Tags Posts tagged with "DDAP"


RCPA just received this major announcement from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP):

“I am writing this morning to inform you of a major decision that’s been made by DDAP leadership and is being announced today to our stakeholders. We have, in consultation with the Governor’s Policy Office and the Office of General Counsel, weighed our options for continuing the use of our PCPC (Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria) tool for determining the appropriate level of care for an individual seeking treatment or already within our treatment system. After weighing the options, we have decided that the benefits of using a customized tool no longer exceed the benefits of using the nationally recognized ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) tool. One reason for the transition stems from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicaid Managed Care Final Rule that was issued last summer, which will limit federal reimbursement for residential treatment of Medicaid recipients to 15 days. In response to that rule, and specifically the provision related to the IMD exclusion, Pennsylvania aims to better position ourselves in submitting a 1115 waiver to CMS related to the IMD exclusion. The 1115 waiver application requires the use of the ASAM tool. This issue surrounding the IMD exclusion is not the only reason for making the change, however. The newly acquired treatment data system is already equipped with the ASAM continuum of care which will make this new system more usable with fewer modifications, which limits the risk of future system maintenance issues. Additionally, because the ASAM is currently utilized for placement decisions related to adolescents, and by many commercial insurance providers for both adults as well as adolescents, converting to this tool will create consistency for providers and payers across the treatment system.

While there are multiple advantages to this conversion, we understand that it will not come without its challenges. We have a team of employees who are currently in the process of establishing a strategic plan for transitioning from the PCPC to the ASAM and will be gathering input from stakeholders and establish a workable process that moves us to the use of the ASAM over time, with the goal of full implementation occurring by July 2018. I will continue to keep you posted on the progress and impacts of this effort. I would ask that this become a standing agenda item in our meetings with your membership.”

– Jennifer S. Smith | Acting Secretary, DDAP

RCPA looks forward to being a part of this major conversion.

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This just in from the governor’s office:

January 30, 2017
View Online 

Governor Wolf Announces Plan to Create Department of Health and Human Services

Seeks to Improve Services and Benefits for Seniors, People with Intellectual and Physical Disabilities, and Those Suffering From Substance Use Disorder

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf announced his plan to create a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in his 2017-2018 budget in order to promote more effective collaboration and service delivery, enhance program effectiveness, and eliminate duplicative processes.

“This new department will streamline government and allow the commonwealth to deliver more effective services to seniors, individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, and those suffering from a substance use disorder as well as promote the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Over the past several months, I have worked closely with these four departments to break down silos and reimagine how we deliver critical services that will provide treatment to those suffering from substance use disorder, ensure children are receiving high quality services, and expand community-based opportunities for seniors. The creation of a new, unified Department of Health and Human Services will not result in any program cuts for Pennsylvanians, but will dramatically improve our ability to deliver services that will improve lives. “

The Departments of Aging (PDA), Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Health (DOH), and Human Services (DHS) have the same core mission: to improve public health and quality of life for all residents of the commonwealth. These four separate state agencies currently serve similar, and sometimes overlapping, populations.

Fighting Opioid Epidemic to Remain a Top Priority for New Integrated Agency
Governor Wolf has led the battle against the opioid and heroin epidemic and each of these agencies has been critical to this effort. Among many other initiatives, DOH launched a prescription drug monitoring program and has been raising awareness of the naloxone standing order, DDAP has led the effort to increase the availability of naloxone and drug take back boxes, DHS has created 45 centers of excellence to coordinate treatment for those suffering from substance use disorders, and PDA has led prescription drug take back efforts among the senior population encouraging proper use, storage, and disposal of unused prescription medications.

By creating an organization that is structurally better able to support and coordinate these efforts, individuals in desperate need of substance use disorder treatment will be able to access services through one agency with an integrated data and delivery system. The new HHS will serve as the single state authority for Medicaid, substance use, and mental health purposes enabling the commonwealth to maximize available federal dollars and offset state costs for staff and services. There will continue to be a cabinet-level position in Governor Wolf’s administration that will be dedicated to battling the opioid and heroin epidemic.

