Governor Wolf Visits Johnstown Center of Excellence, Touts Strides Made in 2016-17 Budget to Combat Opioid Epidemic July 21, 2016 Human Services, Press Release, Public Health, Substance Use Disorder Johnstown, PA — Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas visited a Center of Excellence today to discuss the significant strides made in the 2016-17 budget to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic in Pennsylvania. The Wolf Administration successfully secured the necessary funding for DHS to open 20 Centers of Excellence (COEs) statewide by October 1, 2016.“I am thrilled that by working with Republicans and Democrats, we have achieved this level of funding for our fight against this public health crisis,” said Governor Wolf. “Now that this year’s budget is complete, it is imperative that we all continue working together to focus on Pennsylvania’s opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. While the budget allows us to expand treatment for individuals suffering from addiction, we can and should do more to address this matter that is plaguing all of our communities. My administration will keep its focus on this issue and I will continue preparing for the upcoming special session.”“The Centers for Excellence will provide vital, potentially life-saving coordination of care for Pennsylvanians struggling with the disease of addiction,” said Secretary Dallas. “Rather than just treating a person’s addiction, DHS will treat the entire patient through team-based treatment, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care and, when necessary, evidence-based medication assisted treatment. As our strategy involves both behavioral therapy and FDA approved medication that individuals take to help curb cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms, it can improve the odds of recovery.”Governor Wolf and Secretary Dallas visited Alliance Medical Services in Johnstown.“We needed to find the funding to expand services and make them more accessible. Under the Governor’s leadership, we were successful,” said Joe Pritchard, CEO of Pinnacle Treatment Centers, which oversees Alliance Medical Services. “The staff and clinicians of Alliance Medical Services, as well as other Pinnacle Treatment Centers sites around the commonwealth, understand that opioid addiction is an illness and that we need to re-think our approach regarding treatment for these patients. The Centers for Excellence approach of treating the whole person according to their individual needs while integrating services within the community underscores the model used at Alliance Medical Services and throughout Pinnacle.”The current path of treatment for people who have opioid-related substance use disorders can be confusing and difficult to navigate. The links between behavioral health treatment and physical health treatment are often broken or not made at all. This means people may drop out of treatment after they receive care for their physical symptoms, bypassing critical components of care such as behavioral therapies and connection to community supports that can lead to meaningful recovery from substance use disorder.The Centers of Excellence are a central, efficient hub around which treatment revolves. These centers will have navigators to assist people with opioid-related substance use disorders though the medical system, and ensure they receive behavioral and physical health care, as well as any evidence-based medication-assisted treatment needed.The use of medication (like buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone), coupled with wrap-around supportive services, can prevent people from relapsing and improve their chances for recovery, ultimately driving the aforementioned statistics in the opposite direction.The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will license the COEs as drug and alcohol providers that provide one of the three FDA-approved medications.DHS is currently working with its actuaries to determine whether additional COEs can be funded by analyzing the impact they will have on the physical and behavioral health Medicaid managed care rates.For more information about the Centers of Excellence, visit www.dhs.pa.govLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills announced that he will retire eight months before his second term is set to end. Due to state statute for elected officials, he had to submit a resignation letter rather than simply announce a retirement. His last day in office will be Tuesday, April 1.Now, Ripley County Republican Chairman Ginger Bradford will organize a caucus to select a replacement that will fulfill the duties of the office until December 31.The caucus will be held between April 13 and April 18, Bradford indicated.The timing of Grills resignation puts an interesting spin on the course of events, as the May Primary is scheduled just a month and six days after his last day in office. There are five candidates running for sheriff, including three republicans and two democrats.Grills was elected as a Republican candidate, therefore, a member of the same party must replace his seat in office.Bradford is unsure if one of the three republicans running for sheriff in the primary election would be elected through the caucus. It would appear as if the party is endorsing a candidate, which is a situation Bradford would like to avoid.She added that if someone from outside of the office would be elected through the caucus, they could likely be out of a job on December 31.County officials are seeking individuals to file for candidacy for the April caucus. If interested, contact Bradford at (812) 756-0778 at least 72 hours before the caucus is held.
THE Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), in a press release issued yesterday, stated that the entity is not bankrupt but simply experiencing “cash flow issues”, when responding to allegations that the body did not fund a team to the South American Senior Championships because the AAG was bankrupt.The missive also explained that the “AAG did not have to attend” the South American Senior Championships, which was one of several factors being deliberated in deciding on whether to fund a team or not.“Decisions made by the AAG may not find favour with everyone, and that is a fact we are prepared to accept,” the release read.Guyana was represented last weekend at the South American Senior Championship by Winston George, Jenea McCammon and Owen Wilson, after the athletes were able to fund their own air fare to the meet. George went on to win gold in the men’s 400m in a time of 45.42 seconds.Following the discovery that the athletes were paying for themselves, AAG president Aubrey Hutson had told Chronicle Sport that “we don’t have money”.The release said the athletes made a “bold step to represent Guyana”.The press release, issued by the AAG General Secretary, Mayfield Taylor-Trim, was in response to recent claims in sections of the media that the Association was bankrupt after hosting South American Junior Championships earlier this month.“The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has found it prudent to respond to the widespread falsehood. There is a big difference between “cash flow issues” and “bankruptcy”. We have made and will continue to make wise and prudent financial decisions in the dispensation of our mandate to our athletes,” Trim said.According to Trim, notwithstanding the Association’s attendance at the meet being expendable, the Association still intended to have representatives present at the meet in a “show of solidarity with CONSUDATLE” since of the 13 CONSUDATLE member federations, 11 attended the South American U-20 Championship in Guyana.“We therefore decided that we should attend to maintain our fraternity and friendship in South America,” she said.“Considering the facts stated, the AAG offered the athletes, who were willing to find their own airfare, the opportunity to compete in Paraguay. Winston George, Jenea McCammon and Owen Adonis took up the offer.”Further he noted that there still remained several upcoming events which were mandatory for the AAG to attend, including next month’s World Youth Championship in Nairobi, Kenya; Pan American Juniors in Lima, Peru, and the World Championship in London August 4-13.“The AAG must maintain funds in the coffers to participate in international competitions.”Notwithstanding, the ensuing financial situation, there remains“The AAG was happy for the opportunity to host the South American U-20 Championship, an event that will be remembered with joy. The IAAF, CONSUDATLE and the Guyana athletics family congratulated us on a job well done.“We would like to take this opportunity to thank President Granger and the Government of Guyana, the National Sports Commission, the Guyana Olympic Association, all of our sponsors, our fans and most of all our athletes for the pride and joy they brought us.”
