Press Release, Public Health, Results, Substance Use Disorder Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced several additional steps the commonwealth is taking to help combat the opioid addiction crisis. These steps will help tighten the rules under which medication such as buprenorphine can be prescribed under the Medicaid program.“Success in the fight against opioid crisis requires that we address the issue from all angles,” said Governor Wolf. “Not only must we make sure that quality treatment options are available from Pennsylvanians suffering from an opioid use disorder, we must also make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure treatment is appropriate and that we keep unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of those who are fighting the disease of addiction.”In order to help make sure that medication is used appropriately, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will take the following actions for Medicaid providers:Require all ordering, prescribing or referring providers who are identified on claims be enrolled in the Medicaid program. This will prevent current cash providers who are not enrolled in the Medicaid program from having their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy;Work with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) to cease allowing providers to accept cash payments from Medicaid recipients;Audit and potentially un-enroll providers who prescribe medication such as buprenorphine without an office visit;Encourage Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to terminate poor providers that do not meet certain quality metrics;Implement standardized prior authorization guidelines similar to those most recently implemented for the Medicaid Fee-For-Service Program; andRefer high-volume providers with poor quality records to DHS Bureau of Program Integrity for review and action.“We are tightening the medication rules to ensure that the Medicaid providers writing these prescriptions are thoroughly treating the individual, coordinating care, and getting folks the counseling services they need while going through this treatment,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “Our physical health, behavioral health, and pharmaceutical providers need to work together to provide the best care possible.”“If you, or someone you love, is receiving treatment from an Medicaid-enrolled provider, you should not pay out of pocket for that treatment. We ask that you refer the provider to DHS’ tip line at 1-844-DHS-TIPS,” said Governor Wolf.In addition to the latest actions, the commonwealth has:Strengthening the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) so that doctors are required and able to check the system each time they prescribe opioids;Developed nine new prescribing guidelines to help doctors who provide opioid prescriptions to their patients;Created the warm handoff clinical pathway to facilitate referrals from the emergency department to substance abuse treatment;Established a new law limiting the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to a minor to seven days; andDesignated 45 Centers of Excellence, central hubs that provide navigators to assist those with opioid use disorders with behavioral and physical health care, along with medication-assisted treatment, as needed.New investments in battling the opioid epidemic in the 2017-2018 budget include:$10 million to expand access to naloxone for first responders through competitive grant funds will be awarded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).$3.4 million to expand specialty drug courts in PCCD to expand treatment strategies to divert offenders into more meaningful treatment and recovery.$26.5 million in federal Cures Act funds beginning in 2017-18 that will be used to expand access to treatment services, particularly for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured.Continued investments in battling the opioid epidemic in the 2017-2018 budget include:$20.4 to continue the 45 Centers of Excellence throughout Pennsylvania which will help coordinate holistic treatment for people suffering from substance use disorder.$45 million to continue to fund services to address heroin and opioid addition through the Single County Authorities.Over $3 million for PDMP, which allows medical practitioners to see what their patients are being prescribed, and to make sure that, what they are prescribing is not at odds with that person’s health. It will also allow a medical practitioner help a person get into treatment if they believe they have identified a patient suffering from a substance use disorder.If an individual needs treatment for substance use disorder, and they are on Medicaid, they should call their MCO to determine a provider that is in their network. If the person is in the fee-for-service program, they can call DHS at 800-692-7462 for assistance in locating a provider.For more information, visit www.pa.gov. Pennsylvania Tightens Medication Rules to Help Combat Opioid Crisis March 06, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Hannoversche Kassen, a German occupational pensions provider for the non-profit sector, is calling for investment restrictions to be reviewed to expand investors’ portfolios with additional, and more specific, asset classes such as green infrastructure, Silke Stremlau, a member of the managing board, told IPE.The catalogue of investments, which is part of the Investment Ordinance Anlageverordnung, sets a detailed framework for the mix and diversification of investments of guaranteed assets of company pension schemes, in particular Pensionskassen, Sterbekassen and small insurance companies.