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Updates

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The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) sent out guidance on June 14, 2021 regarding three temporary regulatory suspensions granted by the governor’s declaration of a disaster emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. House Bill 1861, which was signed into law today by Governor Wolf, further extends those regulatory suspensions from September 30, 2021 until March 31, 2022 unless terminated sooner. In addition to the suspensions noted in DDAP’s previous communication, one additional regulatory suspension from the Department of State, also relevant to the field, is added to the chart below and also suspended until March 31, 2022.

Statute/Regulation Statute/Regulation Purpose Waiver benefit/explanation
28 Pa. Code § 715.16(e) Prohibits narcotic treatment programs (NTPs–methadone clinics) from permitting a patient to receive more than a 2-week take-home supply of medication. In response to COVID-19, SAMHSA is allowing up to 28 days of take-home medications for patients on stable dosages, if the physician deems appropriate.
28 Pa. Code § 715.9(a)(4) Requires NTPs to make a face-to-face determination before admission to treatment, for those clients who will receive buprenorphine treatment. In response to COVID-19, SAMHSA is allowing initial evaluations for a patient who will be treated with buprenorphine to be completed via telehealth.
28 Pa. Code § 715.6(d) Requires NTPs to have narcotic treatment physician services onsite. In response to COVID-19, SAMHSA is allowing initial evaluations for a patient who will be treated with buprenorphine to be completed via telehealth.
49 Pa. Code § 16.92(b)(1)

(Department of State)

Before a patient can be prescribed any controlled substance in Pennsylvania, a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the commonwealth, or otherwise licensed or regulated by the State Board of Medicine, must take an initial medical history and conduct an initial physical examination,

unless emergency circumstances justify otherwise.

In response to COVID-19, the Department of State suspended the initial medical history and physical examination requirement specifically for the treatment of opioid-use disorder with buprenorphine.

Please email the Bureau of Program Licensure or call (717) 783-8675 with questions.

In addition to the general sessions, including national updates that will provide valuable information to all, we have several break-out sessions that will be offered live each day during our 2021 Conference. These sessions include:

Tuesday September 28, 2021

  • Preparing Infrastructure for Managed Care in ID/DD Providers
  • Coordinating Measurement-Based Care: How the Maryland Community Behavioral Health Association Improved Treatment Outcomes and Leveraged Their Data
  • Leadership in Technology for a New Era
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Regional Approach to Address Healthy Equity
  • Magical Metaphors: Creating a Shared Language Within a CBT Treatment Setting
  • Without a Playbook: Navigating the Pandemic While Still Moving Forward
  • Enhancing Whole Health and Wellness: Working Works When Using Social Security Work Incentives
  • Linking Up! CANS Across the Tristate Area, and How This Can Optimize Care
  • Creating an Employee-Centered Culture to Attract & Retain Staff
  • Mobile Buprenorphine: A Novel Method for Engaging Populations in Substance Use Disorder Care
  • Improving Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services For OUR Older Adults. YOU Can Help!

Wednesday September 29, 2021

  • Top Funding Resources for Assistive Technology in Pennsylvania
  • Measuring What Matters Most: Leveraging the Power of Business Intelligence to Drive Organizational Improvements
  • People Like Me: Working with Vulnerable Populations Using an Integrated Model to Behavioral Health Care
  • How COVID-19 Changes Our View of Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 and Key Strategies for Preparedness Moving Forward
  • The Great Reset: Leadership Beyond the Pandemic
  • “Link Outside the Box”: Using Remote Services and Technology to Provide Support Services For Individuals With IDD
  • Promoting Motivational Interviewing Spirit and Skills with Paraprofessional Staff
  • COVID-19 at 18 Months: How the Pandemic Has Changed Us and Society
  • Strategies for Reducing Screen Time Fatigue

Thursday September 30, 2021

  • A Collaborative Agency-Based Approach to Implementing a Pandemic-Induced Practice-Based Change to Telehealth
  • Concussion (TBI) and Behavioral Health (The Missing Peace): Where Are We Now?
  • Trauma-Informed Support for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • No Longer Just a Plan — Value Based Payments in Community HealthChoices in 2022
  • The Cultural Competency in the Clinical Assessment & Treatment of Adults with IDD and Co-Occurring Mental Illness
  • The Path to VBP is Paved With Quality: A National Perspective on Measures of Quality in IDD Services
  • Post-Incarceration Care: How to Create an Effective Transitional Model
  • Implementing Trauma-Informed PA (TIPA): PRTFs Becoming Trauma-Informed
  • We Hear You!
  • Expanding Integrated Primary Care for People with IDD: Replicable Models and Policy Implications
  • The Unexpected Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Time Banking: A Grassroots Resource for Increased Personal Outcomes and Community Development

There will also be over 20 “on-demand” sessions on many timely subjects and topics, such as Leadership, Diversity, and Remote Supports and Services.

