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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) today announced almost $9 million in grant funding awarded to four Single County Authorities (SCAs) to establish or expand crisis stabilization services for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (SUD). The funding is part of the more than $17 million allocated last year to DDAP by the General Assembly from Pennsylvania’s share of a total opioid settlement of $1.2 billion reached with three distributors and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

Crisis stabilization services include assessment and stabilization of acute physical and psychiatric symptoms, which may include medical management and behavioral interventions, induction on medications for opioid use disorder, level of care assessments, short-term stays, and connections to supportive services.

Grants up to $3 million each will be awarded to the following four SCAs, serving residents throughout seven counties:

  • Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services;
  • Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission;
  • Delaware County Department of Human Services; and
  • Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program.

The funding can be applied toward a range of activities, including construction and building infrastructure, staffing, and programming. DDAP’s goal in offering this funding opportunity is to provide an additional mechanism for counties to invest in infrastructure, staffing, programming, and other necessary components to establish or expand crisis stabilization services.

Eligible grantees were chosen based on information presented in their applications demonstrating their capacity to recognize and manage individuals presenting with a wide range of SUD-related symptoms, mental health disorders, and developmental disabilities.

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Act 59 of 2017 gave the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) the power and duty to license drug and alcohol recovery houses that receive referrals from state agencies or state-funded facilities or federal or state funding and to impose fines on unlicensed recovery houses that receive funds from federal, state, or county agencies. On December 11, 2021, DDAP published recovery house licensure regulations in 28 Pa. Code Ch. 717. The regulations took effect immediately upon publication, except for 28 Pa. Code § 717.14, regarding fines for unlicensed recovery houses, which took effect on June 9, 2022. On June 9, DDAP gave notice that, effective July 1, 2022, to minimize disruption to residents during the application and licensure process, single county authorities (SCAs) could continue to act on existing contracts with recovery houses that were making timely and good faith efforts to obtain licensure. DDAP also expressed its position that it would not penalize recovery houses while they were actively working through the licensure process.

Beginning January 1, 2023, SCAs may only fund recovery houses that have obtained licenses from DDAP. SCAs should plan to transition individuals who remain in unlicensed recovery houses to another licensed recovery home or arrange for other suitable housing as of January 1, 2023.

The SCAs are subject to the provisions of all requirements as outlined in the 2020–2025 Grant Agreement. Any state or federal funding used to make payments to unlicensed recovery homes is a violation of Act 59 of 2017 and the terms outlined in Appendix D Program Specific Provisions, Paragraph VI Compliance/Termination/Reduction of the 2020–2025 Grant Agreement.

In addition, as of January 1, 2023, DDAP will exercise its enforcement authority to impose fines of up to $1,000 per day on persons who have not obtained licenses but who operate recovery houses that receive funds from a federal, state, or county agency, in accordance with the requirements of Act 59 of 2017 and 28 Pa. Code § 717.14. Recovery house operators who have started but not completed the licensure process must either obtain their license or stop accepting federal, state, and county funds by January 1, 2023 in order to avoid this fine.

Act 59 of 2017, 71 P.S. § 613.16(a), relating to Violations, provides:

(a) Penalties — A person operating a drug and alcohol recovery house that is funded, in whole or in part, by the department or a Federal, other State, or county agency, that has failed to attain or maintain licensure or certification of a drug and alcohol recovery house and has not been licensed or certified by the department, shall pay a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation.

28 Pa. Code § 717.14(b), relating to Fines, provides, “Each day of operating a drug and alcohol recovery house that requires a license without a current license shall constitute a separate violation.”

Please submit all questions regarding this communication to the Bureau of Program Licensure.

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.