GO-TIME: Expedited Medicaid Processing Initiative Results in $3.5 Million More in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services

August 10, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – By working with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to expedite the processing of Medicaid applications for offenders entering residential drug and alcohol treatment directly from county jail, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) enabled nearly $3.5 million to be spent on other populations in need of drug and alcohol treatment-related services in fiscal year 15-16.

“At a time when thousands of Pennsylvanians are dying due to drug overdoses, it is crucial to effectively spend our resources in order to provide services to more Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Through the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME), I challenged all state agencies to generate meaningful savings and cost efficiencies, while also transforming ineffective programs and delivering better customer service. The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs created an effective way to redirect money to other populations to improve and expand drug and alcohol treatment services.”

County courts request clinical assessments for certain offenders who may be offered drug and alcohol treatment as part of their sentence. The assessments are provided through county-level drug and alcohol administrators (called Single County Authorities), with which DDAP holds grant agreements. Using the Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria, those offenders who meet the criteria for a residential level of care are directly transferred to an appropriate facility. At the same time, DHS’s County Assistance Offices expedite processing of Medicaid applications for the offenders. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources.

By expediting enrollment in Medicaid for offenders, state funds can then be spent on other populations in need as well as case management.

“Since the inception of this program, all 47 Single County Authorities in Pennsylvania have been required to participate, enabling the Department to bridge a significant treatment gap,” said DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis. “In appropriate instances, not only are we treating rather than incarcerating, we are more cost-effectively using our limited resources. This is an excellent example of the value and effectiveness of cross-department collaboration and innovative, creative thinking.”

Governor Wolf announced earlier this month that state agencies saved more than $156 million in FY 15-16, exceeding the $150 million savings goal he set for the GO-TIME initiative. To learn more about how GO-TIME is working to modernize government operations in order to reduce costs and improve services, visit www.governor.pa.gov/go-time/.

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