Visit the RCPA Conference website for specific updates to the schedule, posted as they become finalized.

Close-up of Hands holding pens and making notes at the conference

The Office of Developmental Programs is pleased to announce the availability of four additional courses in the College of Employment Services (CES).

Employment Services for People with Mental Health Disabilities: In this course we’ll talk about common obstacles facing job seekers with mental health issues, and proven principles and specific skills that can help you support them. In these four lessons, we’ll look at some research-supported ways to help this population succeed in the workforce.

Employment for People with Disabilities and Criminal Histories: Welcome to our course about employment services for people with disabilities and criminal histories. In these two lessons, you will learn about specific strategies that can help you support these job seekers.

Preparing for a Seamless Move from School to Adult Life: In this six part course you’ll learn about strategies and partnerships in schools and communities that support high expectations around work and post-secondary education. You’ll also learn about governmental policies and programs to support employment and post-secondary education.

Ticket to Work: You’ve probably been hearing about the Social Security Ticket to Work program for years. But what is it, and how can it help the job seekers you support? Get an overview of this useful work incentive in this special feature.

If you have questions concerning CES access, please contact the state wide administrator using the following email address and telephone number.
Email
Phone Contact: 866-865-6170

New Organizations:
Olivia Sullivan
860-202-4237

Existing Organizations:
Leigh Evans
404-799-4009

ODP Announcement 21-062 communicates that the following items are now available:

  • 2021 Certified Investigator Manual
  • Registration for the August Certified Investigators’ Forum
  • Registration for the September– December 2021 Initial Certified Investigator Courses

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), along with Temple University, has released an updated 2021 Version 1.1 Certified Investigators’ (CI) Manual. This document replaces the manual that was published in 2018. Prospective, newly certified, and current Certified Investigators are now required to follow the 2021 Version 1.1 Certified Investigator Manual.

A Summary of the CI Manual Changes, including new and modified sections along with the Manual, can be found on MyODP by using the following path: – Training > Certified Investigator Program > CI Help and Resources > All Documents > Manuals, or by clicking on the highlighted blue link below: 2021 CI Manual and Overview of Changes.

The topic of the August 2021 CI Forum will be the changes to the CI Manual and investigation standards to align with Incident Management (IM) Bulletin 00-21-02. Sessions are scheduled for August 20, 2021 (10:00 am–11:30 am) and August 27, 2021 (2:00 pm–3:30 pm). There will be one session available each day.

Message from Kevin Dressler:

Weekly COVID Report
The weekly COVID reports that the Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) have been sending to the regional office can be discontinued, effective immediately. All COVID cases for people served in the ICFs are required to be reported into EIM. All COVID cases for staff are required to be reported into HRS. We ask that if you have a COVID outbreak in your facility and you are in need of support in any manner, please contact the RA account and the regional office and we can try to assist in addressing your needs. The link to the HRS reporting requirement is COVID-19 Reporting–ODP Announcement 20-061.

Health Alert Network (HAN)
Please continue to monitor the Pennsylvania Department of Health HANs even as the COVID pandemic seems to be easing its spread across Pennsylvania. The HANs offer insight into health related information that is of value in supporting our staff and people served. On the DOH website there is a link that you can sign up to receive new and updated HANs as they are published.

The link to the website is here.

Updated DHS Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities (includes ICFs)
The DHS guidance for long term care facilities was updated and primarily reflects changes to the surveillance testing for unvaccinated staff and residents. Please review and adjust your policies accordingly. The link to the guidance is here.

ICF Task Force Meeting
Reminder the ICF Taskforce meeting is set for Tuesday July 6 from 10:00 am–1:00 pm. The Agenda was emailed on 6-17-21, and the link to register is here (same as per 6/25 email).

Lastly, have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!