Delivering better services to those suffering from substance use disorder is just one example of the benefits realized through the creation of a new, unified department.

Senior Benefits and Programs Will Be Bolstered By Ease, Focus of Single Agency
Seniors will also have a single agency as their point of contact within state government to receive health and human services. Instead of receiving prescription assistance from PACE through PDA, applying for an aging waiver through DHS while seeking home and community-based services from PDA, finding where to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs through DDAP, or searching for information on the quality of nursing homes through DOH, seniors would find the services they need through the Department of Health and Human Services. Furthermore, the creation of this department will have no impact on how lottery fund monies are used to support senior programs.

Reducing Complexity and Confusion for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities
Currently, at least 21 separate services across the departments provide care for seniors and individuals with physical disabilities. The creation of the Department of Health and Human Services will eliminate the unnecessary duplication of effort and confusion among consumers and their families. The Wolf Administration is dedicated to continuing to provide the same quality services for seniors and individuals with disabilities and will dramatically improve the delivery of services like health screenings, programs to allow individuals to remain in their homes and communities, adult protective services, and home health care and housing supports, though the creation of this new department.

Reducing Red-Tape for Providers and Non-Profits Subject to Regulation
Currently, providers ranging from hospitals and child care centers to substance use treatment facilities and nursing homes are licensed by multiple agencies, many times for the provision of the exact same services. Requiring these businesses to subject themselves to multiple, duplicative inspections and audits costs them money. By centralizing facility licensure in one agency we will improve coordination, increase transparency, and promote uniformity for the health and human services field. The state and providers will be able to better focus our resources on our mission to improve the health and quality of life for citizens rather than back office functions.

In 2015, the administration transferred the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from the Department of Insurance to DHS. Through this consolidation, the administration has increased the number of kids covered by 10 percent, shortened the average processing time for applications from 40 days to only one day, and saved taxpayers $8 million annually. Additionally, this consolidation resulted in an improved customer experience as many families move between the two programs on a regular basis due to income guidelines. In the same way, combining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will result in improved outcomes, shortened application timelines and cost savings to taxpayers.

“Responding to the diverse and sometimes complex needs of older Pennsylvanians often requires interaction with multiple state agencies which can be confusing and incredibly frustrating,” said PDA Secretary Osborne. “The opportunity to create a single, unified, Department of Health and Human Services will reduce fragmentation, eliminate silos, promote accountability, and create a culture of shared responsibility that puts Pennsylvanians first.”

“By working together under Governor Wolf’s leadership, this administration has saved lives by expanding access to naloxone, combatted the stigma of the disease of addiction, and has raised awareness of the severity of this crisis. However, our work is not done,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Acting Secretary Jennifer Smith. “The creation of the Department of Health and Human Services will help us continue this fight in a collaborative, coordinated manner.”

“The health of all Pennsylvanians is first and foremost to the Wolf Administration,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “Consolidating state agencies into one new agency while improving services for Pennsylvanians is not only fiscally responsible, but will ensure that we can continue to meet their needs. The Department of Health team looks forward to working with our sister agencies on the consolidation plan to ensure that Pennsylvanians continue to receive needed services.”

“Consolidation puts the focus where it always should be — on the consumer,” said Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas. “The Governor’s plan to create HHS will result in a more streamlined and cost-effective agency that delivers better services for Pennsylvania.”

The goal of the Department of Health and Human Services will be to deliver services that will improve the health and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians in an efficient, transparent, and uniform manner.

MEDIA CONTACT:    J.J. Abbott, 717.783.1116

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has published a licensing alert to provide clarification with regard to the intake, evaluation, and referral activity. The provision of this activity by a facility designated by the single county authority (SCA) is that it requires a license or certificate of compliance to be issued by DDAP.

