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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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  • 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 athttp://www.dhs.state.pa.us/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_158047.pdf.

    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 www.pabulletin.com

    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 www.HealthChoicesPA.com 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 http://www.pa.gov/Pages/Cabinet-and-Executive-Officials.aspx#.VMJpNv7F-Sq.

  • 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 www.dea.gov.

    Click here for a link to search for a prescription drug take-back location near you: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/NTBI/NTBI-PUB.pub;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.  

  • 08 Mar 2013 3:50 PM | Anonymous
    Re-Posted from http://www.addictionpro.com/blogs/shannon-brys/bringing-awareness-problem-gambling?WA_MAILINGLEVEL_CODE=&spMailingID=41117962&spUserID=MjQwMjY5NjQ2MTUS1&spJobID=180297507&spReportId=MTgwMjk3NTA3S0

    The National Council on Problem Gambling has set this week (March 3-9, 2013) as National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.  The theme this year is “Problem Gambling: A New Understanding of a Community Concern.”  The organization says the goal of the campaign is to “educate the general public, and health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and raise awareness about the help that is available both locally and nationally.”

     On the group’s website, resources for problem gambling treatment can be found including:

    ·       Information about high school students and gambling

    ·       Information about college students and problem gambling

    ·       Information about older adults and problem gambling

    ·       Benefits to stopping gambling

    ·       Screening tools available

    Below are some of the podcasts, blogs, and articles featured on Addiction Professional that also provide insight and advice for this process addiction.

    Gambling: the wins, the losses and the treatment to addiction Read an article about a panel discussion amongst experts in the field of gambling addiction from around the country.

    PODCAST: Gambling addiction panel discussion (1 of 3) Listen to experts in the addiction field discuss their thoughts on the recent changes with gambling addiction in the DSM-5

    PODCAST: Gambling addiction panel discussion (2 of 3) Listen to experts in the addiction field discuss their thoughts on gambling addiction in regards to the screening and assessment process, and individual versus group therapy.

    PODCAST: Gambling addiction panel discussion (3 of 3) Listen to experts in the field of addiction from around the country discuss various topics related to gambling addiction, such as providing a financial counselor, keeping the patient busy, and specific subpopulations that are vulnerable to this addiction.

    Bringing gambling problems to light In this article, Marketing and Admissions Manager at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery stresses the importance of screening every client for gambling addiction.

    Comorbidities of problem gambling In this blog post, I discuss the fact that although gambling addiction serves as a large issue on its own, many times it’s not the only problem the client is facing.

  • 01 Mar 2013 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    In the coming months, Pennsylvania lawmakers will move on a number of proposals designed to correct the  problems that plague our nursing home industry.

    Dennis Short, Research Director with SEIU Healthcare PA will talk call participants through these legislative initiatives that take on issues of accountability, staffing, oversight and more.

    RSVP here  for the call on Tuesday, March 5th at 6:00 PM. 

  • 20 Dec 2010 4:50 PM | Anonymous

    Too often when you turn on the 6 o’clock news, you see news stories about how substance abuse plagues our youth. Teenagers and young adults arrested or even worse – our young succumbed by an addiction – like celebrities Janis Joplin or more recently - Heath Ledger.  Not very often do you hear about a senior citizen being arrested for abusing prescription drugs, alcohol or illicit drugs – but the reality is that substance abuse among the older population is a growing problem. 

    Researchers predict that by 2020, approximately 4.4 million adults over the age of 50 will have some sort of substance addiction.  These sobering statistics prove that we need to recognize the signs of substance abuse in our older population – getting them the help that they need.

    To learn more about substance abuse in our older population please visit, http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/.


  • 01 Nov 2010 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    Did you know that most Americans (young and old) do not exercise regularly?  We all know that exercise is good for your heart, but did you know it is also good for the mind?  When the body engages in physical activity, such as walking, aerobics, yoga, even daily activities such as cleaning, it provides blood flow, oxygen, and glucose to the brain – ultimately clearing the mind of toxins. So, when someone says they need to take a walk to “clear their mind” they aren’t kidding! Regular exercise can help battle depression – a common health concern for the senior citizen population. 

    Studies have also shown that senior citizens who walked regularly showed a significant improvement in memory, concentration and abstract reasoning. Exercise even cuts the risk of stroke by 57% for those who walk as little as 20 minutes a day! For more information on the benefits of exercise, go to http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseforolderadults/healthbenefits/01.html.

    Making healthy decisions now means fewer doctors visits later.

  • 04 Oct 2010 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    Memory loss that disrupts a person’s quality of life is not a typical
    part of aging. But sometimes it can be very hard to distinguish
    between forgetfulness and early-onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. By
    recognizing and understanding the facts on Alzheimer’s, it will enable
    your loved one to get the treatment they need - providing them with a
    better quality of life.

    What is Alzheimer’s?

    Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease that affects
    nearly 5.3 million Americans. And even though so many of our older
    generation are affected by this debilitating disease, there still is
    no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is however treatable.

    Ten Signs of Alzheimer’s

    1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. (Forgetting what day it
    is, asking for the same information repetitively.)

    2. Challenges with planning or solving problems.  (Have trouble
    following a recipe or paying bills.)

    3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at
    leisure. (Having trouble finding their way to a familiar location or
    remembering rules to a favorite game.)

    4. Confusion with times and dates. (They may have trouble
    remembering where they are or how they got there.)

    5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial
    relationships. (They may have difficulty reading or judging distance.)

    6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. (They may
    stop in the middle of the conversation and have no idea how to

    7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
    (They may lose things and not be able to trace back their steps or
    accuse others of stealing from them.)

    8. Decreased or poor judgment. (They may use poor judgment when
    spending money.)

    9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. (They might begin
    to withdraw from their favorite activities or hobbies.)

    10. Changes in mood and personality. (They can become confused,
    suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.)

    And even though this is not a curable disease, the symptoms are
    treatable and can make a difference in maximizing your loved ones
    quality of life. If you notice any of these symptoms please visit your
    family doctor for a complete medical checkup! For more information
    on Alzheimer’s please visit

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