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Authors Posts by Jason Snyder

Jason Snyder

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On Tuesday, August 2, RCPA member Pyramid Healthcare joined the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) to encourage use of the free and confidential Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards (ATLAS) platform in Pennsylvania.

ATLAS evaluates addiction treatment facilities’ use of evidence-based best practices based on the Shatterproof National Principles of Care, includes an assessment to understand the appropriate level of care, and offers an easy-to-use dashboard to allow those in need and their loved ones to search for and compare facilities using criteria such as location, services offered, and insurance accepted so they can find the best treatment for their unique needs. ATLAS is fully available in English and Spanish.

Founded in 1999 with headquarters in Altoona, Pyramid Healthcare is recognized as one of the largest, full-continuum providers of substance use treatment for adults and adolescents with 31 program locations in the commonwealth and 85 across seven eastern states.

“As a participating provider, Pyramid Healthcare proudly joins DDAP in support and promotion of ATLAS as an invaluable resource designed to bridge the gap between treatment access and client engagement within the commonwealth by helping individuals navigate available behavioral health treatment options that best fit their unique recovery needs,” said Jonathan Wolf, CEO of Pyramid Healthcare.

A multimedia package from the event is available online.

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The Wolf Administration on Thursday announced the expansion of Acting Secretary of Health and Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson’s naloxone standing order to now include ZIMHI, a 5 milligram (mg) intra-muscular injection device that comes as a single-dose pre-filled syringe or a carton containing two cases of pre-filled syringes. Residents can present a copy of the standing order at their local pharmacy to obtain life-saving naloxone.

Read the full press release.

On July 7, 2022, Gov. Wolf signed Act 33 of 2022, which amends Act 63 of 1972 as it pertains to confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records. Act 33 incorporates federal confidential protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 42 CFR Part 2. Act 33, which took effect immediately, prohibits the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) from promulgating or enforcing a regulation that restricts any disclosure of records or information that is permitted by Act 33. DDAP is currently reviewing Act 33 to determine next steps as a regulatory agency and will be providing additional information and details on the DDAP website in the near future.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) is studying the availability of providers in various specialties, including behavioral health, and geographic areas. This is an opportunity for behavioral health providers, including drug and alcohol and mental health providers, to share their challenges in finding and employing specialists required by state regulations and payer contracts and the subsequent access issues that result.

The goal of the study is to understand areas of need based on the current availability of providers to accept new patients, the amount of time it takes to get an appointment with these providers, and the network adequacy considerations based on the findings. PID is seeking public comment from organizations, consumer advocates, providers, and consumers about their experience with getting an appointment or finding available specialists.

On behalf of its behavioral health provider members, RCPA is compiling comments to submit to PID, although members who prefer to submit their comments and experience on their own are encouraged to do so. Providers wanting to submit comments as part of an RCPA response can send them to Drug and Alcohol Division Director Jason Snyder. PID will accept comments until Friday, August 5, so please submit your comments to RCPA by Friday, July 29.

More information can be found in PID’s published Notice for Public Comment.

Image by succo from Pixabay

The Pennsylvania Senate today passed HB 1563 and HB 1561, sending the substance use disorder and mental health confidentiality-related bills to Gov. Wolf to sign into law. He is expected to sign both.

Both bills align Pennsylvania’s confidentiality laws with federal confidentiality laws, including 42 CFR and HIPAA. Barring a Gov. Wolf veto of HB 1563, Pennsylvania’s 4 Pa Code 255.5 will be eliminated.

Advocates of improved care coordination and integration have long pointed to 4 Pa Code 255.5 as a barrier, citing the limited amount of information allowed to be shared and the few entities with whom it could be shared, even with patient consent.