It appears that there is hope on the horizon for Pennsylvania residents and we need to help get the word out for the good work that the Governor is doing to address the needs of the state of Pennsylvania with respect to the opioid epidemic.

Governor Wolf appears to be taking a page from the Massachusetts initiatives put forth in 2014-2015.

Governor Wolf worked with the legislature to secure $20.4 million in the 2016-17 budget to combat Pennsylvania’s heroin crisis by expanding treatment options for Pennsylvanians struggling with opioid use disorder.

The Wolf Administration has announced 45 Centers of Excellence locations throughout the state. These centers have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders though the medical system, and to ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.

The 2016-2017 budget included $10 million in behavioral health funding and $5 million in medical assistance funding, totaling $15 million. This will allow DHS to draw down $5.4 million in federal funding for an overall total of $20.4 million.

During phase one, the Department of Human Services implemented 20 Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Centers of Excellence by utilizing the $10 million in behavioral health funding. After working with its actuaries to analyze the impact of adding medication assisted treatment on Medicaid managed care rates and subsequently negotiating 2017 rates with managed care organizations, DHS has determined that they can implement 25 additional centers with the $5 million in state Medicaid funds and $5.4 million in federal funds.

The additional COEs announced will serve at least 5,600 additional individuals.  The COEs are a central, efficient hub around which treatment revolves. These centers will have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders through the medical system, and ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.

The 25 selected recipients are:

  • AIDS Case Group/Sharon Hill Medical, Delaware County
  • Butler Memorial Hospital, Butler County
  • CASA of Livingston County, Inc., Bradford County
  • Clearfield-Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission, Clearfield, Jefferson Counties
  • Clinical Outcomes Group, Inc., Schuylkill County
  • Community Health & Dental Care, Inc., Montgomery County
  • Family First Health Corporation, York County
  • Family Service Association of Buck County, Bucks County
  • Geisinger Clinic/GIM Danville, Mifflin, Montour Counties
  • Hamilton Health Center, Dauphin County
  • Highlands Hospital, Fayette County
  • Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster County
  • Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC,  Allegheny, Lawrence, Venango, Blair, and Butler Counties
  • Mon Valley Community Health Services, Inc., Westmoreland County
  • Mt. Pocono Medical, Monroe County
  • Neighborhood Health Centers of Lehigh Valley, Lehigh, Northampton Counties
  • Pathways to Housing PA, Philadelphia County
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Perelman School of Medicine Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County
  • Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia County
  • Reading Hospital and Health System, Berks County
  • The Wright Center Medical Group, PC, Lackawanna County
  • Total Wellness Center, LLC. Clean Slate, Lycoming, Luzerne, Erie Counties
  • University of Pittsburgh Physicians: General Internal Medicine Clinic – Oakland, Allegheny County
  • West Penn Allegheny Health System, Allegheny County
  • WPIC of UPMCPS, Allegheny County

Naloxone Standing Order

On October 28, 2015, Governor Wolf stood with Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine as Dr. Levine signed a standing order making it possible for all Pennsylvanians to access naloxone, the medication that reverses an opioid overdose.

Through the signing of this standing order, Dr. Levine has signed a prescription for naloxone to all Pennsylvanians. For more information about naloxone and how to administer it, please visit the Department of Drug and Alcohol Program’s page on overdose reversal.

In 2015, Pennsylvanians experienced over 3500 overdose deaths and the numbers for last year are still pending.

Family members and friends can access this medication by obtaining a prescription from their family doctor or by using the standing order (a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual) issued by Rachel Levine, M.D., PA Physician General. The standing order is kept on file at many pharmacies.

You can also download the standing order here from the Department of Health’s website.

For more on the PA Naloxone standing order visit their Opioid Epidemic page. This is a very informative site and includes an online Narcan training video for those who need to learn how to administer narcan to a family member or loved one.

All in all, your Governor is on the right track and has a great message of hope in the face of this ever growing threat.

To access Pennsylvania resources for free: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for information about treatment resources. Your call to 1-800-662-HELP is completely confidential. This hotline, staffed by trained professionals, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available in both English and Spanish. Call 1-800-662-HELP.

Kudos to you Governor Wolf! We appreciate your efforts!


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