HARRISBURG – In response to the needs of Pennsylvanians struggling with substance use disorder, a bill sponsored by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50) to increase access to licensed addiction treatment programs is set for enactment.
“The opioid crisis is even more dire as people are subjected to drugs that are laced with fentanyl and xylazine to put money in the pockets of criminals manufacturing them. While law enforcement agencies are dedicated to getting these dangerous drugs off the street, Pennsylvanians who have already been impacted need care now,” Brooks said. “We are working hard to better enable health care providers and their staff to do the work we so desperately need them to do.”
Senate Bill 941 would help address workforce shortages by offering regulatory flexibilities for treatment providers and in turn improve access to those who need their services. The bill allows certified registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to fulfill the on-call physician requirements of a treatment program. The change would address massive physician shortages particularly seen in rural parts of the commonwealth.
The bill also increases counselor, counselor supervisor and counselor assistant caseloads in inpatient residential treatment settings to give providers more flexibility in how they can use their employees and expertise.
Additionally, the bill waives clinical experience requirements so individuals with related advanced degrees can get to work immediately and help meet staffing needs.
“While the General Assembly has addressed many challenges in combatting the opioid epidemic and decades-old addiction crisis, increasing flexibility and opportunity for staff at these treatment facilities will add another tool in the fight against substance abuse all while increasing access to treatment services,” Brooks said.
Additionally, Senate Bill 941 would require the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs that oversees these licensees to submit an annual report to the General Assembly regarding unnecessary barriers to workforce recruitment and treatment access.
CONTACT: Adam Gingrich, 717-787-1322