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HHS

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is pleased to release “A Framework for Community Engagement – A Pathway to Competitive Integrated Employment.” Developed in partnership with ODEP and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this paper, targeted at both policymakers and service providers, explains what community engagement means along with its benefits. In addition, it contains information about the wide variety of services that, when provided together, expand opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment.

RCPA member Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC) hosted the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra for a roundtable discussion on children’s mental health and the impact of community violence on the afternoon of Friday, July 15, 2022. The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Ala Stanford, who is the Regional Director for HSS, responsible for all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Dr. Stanford is a practicing physician and the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, which focuses on testing and vaccinating Philadelphia residents against COVID-19.

Xavier Becerra is the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the United States. Secretary Becerra was in Philadelphia to promote the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), which is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers.

“CCTC was proud to be chosen as the organization the Secretary visited. It was wonderful to share with him the work that is being done in Philadelphia around children’s mental health services and highlight the impactful work CCTC provides in our centers, community, and schools,” said Antonio Valdés, Chief Executive Officer at CCTC.

The Biden administration on Friday, July 15, 2022, extended the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for another three months. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra officially renewed the declaration, extending it through October 13, 2022. The extensions include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) standards governing the delivery of services via telehealth.

If you have additional questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Message from the Provider Relief Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

HRSA is making more than $413 million in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 General Distribution payments to more than 3,600 providers across the country this week.

Providers received an email notification Monday, March 21 if their application was among those processed in this latest batch. HRSA is working to review all remaining applications as quickly as possible.

With this announcement, a total of nearly $12 billion in PRF Phase 4 payments has now been distributed to more than 82,000 providers in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and five territories. This is in addition to HRSA’s distribution of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments, totaling nearly $7.5 billion in funding to more than 44,000 providers since November 2021.

Learn More

  • HHS updated the state-by-state table detailing all Phase 4 payments made to date.
  • As individual providers agree to the terms and conditions of Phase 4 payments, it will be reflected on the public dataset.

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The Office of Inspector General (OIG) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a favorable advisory opinion regarding contingency management (CM), an evidence-based approach for treating substance use disorders (SUD) that uses financial incentives to reward healthy behavior, such as abstinence and treatment retention, according to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

CM has been shown to be an effective approach for those with SUD in more than 100 randomized controlled trials over 50 years. Evidence shows it can double abstinence rates across opioids, stimulants, alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine, compared to usual care alone. It is the most effective and most evidence-based treatment for stimulant use disorders. In 2021, the Biden Administration declared advancing CM among its drug policy priorities.

The advisory opinion clears the way for CM for routine use in publicly funded substance use treatment programs and healthcare facilities under federal reimbursement, including Medicaid.

Read the full press release.

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

COVID-19 testing is an essential activity that increases safety for congregate care settings as part of a comprehensive mitigation strategy. Two resources are now available for providers and facilities.

Operation Expanded Testing (OpET) is a federal testing resource that may be useful to your organization. Please see the presentation slides for more detailed information. Providers wishing to use OpET as a resource should coordinate directly with Eurofins.

OpET At A Glance

  • No contract is needed for participation in OpET.
  • No charge. OpET is 100% funded through the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • No exclusivity. The organization can end testing at any time for any reason.
  • All supplies are sent to testing location two weeks in advance at no charge.
  • All training is supplied at no charge.
  • No charge for courier services; Eurofins will coordinate specimen pickup and supply delivery.
  • No waiting to get another sample. Auto retesting (reflex) if PCR pooled group is found to be positive.
  • No cost rapid testing. When used in conjunction with PCR pooled testing program, antigen testing is available for program options.
  • 24-hour results turnaround (TAT) for PCR testing.
  • Reporting is fully automated and HIPAA compliant using Concentric by Ginkgo.
  • Testing flexibility — facility can determine their own testing frequency, with specific PCR pooled groups of 5–24 samples at a time.
  • Staff can participate in the OpET program.

If you wish to enroll or have questions related to Operation Expanded Testing, please contact Eurofins via email or call 833-742-0862. Questions related to this communication should be directed virtually here.


In addition, due to the recent surge in COVID-19, the Bureau of Human Services Licensing (BHSL) has been receiving a large number of requests for testing support. If your facility needs testing due to an active outbreak or to prepare for an outbreak, please contact the Dept. of Health via email for questions about LTC testing assistance and/or to get access to testing support and resources. You can also complete and submit the “Universal Testing Needs Assessment Form.” If eligible, someone will contact you for scheduling.

If you are a facility requesting additional Abbott BinaxNOW cards, please email with the amount of tests requested and your shipping information. Note that your facility must have a CLIA certification to perform rapid COVID antigen testing to be eligible for the BinaxNOW cards.

Please contact the Dept. of Health for any additional information on testing.