News (blog)

We hope visitors to our site will find the blog posts useful as we share information about the Coalition and provide information relating to behavioral health needs of older adults.
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  • 24 Nov 2015 2:06 PM | Anonymous

    For over 16 years the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition (PBHAC) has been achieving significant efforts to enhance the lives of older Pennsylvanians with behavioral health concerns. I am delighted to join such an organization in which mission and vision I truly believe in and partake in promoting wellness, recovery efforts, and improving the quality of life of this population. I am excited to accomplish more successes with PBHAC, focus on Best Practices, and break down the barriers which face older adults with behavioral health needs. Please contact me at with any questions, concerns, comments, or just to introduce yourself as I settle into my new role. I look forward to meeting and working with you all.


    Deborah Allen

  • 16 Nov 2015 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    The Board of the PA Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition is pleased to announce the appointment of Deborah Allen as the new Executive Director of the organization. Ms. Allen graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a BS in Rehabilitation Services. During her last semester at ESU, she was selected to participate in The Harrisburg Internship Semester in the Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Policy and Program Support. After graduation she was accepted into an accelerated Master’s Program at Mississippi State University’s National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision where she completed the certificate program for Vision Specialists in Vocational Rehabilitation. As part of this program, she participated in an internship, and selected the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Mass. She then obtained her MSW at Temple University with a concentration in Administration.

    Most recently Ms. Allen worked at Keystone Autism Services as their Children’s Division Director, in which she oversaw four programs including Early Intervention, Family Based Mental Health Services, BHRS, and High Fidelity Wraparound Services. This position included expanding developmental programs, licensing standards, operational directives, human resources, compliance, regulations, ensuring quality services, and fiscal management. She supervised over 80 staff.

    She held the position of Behavioral Health Membership Specialist/Associate Director at PCCYFS. Responsibilities included organizing and supporting public education and advocacy efforts among member agencies, represented member agencies’ positions with relevant State Offices, County Departments of Human Services/Children and Youth/JPO Offices and managed care organizations as well as provided leadership for the implementation of policies and protocols, acted as spokesperson of the Council and advocated on behalf of the membership in public forums. Also, participated in annual and strategic planning process.

    She also worked at the Capitol Area Behavioral Health Collaborative as their Clinical Director where she supervised five staff members and ensured quality assurance policies, developed and monitored systems to ensure compliance with program standards, developed treatment consultation protocols, developed and implemented annual plans, developed annual reports, and established and monitored treatment access trends. This position also involved monitoring member complaints and grievances, and ensured “best practice” and case consultation.

    Previous to that position, Deborah worked for the Commonwealth of PA at the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Developmental Programs and Department of State) for 10 years working with various state and county committees, advisory groups, taskforces, and workgroups. She has experience in conducting individual and group therapy, the drug and alcohol community, behavioral health services, intellectual disabilities, and has volunteered at adult day cares and assisted living centers.

    She resides in Perry County with her husband and two children and enjoys boating, traveling, playing softball, golfing, and spending time with her mother who resides in Florida.

    Ms. Allen will assume her new role as Executive Director on Monday, November 23. Her email address will be

  • 03 Aug 2015 8:48 AM | Anonymous

    PBHAC is forwarding this message from the United Way of Pennsylvania. We feel it is important to measure the impact of the budget impasse and encourage members to participate.

    United Way of Pennsylvania is partnering with other statewide human service provider organizations to quantify the impacts of the state budget impasse. Everyone promoting this survey believes it is important that we have accurate information to communicate to the Administration and the General Assembly, as well as the media and the public, about the impacts statewide. This survey asks providers to explain a little bit about their organization, as well as what impacts they anticipate for services and operations during the month of August. They will also be asked to project what will happen if the impasse extends into September. UWP encourages providers to take some time to review this brief survey, collect the supporting information and complete it.

    The survey is available at

    This information will be used for education and information about the impacts, and also to inform potential shared advocacy strategies as the impasse continues. UWP anticipates a statewide media release of the data collected in mid to late August.

    Because this survey is being promoted by multiple statewide organizations, you may receive this request more than once. Each organization only needs to reply one time.

    If you have questions, please contact Kristen Rotz,  

  • 29 May 2015 9:10 AM | Anonymous

    On this, my last official day as the Executive Director of the Coalition, I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to the Board of Directors, staff and members. Since working in 1999 with Linda Shumaker to form the Coalition, I have had a special place in my heart for this organization and am leaving with a heavy heart. I have enjoyed meeting so many of you, learning more about the important work being done to improve the lives of older Pennsylvanians. Behavioral health is such a critical part of anyone’s quality of life, and we all work to ensure that older adults have the best possible quality of life, in the way they choose. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this wonderful organization for the past five years.

    The Board has decided that I will remain available to the Coalition in a consultative role until the new Executive Director is selected to ensure that the work of the Coalition continues to move forward. During this time, I will continue to be available at 717-541-4219 and


    Rebecca May-Cole

    Executive Director

  • 09 Apr 2015 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    I have never taken the opportunity to address the wonderful supporters of the Coalition via email before, and it is with mixed emotions that I do so now. I will be leaving the Coalition May 29th to serve as the PA Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s (P4A) new Executive Director. I have been honored to get to know so many wonderful people who all value Pennsylvania’s older adults, and who have joined me in working to improve the lives of older individuals with behavioral health needs. Thank you for your involvement with the Coalition. I am confident PBHAC will continue and grow in the future.