Is there a potential for conflict of interest in the newly signed deal between the Ghana Football Association and GN Bank?Ghana’s Division One League (DOL) kicks off this weekend under a new sponsorship with a GHS2.1 million ($605,000) sponsorship deal from GN Bank.The duration of the deal is three years and it comes as a relief for the 48 clubs. But there have been murmurings of discomfort – one of those 48 clubs is Elmina Sharks, which is known to be affiliated to businessman Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom. Joy Sports cannot independently confirm that Sharks operate under Groupe Nduom, which is owned by the former presidential aspirant.As part of the agreement with the DOLB, there is a further GHS 4,500,000 investment that has gone into TV Production equipment to produce live coverage, rebroadcast of at least six matches weekly, highlights and preview shows, Division One League news and so on.GN Bank, is also owned by Groupe Nduom which is why the question of conflict of interest has arisen. To explore the issue, we first need to understand how conflict of interest really works. When does conflict of interest arise?In simple terms, a conflict of interest situation arises when one party’s responsibility to a second-party limits its ability to discharge its responsibility to a third-party.In this case, Division One fans fear that GN Bank’s relationship with both the DOL and Elmina Sharks will present a problem. But a closer look shows that may likely not be the case. “The fact that a citizen donates a vehicle to a police station doesn’t mean when he goes contrary to the law he will not be arrested it has no bearing,” said chairman of the Division One League Board (DOLB) Owoahene Acheampong in an interview with Joy Sports.Owoahene’s example may be a tad simplistic, but it rings true.Can GN Bank influence decision-making for Sharks?It is important to note that’s for a conflict of interest to occur here, GN Bank must be in a position to influence decision-making in the league. But are they? Actually, no. “GN Bank is just a sponsor so per their agreement with the Division One League Board, their obligations include paying a certain amount at a stipulated period to enjoy certain benefits. The contract does not allow them to make decisions,” a sports lawyer tells Joy Sports.That is to say, all decisions that have to do with the league will be handled by the Ghana Football Association, through the DOLB. Therefore, fans need not fear that GN Bank’s connection to Elmina Sharks – assuming they even exist – will inhibit the process of fairness.Owoahene was at pains to stress this point, saying: “GN Bank and Elmina Sharks have an association with Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom but that does not establish conflict of interest. I don’t think it will have a bearing on issues that will be discussed and the board will be fair to all 48 clubs.”Precedent?Worried fans have pointed to the existing situation in the Ghana Premier League where GFA Kwesi Nyantakyi is the owner of Wa All Stars, which takes part in the said league. That situation has been explored before, but the GFA boss always maintained that he has no hand in the day to day operations of the team.To spread the discussion further, football watchers in Ghana have long complained about the ease with which officials can corrupt the system because of the laxity of the rules governing the game. For example, in Nyantakyi’s case, the statutes of the FA actually require him to be affiliated to a club before being in the position he occupies.”This kind of system engenders corruption so as it is we simply have to be each other’s keeper to make sure no funny business occurs,” says Moses Asamani, a sports administrator in an interview with Joy Sports.Other examples include Moses “Mospacka” Armah, who owns Medeama Sporting Club and Emmanuel Kyeremeh, owner of Berekum Chelsea. Both were in top FA positions while their teams were in the Premier League. More fearsAnother area where Division One watchers have feared a potential conflict has been in the incoming television coverage that accompanies this deal. The company to do the TV production and distribution, First Digital, is also associated with Groupe Nduom. But again, analysts say there is no need to fear.”There will only be a problem if First Digital were in charge of fixtures and allocation of the broadcast. But that isn’t so,” the sports lawyer explains.Per the terms of the deal, the DOLB will draw fixtures independently and will consult with the 48 teams on feasilibilty of shooting games.Therefore, all First Digitial TV will do is follow the orders of decisions made by the DOLB. In the part, potential sources of interest have included coercion of refs to officiate games in favour of powerful interests as well as fixing of match schedules to their benefit.ConclusionAssuming, without admitting, that GN Bank is in a position of confict of interest at any point in time when decisions involving Elmina Sharks are involved, the bank (or the TV station for that matter) will be obliged to do two things. First, disclose this interest to all parties involved. Secondly, they have to recuse themselves from any such decision-making process to ensure fairness.In short, there’s no need to fear.This year’s DOL will have three Zones made up of 16 clubs each with the three winners of each zone qualifying automatically into the Ghana Premier League.–