Public Policy
Committee Update

Public Policy Committee Update – 2/4/2022

The Public Policy Committee has been quite active in the fall months leading up to our annual Recovery

Advocacy Day which is slated for February 14, 2022. As of the writing of this update, 152 individuals

have registered for the event which is being held as a hybrid event – both on zoom and in person. 88

persons have registered as virtual participants and 64 in person. More in depth information will be

shared about WVAADC Recovery Advocacy Day in our next newsletter.

The WVAADC Public Policy Committee made a concerted effort to collaborate with other SUD advocacy

partners in 2021. These efforts led to WVAADC making major contributions for the planning and

execution Recovery Month activities sponsored by the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy in

September 2021. Below is a list of the ways WVAADC members contributed and/or solicited

collaborative assistance with pertinent topics for the Call to Action Week of September 27 -30, 2021:

  • Advocacy 101 – Video on nuts and bolts of advocacy by Hallie Mason and Joe Deegan;

  • Harm Reduction efforts in Greenbrier County – reducing stigma from a peer perspective – Wanda Wyatt;

  • Homelessness/Residential Length of Stay/Parity Enforcement Discussion – Nancy Deming/Mark Drennan – West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association SUD Committee;

  • SOR Grants – improving access to treatment – Brian Sharp, Valley Health System;

  • WVCBAPP – Certification Process - Jaime Cantley;

  • NAADAC Workforce discussion – Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NAADAC Executive Director;

  • Benefits of WVAADC membership – Heather Sharp Spinks

In addition, WVAADC members assisted in organizing a Federal Roundtable discussion with

representatives from the offices of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation on September 29, 2021 .

WVAADC teamed up with the Appalachian Recovery Alliance and West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare

Provider Association members with the theme of “Let’s Celebrate Recovery”. Topics discussed included:

  • Flexibility with SOR funding and increases to MH and SAPT Block Grants to states - more focus on Polysubstance and AUD – Joe Deegan and Mark Drennan

  • Recognition that Abstinence (no meds) continues to be a valid, evidence-based pathway to recovery – Marie Beaver, Dick Daugherty and Kevin Knowles

  • Support 10% set aside for Recovery Oriented Organizations – Video from Matt Boggs – Emily Birckhead, Joe Deegan and Phil Shimer

  • Support enforcement of Federal SUD Parity laws – Lisa Jones, Joe Deegan, Mark Drennan, and Phil Shimer

  • Support National Credentialing standards for addiction treatment workforce – Joe Deegan

  • Telehealth not replacing in-person sessions, rather complimentary – Lisa Jones and Phil Shimer

  • Broadband infrastructure – Phil Shimer

  • Medicare – lack of reimbursement for SUD – Joe Deegan

 

An outgrowth of the planning for Recovery Month was the development of another Roundtable

discussion involving members of the West Virginia Legislature. This event occurred during December

Interims on December 6 th and was held in the McManus Conference Room at the West Virginia State

Capitol. Over 20 House of Delegate members attended with Dr. Matthew Christiansen, Director of the

West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy providing opening remarks. Topics on the agenda included:

 

1. Issues/Status reports

  • Stigma Awareness/Education

  • Alcohol Use Disorder/Multiple Pathways/Abstinence

  • PRSS/CPS Registry

  • Workforce/ADC/AADC Certification issues

  • PRSS Certification

  • Telehealth/Maintain In-Person

  • SUD/MH Parity/Residential LOS/Homelessness - see SB 670 below

  • Mental Hygiene/SUD Inclusion Issues – see SB 509 below

  • CCBHC Legislation – see SB 611 below

  • Harm Reduction/SSB’s/Co-Prescribing

  • Corrections/Levi Phillips Amendment

  • THC Concentration – Medical Cannabis

2. Proposed Legislation

  • SB611 - WV Excellence in Mental Health – CCBHC Bill

  • SB670 Mental Health Parity

  • SB509 – Medical Clearance – This year’s Mental Hygiene Reform

 

Hearty discussions focused on SUD Parity concerns particularly for residential treatment services under

the Bureau for Medical Services 1115 Wavier, SUD inclusion in Mental Hygiene, Harm Reduction and

THC Concentration.

Frankie Tack also gave a spirited description of the credentialing endeavor WVAADC is developing to

address concerns over stabilizing the workforce for Substance Use Disorders at the clinical/counselor

level in West Virginia. Frankie is spearheading a task force on credentialing as part of WVAADC’s Public

Policy Committee agenda. Thus far, Frankie and Joe Deegan have had meetings with potential key

champions including Dr. Jim Berry, Chairman of the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and

Psychiatry and Dr. Matthew Christiansen, Director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy in

an effort to solidify the ADC, AADC, PRSS and CS credentials and make acquisition of these credentials

more attractive to the growing workforce of SUD providers in West Virginia. Frankie, Joe and other

WVAADC members have been having regular technical assistance meetings with the DANYA Institute

during 2021. These meetings provide a mechanism to focus and prioritize efforts in the coming years.