Drug & Alcohol

From Alkermes:

“Alkermes is pleased to announce a new competitive grant program. Alkermes Inspiration Grants™ were developed to underscore our ongoing commitment to support the comprehensive needs of people affected by mental health and substance use disorders. Through this initiative, Alkermes will award up to $1 million in grants for the development or expansion of innovative programs to support the mental health and addiction communities in two key areas:

  • Improving or enhancing systems of care
  • Integrating the perspective of people affected by mental illness or addiction into drug development or care delivery

For more information on the ALKERMES INSPIRATION GRANTS program or to apply, please visit their web page or email.

The submission period will be open from September 12 to October 7 and grants will be awarded to selected organizations in November 2016. Eligible nonprofit organizations may apply for grants of up to $25,000 (Emergence Grant) or up to $100,000 (Innovation Grant). Multiple submissions are permitted.

Winning programs will be selected by Alkermes in partnership with a group of external reviewers who represent the perspectives of the community. These reviewers include a patient advocate, a representative from the criminal justice system, a person in recovery, and a caregiver. Proposals will be evaluated based on a standard set of review criteria, which will include the quality of the application, creativity of the solution, and the organization’s infrastructure and past program success. Funding will be distributed at the end of 2016.”

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DDAP has announced that the first of the six HR 590 public hearings will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm in Philadelphia (location TBD). DDAP has identified geographic regions in which to hold the hearings according to the health districts; the September 7 hearing will cover the following counties: Schuylkill, Berks, Lancaster, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks.

DDAP has requested that representatives of the provider organizations serving on the task force assist by identifying one individual employed by an actual treatment provider from each respective membership organization to represent them at this regional hearing. Charlie Folks of Eagleville Hospital will be representing RCPA. Full testimony will be submitted ahead of time in writing.

The DDAP announcement also stated: “Please be aware that anyone is invited to attend the public hearings and may participate in the public comment portion of the agenda. However, these identified individuals will be a part of the planned agenda.” All RCPA members in this region are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing and submit testimony. As additional hearings are scheduled, RCPA will be contacting members in those areas.

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) sends a call to all inpatient, detox, and residential treatment providers in a recent notice: “The current opioid addiction and overdose death epidemic has created great demand for and strain on our treatment system. To more effectively use the treatment beds available in the Pennsylvania drug and alcohol treatment system, [DDAP] has developed the PA Open Beds tool. This tool allows licensed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment providers to voluntarily share their bed availability as well as view bed availability of other providers. The PA Open Beds tool is also intended as a resource for those who refer patients (e.g., single county authorities, outpatient treatment providers, certified recovery specialists) to inpatient treatment.

This system is voluntary and has been developed to improve the referral process, ensuring more immediate and appropriate referrals to detox and residential treatment for individuals in need of it. DDAP is requesting that each licensed non-hospital detox 3A and inpatient residential 3B or 3C treatment providers register to access and share information on available beds through this new system. All users of the site must first download and complete the registration form.

Only licensed inpatient treatment providers will be able to enter bed information into the site. All other users will have read-only access. Once registered, licensed inpatient treatment providers will be able to add and update their bed availability as often as they choose. All users will be able to view bed availability as well as receive email notifications daily, weekly, or immediately when the site is updated with new bed availability information. Please email for further assistance.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has convened a task force to examine existing laws governing access to drug and alcohol treatment and identify ways to help consumers access treatment. In addition to holding a series of public meetings, the task force will also accept and consider public comment beginning today. House Resolution 590 charges DDAP with establishing and administering the task force to review compliance with all current relevant laws, regulations, and agreements.

The multi-agency initiative includes representation on the task force from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health (DOH) and Human Services (DHS), the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID), addiction treatment programs, patient advocates, and parents and loved ones of those with addictions. Members of the task force include:

  • Brett Lechleitner, president, Pennsylvania Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence;
  • Lynn Cooper, director, Drug & Alcohol Division, Western Region Representative, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association;
  • Deb Beck, president, Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania;
  • Michele Denk, executive director, Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA);
  • Marie Plumer, Single County Authority administrator, Venango County; treasurer, PACDAA;
  • Beverly Haberle, executive director, The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.; project director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organization/Achieving Community Together;
  • Bill Stauffer, executive director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Alliance;
  • Gina Riordan, member, Pennsylvania Parent Advisory Council;
  • Robin Horston Spencer, executive director, Message Carriers of Pennsylvania;
  • Honorable Michael Barrasse, chairperson, DWI Court Task Force; judge – DWI Court, Scranton;
  • Jeff Hanley, co-vice president and board member, Commonwealth Prevention Alliance;
  • Jessica Altman, chief of staff, PID;
  • Lauren Hughes, deputy secretary for Health Innovation, DOH; and
  • Jean Rush, division director, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Bureau of Policy and Program Development, DHS.

