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Tags Posts tagged with "DDAP"

DDAP

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) announced today that Dr. Michael Lynch, UPMC Health Plan Medical Director of SUD Services, has been named Medical Director of DDAP. DDAP’s announcement follows last Wednesday’s announcement by RCPA of the creation of the new position.

Dr. Lynch, who will continue his full-time role with commercial insurer UPMC Health Plan, is board-certified in emergency medicine, medical toxicology, and addiction medicine.

In this position, Dr. Lynch will advise and assist DDAP in the development of policy and procedures related to medical best practice as well as advances related to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, including:

  • Providing technical assistance to SUD treatment providers and physicians in PA’s system of care, including the application of the ASAM criteria;
  • Developing projects to improve delivery of care to individuals with SUD;
  • Researching and reviewing new technologies and procedures, reviewing pertinent medical literature, and presenting findings and recommendations to appropriate entities regarding SUD, opioid use disorder, and medication-assisted therapies;
  • Educating stakeholders and providers relative to medication-assisted therapies as well as drug, alcohol, and narcotic treatment regulations; and
  • Developing new workflows and processes to increase quality improvement measures for DDAP and treatment providers.

Dr. Lynch graduated from the University of Notre Dame and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine before completing his residency in emergency medicine and fellowship in medical toxicology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and works in the emergency departments at UPMC Presbyterian and Mercy Hospitals. The toxicology service at UPMC is one of the busiest in the country, seeing patients at five Pittsburgh hospitals as well as providing inpatient addiction and telemedicine treatment. Dr. Lynch is the Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center and of SUD Services at UPMC Health Plan, and he continues to serve on the Boards of Directors for the PA College of Emergency Physicians and the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

UPMC Health Plan is the commercial insurance arm of UPMC. Community Care Behavioral Health, UPMC’s behavioral health managed care organization, is a sister company and the largest behavioral health Medicaid payer in the commonwealth. Both UPMC and Community Care Behavioral Health are RCPA members.

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Over the last several months, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has been working toward implementation of a new treatment locator resource called ATLAS® (Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards Platform). Pennsylvania is now currently in the data collection phase for all licensed treatment facilities to be included in ATLAS (though provider participation is not mandatory). As the deadline of January 28, 2022, approaches for completion of the Treatment Data Survey (TDS) portion of the initiative, DDAP Secretary Jennifer Smith highlights the value of this resource to treatment providers and patients. You can read Secretary Smith’s letter here.

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Dr. Michael Lynch, UPMC Health Plan’s Medical Director of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Services, has been named Medical Director of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Dr. Lynch also serves as Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

DDAP has not yet officially announced Dr. Lynch’s position but is planning to. Yesterday, Dr. Lynch announced his position on LinkedIn, which indicates he will continue in his other current roles.

UPMC Health Plan is the commercial insurance arm of UPMC. Community Care Behavioral Health, UPMC’s behavioral health managed care organization, is a sister company. Both UPMC and Community Care Behavioral Health are RCPA members.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) recently updated its Department Funding web page to include documents outlining how the department is spending its funding by source, including:

  • Supplemental Funding;
  • Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant Supplemental Funding;
  • American Rescue Plan;
  • State Opioid Response II;
  • McKinsey Settlement; and
  • Medical Marijuana Revenue.

DDAP will update this page as new funding sources are announced.

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Following the Commonwealth Court’s decision to deny the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania’s (DASPOP) request for a preliminary injunction against key pieces of the ASAM transition, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) participated in RCPA’s Drug and Alcohol Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14. You can read the court’s opinion here.

Despite establishing a deadline by which providers must align with the ASAM Criteria, including the “PA-Specific Alignment Requirements,” and in particular referencing the changes in IOP ratio, daily therapeutic hours, and credentialing as “PA-Specific Alignment Requirements” of the ASAM transition on its website, DDAP argued in court that these are “guidelines,” not requirements. The challenge for providers, however, is that the single county authorities (SCAs) and behavioral health managed care organizations (BHMCOs) have signaled all along that they will require providers to comply with these pieces of the ASAM transition through contracts. Now, DDAP’s pivot to calling them “guidelines” has created confusion among providers and payers. RCPA has contacted each of the five BHMCOs and the Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA) to ask whether DDAP’s testimony and the court’s decision will change their approach to enforcing the guidelines/mandates in question through their contracts. We will pass along any relevant information we may receive. In addition, DDAP told us it will be issuing guidance and clarification on these guidelines right before or after the new year.

At RCPA’s D&A Committee meeting last week, DDAP Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico explained how ASAM explicitly defines its criteria versus DDAP’s interpretation of that criteria and what it is now calling recommended guidelines. For example, while the ASAM Criteria explicitly calls for daily clinical hours, DDAP has established six to eight daily therapeutic hours as the application of ASAM’s criteria in Pennsylvania. As DDAP has communicated all along, Deputy Secretary DiDomenico explained that if providers can demonstrate the ability to provide individualized care in ways other than what DDAP “recommends,” it will consider those.

DDAP also said at the meeting that nothing has changed with the court’s decision, which we would interpret to mean that unless a provider has been approved to provide care in a way other than what DDAP recommends, providers must be aligned with their guidelines by Jan. 1, 2022. For example, unless a provider has been approved to provide intensive outpatient services at a ratio other than 1:15, that provider must meet the 1:15 guideline. DDAP also said at the meeting that it is working with the MCOs and SCAs to develop a monitoring tool with the goal being development of a collaborative monitoring process so that providers will not need to be monitored for ASAM alignment by multiple payers. Deputy Secretary DiDomenico also said that monitoring of ASAM compliance would focus on ASAM Criteria as explicitly written in the ASAM Criteria 3rd Edition.

Lastly, House Bill 1995, which would have forced DDAP to go through the regulatory review process any time it made changes that affect licensed addiction treatment providers, has stalled in the Senate. After sailing out of the House of Representatives on a timeline that would have enabled it to pass the Senate and land on the governor’s desk before Jan. 1, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee did not take up the bill for vote. With the General Assembly recessed through the end of the year, there is no possibility of HB 1995 providing relief to providers on the confusion around these ASAM guidelines before Jan. 1.

Given the contradictions and confusion, we will share any guidance we get from DDAP as soon as we get it. Please contact RCPA Drug and Alcohol Division Director Jason Snyder with any questions.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has extended the deadline to apply for provider stabilization grant funding to Friday, December 17. The original deadline was today, December 8. The extension is to provide additional time for all interested providers to gather the required information.

DDAP is making $10 million in grant funding available for stabilization payments to substance use disorder treatment providers in order to assist with pandemic-related expenses. For more information, including how to apply, visit DDAP’s website.

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is making additional funding available to single county authorities (SCAs) for recovery support services. Providers that are contracted with SCAs and interested in providing new or additional certified recovery specialist, certified recovery support specialist, or certified family recovery specialist services should contact their SCAs for more information.