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wolf administration

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The Pennsylvania Senate today passed HB 1563 and HB 1561, sending the substance use disorder and mental health confidentiality-related bills to Gov. Wolf to sign into law. He is expected to sign both.

Both bills align Pennsylvania’s confidentiality laws with federal confidentiality laws, including 42 CFR and HIPAA. Barring a Gov. Wolf veto of HB 1563, Pennsylvania’s 4 Pa Code 255.5 will be eliminated.

Advocates of improved care coordination and integration have long pointed to 4 Pa Code 255.5 as a barrier, citing the limited amount of information allowed to be shared and the few entities with whom it could be shared, even with patient consent.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) on Thursday visited Pennsylvania’s first licensed recovery house to highlight the importance of becoming licensed. Beginning June 9, 2022, DDAP will have the authority to impose fines on operators of unlicensed recovery houses that receive public funding.

“The Wolf Administration is dedicated to ensuring that Pennsylvanians are supported through all phases of their recovery journey,” said Special Assistant to the DDAP Secretary Steve Ross. “Without recovery housing standards or protections, there are unknown numbers of substandard facilities exploiting this vulnerable population. These regulations are a significant step in ensuring safe, supportive housing for Pennsylvanians in recovery from substance use disorder.”

Audio, photos, and the full press release from the event are available here.

RCPA, with several other health and human services stakeholders, has signed in support of a series of letters written by the Alliance for Low-Income Personal Care Home Advancement (ALPHA) requesting legislators’ support of Governor Wolf’s $50 million increase to state supplemental security income. This increase would work to protect low-income residents in personal care homes from losing their places of residence. You can view one of the letters sent here. Letters were addressed to leaders of both parties in both the PA House and Senate.