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PA House Committee Dives into DOH and DDAP Budget Requests

February 26, 2019

Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) faced questioning from members of the committee about the department’s budgetary requests for the 2019–2020 fiscal year.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis

In keeping with past budget hearings, significant attention was paid to the work the departments are doing to address the opioid crisis. Governor Wolf’s proposed budget includes $1.5 million in additional dollars to expand access to naloxone. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine spoke to the Governor’s disaster declaration, which is on its fifth renewal and brings together 15 different agencies in the Opioid Command Center.

Members of the committee also inquired about the effectiveness of the “Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program” (ABC-MAP), which is the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. Secretary Levine noted that there are nearly 90,000 registered program users and about 1.6 million searches per month. The program has successfully decreased the instances of “doctor shopping” for opioid prescriptions. In total, Secretary Levine said there has been a 21 percent decrease in all opioid prescriptions.

Pennsylvania Rural Health Model

The committee requested updates on DOH project initiatives, with a specific focus on the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model which will pilot global budgets in rural hospitals. Secretary Levine offered that there will be an announcement next week about the pilot, noting that there were five hospitals participating, with a goal to reach 18 in 2020 and 30 in 2021. 

The objective of the model is to provide a path to improving health and health care delivery in rural communities. Rural health transformation promotes transition to higher quality, integrated, and value-based care.

House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings about Governor Wolf’s proposed budget continue through the first week in March.

For more information about HAP’s state legislative advocacy, please contact Stephanie Watkins, vice president, state legislative advocacy. Contact Kate Slatt, senior director, innovative payment and care delivery, with questions about the Rural Health Model.

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