Any persons, partnerships, corporations, or other legal entities performing intake, evaluation, and referral on behalf of an SCA have until Friday, March 31, 2017, to add this activity to their current license or apply to become licensed. All requests to add to a current license or to apply for a new license should be sent via email. Questions on the licensing alert may be directed to the DDAP Program Licensure Division at 717-783-8675.

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is exploring options for collecting treatment data covering the period from September 2015 through the present. This data has not yet been reported to DDAP due to the lack of a functioning data system. In order to properly assess each option, DDAP needs some critical information from the provider community. Single County Authorities (SCAs) will be distributing the survey immediately to the providers with which they contract; responses must be provided by Friday, January 13, 2017. Please complete the survey accurately and within the requested timeframe so DDAP can appropriately assess the options for collecting this much needed data.

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Pennsylvania is experiencing an opioid crisis of unprecedented proportions. A document summarizing of one of the most significant problems in the drug and alcohol treatment system was recently sent to Secretary Gary Tennis, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Deputy Secretary Dennis Marion, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

The drug and alcohol programs have been chronically underfunded for many years. Treatment providers have worked to operate efficiently and within the constraints of budgeting limitations. However, the consequences of these financial limitations, particularly the lack of rate increases, have caused severe financial strain on the provider system. The lack of a fair rate setting process which assures that the reasonable cost of services are covered has led to inadequate rates, resulting in programs closing, no longer working in the publicly funded system, or refusing to increase the size of their commitment to offering services to public clients. This can best be evidenced by the extreme lack of detox facilities available today.

RCPA has requested an opportunity to work with DDAP and OMHSAS to assure adequate services to meet the needs of the citizens of Pennsylvania. The next step will be to meet with both officials to discuss the critical issue of implementing a fair rate setting process. Contact RCPA Director, Drug & Alcohol Division, Lynn Cooper, with any questions.

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) sent an announcement out to the drug and alcohol community warning of incorrect routing of calls for treatment placement. The purpose of the announcement is to make single county authorities (SCAs) and treatment providers aware of an issue that has been occurring more frequently over the past few days. Individuals from the general public have been using Google to locate treatment providers and/or SCAs and the phone number Google shows for the facility is NOT that of the SCA/provider. Apparently, scammers are working to direct unsuspecting people in need of treatment to programs in Florida. As to be expected, their interest is only with people who have private insurance. These scams are creating roadblocks to treatment and major confusion for those seeking needed treatment. Numerous RCPA members have verified that these acts are creating major problems. Members have reported that these companies, and ones like them, are using false and misleading advertising/tactics and illegally using the identities of treatment providers here in Pennsylvania.

DDAP reported that it appears there is an option on Google where the SCA/provider can suggest an edit to the incorrect information and by doing so, can select scam/scammer as the reason for the change. DDAP is working hard to get callers the correct contact information for the SCA/provider. Individual agencies may want to attempt to correct the information on the web search engines whenever possible. Questions should be directed to Lynn Cooper.

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Representative Gene DiGirolamo proposed a resolution seeking relief at the federal level from the implementation of part of a rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, regarding Medicaid and FMAP for inpatient stays in an institution for the mental diseases (IMD). This resolution requests that the president halt implementation of a new Medicaid rule that would potentially be quite harmful to the Commonwealth’s efforts to address the current drug epidemic.

This new rule limits the federal Medicaid match to 15 days a month – too short for patients who need inpatient care to recover. The implementation of this rule will do damage to low-income/impoverished people with addictions, including pregnant addicted women, women with dependent children, and low-level drug offenders coming out of jails and prisons.

Both the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs and the Department of Human Services are on record opposing this new rule. The Department of Human Services projects the loss of funding to PA to be $180 million a year in matching Medicaid dollars.

29 US senators and 46 governors are also on record opposing implementation of this rule. RCPA thanks Representative DiGirolamo for his leadership and strong support.

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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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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.”