Tartaglione, Kane, & Dillon Announce Legislative Package to Aid Addiction Recovery

Harrisburg, PA November 14, 2023 – Today, State Senators Christine Tartaglione (D-2), John Kane (D-9), and Jimmy Dillon (D-5) announced a package of legislation aimed at overhauling Pennsylvania’s addiction recovery system.

States across the nation, including Pennsylvania, face an alarming addiction crisis. With the 9th-highest drug overdose mortality rate in 2021, it is clear more must be done to combat this devastating issue.

“Our Commonwealth is facing an unprecedented addiction and overdose crisis that is ravaging communities and families,” said Senator Tartaglione. “The legislation we highlighted is in part born out of my 20-year-long experience with recovery and sobriety from an alcohol addiction along with countless conversations with people from all sides of the addiction treatment system and will help our neighbors get access to the lifesaving care they so desperately need.”

The legislative package announced today includes six bills aimed at bolstering addiction recovery efforts across Pennsylvania:

SB 874: Encourages SUD counselors to join the fight by offering student loan forgiveness for a 2-year commitment. Mental Health and Intellectual Disability professionals committing to 4 years also qualify. We must retain and inspire our dedicated workforce.

SB 875: Addresses the recovery workforce shortage by ensuring clear and achievable certification practices for recovery workers and considers marginalized communities’ access to these positions.

SB 876: Improves care quality by mandating continuing education on addiction for healthcare professionals and strengthens the referral link between hospitals and addiction treatment organizations.

SB 877: Enhances transparency and disclosure of addiction treatment coverage by requiring insurers to provide clear, semi-annual notifications to policyholders.

SB 878: Introduces standardized reporting by insurers regarding addiction treatment to identify gaps in coverage and access.

SB 879: Requires insurers to testify that they are in compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act which requires insurance companies to treat mental health and substance use on an equal basis with physical ailments.

“These bills provide desperately needed support for those on the path to recovery by tackling workforce challenges, boosting professional development, enhancing transparency in insurance coverage, and implementing reporting measures to guide strategic improvements in addiction services,” added Senator Dillon.

The legislative package announced today joins a large group of other, bipartisan addiction recovery-related bills introduced both in both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature and was drafted in consultation with the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania (DASPOP).

“Forty years ago, I began my own recovery journey. Today, I’m proud to be part of this initiative that will simplify the process for others following the same path,” Senator Kane stated. “Through our partnership with DASPOP, we aim to ensure that no Pennsylvanian is denied the life-saving treatment they need due to confusing insurance coverage rules. We are committed to tearing down the barriers between people who need help and the treatment they deserve.”

More information on the bills in this package and other legislative packages can be found online.