Authors Posts by Sharon Militello

Sharon Militello

avatar
120 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
As communications director, Sharon Militello is responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of the association website and social media pages; editing and preparation of communications; preparing and running webcasts; cultivating media relations; and maintaining relationships with technology support vendors.

0 44

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is concerned about the rise in hepatitis C cases in Pennsylvania (PA), particularly among persons who inject drugs (IDU).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing for those who currently inject any type of drug (Opioids, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, etc.) or have injected drugs in the past, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago.  PA has experienced a dramatic increase in hepatitis C infections in individuals with injection opioid and/or heroin addiction who are 18 to 35 years of age.  DDAP recommends that all licensed drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities perform a risk assessment for HCV and refer to medical or community based providers for necessary screening/testing as appropriate.

 

Because many individuals you serve are at high risk for hepatitis C, you play an important role in combating this public health issue.  If you have current practices that you believe are effective in combating this disease, we would appreciate you sharing these with us so we can promote them across the field.  Please send this information to DDAP Treatment, Prevention & Intervention Bureau Director, Angela Episale, at aepisale@pa.gov.   

 

Through improved identification and treatment of individuals with hepatitis C, we can begin to reduce the spread of this disease.  Please remember to obtain consumer consent and maintain confidentiality when sharing test results with the consumers’ primary care physicians or other physical health specialists involved in hepatitis treatment.  In some cases, you may be able to utilize a Qualified Service Organization Agreement (QSOA) to permit the exchange of patient identifying information.  If you have questions about when this is possible, please contact our Division of Licensing Acting Director, Gary Stauffer, at gstauffer@pa.gov.

 

For more information regarding hepatitis C testing of IDU clientele, please contact:

 

Charles Howsare, MD, MPH

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator

PA Department of Health

717-787-3350

chowsare@pa.gov

 

Thank you for your critical assistance in controlling hepatitis C in PA.

 

Contact Person: Angela Episale, 717-736-7438

0 1614

On Thursday, December 10, 2015, from 12:30–1:30 pm, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will conduct a special open door forum to provide a summary of the dry run for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) on all-cause unplanned readmissions for 30-day post discharge from IRFs. To participate in the call, dial: 800-837-1935; conference ID: 93892614. Prior to the call, the presentation slides will be posted to the IRF Quality Reporting Spotlight & Announcements page on the CMS website.

0 1713

Today, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) sent out a press release, stating that the organization has authorized their counsel to explore options to end the current six month state budget impasse, and to prevent future threats to key human services programs provided at the county level. CCAP will have legal counsel research potential litigation options against the Commonwealth regarding the release of state and federal monies for essential services.

RCPA Input Session for Medical Necessity Guidelines for BHRS including Applied Behavioral Analysis

In August 2015, OMHSAS convened a small, time-limited clinical work group to assist in the development of new Medical Necessity Guidelines (MNG) for children and adolescents with ASD. The guidelines are specific to Applied Behavioral Analysis within the home and community based services level of care. The work group is seeking stakeholder feedback on preliminary MNG content prior to issuing recommendations to OMHSAS.

OMHSAS will present an update with Dennis Marion via webcast on Monday, November 23, 2015 from 9:30 – 10:30 am. OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Marion will provide RCPA members with updates from OMHSAS;

0 1754

As a reminder to members, inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) quality reporting program (QRP) data collected between April 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015 must be submitted by Sunday, November 15, 2015. Additional information, including a list of the quality measure data that is due, is available on the IRF Quality Reporting Spotlight and Announcements web page.

0 1656

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently identified a system’s error when calculating payments for inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) providers. To correct this error, a special wage index under the fiscal year 2016 IRF prospective payment system (PPS) will need to be implemented. This system fix will be implemented sometime around October 26, 2015. Providers’ Medicare administrative contractor will mass adjust affected IRF PPS claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2015. No provider action is required.

Dr. Levine is currently physician general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. A graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University of School of Medicine, Dr. Levine has worked in the field of adolescent medicine since 1988. As Physician General, Dr. Levine advises the governor and the secretary of health on health policy, and participates in the decision-making process of other executive departments on medical and public health-related issues.

At the Department of Health, Dr. Levine has focused on Pennsylvania’s need to increase its childhood vaccination rates. The Department of Health’s “Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.” campaign urges all children to be fully vaccinated before they start school. Vaccines are among the most effective and safe tools available for preventing harm and death to children. Under Governor Wolf’s leadership, the Department of Health is working to ensure that we not only have ‘schools that teach’ but ‘healthy schools that teach’ in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Levine also serves as a lead in the Commonwealth’s efforts to combat the largest public health crisis in PA, the prevalence of opioid overdoses and deaths. Every day, Pennsylvania loses at least seven citizens to overdose deaths. Earlier this year, Dr. Levine signed a standing order to ensure that first responders, such as the Pennsylvania State Police and municipal fire companies, can carry and administer naloxone, a life-saving over-dose reversal medication. Dr. Levine worked with expert stakeholders to create opioid prescribing guidelines for dentists and doctors. She continues to support the work by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, to ensure that treatment is available and opioid dependent individuals receive a facilitated referral, called a ‘warm hand-off,’ to recovery treatment.

Additionally, Dr. Levine will continue to utilize her position as physician general to call attention to the prevalence of eating disorders, the importance of suicide prevention among young people, and the significance of successful adolescent sexual health programs.