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03/09/2018

Wolf Administration Continues to Address Opioid Crisis, Assisting Individuals with Opioid-Use Disorder Needing Birth Certificates

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration continues to make progress to combat the opioid epidemic nearly 60 days after Governor Tom Wolf’s statewide opioid emergency declaration, which was signed on January 10.

“The opioid disaster declaration was meant to provide access to treatment for individuals suffering with opioid-use disorder as quickly as possible,” Governor Wolf said. “The ability for people with opioid-use disorder who request a good-cause waiver for a birth certificate is another way that state agencies are cutting through red tape to help those affected by this crisis.”

One of the original initiatives of the disaster declaration, the good-cause waiver has allowed 60 people suffering from opioid use disorder to receive their birth certificates without a charge since the waiver went into effect 60 days ago.

“Those who are suffering from opioid-use disorder need treatment immediately,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “By waiving fees, Pennsylvanians who need identification to get into treatment can get their birth certificate quickly, removing a financial barrier. The $20 fee may not seem like a lot of money, but for some, it could make all the difference in the world in receiving much-needed treatment.”

On January 10, Governor Wolf signed a statewide disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic to enhance state response, increase access to treatment, and save lives.

The disaster declaration focuses on 13 initial initiatives:

  • Establishes an Opioid Operational Command Center located at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency;

  • Expands access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to other commonwealth entities for clinical decision-making purposes;

  • Adds overdoses and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) as Reportable Conditions in Title 28, Chapter 27;

  • Authorizes an emergency purchase under the procurement code for the 24/7 helpline, 1-800-662-HELP;

  • Enables Emergency Medical Services providers to leave behind naloxone by amending the current Standing Order;

  • Waives regulations to allow pharmacists to give greater access to naloxone to prisons and treatment programs;

  • Allows for the immediate temporary rescheduling of all fentanyl derivatives to align with the federal DEA schedule while working toward permanent rescheduling;

  • Authorizes emergency purchasing to allow for an emergency contract to expand the advanced body scanner pilot program currently in place at Wernersville that is used on re-entrants returning to the facility;

  • Waives the face-to-face physician requirement for Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) to allow initial intake review by a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) or Physician Assistant (PA);

  • Expands access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by waiving the regulatory provision to permit dosing at satellite facilities;

  • Waives annual licensing requirements for high-performing drug and alcohol treatment facilities;

  • Waives the fee provided for in statute for birth certificates for individuals who request a good-cause waiver by attesting that they are affected by Opioid Use Disorder; and

  • Waives separate licensing requirements for hospitals and emergency departments to expand access to drug and alcohol treatment to allow physicians to administer short-term MAT consistent with DEA regulations without requiring separate notice to DDAP.

Governor Wolf and state agencies have been increasing efforts in the fight against prescription drug abuse in multiple areas, including numerous programs and initiatives:

  • Working with the legislature to establish a new law limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor and to individuals discharged from emergency rooms to seven days;

  • Strengthening the PDMP through the legislative process so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines;

  • Forming new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients, including guidelines specific to orthopedics and sports medicine;

  • Creating the warm handoff guideline to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;

  • Teaming with the legislature to establish education curriculum on safe prescribing for medical schools; and

  • Awarding four $1 million grants for medication-assisted treatment using a hub and spoke model for Pennsylvanians who are uninsured, under-insured or have private insurance.

For more information on the state’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic, visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/opioid-epidemic/ or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson - 717-787-1783

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