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wolf administration

The Pennsylvania Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Human Services (DHS), and Aging (PDA) are highlighting available resources for grandparents who are raising grandchildren and demonstrating the need for additional supports for these grandparents because of the overdose crisis.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, there were more than seven million grandparents living with their grandchildren, and over two million were responsible for their grandchildren’s basic needs. In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that nearly 260,000 children live in households headed by grandparents or other relatives.

Read the full press release.

Gov. Wolf today signed into law two bills with major significance to the commonwealth’s efforts to address the addiction and overdose death epidemic.

Act 146 is a wide-ranging statute that includes language making medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) available without prior authorization through commercial insurers and Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). Act 111 amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to explicitly exclude fentanyl test strips from the definition of drug paraphernalia, effectively legalizing them.

Act 146

Act 146 puts into statute a 2018 agreement Gov. Wolf brokered with commercial insurance companies and a Department of Human Services’ directive to Medicaid MCOs that ensured Pennsylvanians had unrestricted access to MOUD when they need it. The new law specifically reads:

Section 2157.  Medication-Assisted Treatment.

(A) Minimum Requirement — An insurer or MA or CHIP managed care plan shall make available coverage of at least one prescription drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid use disorders, including coverage of at least one of each of the following without prior authorization:
(1)  Buprenorphine/naloxone prescription drug combination product.
(2)  Injectable and oral naltrexone.
(3)  Methadone.

(B)  Coverage and Cost Tier — If a Medication-Assisted Treatment prescription drug set forth in Subsection (A) is covered as a pharmacy benefit, then the insurer or MA or CHIP managed care plan shall cover the prescription drug on the lowest nonpreventative cost tier of the health insurance policy or MA or CHIP managed care plan.

Subsection (B) requires payers to make the medications outlined in Subsection (A) available at the lowest cost share for non-preventative drugs.

Earlier versions of the bill included language that prevented prior authorization only for the initial treatment or prescription but did not preclude subsequent prior authorizations. Additionally, earlier language also limited the prior authorization waiver to only one drug used to treat OUD. RCPA worked with House leadership and other stakeholders to negotiate broader, more expansive language.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill sponsored the legislation.

Act 111

Act 111 goes beyond fentanyl test strips and excludes from the definition of drug paraphernalia any “testing products used for personal use in determining whether a controlled substance contains chemicals, toxic substances or hazardous compounds in quantities which can cause physical harm or death.”

Over the last few years, more legislation and public health policy aimed at reducing the harm associated with drug use has been introduced and adopted, marking a significant shift in attitudes toward and acceptance of harm reduction.

Rep. Jim Struzzi sponsored the legislation.

Message from Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF):

As we celebrate Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Month, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation would like to take this opportunity to amplify the message that AT can help people with disabilities live with more independence, safety, productivity, and with an improved quality of life.

We are committed to helping people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians with information and assistance, financial education, and financing opportunities so they can acquire the AT devices and resources they need.

We are proud and grateful to receive Governor Tom Wolf’s proclamation declaring November Assistive Technology Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. The Governor’s proclamation states:

“Whereas, Pennsylvanians with disabilities of all ages may need assistive technology devices and services to live independently and productively, as well as to participate fully in affairs of their communities…and assistive technology devices and services allow people to work, attend school, play, and live in the community of their choice…”

“Whereas, Pennsylvania is a leader in the development and implementation of assistive technology programs for its citizens with disabilities and older residents, through assistance from organizations such as the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, providing valuable information and assistance, financial education, and the financing for the purchase of assistive technology and services.”

“Therefore, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim November 2022, as Assistive Technology Awareness Month. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to become aware of the many ways in which assistive technologies contribute to the health, happiness, and independence of our family, friends, and neighbors.”

Our CEO Ben Laudermilch shares the proclamation was created thanks to steadfast advocacy: “For decades, PATF has pushed for bipartisan support at the state level for funding to help people with disabilities and older adults live independent lives. The Governor’s proclamation recognizes the efforts of disability advocates and raises awareness about life-changing assistive technologies and services,” says Ben.

Funding Resources for AT

Last year, we celebrated the proclamation by hosting an AT Photo Contest: Show Us Your Tech. This year, we’ve published our new, third edition of Funding Your Assistive Technology.

Assistive technology empowers people with disabilities to do the things they want to do. However, one of the leading obstacles for obtaining AT is finding the money to pay for it.

We have compiled a collection of 70 funding options for assistive technology devices and services called Funding Your Assistive Technology.


Top 5 Funding Resources for AT for Kids With Disabilities

When someone contacts us for help funding their assistive technology (AT), one of the first things we ask is whether or not they are enrolled in a Home and Community-Based (HCBS) waiver.

For many people with disabilities, waivers are a major source of funding for AT.

Read the full blog.

How to Access Funding for Sports Equipment

All people, including people with disabilities, should have the opportunity, if they choose, to play sports.

We describe assistive technology (AT) as any device that helps a person with a disability do the things they want to do. This includes adaptive sports equipment that helps you play sports safely with more freedom.

But how do you access adaptive sports equipment to play sports when you have a disability?

We recently talked to Keith Newerla, a wheelchair user who runs the adaptive sports program at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia.

Click the link to read the full blog.

PATF can help you get the adaptive sports equipment you want by extending a no-interest loan through our Mini-Loan program.

We also offer low-interest loans that can cover the cost of assistive technology for things like home modifications, adapted vehicles, eye-gaze systems, and more!


In 2018, Governor Wolf signed a bipartisan bill with unanimous support from the General Assembly into law. Act 36 of 2018 is known as the Employment First Act [PA Law 229]. The purpose of the Employment First Act (Act 36) is to “ensure that individuals with a disability be given the opportunity to achieve economic independence through jobs that pay competitive wages in community integrated settings.”

In an effort to reach this goal, the PA Employment First Oversight Commission was formed. Stephen Suroviec, Commission Chair, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Achieva and an RCPA member. Other RCPA members, including RCPA President and CEO Richard Edley, also serve on the commission. The commission was charged with:

  • Establishing measurable goals and objectives governing the implementation of the Act;
  • Tracking the measurable progress of public agencies in implementing the Act; and
  • Issuing an annual report that:
    • Details the progress made on each of the measurable goals and objectives during the preceding fiscal year, and
    • Includes recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly for effective strategies and policies needed to support the implementation of this act.

The annual report from the commission details the progress toward these targets. You can view the report here.

Today, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously voted HB 2530, which focused on the elimination of prudent pay for IDD providers, out of committee. The bill will be placed on the Senate voting calendar and is expected to have a final vote next week, which is the final fall session week for the Senate. Once the bill is approved, it will go to the Governor for his signature.

RCPA is grateful for all the technical assistance Bill Harriger, President and CEO of Verland, provided throughout the legislative process, and to all RCPA members who contacted their state legislators.

If you have questions, please contact Jack Phillips, Director of Government Affairs.