Substance Use Disorder

The Hispanic/Latino Behavioral Health Center of Excellence has announced the Vamos por Más Hispanic/Latino Behavioral Health Empowerment and Leadership Academy 2024–2025. This innovative 12-month program aims to select up to 10 behavioral health services personnel from community-based organizations serving Hispanic and Latino populations. Participants will have the opportunity to access mentorship and leadership skill-development sessions, focusing on various behavioral health-related topics. These include fostering culturally responsive leadership, driving system changes to enhance the well-being of Latino communities, and strengthening advocacy skills for Hispanic and Latino populations. Additionally, the program emphasizes building cross-sector partnerships between communities and behavioral health systems. Healthcare providers, including those in substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery, are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity.

Applications can be submitted here. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2024.

Hole torn in a dollar bill with medicaid text

On April 25, 2024, at 12:00 pm, a virtual statewide briefing will be conducted on Medicaid unwinding and expanded enrollment options. This event will feature Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Melissa Herd, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Val Arkoosh, and Pennie Executive Director Devon Trolley.

The agenda will include a briefing on what’s happening at the federal level when it comes to Medicaid, an update on the Medicaid “unwinding” process currently wrapping up in Pennsylvania, and the expanded eligibility requirements for enrolling in Pennie coverage even when it’s not open enrollment.

To register, please visit here.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is hosting its annual Recovery Month Kick-Off event on September 12 at Soldiers and Sailors Grove in Harrisburg. The focus of the 2024 kick-off will be total wellness in recovery. To participate in the event, complete the survey by June 28 to indicate if you or your agency would like to provide an interactive activity (such as yoga, music therapy, or meditation) or have a resource table. Space is limited, so responses will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will take place outdoors, with a rain date of Sept. 13. It will be held at the venue located on the fountain side of the state capitol building between Commonwealth Avenue and State Street.

The newly established Pennsylvania Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (PCC AP) is now offering certification and training for clinical supervisors and counselors who provide clinical treatment services in licensed substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities. Historically in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) has provided these certifications and trainings.

PCC AP, which also offers SUD and mental health peer certification, is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Association of Addiction Professionals and the National Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). Both PCB and PCC AP/NAADAC offer certifications and training beneficial to those in the SUD field.

PCC AP aligns with Pennsylvania regulations and is currently providing a test-exempt period from February 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024. During this time, field licensure or certification holders can obtain PCC AP certification without a test, including certification for peers, counselors, and supervisors.

Detailed information about each certification level, including application processes and fees, can be found on the NAADAC website. Additionally, an FAQ page is available.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has issued clarification on policy regarding encounter signatures for crisis services. The updated policy outlines that OMHSAS considers mobile mental health crisis services to be emergency services. While every effort should be made to obtain a signature from the beneficiary or a parent, legal guardian, relative, or friend, when such a signature cannot be obtained due to the nature of the situation, crisis intervention service providers are permitted to insert “Signature Exception” on the signature line of the encounter form.

RCPA has inquired if the encounter verification under these circumstances can be considered for similar applications to other programs under other OMHSAS licensed services. If you have any questions, please contact RCPA COO and Policy Director Jim Sharp.

Registration for the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s (P4A) 2024 Aging and Behavioral Health Conference is now open. The conference agenda will equip behavioral health practitioners and professionals with essential tools and knowledge regarding mental health and substance use disorders affecting older adults. The conference is set for May 29 – 30 at the Best Western Premier Hotel & Conference Center in Harrisburg. The deadline for registration is Friday, May 17. You can register and find details regarding the conference here.