“The investment catalogue should include additional asset classes, for example green infrastructure, and define higher thresholds for those types of investments [in green infrastructure], for example to up to 5%,” Stremlau said.The threshold for investing in additional asset classes should reflect their degree of risk “even more strongly,” she added. Pensionskassen can invest a maximum 1% of security assets in a renewable energy fund classified as a special alternative investment fund (AIF), she said.“Certainly understandable for security reasons, but a range of 1-5% would definitely be more helpful,” she noted.Italian government bonds, on the other hand, can make up 30% of total security assets. “From our point of view, this is much more risky than 1.5% in a special AIF,” she said.The catalogue does not include new forms of investment particularly relevant in the context of financing the transition to a green economy, including allocations in infrastructure, as standalone asset classes, but “as mixed share based on the investment vehicle chosen, and regardless of their character or degree of risk,” Stremlau explained.“The risk of loss is lower, especially when political programmes such as the Green New Deal support infrastructures projects,” she said.With a review of the investment ordinance, Stremlau continued, a higher number of Pensionskassen could invest in segments that lead to a transition to a sustainable economy, supporting public spending.Hannoversche Kassen considers the limit of up to 5% of the guaranteed assets for registered bonds (NSV) and promissory note loans (SSD) of non-listed companies “too strict”.“A range of 7.5-10% would make more sense,” she said, noting that the restriction has liquidity reasons, because registered bonds of non-listed companies would not be easy to sell if necessary.On the other hand, however, it may limit future participation of investors in a firm’s new environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) bond issuances if the share of allocation is exhausted.In the case of bearer bonds issued by listed companies, Hannoversche is “surprised” that the quota reaches a “generous” 50% of the guaranteed assets in total and 5% per issuer.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Vince Biegel reacts after recording a sack in the Wisconsin spring game.[/media-credit]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJA4AS7P_EA With 12,050 fans on hand to witness the annual Wisconsin football spring game, it was the Badgers’ defense that stole the show Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall.At least, what was left of it.“We’re basically missing six starters on the defensive side that didn’t play a snap today,” head coach Gary Andersen said. “It was a tremendous day for those young kids to get in and compete at a high level.”With defensive play calling in a 61-47 win for the Cardinal (defense) over the White (offense) that Andersen called “very vanilla” – Andersen didn’t want to show anything schematically advanced because the scrimmage was televised on the Big Ten Network – the new 3-4 base defensive structure looked strong despite having thin ranks on the active roster.Of those starters missing, not a single linebacker predicted to start at the beginning of spring played Saturday. One outside linebacker has gone the way of the dodo – as ongoing foot injuries have forced redshirt senior David Gilbert to forgo his senior season with the Badgers.Two others, last year’s starting outside linebacker Ethan Armstrong and defensive end turned outside linebacker Brendan Kelly, are sitting out the spring, recovering from offseason surgeries. Another former defensive end-turned-linebacker, redshirt senior Tyler Dippel, has also been absent this spring with a shoulder injury.And Chris Borland, well, when you’re a 2012 All-Big Ten selection and three-year starter, there’s little left to prove, as Andersen held the inside linebacker out of the scrimmage as a precaution.Playing the role of spectator Saturday, Borland was impressed with what he saw from his thinned-out positional group.“I thought they played well,” Borland said of his fellow linebackers. “We were a little short-handed in the middle. We just had three guys for a group of four spots. Coach was being smart resting guys, but we should have many more come fall.”Redshirt senior safety and 2012 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention Dezmen Southward, who, like Borland, sat out the scrimmage as a precaution, was also impressed with the linebackers’ performance.“We hope to have [every player] back at 100 percent,” Southward said. “But if we don’t, one thing we learned [from the scrimmage] is we have guys who can step up and can play the game at a high level.”One of the young players who made his mark in the absence of Borland and others was redshirt freshman linebacker Vince Biegel. The once highly touted prep recruit out of Wisconsin Rapids recorded four tackles and two sacks while terrorizing off the edge consistently on the pass rush.“Vince, really the last two practices, I sat down and evaluated Wednesday’s practice and he jumped out at me and he did again today,” Andersen said. “He made a couple big plays, came around the edge and he looks like he’s playing with more confidence and he’s kind of letting it rip a little bit.”Biegel, who was forced to take medical redshirt last fall after aggravating a broken left foot he sustained in the spring of 2012, looked as good as originally advertised Saturday, showing perhaps the best combination of speed and strength of any player on the field during the scrimmage.Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 230 pounds, he’s an exciting prospect for a Wisconsin defense that has lacked a consistent sack threat the past two seasons. The Badgers haven’t produced a player with double-digit sacks since O’Brien Schofield (12) did it in 2009. And they still haven’t had a consistent playmaker on the edge since J.J. Watt in 2010 (21 TFLs).“Vince had a good day, he can really rush the passer and that’s going to be big for us to have depth at the outside linebacker spot and I think he’ll be able to provide that,” Borland said.Biegel wasn’t the only linebacker to benefit from the extra reps. Recently moved from defensive back to linebacker, sophomore Joe Schobert also made a handful of solid plays, co-leading the Cardinal team with seven tackles along with redshirt junior inside linebacker Marcus Trotter.Both made several nice plays, including a screen-read by Trotter where the linebacker read the offensive line’s release, located running back Melvin Gordon and drilled the redshirt sophomore behind the line of scrimmage to break up the catch.Other linebackers like redshirt senior Connor O’Neil, senior Nick Hill, redshirt junior Sherard Cadogan (a former fullback), sophomore Jesse Hayes and redshirt freshman Jake Rademacher all received a considerable workload for the Badgers during the game.Although the starters at linebacker will in all likelihood look radically different than the product showcased during Saturday’s scrimmage, there’s no doubt that when fully healthy, Wisconsin has considerable depth at the position across the board.“That whole group of young linebackers has had so many reps. You cannot put a price tag on repetitions in spring and we’ve kept the other guys healthy,” Andersen said. “It’s going to be a good group of inside and outside linebackers.”
Outgoing University of Liberia (UL) President Dr. Emmett A. Dennis says improving the country’s education to meet the desired goal of Liberians depends on “national priority and political will.” Dr. Dennis made the statement over the weekend when he addressed the second graduating class of the Nimba County Community College (NCCC) in Sanniquellie, the county’s political capital. During the convocation, the president of the college, Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono, and others requested that the college be given a four-year degree granting status.In response to that request, Dr. Dennis called for the improvement in facilities such as the library, laboratory, Information Technology, and most importantly, capacity-building of the faculty staff.He said building the capacity of the teaching staff is the most indispensable endeavor for a college or university which those in charge need to consider in their respective academic programs.“Young faculty members should be encouraged and supported to pursue Master’s and Doctorate degrees to give the colleges and universities in Liberia the best status,” Dr. Dennis told the gathering.He added, “Again, all these depend on national priority and political will. When it was a national priority to establish the NCCC, the Tubman University, we abided by the decision. Therefore, political will and national priority will allow the NCCC to become a full-fledge Bachelor degree granting tertiary institution.”Dr. Dennis said the UL and the NCCC are collaborating in the subject areas of geology and mining, considering financial management, and allowing high achieving students to enroll at UL during their last year at the NCCC. At the UL, Dr. Dennis said the students will be able to earn both the Associate of Art (AA) and Bachelor degrees.He said the arrangement also goes as far as improving the NCCC curriculum so that students from there will be transferred to UL on the basis of certain number of credits. In her statement earlier, Dr. Gono outlined achievements the institution has made since it was established in 2010, stating, “We have since that time built a library, computer laboratory and soil science laboratory.”Additionally, she said the NCCC has also constructed an Organic Compost Processing Center, modern cafeteria, a welcome gate, concrete billboard, accreditation of the Nursing and Laboratory Technology program, which now attracts a huge student enrollment and retention of employees.She said in 2015, the NCCC graduated its first 167 students in 12 disciplines, while the second graduation produced 154 students.“These achievements,” Dr. Gono said, “were done amid inadequate funding and budgetary support, scarce resources and low salaries for the instructors and the support staff.”The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NCCC, Dr. Fredrick Norkeh, also said the Board is, “vigorously planning to ensure that the college becomes a full-fledge Bachelor degree granting institution,” a statement that was accompanied by loud applause from the audience.Norkeh said for an institution to put out a huge number of graduates matters not, but to obtain job matters the most. He urged policymakers to create the environment that will allow those graduating from colleges and universities to get jobs.Meanwhile, the NCCC now offers Geology and Mining, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, General Agriculture, National Diploma in Agriculture, Nursing and Laboratory Technology, Information Technology, Primary and Secondary Education, Criminal Justice, Gender and Development Studies (non-degree), Business and Public Administration, Management, Economics and Accounting, and some vocational studies including Plumbing, Electricity and Hospitality. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)