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Wolf Administration Addressing Addiction Treatment Differently

Department of Human Services to Fund Opioid Treatment Option

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that his administration was successful in securing the necessary funding for the Department of Human Services (DHS) to open 20 Centers of Excellence (COE) statewide by October 1, 2016. The COEs will offer treatment to Pennsylvanians with opioid-related substance use disorder.

“We all know someone impacted by the opioid epidemic and one thing has become abundantly clear – opioid addiction is an illness,” said Governor Wolf. “In order to address this illness we need to think about addiction treatment in a different way. Treating underlying causes gives people the best chance they have to beat their addiction.” 

The COEs coordinate care for people with Medicaid. Rather than just treating the addiction, DHS will treat the entire person through team-based treatment, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care and, when necessary, evidence-based medication assisted treatment. 

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. 

“Since opioids are so powerful, those who try to recover need different types of help in order to beat the disease. In fact, this approach has gained huge momentum as the most modern and successful way to support recovery, especially from opioids,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “The intense cravings, detoxification, and withdrawal symptoms involved in quitting make addiction difficult to overcome. 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.”  

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. 

The 20 selected recipients are: 

• Tadiso Incorporated, Allegheny County

• Gateway Rehabilitation Center, Allegheny County

• New Directions Treatment Services, Berks County

• Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., Blair County

• Penn Foundation, Inc., Bucks County

• Alliance Medical Services-Johnstown, Cambria County

• Pennsylvania Counseling Services - Allison Hill, Dauphin County

• Crozer-Chester Medical Center - Community Hospital, Delaware County

• Esper Treatment Center, Erie County

• Habit OPCO Dunmore Comprehensive Treatment Center, Lackawanna County

• TW Ponessa & Associates Counseling Services, Inc., Lancaster County

• Treatment Trends, Inc., Lehigh County

• Pennsylvania Care LLC DBA Miners Medical, Luzerne County

• Crossroads Counseling, Inc., Lycoming/Tioga/Clinton/Centre Counties

• Resources for Human Development, Inc./Montgomery County Methadone Center, Montgomery County

• Thomas Jefferson Narcotic Addiction Treatment/Maternal Addiction Treatment, Philadelphia County

• Wedge Medical Center, Inc., Philadelphia County

• Temple University, Philadelphia County

• The CARE Center, Inc., Washington County

• Pennsylvania Counseling Services, York County

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  

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116

Kait Gillis, DHS, 717-425-7606


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