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Drug & Alcohol

The Department of Health (DOH) today shared its weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data and encouraged Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app, as more than 790,000 have already done to aid in contact tracing efforts. There are 40 counties in the substantial level of COVID-19 transmission rate.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable, and efficient.

Frequently asked questions can be found here.

The Commonwealth recently announced (access the press release here) the selection of a vendor for the Resource Information and Services Enterprise – or RISE PA – the upcoming statewide resource and referral tool. When fully implemented, anyone in Pennsylvania will be able to access this tool from their personal computers, tablets, and mobile devices to find information about services and resources and self-refer to participating social services agencies.

RISE PA will also allow service providers to assess the needs of individuals during a physician’s office or emergency department visit, when receiving case management services, or seeking assistance from a community organization, among others. Providers may refer their clients to agencies and be notified of the outcome of their referrals through the system.

RISE PA Stakeholder Webinars:

Lehigh/Capital Zone – Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry, and York counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 12, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Southeast Zone – Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 16, 2021 – 1:00 PM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Southwest Zone – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Green, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 19, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New West Zone – Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 23, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New East Zone – Bradford, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties
Please register for RISE PA Stakeholder Webinar on Mar 30, 2021 – 10:00 AM EST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed another renewal of the state’s disaster declaration tied to the coronavirus pandemic, even as state lawmakers hope to curtail some of his broad powers in emergencies. On Friday, Wolf signed a 90-day extension of the disaster emergency, his fourth renewal of the proclamation. He signed the first order on March 6, the day the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Pennsylvania. View full article from PennLive.

3D illustration of "TELEHEALTH" title on medical documents. Medical concept.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), with support from the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), is happy to release the OMHSAS Telehealth Survey Report. This telehealth survey was conducted in the Spring of 2020, during the initial onset of COVID-19. The results of the Telehealth Survey have allowed OMHSAS to hear directly from stakeholders and to better understand their experiences with – and access to – telehealth during these tumultuous and difficult times. The report is also available on OMHSAS’s Telehealth web page.

If you would like to contact OMHSAS about this report, please feel free to email them directly or contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Deadline, as Letters on a Clock

RCPA has teamed with Woods Services to further its strategic message and support of the telehealth expansion and the building of a sustainable service platform. The project goal is to utilize the information on the intersects of service delivery and payor dynamics as well as the practitioner and client engagement data to support our efforts on the federal and state levels.

We are requesting that our members complete this brief telehealth survey that will provide our first cut of the data that will go through analysis. Your agency’s individual responses will be confidential, and only aggregated information will be shared as part of the report. The survey will remain open for responses until February 22, 2021.

This survey has been expanded across the continuum of RCPA policy and human services, and we respectfully request that one survey be completed for each of those program areas in which you are providing telehealth.

The data we collect will be instrumental in our efforts with the Department of Human Services (DHS), managed care organizations, and other critical decision makers to ensure that telehealth has a place in your continuum of care.

If you have questions regarding the survey, please call the principal investigator, Dr. Scott Spreat, at 215-801-2401. All other inquires can be directed to RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

Thank you.

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Rite Aid Pharmacy Partnership with Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Providers
The Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services, Health, and Drug and Alcohol Programs have established a partnership with Rite Aid to ensure providers of congregate care settings throughout the commonwealth have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The partnership is a result of a survey sent to DDAP residential treatment providers on January 26, 2021, to better understand how many providers were still in need of establishing a partnership with a vaccine provider in Pennsylvania.

If you are a residential treatment provider still in need of establishing a partnership, please let us know by contacting DDAP’s Dan Miller. If your facility meets the qualifications to participate in this partnership, we will connect you with a Rite Aid location who can come to your residential facility to vaccinate your residents and staff. To identify a vaccine provider in your local area, visit this web page.

Your Turn Eligibility Tool
If you or your staff are unsure if you qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during phase 1a of Pennsylvania’s vaccine distribution plan, the Wolf Administration recently released the Your Turn tool to identify eligibility and provide notifications when you, or a loved one, are eligible for vaccinations.

Vaccine Supply Remains Limited
It is important to note that the vaccine supply is still very limited throughout the commonwealth and we ask for your patience as more vaccine becomes available. For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine and Pennsylvania’s vaccine distribution plan, visit the Department of Health’s website.

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Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova from Pexels

The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) has asked the National Governors’ Association to encourage the country’s governors to include opioid treatment programs (OTPs) in the first round of Covid vaccination distribution. AATOD is also recommending that OTPs, which operate under the oversight of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and state opioid treatment authorities, including the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), get access to Covid vaccinations to inoculate their patients. Many patients treated in OTPs are medically vulnerable with medical co-morbidities. More information can be found here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today provided an update on Pennsylvania’s progress administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities eligible in Phase 1A. To date, more than 193,000 residents and staff of nursing facilities, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose through the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program. Additionally, nearly 10,000 residents and staff of other long-term and congregate care facilities licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) have received their first vaccine dose through the partnership with Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid, and this partnership is being expanded to include residential drug and alcohol treatment providers licensed by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) who identified as needing a vaccine provider.

