In Norristown, Governor Wolf Touts Strides Made in 2016-17 Budget to Combat Opioid Epidemic

August 10, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas visited Resources for Human Development’s Montgomery County Recovery Center, a Center of Excellence in Norristown, to discuss the significant strides made in the 2016-17 budget to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic in Pennsylvania. The Wolf Administration successfully secured the necessary funding for DHS to open 20 Centers of Excellence (COEs) statewide by October 1, 2016.

“I am thrilled that by working with Republicans and Democrats, we have achieved this level of funding for our fight against this public health crisis,” said Governor Wolf. “Now that this year’s budget is complete, it is imperative that we all continue working together to focus on Pennsylvania’s opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. While the budget allows us to expand treatment for individuals suffering from addiction, we can and should do more to address this matter that is plaguing all of our communities. My administration will keep its focus on this issue and I will continue preparing for the upcoming special session.”

“We are honored to join a community of providers fighting the national opioid epidemic,” said Linda Donovan-Magdamo, Executive Vice President of RHD’s Pennsylvania Behavioral Health & Housing Division. “RHD’s Montgomery County Recovery Center is committed to participating actively in the learning network collaborative that arises out of this initiative. RHD has long been at the forefront of innovative, person-centered programs for people in addiction recovery and we’re thrilled to see MCMC recognized for its excellence of service and dedication to the people of Pennsylvania.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity implement a holistic approach to service, and enhance MCRC’s commitment to care for the whole person,” Montgomery County Recovery Center director Marie McCartney said. “This award from DHS will double the capacity of our program, expanding the essential services we offer to people in our community who are in dire need of support.”

The current path of treatment for people who have opioid-related substance use disorders can be confusing and difficult to navigate. The links between behavioral health treatment and physical health treatment are often broken or not made at all. This means people may drop out of treatment after they receive care for their physical symptoms, bypassing critical components of care such as behavioral therapies and connection to community supports that can lead to meaningful recovery from substance use disorder.

The Centers of Excellence are a central, efficient hub around which treatment revolves. These centers will have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders though the medical system, and ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.

The use of medication (like buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone), coupled with wrap-around supportive services, can prevent people from relapsing and improve their chances for recovery, ultimately driving the aforementioned statistics in the opposite direction.

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will license the COEs as drug and alcohol providers that provide one of the three FDA-approved medications.

DHS is currently working with its actuaries to determine whether additional COEs can be funded by analyzing the impact they will have on the physical and behavioral health Medicaid managed care rates.

For more information about the Centers of Excellence, visit www.dhs.pa.gov


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