Tags Posts tagged with "OMHSAS"


The Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has announced a Statewide Quarterly Positive Approaches & Practices Virtual Meeting on October 12, 2023. It will be held from 10:00 am – 2:30 pm and will be regarding “Navigating Crisis Intervention in Human Services.” View the flyer for complete details.

In 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published the ACT Evidence-Based Practices KIT (hereinafter referred to as SAMHSA’s 2008 ACT Toolkit), a toolkit to help mental health agencies and teams implement ACT. The toolkit also includes information on fidelity: the extent to which an intervention is delivered as conceived. Both the toolkit and fidelity tools have received widespread use throughout the United States, and ACT principles remain consistent with the 2008 publication.

However, there is growing interest in extending ACT to certain populations and settings, including youth, justice-involved clients, immigrants and refugees, and rural communities. Driven by a need to deliver contextually responsive and culturally relevant services, these extensions often necessitate modifications, making it especially important to monitor fidelity. Research consistently demonstrates that higher fidelity to the ACT model produces better outcomes.

This follow-up and companion product Maintaining Fidelity to ACT: Current Issues and Innovations in Implementation reviews ACT principles, summarizes contemporary issues impacting ACT teams, and examines aspects of ACT implementation when extending the model to specific populations and settings. The goal of this guide is to ensure continued efficacy of ACT by reaffirming its principles while promoting awareness of new developments that providers may want to consider when implementing the model.

RCPA will be following up with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) on the implementation and the integration of the new toolkit. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.

On behalf of the RCPA Community Residential Rehabilitation (CRR) service providers and the individuals of Pennsylvania that they serve, RCPA submits our CRR Regulatory Reform Recommendations to the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). The current lack of access to care is a result of the workforce crisis and operational requirements of implementing the regulations. We feel these access issues and individuals waiting for services are compelling reasons, in the interest of the public, to merit a review of the regulations based on section 8.1 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.8a).

The COVID-19 DHS regulatory flexibilities provided relief for providers, and OMHSAS continues to offer waivers to agencies experiencing critical staffing shortages. Providers are grateful for these temporary solutions; however, these waivers do not address the long-term impacts of the current regulatory requirements. Providers continue to struggle to hire qualified staff and contend with burdensome operational requirements, many of which negatively contribute to the efficiency of care delivery. Therefore, many of the guidelines that were allowed under the suspension of regulations and frequent waiver requests are incorporated into recommendations for permanent improvements to the regulations.

Our recommendations place focus on the care of the individuals and address the challenges and barriers CRR service providers have faced in creating the staffing infrastructures and meeting the burdensome operational protocols for regulatory compliance. The overreaching nature of the regulations, coupled with the impact of the pandemic, has caused great strain on an already depleted behavioral health workforce. These system stressors limit the ability to provide vital, quality services to individuals. Under current regulations, programs are forced to focus on administrative details that do not have a meaningful effect on the actual care of the individual.

These CRR Regulatory Recommendations will also be directed to the Governor’s Policy Office, the Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Arkoosh, and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

RCPA would like to thank the members of the CRR Regulatory Review team for their focused and diligent efforts to make this submission possible. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

The PA Department of Human Services and PA Care Partnership are excited to announce the 21st Children’s Interagency Conference is scheduled for April 22 – April 25, 2024, at the Penn Stater Hotel, State College, PA. The conference theme is “Shine The Light on Mental Health – Building Youth Wellness & Resilience.”

Hosted by the PA Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health Services and the PA Care Partnership, the conference brings together Pennsylvania’s Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) and System of Care (SOC) partners providing behavioral health services. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for providers, county administrators, youth, family members, practitioners, and educators to learn about changing trends, promising and best practices, resources, and various system of care activities across Pennsylvania. The conference will also add a national perspective on a variety of issues, including government, family peer, early childhood, youth leadership, and school-based mental health.

See the Save the Date flyer, and please share it with your contacts and invite them to attend. Visit the conference website for additional information. For questions or more information, contact our contract meeting planner Katrina Harris at 610-494-8044 or via email.

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has shared that the latest edition of the Positive Approaches Journal is now available!

Understanding the Complexities of Behavioral Phenotypes and How to Support People

This issue of the Positive Approaches Journal shares insights from several expert and skilled clinicians into biological and genetic conditions which have been associated with behavioral phenotypes, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, autism, and Down syndrome (Trisomy 21). The field of intellectual and developmental disabilities in general has recognized various characteristic patterns of behavior for various conditions long before the term behavioral phenotype, or even the modern understanding of genetics, was developed. Those familiar with the historical aspects of the field are well aware that past attempts to characterize patterns in those with conditions or syndromes at times contributed to mischaracterizations and to damaging stereotypes of individuals. 

This issue of Positive Approaches Journal is in digital form, available for viewing online or for downloading here. To print a copy of the PDF, online journal, or a specific article, you will find these options within your left navigation bar on any Positive Approaches Journal page. A new window will open with your selected document. In your browser, you may click the Print button in the top left corner of the page, or by using the Print capability within your browser.

Please submit feedback regarding your experience with the Positive Approaches Journal on MyODP. The Positive Approaches Journal is published quarterly. For additional information, please contact ODP Training’s inbox.

The Mental Health Planning Council, under the direction of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), has extended the survey on delivering Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) until September 22, 2023. Agencies may access the provider survey directly and view the flyer for more details. Feedback will be de-identified and compiled by the Family Satisfaction Team of Montgomery County to be shared with relevant stakeholders and survey participants.

RCPA, on behalf of our members and those they serve, continues our efforts advocating for children, families, and practitioners delivering IBHS services. We respectfully ask our members to share this survey with families they are currently serving. The information will be utilized to examine challenges and opportunities in creating more viable pathways to IBHS services. Feel free to also share this information with other providers in your network of stakeholders.

If you have questions, please contact Clare Higgins or RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), in partnership with Temple University Harrisburg, is hosting the 2023 Behavioral Health Crisis Planning Symposium from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Thursday, September 14 at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey. This event focuses on offering recovery-oriented support for individuals with behavioral health issues in community-based settings. The symposium aligns with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care and will showcase successful crisis approaches from other states, offering insights into SAMHSA’s vision for an accessible crisis care continuum. The symposium targets various stakeholders, including county leaders, service providers, advocates, law enforcement, and more. To register, visit this link.