“Vaccinating residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities – people who are often most at-risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if exposed – protects our most vulnerable residents who are not leaving their facilities and homes themselves but are most affected by rates of COVID-19 in our broader community,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “This progress is a much-needed reprieve for long-term care facilities that have been particularly challenged by COVID-19 and community transmission, and it’s a line of defense for our health care system as a whole.”

Pennsylvanians living in these facilities eligible for the federal program are receiving vaccines from CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. As of February 19 all skilled nursing facilities have had their first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses, CVS has completed 100 percent of the second dose clinics and Walgreens is working to vaccinate the remaining second dose clinics before all nursing facilities are complete. More than 70 percent of personal care homes and assisted living facilities covered through the partnership have received their first round of vaccine doses, and CVS and Walgreens expect to finish first rounds before the end of the month. To date, the partnership has administered:

Vaccinations as of Feb. 19 First Doses Second Doses Total Doses
CVS Pharmacy 161,935 86,567 248,502
Walgreens 31,358 9,788 41,146

 

“Through the work of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership’s (FPP) we are able to ensure every nursing home resident and staff member who wants a vaccine can receive it – and we are proud of the progress thus far,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As nursing homes finish administering the remaining second dose clinics, we know that when the federal government’s mission for the FPP program is complete we will remain committed to getting vaccine to incoming residents and staff in the future. The Department of Health and long term care facilities remain vigilant and will continue to vaccinate through existing relationships with health care providers, just as with routine medication and flu vaccinations.”

Other long-term and congregate care settings included in Phase 1A of Pennsylvania’s Interim Vaccination Plan, including group homes for people with disabilities; residential treatment facilities and long-term structured residences for adults with behavioral health needs; and private psychiatric hospitals, are not included in the federal partnership but are still in the Phase 1A due to the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in congregate settings.

These settings serve people who have co-occurring medical needs that put them at higher risk of severe cases and death if they contract the virus. Some personal care homes and assisted living facilities also were not enrolled in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program and may be served by the Rite Aid partnership for DHS-licensed facilities.

Vaccine clinics for these facilities are being held on-site for facilities where people served are not able to travel off-site. Additional clinics are being scheduled at centralized locations when possible to accommodate more facilities and community group homes, which are typically small, private residences. To date, the partnership has administered:

Facilities with First Doses Administered Total Doses Administered to Date Facilities Scheduled for Vaccination Expected Doses through Scheduled Clinics
Office of Developmental Programs Facilities 1,512 4,978 102 753
Office of Long-Term Living Facilities 83 3,539 32 1,920
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Facilities 13 1,342 13 988

 

Nearly 9,900 people have been vaccinated so far through this partnership. Approximately 3,660 people living and working in 147 DHS-licensed facilities and group homes are currently scheduled to be vaccinated through this partnership. Expected reach of this partnership has shifted as some facilities have ended up receiving vaccinations through other contacts.

Additionally, the Rite Aid partnership is expanding to vaccinate residential drug and alcohol treatment providers licensed by DDAP who identified as needing an established partnership with a vaccine provider through a survey administered by the department. Approximately 450 people will be vaccinated at 12 scheduled clinics at residential treatment providers where people served are not able to travel off site through early March.

“Often, residential drug and alcohol treatment providers are forgotten among other congregate care settings, however some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens are receiving treatment for the disease of addiction in these facilities,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “The Rite Aid partnership is another tool in our COVID-19 toolbox to minimize community transmission and ensure all health care providers have established partnerships with vaccine providers.”

Learn more about the partnership with Rite Aid and view more data here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Every day tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

  • This week, a total of 326,850 doses will have been allocated through February 20:
    • 183,575 first doses will have been allocated this week.
    • 143,275 second doses will have been allocated this week.
  • To date, of the 2,766,400 doses allocated through February 20, we have administered 1,867,240 doses total through February 18:
    • First doses, 86 percent (1,387,443 administered of 1,610,175 allocated)
    • Second doses, 41 percent (479,797 administered of 1,156,225 allocated) 

Vaccine Order signed Feb. 12
Last week, Sec. Beam signed an order outlining appropriate steps and recognized best practices to ensure vaccine providers deliver 80 percent of doses within seven days of receipt, provide a phone number where people can speak to an individual to make an appointment and report race and ethnicity data for everyone vaccinated.

Your Turn tool
Last week, Pennsylvania launched the Your Turn tool to help everyone understand where they fall in the vaccination prioritization effort. The Your Turn tool directs eligible residents to the department’s vaccine provider map online to locate a trusted local provider and schedule a vaccination appointment. Your Turn also allows people to register to receive updates about vaccine distribution and allows the department to let you know when it is your turn to get vaccinated.

In addition to the Your Turn tool and while vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

Community preparedness and procedures materials

MEDIA CONTACTS: Barry Ciccocioppo, Health – ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov
Erin James, DHS – ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov
Rachel Kostelac, DDAP – 717-547-3314