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Communiqués for Providers

DHS-contracted providers are encouraged to visit this page frequently. Announcements concerning policy changes and best-practices along with information dealing with conferences and staff development opportunities will be posted.  Content that may be of interest to providers in more than one service area is posted at the top of the page. Content that may be of interest to providers in specific service areas is posted under those headings.

All DHS-contracted Providers
Providers of Drug and Alcohol Services
All DHS-contracted Providers 

How to Prevent a Death Due to Opioid (Heroin) Overdose
The combination of heroin and fentanyl is proving deadly in the Pittsburgh area. Learn what you can do to help prevent a death due to opioid overdose.

My Bike Program
Provides adaptive bikes to children with disabilities whose household incomes do not exceed four times the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Details are available on the My Bike Program application form.

Carnegie Museums Discount Admission Offer
A special reduced-price admission fee to all four of the Carnegie Museums (Art, Natural History, Science Center and Warhol) is available for holders of EBT/ACCESS cards. Please make sure your consumers know about this offer.  

 pdf.gif ServiceDesk to handle fee-related questions from OBH and OID providers
Beginning October 21, all inquiries regarding OBH and OID Fee-For-Service Reports, claims and all payments (including Program Funded/Cost reimbursed) should be directed to the DHS Service Desk

The DHS LGBTQ Advisory Council is seeking new members
New members who are able to speak from their personal experience of having participated in DHS services are being sought. Please let those in your agency and those you serve know about this opportunity. Members do not need to identify as LGBT or Q to qualify.

 pdf.gif Technical Assistance WebEx PowerPoints FY 2013-14 
Annual-Contract Technical Assistance is offered at the links below via WebEx. Each recording includes information on insurance requirements, completing budgets, MPER service-offering roll-over and other contract-related duties.

pdf.gif Helping Children Cope with Violence - What Parents Can Do
In light of recent national tragedies the National Institute of Mental Health released this document to provide information to parents.  

News from the Federal Government 

NewMental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act: Final Rule Constituency Briefing, November 8, 2013
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury jointly issued a final rule increasing parity between mental health/substance use disorder benefits and medical/surgical benefits in group and individual health plans. pdf.gif More about MHPAEA

The Opioid Overdose Toolkit
In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, Saturday, August 31, the Office of National Drug Control Policy joined other federal partners to announce the release of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. The Toolkit, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on overdose prevention, treatment and recovery for first responders, prescribers, and patients. More information about the Opioid Overdose Toolkit  

pdf.gif Health care law allows consumers to easily find and compare options starting in 2014
New rule will expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits to 62 million Americans.  

News From the State Government   

Emergency Preparedness

The Bureau of Human Services Licensing (BHSL) strongly recommends that individuals and all licensed residential settings review emergency preparedness guidance and plans, and prepare to apply emergency preparedness strategies in advance of any natural disaster including severe winter weather.  

PDF Icon Medical Assistance Eligibility Verification System (EVS) changes effective January 1, 2013
Changes that will streamline eligibility, benefits and claims data are now in effect. This Pennsylvania Community Provider Association Info document provides the details and links to related resources.

PDF Icon MA Reinstatement Letter
DPW is sending a document, printed on blue paper, to those who had their MA terminated in the past year to give them the chance to fight to have their coverage restored. Find details about how you can assist them at the link above.

Consolidation of Child Residential and Intellectual Disability Licensing and Inspection functions, July 1, 2012
For facilities and agencies subject to 55 Pa. Code Chapters 2380, 2390, 3800, 6400 and 6500
PDF Icon Bureau of Human Services Licensing Licensing Reference Guide to help agencies better understand how to interact with BHSL.

PDF Icon DPW Press Release re: Delay of PH95 co-pay requirement, issued October 5, 2012
PDF Icon MA co-pay notice to families
As of October 5, 2012, families of children with disabilities will not be required to pay the proposed PH95 MA loophole co-pay. The matter is not totally resolved since a premium related to these services is under discussion.

pdf.gif Termination of General Assistance (August 1, 2012) FAQ
Find answers to basic questions about the ending of the Pa. General Assistance program on August 1, 2012. 

Notice of Class-Action Lawsuit  

You may be working with consumers who may be entitled to educational benefits if they can answer "YES" to the following two questions. 

  • Did you live at the Auberle Group Home at any time from October 14, 2008 to January 1, 2011?
  • Did you attend school in the “alternative education” building in the “transition classroom” for Auberle students? (This classroom was located down the hill from Auberle and sometimes called “East End Academy.”) 

pdf.gif More information about the class-action lawsuit T.P. v. McKeesport Area School District, Case No. GD-10-019236.

 Policy Updates 

Newpdf.gifDSM IV TR updates reflected in DSM 5
Provides a summary of the changes in definitions of various mental and cognitive diagnoses.  

Definition of "recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders" updated
SAMHSA announced a new working definition of recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders as: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions re: behavioral health treatment parity
Issued by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor, these FAQs discuss mental health/addiction treatment parity. Discussed in particular is the requirement that plans subject to the parity law shall not use stricter preauthorization or utilization management procedures for mental health or addiction treatment services generally than for physical health services.

pdf.gif Important changes to Medical Assistance benefits begin Jan. 3, 2012
The Department of Public Welfare is making a change to Medical Assistance prescription drug benefit. Please read this notice carefully.

Professional Development

Mental Health First Aid Training
One in four Americans lives with a mental health problem each year. Yet, far too many - up to two-thirds - go without treatment. Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps a layperson assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Learn more about available trainings on the Allegheny Health Choices Inc. Mental Health First Aid webpage.


pdf.gif Combining Multivariate Mental Health and Substance Use Assessment
The Drug Use Screening Inventory-Revised (DUSI-R) remains the gold standard of validated self-report multivariate mental health and substance use assessment and continues to be adopted as the instrument of choice around the world.

Used in more than 20 countries including the U.S. and Australia, and those in Central/South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Available in 15 languages (youth and adult versions). Over 50 peer-reviewed publications.

pdf.gif Data-based Planning for Effective Prevention - State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroups
Results of work done by SAMSHA-sponsored state epidemiolgoical outcomes workgroups (SEOWs) charged with identifying data-based processes that result in effective prevention of substance abuse and mental, emotional and behavioral (MEB) disorders. 

 Technical Assistance for FY 2013-14 DHS contracts 

Annual-Contract Technical Assistance is offered at the links below via WebEx. Each recording includes information on insurance requirements, completing budgets, MPER service-offering roll-over and other contract-related duties.

Area Agency on Aging 41 minutes
Office of Behavioral Health - Drug and Alcohol Services 48 minutes
Office of Behavioral Health – Mental Health & Early Intervention 39 minutes
Office of Children, Youth and Families and Juvenile Court, 49 minutes
Office of Community Services, 53 minutes
Office of Intellectual Disability 46 minutes

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Communiques for Providers of Drug and Alcohol Services have moved.


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