The task force will also hold a series of public hearings across the Commonwealth beginning in late summer or early fall. The schedule of public hearings will be announced when it is finalized. A report detailing the task force’s findings as well as recommendations to address identified barriers to treatment is due to the General Assembly in May of 2017.

On July 28, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice updating fiscal year (FY) 2017 Medicare payment policies and rates for the Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS). The updates for FY 2017 are summarized below.

Update to IPF Payments: CMS estimates IPF payments to increase by 2.2 percent or $100 million in FY 2017. This amount reflects a 2.8 percent IPF market basket update, minus the productivity adjustment of 0.3 percentage point and minus the 0.2 percentage point reduction required by law, for a net market basket update of 2.3 percent. Additionally, estimated payments to IPFs are reduced by 0.1 percentage point, due to updating the outlier fixed-dollar loss threshold amount.

Wage Index: CMS is updating the IPF wage index for FY 2017. These wage index values will reflect the full adoption of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) area delineations finalized in the FY 2016 IPF PPS final rule, which provided a one-year transition during FY 2016.

As a result of the adoption of the new OMB area delineations in the FY 2016 IPF PPS wage index, some IPF providers had their status changed from rural to urban. In the FY 2016 IPF PPS final rule, CMS implemented a policy to gradually phase out the rural adjustment for these IPFs over three years. These affected IPFs received two-thirds of the rural adjustment in FY 2016, will receive one-third of the rural adjustment for FY 2017, and no rural adjustment for FY 2018 and subsequent years.

The FY 2017 IPF PPS notice can be downloaded from the Federal Register website. It will publish on August 1, 2016.

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DDAP releases recommendations for certifying Recovery Houses. RCPA members are strongly encouraged to provide comments.

“The Certified Drug and Alcohol Recovery Housing Task Force has submitted its recommendations to the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) for certifying recovery houses in the Commonwealth. The draft recommendations are now available online for 30 days for public comment. Following the public comment period and final DDAP review of the recommendations and comments, the department will announce the final standards for recovery housing certification and the process for becoming certified.

Led by PRO-A, Pennsylvania’s statewide alliance of recovery organizations, the Certified Drug and Alcohol Recovery Housing Task Force was charged with developing and submitting recommendations to DDAP on the certification of drug and alcohol recovery houses, taking into consideration related issues such as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, protection of consumers, legitimate community concerns, discriminatory practices, and recovery house owners and operators. The task force included representation from law enforcement, treatment providers, recovery housing operators, county and state drug and alcohol agencies, and advocacy and recovery-support groups.”

A recent edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette focused on the planning efforts by Highmark Insurance to assure health care parity and the economic and health care value of integrated health care.

The Post-Gazette article notes that “behavioral health care is still provided under a “separate and unequal” system, eight years after enactment of a federal law that meant to curb such disparity,” noted Patrick Kennedy in a meeting with a group of Pittsburgh-area health insurance caseworkers. “But that may start to change by fall when employer compliance monitoring is expected to begin for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act,” the 49-year-old former Rhode Island congressman told about 20 case managers at Highmark Health. Mr. Kennedy was upbeat, saying a renaissance was at hand as employers and insurers learn about the cost-saving value of behavioral health coverage. “The business model isn’t there yet. This is going to take time,” he said. “Let’s find the value so it makes sense for insurance companies.”

In a related effort, the Pennsylvania Parity Coalition will be meeting this week with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, to discuss the implementation and monitoring of commercial insurance plans as part of the federal parity requirements in the move toward integrated health care. RCPA, along with leading provider and consumer advocacy groups and representatives of ParityTrack, supported by the Kennedy Forum, make up the core leadership of the Pennsylvania Parity Coalition.