Human Services Advisory Board holds Jan. meeting

Members of the Human Services Advisory Board met for the first time in the new year Tuesday.

Among agenda items was the upcoming change to criteria in level-of-care determinations for individuals seeking or receiving treatment for drug and alcohol issues in the state. The main impetus for the change from state-specific Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC) to federal American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria is the limit to federal reimbursement for Medicaid recipients receiving residential treatments to 15 days.

The ASAM criteria is the current standard when making placement decisions for adolescents, and the new treatment data system being implemented by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs this year is designed to integrate with ASAM criteria, so the transition represents a logical direction for providers to take. That being said, Forest-Warren Human Services Director Mary Kushner said the training required to make the transition has the potential to have significant consequences for area service providers.

The two-day, in-person required training for service providers to switch to ASAM is around $400 per person, and requires a two-day loss of billable hours for anyone attending, Kushner said. Any provider who assesses consumers for treatment will be required to receive the training. The new DDAP system is set to be in use – and trainings will need to be completed – statewide by July 1.

Ronna Tipton, Forest-Warren Human Services Developmental Disabilities supervisor, said that work is ongoing to address the new autism services waiver for which consumers can now receive services. Part of the work in administration of the new waiver involves tracking down either original diagnoses of autism for consumers, or compiling lists of behavioral components that may have led to non-autism diagnoses but which nonetheless qualify consumers for services under the autism waiver.

The female Fairweather Lodge planned for the Forest-Warren Economic Opportunities Council residence on St. Clair Street in Warren is coming along, according to Systems of Care Grant Coordinator Adam McNeill. He said that he and his supervisor had reviewed the lease and are just waiting on the final requirements for residents to begin moving in.

The next advisory board meeting is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 6.