Bureau of Policy and Program Development

Sherry Peters, Director
P. O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675

Receptionist: 717-772-7900
Fax: 717- 772-7964

The Bureau of Policy and Program development is responsible for performing a full range of planning and developmental functions. This includes managed care design and development, service system design and development, policy and program development, state and county planning and human resource development and training functions within the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). Functional responsibilities are carried out in collaboration with other county, state, federal and private agencies that provide services to children, adolescents adults, and older adults with mental illness or emotional disturbance, substance abuse and other related disorders.

This Bureau also directs the development of new and revised OMHSAS regulations and policies, directs the development of new and revised nationally recognized service design and integrated behavioral systems models for county Mental Health systems, directs the development of the expansion of managed care across the commonwealth with the development of managed care Requests for Proposal (RFP), and along with other state agencies, directs the development of the Medicaid managed care waivers.

The Bureau of Policy and Program Development is organized with three divisions, the Division of Planning and Policy Development, the Division of Research and Program Development, and the Division of Substance Abuse Services.

Division of Planning and Policy Development

Responsibilities include policy development; clarification of new and established regulations and policy bulletins and federal and state legislative; and regulatory review and analysis. This Division also is responsible for planning State Mental Health Plans, block grant applications, county plan guidelines and review criteria, Along with planning, this division designs and redesigns programs for adult, older adults and special populations. It also accesses federal and foundation grants for services and programs, establishes program standards through workgroups, and supplies technical assistance on best practices and model programs. This is all completed with teamwork and interagency coordination and collaboration.

Division of Research and Program Development

Responsible for the planning and provision of statewide managed care through the development of federal Medicaid managed care waiver applications, Requests for Proposals, Readiness Review Process and managed care policy clarifications. The division conducts stakeholder forums and technical assistance sessions related to the commonwealth's mandatory Medical Assistance Behavioral Health managed care program called HealthChoices The Division interprets and develops policy for OMHSAS initiatives which are implemented in HealthChoices, interprets federal and state regulations and updates existing HealthChoices Program Standards and Requirements as necessary. The division works with other bureaus/program offices to ensure that the terms and conditions of the HealthChoices Waiver are met throughout the waiver period. Research is completed on the best practices in Behavioral Health services and service delivery systems for incorporation in both the HealthChoices Behavioral Health program and the county mental health system.

Division of Substance Abuse Services

Promotes a centralized approach to substance abuse integration within OMHSAS through coordination and communication with OMHSAS Operations Regional Field Offices and the Office of the Medical Director. Coordinates and collaborates in planning and policy development with the Department of Health’s Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP), Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensure, and cross-systems collaboration with other state agencies and stakeholders. Directs policy and program for the allocation and monitoring of Act 152 and Behavioral Health Special Initiative funds to the Single County Authorities (SCAs). Develops policy, program, and planning for the provision of behavioral health services to persons with substance abuse, and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse service needs. Provides substance abuse focus and input to OMHSAS’s Quality Management Program. Supervises state infrastructure development for integrated services for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Develops policy and programs to insure sufficient, affordable and adequate community housing opportunities for persons with substance use, co-occurring mental health and substance use, and mental health treatment needs. Assists with the inclusion of substance abuse issues in the State Plan process.