Authors Posts by Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Mr. Phillips is responsible to assist the association with health policy, which primarily includes member communication and advocacy with the Governor’s office, General Assembly, and state regulatory agencies. Mr. Phillips was most recently at the Pennsylvania Department of State as Director of Legislative Affairs.

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Life Unites Us: Language & Stigma – Why Our Words Matter

January 26, 2020 at 3:00 pm

In this webinar, participants will:

  • Better understand the impact that language has on stigma and why our words matter;
  • Gain expert insight and learn about tools to combat stigma; and
  • Connect with committed individuals and peer organizations across Pennsylvania.

If you are interested in attending this webinar, please register here. You can learn more about the webinar through this flyer.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

January 14, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – As part of the Wolf Administration’s effort to roll out the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Tom Wolf has approved a temporary waiver that allows pharmacists licensed by the Department of State to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order when vaccines are available to the public. Adding pharmacists to the health-care professionals administering COVID-19 vaccines expands options for Pennsylvanians to be immunized once the vaccine is widely available from the federal government.

“Pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns and technicians, are critical partners in the commonwealth’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Many Pennsylvanians will go to their local pharmacy for vaccination. This waiver will enable pharmacies to offer the COVID-19 vaccines without a physician’s order.”

Pennsylvania pharmacists, who meet certain training and other requirements, can obtain authorization to administer injectable medications, biologicals, and immunizations. If a pharmacist has that authorization, he or she can administer any immunization, including COVID-19 immunizations, to persons 18 years of age or older.

Historically, some pharmacies have entered into arrangements with physicians in order to receive reimbursement for flu shots and other vaccinations. Many pharmacies, however, do not have an arrangement with a physician, and even those that do have not had time to incorporate the COVID-19 vaccination into that relationship. This waiver would allow pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccine without such a provider agreement.

“We are working on ways to increase access to the vaccine, and pharmacists already play an important role in making sure Pennsylvanians are protected,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians continue to play an essential role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by masking up, washing up, and socially distancing.”

This waiver applies solely to COVID-19 vaccines for the duration of the Governor’s Disaster Emergency Declaration plus 90 days.

For more information about the Department of State’s COVID-19 response, visit the Department of State website.


Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621

April Hutcheson

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Hello Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Stakeholders,

I hope you are well, safe, and healthy as we start the new year.

I would like to share updates on the commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccination process as well as provide tips on how you can prepare your organizations to receive the vaccine.

Vaccination Process

Last Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) released the fourth version of its COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan. The plan is both fluid and flexible to meet the latest federal guidance and recommendations. It will continue to receive updates. DOH released this version with a feedback form that invites public comment on the plan. This feedback will help inform Pennsylvania’s vaccination planning.

Pennsylvania continues to work its way through the initial phase of vaccine distribution – Phase 1A. This phase is focused on frontline, health-care personnel, emergency medical first responders, and long-term care facility residents. The time it will take to complete this phase is influenced by factors such as:

  • The limited amount of available vaccine;
  • Which vaccines are available;
  • The storage capabilities of private/public partners; and
  • Pennsylvania’s allocation from the federal government.

Many of DDAP’s stakeholders will be in the next phase of vaccinations, Phase 1B. While the above factors make it difficult to determine when or where that phase will start, there are several things you can do to prepare your organizations.

How to Prepare

Identify one nearby hospital or health-care system enrolled to provide the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Monday, the Department of Health launched its Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map. This map shows all entities that are enrolled to provide the vaccine. Using this map, you should identify a nearby location where your staff can get the vaccine at the appropriate time.
  • The map identifies contact information for the specific location’s vaccine liaison. Connect with the individual to ensure that you have all necessary information to prepare your staff.

Prioritize Staff

  • Due to vaccine availability, your entire staff might not be able to receive vaccine at the same time. Be prepared to prioritize those staff who are at the greatest risk for exposure.
  • Encourage staff to visit their primary care physicians to review their medical history, ensuring that they are eligible for vaccination.

Prepare Necessary Documentation for Staff

  • Staff will have to provide proof of occupation to receive the vaccine. This could include a state license or certification, letter from their employer on organization letterhead, facility identification/security badge, or other proof of occupation. Ensure that these documents are ready.

Stay Informed

  • For the most up-to-date information on Pennsylvania’s vaccine distribution, I encourage each of you to regularly visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine portion of their website as well as their news section, which provides updates on how much vaccine and where the vaccine has been received in Pennsylvania. Feel free to utilize the COVID-19 vaccine toolkit, which provides vaccine development background, facts, and graphics for your facilities and social media channels.

DDAP’s Commitment

DDAP’s commitment to each of you is to be transparent throughout the vaccine planning process. We are working closely with the Department of Health to provide information to you as quickly as possible, but I ask for your continued patience as the logistics are developed and finalized. Thank you for your continued patience as more information becomes available and for your continued partnership in ensuring that all members of Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol system remain safe.

Questions can be forwarded to Derrick Pelletier.

Be well,

Jen Smith
DDAP Secretary

Empty vintage congress hall with seats and microphones.

Posted on January 13, 2021

(Harrisburg) – Today, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-34) announced the chairs for each of the 22 Senate Standing Committees for the 2021–2022 Session.

“I am proud to announce this session’s standing committee chairs,” Senator Corman said. “These members will continue to provide careful and considerate oversight as we delve into the issues before us in the 2021–2022 legislative session.”

Senate Standing Committee Chair Assignments (* denotes new committee chairs):

  • Aging and Youth – Senator Judy Ward (R-30)
  • Agriculture and Rural Affairs – Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. (R-47)
  • Appropriations – Senator Pat Browne (R-16)
  • Banking and Insurance – Senator John DiSanto (R-15) *
  • Communications and Technology – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28)
  • Community, Economic, and Recreational Development – Senator John Yudichak (I-14) *
  • Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure – Senator Robert Tomlinson (R-6)
  • Education – Senator Scott Martin (R-13) *
  • Environmental Resources and Energy – Senator Gene Yaw (R-23)
  • Finance – Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21)
  • Game and Fisheries – Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49)
  • Health and Human Services – Senator Michele Brooks (R-50)
  • Intergovernmental Operations – Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33)
  • Judiciary – Senator Lisa Baker (R-20)
  • Labor and Industry – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46)
  • Law and Justice – Senator Mike Regan (R-31) *
  • Local Government – Senator Cris Dush (R-25) *
  • Rules and Executive Nominations – Senator Kim Ward (R-39) *
  • State Government – Senator David G. Argall (R-29) *
  • Transportation – Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) *
  • Urban Affairs and Housing – Senator Joe Pittman (R-41)
  • Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness – Senator Pat Stefano (R-32) *

CONTACT: Jennifer Kocher 717-787-6725