Wyoming

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 267-332-8737,,644827206#  United States, Philadelphia
Phone Conference ID: 644 827 206#

Northwest
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Counties: Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Warren, Venango

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 267-332-8737,,315043471#  United States, Philadelphia
Phone Conference ID: 315 043 471#

Southwest
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022
Time: 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Greene, Fayette, Lawrence, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 267-332-8737,,762414537#  United States, Philadelphia
Phone Conference ID: 762 414 537#

Central
Date: Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022
Time: 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Counties: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, York

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 267-332-8737,,24967752#  United States, Philadelphia
Phone Conference ID: 249 677 52#

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ (DDAP’s) regulations governing recovery houses, Standards for Drug and Alcohol Recovery House Licensure (28 Pa. Code Chapter 717), took effect on Saturday, December 11. DDAP is now accepting licensing applications for recovery houses.

Drug and alcohol recovery houses must have a license to receive referrals from state agencies or state-funded facilities or to receive federal or state funding to deliver recovery house services. In addition, Act 59 imposes two additional requirements on referrals to recovery houses, including:

  1. Persons whose treatment is funded with state or federal funds shall only to be referred to licensed recovery houses; and
  2. Courts shall give first consideration to licensed recovery houses when residential recommendations are made for individuals under their supervision.

Recovery houses that require a license must obtain licensure within 180 days after the regulations have been published, which will be June 9, 2022.

Recovery house operators with questions about the licensure process may contact the Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensure at 717-783-8675.

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Image by succo from Pixabay

Today the Commonwealth Court denied the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania’s (DASPOP) request to temporarily stop portions of Pennsylvania’s transition to the ASAM Criteria, including the 1:15 counselor-to-client ratio for intensive outpatient care, the daily therapeutic hours in residential levels of care, and staff credentialing.

RCPA will make more information available as it assesses the court’s decision.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has extended the deadline to apply for provider stabilization grant funding to Friday, December 17. The original deadline was today, December 8. The extension is to provide additional time for all interested providers to gather the required information.

DDAP is making $10 million in grant funding available for stabilization payments to substance use disorder treatment providers in order to assist with pandemic-related expenses. For more information, including how to apply, visit DDAP’s website.