In Reading and Lackawanna County, Governor Wolf Discusses 2016-2017 Budget Investment in Battling the Opioid Epidemic

first_imgIn Reading and Lackawanna County, Governor Wolf Discusses 2016-2017 Budget Investment in Battling the Opioid Epidemic SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Human Services,  Press Release,  Public Health,  Substance Use Disorder Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas visited the Reading Health System and the Wright Center for Primary Care to discuss the significant strides made in the 2016-17 budget to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania. Earlier this week, Governor Wolf announced that his administration will implement an additional 25 Centers of Excellence (COE) locations throughout the state by January 1, 2017. The COEs will offer treatment to Pennsylvanians with opioid-related substance use disorder.“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. “As we all know, the opioid epidemic does not discriminate – it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. With these additional locations, my administration is continuing its commitment to expanding high-quality treatment across Pennsylvania. 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.”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 25 COEs announced will serve at least 5,600 additional individuals.“The Centers for Excellence will provide vital, potentially life-saving coordination of care for Pennsylvanians struggling with the disease of addiction,” said Secretary Dallas. “Rather than just treating a person’s addiction, DHS will treat the entire patient through team-based treatment, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care and, when necessary, evidence-based medication assisted treatment. As our strategy involves both behavioral therapy and FDA-approved medication that individuals take to help curb cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms, it can improve the odds of recovery.”“Reading Health is proud to be designated a Center of Excellence (COE) in the fight against opioid abuse,” said Reading Health President & CEO Clint Matthews. “Our interdisciplinary team of providers is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to all members of our community and our designation as a COE will help provide the necessary treatment and resources to those in need.”“The profession of medicine must humbly recognize that, although unintentionally, our pain prescribing patterns in a fragmented, ineffective care delivery system have contributed to our national opiate public health crisis,” Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President and CEO of The Wright Center.   “We must acknowledge our role in this devastating debacle not with shame, fear or discouragement but with intentional, passionate commitment to responsively and responsibly help generate and lead collective solutions. Every stakeholder needs to get involved in America’s ‘Turn the Tide’ initiative lead by Secretary Burwell. We need to build our care delivery and IT infrastructure and our community resource networks to be more effective, while we deliberately change culture and develop skillsets of current and future workforce to promote recovery and resilience. The Wright Center is privileged to be selected as a Pennsylvania Center of Excellence and we are absolutely committed to coming out of our organizational comfort zone to learn and best steward the allotted public dollars to ensure more effective care for the patients, families and communities we serve that are struggling with addiction.”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 Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will license the COEs as drug and alcohol providers that provide one of the three FDA-approved medications.For more information about the Centers of Excellence, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img September 01, 2016last_img read more

Guyana to host historic OAS Conference next week

first_imgGuyana is set to host for the first time the 24th Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism (CITUR) of the Organisation of American States (OAS).The meeting, to be held March 21-22, will be hosted at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, and be attended by several international and regional tourism officials.According to the Director General of Tourism, Donald Sinclair, the National Coordinator of the XXIV Congress, the response has been significant, and 25 outBusiness and Tourism Development Minister Dominic Gaskin speaking at the launching of the Congress in Januaryof the 43 countries have already confirmed their attendance.“What I am hearing from the OAS authorities is that this is perhaps the best-attended Congress. If that turns out to be so, then Guyana deserves the kudos,” Sinclair said.OAS Conference Specialist Luiz Coimbra underscored the importance of the collaboration which would arise from the meeting of tourism stakeholders.“Nobody can do tourism on its own. No country can solve the tourism question on its own. We all need to be connected, not only because the problems are common, but also because each country can offer complementary things, and we are stronger if we have common standards for tourism,” he said.The OAS representative added that the Congress was the culmination of an extended period of work between the Organisation and local representatives.The two-day Congress will be held under the theme, “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism.”It will be preceded by a tourism exhibition organised by the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana on March 20.Guyana is expected to benefit significantly from hosting the 24th CITUR. This is according to Business and Tourism Development Minister Dominic Gaskin, who underscored the importance of the event and the benefits to be realised from staging it in Guyana.Speaking at the launching of the Congress in January, Minister Gaskin maintained that the Congress would raise the country’s tourism and business profiles, and would also contribute to Guyana’s economic growth in several other ways.last_img read more