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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2018 10:37 AM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Eliminating the Disparity in Access Standard Between Urban and Rural for Substance Abuse Center Services
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation, in order to combat the opioid crisis, which is currently plaguing our Commonwealth.

The intent of the legislation is to eliminate the disparity in access standard for substance abuse center services between urban and rural areas. Currently, the access standard for out-patient and residential services must be within 30 minutes of travel time in urban areas, while it must be within 60 minutes travel time in rural areas. Statistics from around the country show that the farther a person needs to travel to obtain treatment, the less likely he or she is to maintain that treatment regimen. This proposed legislation would standardize the travel time standard to 30 minutes for out-patient treatment for both urban and rural areas, where treatment centers are available.

The governor has declared the opioid crisis a statewide disaster emergency. It is clear that this statewide problem needs to have a statewide approach in order to find a solution. In the midst of this epidemic, it is vital that there is a uniform standard among substance abuse centers, as well as more accessibility to these centers.

This legislation was formerly Senate Bill 1089 from the 2017-18 Session term. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Mensch, Ward, Argall, Bartolotta, Brewster, Eichelberger, Folmer, Killion, Martin, McGarrigle, Rafferty, Reschenthaler, Scavello, Williams, Yudichak, and Wagner, and passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously.

I sincerely hope that you will consider joining me in co-sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Jake Gery in my office at jgery@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB537