News
PACA MH/DS  
would like to wish everyone 
a happy holiday season!

WELCOME OUR 2019 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

At the annual meeting in November, the President and Vice President were elected and three candidates for Secretary/Treasurer were shared and sent via an electronic ballot to the membership. The final results are included below:

President - Gerard Mike
Vice President - Jonna DiStefano
Secretary/Treasurer - Jeremy Yale
Past President - Dan Eisenhauer 

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE PACA MH/DS FALL CONFERENCE

If you attended the conference, please take a moment to complete a brief c onference evaluation to help us to better serve you. 

ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TRAINING (AOT) REQUEST

Act 106 of 2018 requires OMHSAS to develop training on AOT. PACA MH/DS submitted training concerns and plans to continue to partner with OMHSAS moving forward. If your county has additional comments, please email them directly to: shafagan@pa.gov. 

2019 BID LIMIT THRESHOLDS ANNOUNCED
 
The 2019 annual adjustments to the bid limit thresholds and telephonic quote thresholds under the County Code and Second Class County Code recently were published. The state Department of Labor and Industry has advised that the consumer price index percentage change for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2018, is 2.3 percent and thus the bid limit thresholds and telephone quote thresholds that take effect January 1, 2019, will be $20,600 and $11,100, respectively. See the full listing of adjusted threshold amounts from the PA Bulletin .

IFO RELEASES FIVE-YEAR BUDGET OUTLOOK  
 
On November 15, the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its annual long-term economic and budget outlook for the next five years, through FY 2023-2024. While better than expected corporate tax and sales tax collections have caused the IFO to revise its revenue estimates upward for the current fiscal year, the agency also projected that economic and demographic factors imply the state faces a long-term fiscal imbalance.
 
The IFO projects Pennsylvania could be facing a potential budgetary shortfall of about $1.5 billion in FY 2019-2020, driven primarily by non-discretionary and mandated spending such as pension payments, correctional facilities, human services and debt, or up to $1.7 billion assuming some growth in discretionary spending.  Over the next five fiscal years, revenues are expected to grow 3.1 percent annually, compared to spending, which is projected to grow at four percent annually. The IFO acknowledged projections which suggest a recession is more likely to occur than not, and recommended lawmakers consider recession scenarios as they plan for FY 2019-2020 and beyond.
 
FAMILY FIRST PRESERVATION SERVICES ACT EXPANDS OPTIONS
 
The Federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 included (among other provisions) the "Family First Prevention Services Act" which has the potential to change the child welfare system across the country. One major component of this legislation would allow states to spend funds previously earmarked for foster care and congregate care placement on prevention services to address mental health, substance misuse, parenting skills, and more to help children stay with their parents or relatives.
 
The Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators (PCYA) are holding a training on January 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the CCAP Office. Registration is required for the training whether in person or via webinar. There is no cost, but space is limited.
    
IMD EXCLUSION CONTINUES TO EASE
 
Since Medicaid began in 1965, there has been a prohibition on payment for mental health and substance abuse treatment for people between 21 and 65 in residential treatment facilities or otherwise known as Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD). Two years ago the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) began to permit Medicaid funding for IMD stays up to 15 days for individuals in managed care plans. Earlier this year, CMS permitted states to apply for a 1115 Medicaid waiver to provide services for an adult with opiate or other serious substance disorder for up to 30 days in an IMD. Now states can apply for a Medicaid 1115 waiver to fund IMD services, regardless of payment approaches. There are various caveats in addition to budget neutrality that must be met. During a recent committee meetings, OMHSAS indicated they are exploring the requirements for a new waiver.
 
HOUSE AND SENATE SELECT 2018-2019 LEADERSHIP       

The House and Senate convened the week of November 12, to choose their leadership for the 2019-2020 session. There are no changes in the Senate leadership from the 2018-2019 session. The House leadership follows:
 
House Democratic Leadership
Leader: Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) 
Appropriations Chairman: Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery)
Whip: Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Chair: Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Secretary: Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Administrator: Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill) 
Policy Chair: Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster)
 
House Republican Leadership
Speaker-Nominee: Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) 
Leader: Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster)
Appropriations Chairman: Stan Saylor (R-York)
Whip: Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)
Caucus Chair: Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery)
Caucus Secretary: Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland)
Caucus Administrator: Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland)
Policy Chair: Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion)
 
COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH BLOCK GRANT
 
The Implementation Report for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHSBG) is submitted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration annually, to report the outcomes of the grant. The report includes both financial reporting and updates on the priorities set forth in the CMHSBG Application.  The majority of the Implementation Report requires charts that are submitted separately through the National Research Institute and are not available for review at this time. Any comments or questions regarding the CMHSBG 2019 Implementation Report may be directed to Wendy Tucker at wetucker@pa.gov or 717-705-8280.

VIOLENCE PREVENTION/REDUCTION GRANTS AVAILABLE

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency announces the availability of $7.5 million of State School Safety and Security funds to address local community violence. The focus is on trauma informed services, intervention strategies through coordinated care and community organizations; and mentoring. Applications are due February 7, 2019.  Click here for complete details.

NACo EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY MAKING WEBINARS
 
The National Association of Counties (NACo) has created a series of webinars to improve counties operations based on evidence-based practices. The series of webinars includes: Identifying effective programs, using evidence in budgeting and contracting, and delivering effective programs. Registration and details can be found on the  NACo Website.

PEOPLE AND PLACES
 
Lawrence George was appointed to the position of Chief Clerk/Administrator for Lancaster County. 

Steve Warren will retire from York/Adams effective December 31, 2018 and Sharon Harlacher has been appointed as the new administrator. 
 
Kendra Snuffer was appointed OMHSAS Chief of Staff.
 
Steve Remillard has accepted the appointment of Special Assistant to the Secretary of DHS.
 
Jamie Welty is now the Director of OMHSAS' Bureau of Quality and Systems Management and Clinical Review.
 
Randy Lock has transferred from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to join OMHSAS in leading employment efforts.
 
Mike Usman, MD was appointed as the full-time, OMHSAS Medical Director. 
 
Courtney Malecki has been named as the OMHSAS' director of Policy, Planning and Program Development of the Children's Behavioral Health Services Bureau.

Kristin Ahrens has been appointed as the ODP Deputy Secretary.