    We will be posting a job vacancy for the Executive Director position within the next week or so. Please pass it along to those who may be interested in the position.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my last 5 years with the Coalition, and am proud to see how far we’ve come since being one of the founding members of the Coalition back in 1999. I look forward to seeing where the Coalition will grow in the future!


    Rebecca May-Cole
    Executive Director 

  • 20 Mar 2015 9:51 AM | Anonymous
    Traditional Medicaid expansion is coming to Pennsylvania! This will allow the state to provide health care coverage in a streamlined manner to Pennsylvanians who are most in need. 
    There are several milestones that they want you to know about.

    Public Notice of the Adult Benefit Package
    Public notice of the new Adult benefit package is now available on the DHS website at

    This notice begins the public comment period on the transition to the traditional Medicaid expansion and the new adult benefit package. 

    You are encouraged to make comments as early as possible to ensure they are able to address any concerns or changes. 

    The notice will also be published on March 28 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, but will be available online March 27, on the Pennsylvania Bulletin website

    Notice to Current MA Recipients Regarding Benefit Changes 
    In the last week of March, current MA recipients will receive notices from HealthChoices Managed Care Organizations and DHS regarding the transition to the new Adult benefit package.

    These notices will inform individuals that they will transition to the Adult benefit package on April 27.

    Click here to view a fact sheet for the upcoming changes.

    Please visit for more information.

  • 06 Feb 2015 9:40 AM | Anonymous
    Governor Wolf has announced the following staffing choices:

    Secretary of Aging: Teresa Osborne. “Teresa Osborne has over two decades of experience working with and advocating for the elderly and the disadvantaged. Her management experience, as well her record enhancing Pennsylvania’s response to elder abuse and exploitation, make her a solid fit to lead the Department of Aging.” - Tom Wolf

    Secretary of the Department of Human Services: Ted Dallas. "Dallas has two decades of experience working with Medicaid, and under his leadership the Maryland Department of Human Resources reduced poverty, placed more people in jobs than ever before in state history, and was recognized by the federal government for program efficiency." - Tom Wolf

    Secretary of the Department of Health: Dr. Karen Murphy. Murphy "has an extensive understanding of the health care industry and has substantial executive experience. Over the last two years, Dr. Murphy has run a $900 million federal program designed to accelerate health care innovation across the country. Dr. Murphy will apply the experience she has gained in the public and private sectors to her role leading Pennsylvania's Department of Health and health care transformation across the commonwealth." - Tom Wolf

    Secretary of the Department of Drugs and Alcohol: Gary Tennis will continue to serve in this position. "Secretary Tennis has helped improve re-entry services for individuals in recovery, and he has strengthened programming to reduce recidivism rates. He has also received national recognition for his efforts to improve collaboration among law enforcement and healthcare organizations to reduce drug overdose deaths. Under Secretary Tennis' leadership, the Department of Drugs and Alcohol was efficiently established and has effectively administered the management and allocation of state and federal funds used to oversee alcohol and drug prevention, intervention and treatment services." - Tom Wolf

    Physician General: Dr. Rachel Levine. "Dr. Rachel Levine is well-respected in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health, where she has practiced for close to three decades. She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders. It is important to me that we place equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues. Dr. Levine will bring expertise and wide-ranging knowledge to this important role advising the secretary of Health and me on medical and public health matters." - Tom Wolf

    For more information on Governor Wolf's Cabinet and Executive Officials, please visit

  • 06 Feb 2015 9:39 AM | Anonymous
    The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has released the 1st Annual Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Forum Report. This report summarizes the September forum, including recommendations, agenda, proposed action steps, the keynote PowerPoint presentation, and contact information for attendees. To view the full report, please click here.
  • 18 Apr 2013 9:56 AM | Anonymous

    Attorney General's Office teaming with DEA for Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

    HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has joined the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement officials from across the state in support of the fifth Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

    Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said the program, scheduled for Saturday, April 27th, is an effort to collect potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for proper disposal and destruction. The service is free and anonymous.

    The last National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was held on Sept. 29, 2012. On that day, law enforcement agencies in all 50 states collected more than 488,000 lbs - 244 tons - of prescription medications.

    Kane said that continuing national initiatives to collect expired or unwanted prescription drugs provide opportunities for those who may have missed previous events or who may have accumulated additional prescriptions to dispose of them safely.

    Prescription drug abuse in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate. In the past few years the Attorney General's Office has arrested hundreds of individuals involved with abusing or selling prescription drugs. Many of those arrested included doctors, nurses or medical professionals.

    A common misconception with prescription drug disposal is that it is safe to flush unwanted medicine down the toilet or simply throw them away. However, the options pose potential health and safety hazards.

    The Attorney General's Office encourages participation in this safe, legal and environmentally friendly way of disposing prescription medications.

    Collection sites will be available across Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A complete list of local sites is available at

    Click here for a link to search for a prescription drug take-back location near you:;jsessionid=F75E57536643C416D35796ACE7795BFB?_flowExecutionKey=_c32382DFB-B71A-26F4-94D4-336D176C84D8_k067B7DD0-5F7E-2D56-3A46-5F91FDBBEF75

  • 25 Mar 2013 12:36 PM | Anonymous
    Governor Tom Corbett announced today that Pennsylvanians who need assistance paying home heating bills now have additional time, through April 26, to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, commonly referred to as LIHEAP.
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