Mental Health

RCPA has been advocating for years for significant changes to the Mental Health Outpatient regulations to help to protect and strengthen mental health outpatient services in Pennsylvania. In 2010, RCPA developed a position paper outlining the major problems in this area. In response to this crisis, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) developed a task force to work on regulation changes. The task force was a broad range of stakeholders which included consumers, counties, providers, and behavioral health managed care organizations. The task force worked for several years to develop a new set of regulations intended to protect and strengthen mental health outpatient services. The job of the task force was complete in 2014 and OMHSAS submitted the revised regulations to internal sources for approval. From beginning to now, it has been six years since we requested help. OMHSAS responded with strong support but the regulations have been held up in various areas of the department and the administration.

We received the following email today from Jean Rush, who has been the lead at OMHSAS since the beginning of the project:

“I wanted to share the current status of the OP regulation package since we drafted the revisions. With the expansion of Medicaid, the department has made changes to our State Plan Amendments for compliance with ACA which have been approved by CMS. This will require some minimal changes to the OP regulation package which were not an issue during our work.

OMHSAS will be making the minimal changes to the regulation package in conjunction with the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP) as the Medicaid Authority for the Commonwealth, as well as our Office of Legal Counsel.

The changes will not impact your recommendations but are necessary for compliance and the ability to complete the IRRC review. We will share the changes with you via email and if there are any areas where input is needed, I will be contacting you to schedule a call to discuss.

We appreciate all of the time and dedication to this project and will continue to work on making the changes to move this regulation package to completion. It is still a priority for the department.”

RCPA is hopeful that a resolution is forthcoming and will keep you all posted.

The Institute for Recovery and Community Integration is working with OMHSAS to create a two day add-on for certified peer specialists on supporting youth/young adults!!

For the needs assessment, three regional focus groups have been or are being held across the Commonwealth. The first was held today in Bellevue, PA. Upcoming meetings are listed below:

  • Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in Scranton from 9:00 – 11:00 am
  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016 in State College from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Youth (ages 16 to 26), family members, service providers, or anyone with an investment in youth are encouraged to come join the conversation. The following question will be discussed:

If you could imagine a world where youth and certified peer specialists are working collaboratively so that young people make a healthy transition from youth service delivery systems to adulthood and independence, what would that world look like?

To RSVP, please see the links below:

The Department of Human Services/Bureau of Adult Protective Services is offering trainings/webinars for Adult Protective Services. 

Complete online registration at the Survey Monkey LINK below.
Please feel free to share this information with other staff and providers.

With new webinar software we have twice as many logins available and will hopefully be able to accommodate all requests.

Adult Protective Services and Mandatory Reporting Requirements

How: Webinar and In-Person Attendance available
Where: Clothes Tree Building, DGS Complex (former Harrisburg State Hospital Campus)
What: Overview of Act 70, Adult Protective Services Law, eligibility criteria, DHS and Liberty Healthcare Responsibilities; the process for reporting,  mandatory reporting requirements, and statutory definitions.


  • Thursday, February 25 at 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00 am

Complete the online registration survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DHS_APS_Training

Information and webinar link will be sent prior to the presentation. Contact Deborah Bender at debbender@pa.gov with any questions or concerns.

This training session is designed to educate new providers wishing to enroll, and existing enrolled providers wishing to revalidate, in the PA Medical Assistance program on the electronic provider application system. The electronic provider enrollment user interface will allow providers to complete their PA Medical Assistance enrollment application online, effective January 29, 2016.

Please join any of the following sessions:

  • Monday, January 25 – 9:00 to 11:00 am
  • Monday, January 25 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday, January 26 – 9:00 to 11:00 am
  • Tuesday, January 26 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday, January 27 – 9:00 to 11:00 am
  • Wednesday, January 27 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Providers can register here. DHS encourages providers who need to revalidate by March 24, 2016, to submit revalidation applications as soon as possible. Please do not wait for the electronic provider enrollment application to submit your revalidation application.

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) are changing the very business of health care. Established by the Excellence in Mental Health Act, CCBHCs are designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services, particularly to vulnerable individuals with the most complex needs. New federal standards for CCBHCs will take effect in 2017 in eight states, ultimately selected to participate in a two-year demonstration.

The Physical Health Managed Care Organizations (PH-MCOs) serving Pennsylvania’s HealthChoices Medicaid program are now inviting psychiatric service providers to submit a response for the Telephonic Psychiatric Service (TiPS) Request for Proposals (RFP). The PH-MCOs will contract for TiPS that will provide real time telephonic consultative services to primary care providers (PCPs), and other prescribers of psychotropic medications, for children under the age of 21. A TiPS provider is responsible for establishing and maintaining a team of behavioral health professionals who will be available to respond to inquiries from PCPs seeking assistance in providing pediatric behavioral health care. Qualified applicants must have a TiPS staff which includes one full-time equivalent child psychiatrist, one full-time equivalent behavioral health therapist, and one full-time equivalent care coordinator. Now available are the RFP, and supplemental information, including pediatric membership by plan/zone, and a 2014 Health Affairs article on a similar program in Massachusetts. A vendor fair for interested respondents is being held on Tuesday, January 26 in Mechanicsburg. See the RFP for additional details. All questions should be directed to MCO Coalition Consultant, Emily Katz.

As previously reported, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is conducting work groups to develop recommendations for the development of youth-young adult peer support services and for youth-young adult psychiatric rehabilitation services. RCPA is participating in both work groups through the involvement of the Directors of the Children’s Division and the Mental Health Division. In January, RCPA will be scheduling a focused conference call with members providing Medicaid-funded peer support service, psychiatric rehabilitation services, and adolescent-young adult mental health services. The purpose of the conference call will be to review the status of the OMHSAS work groups and to gather input from the field with regard to service design, the development of service, supervision and program description standards/regulatory changes, and to better understand the operational and clinical care, cost, and compliance implications for these services.

The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) is conducting a preliminary survey to help inform the design of services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are transitioning out of high school, including those who may have had justice intersections or psychiatric hospitalizations. This survey is designed to be completed by professionals with or without experience supporting individuals with ASD ages 18-25. BAS is asking for feedback on both surveys by Friday, January 1.

BAS has developed two versions of this survey; one for individuals and families, and another to be completed by professionals. The professionals survey can be completed here. Any questions about these surveys can be directed to the Bureau of Autism Services via email.