Mental Health

On Friday (September 18), Stan Mrozowski informed RCPA staff and others that he had relinquished his position as Director of the Children’s Bureau at the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). Dr. Mrozowski noted that “there have been discussions recently in the Department of Human Services about the role of the Bureau and the decision has been made to make a change.” In his farewell message, Stan noted that “I leave with immense satisfaction about the many accomplishments over the past 12 years during which I have been the Director of the Children’s Bureau. I have very few regrets – mostly only that we did not do even more to help children and families in the Commonwealth. I also leave with appreciation for having worked with so many fine people who truly care about youth and families. I will truly miss the friendship and the collegiality that has made the work so rewarding.” RCPA will follow up with OMHSAS leadership to explore and report on any other changes that are planned for their management of children’s behavioral health services in the future.

The 2015 Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is September 13-19. At RCPA’s request, Governor Wolf has issued a Pennsylvania proclamation in recognition of direct support workers. In addition, RCPA members that employ direct support professionals (DSPs) in the intellectual, developmental, and other disability service systems, are asked to contact local media outlets and county governments to generate coverage of DSP Week. It is critical that community providers remind the public of the important work these staff members provide.

This national advocacy campaign is coordinated by ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources), which has resources

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) had been exploring the idea of moving the dual eligible population (Medicare and Medicaid) into the newly proposed managed long term care structure. On August 20, the decision to retain the carve-out for behavioral health services for this population was announced by DHS. This would have specifically affected many of the seriously mentally ill (SMI) population.

The decision came after a careful review of stakeholder and public comments, detailed analysis, and an understanding of the quality behavioral health HealthChoices program that is in place. DHS will continue to explore ways to further collaborate and integrate physical health with the current behavioral health HealthChoices program as the process moves forward.

On May 29, the Department of Human Services released a request for information (RFI) to help guide the department’s planning process for the release of a new procurement for the provision of managed care services for physical health. RCPA submitted comments and recommendations to the department in response to the RFI. Secretary Dallas has worked to be transparent during this process and has published a summary of some of the most frequently provided comments in the responses to the RFI. He has also identified some of the changes that the department is considering for the new HealthChoices physical health managed care procurement. This list is not intended to be final and merely reflects some of the ideas that are being considered at this time. Because many of the comments and related action plans communicated by Secretary Dallas address integrated physical and behavioral health care, data and information sharing, service system simplification, and other initiatives that have implications for RCPA members, this interim report is being shared at this time. Please submit any additional comments on the concepts included in this summary, or an area that is not listed in the document, via email by August 10.