Pa. Bill Looks to Add Counseling Requirement for Medication-Assisted Treatment

Last Updated: May 6, 2019

group-therapyNew Pennsylvania legislation seeks to establish guidelines for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder and require counseling for every patient receiving MAT.

The bill – House Bill (HB) 1358, sponsored by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff – was introduced on May 1, 2019 and referred to the House Human Services Committee.

What Would the MAT Bill Require?

The bill would require the Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol programs, in consultation with other state agencies, to create rules and regulations for medication-assisted treatment. The regulations must include a requirement for counseling at a facility licensed by DDAP as follows:

  • First Two Years of MAT: An average of 2.5 hours of psychotherapy per month, including an hour of individual therapy
  • Third and Fourth Years of MAT: At least one hour per month of group or individual psychotherapy
  • After Four Years of MAT: At least one hour of group or individual therapy every two months

Each of these provisions allow for additional psychotherapy to be provided as dictated by ongoing assessment of a patient.

HB 1358 would also require the prescriber to:

  • Document the counseling in the patient’s medical record
  • Provide a plan for gradual reduction and eventual removal from MAT and document that plan in the patient’s medical record

There are penalty provisions in the bill: $1,000 for a first violation; $3,000 for a second violation; and, for a third violation, DDAP shall notify the prescriber’s licensure board and the licensure board shall review the violation for consideration as unprofessional conduct by the prescriber.

Next Steps

The Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Legislative Task Force will review this bill and report its findings and recommendations to PAMED’s Board of Trustees.

PAMED will monitor the status of HB 1358 and share any updates with members. 


1 comment

Leave a comment
  1. Misty Turek | Nov 09, 2019
      ​­⁣If you are taking science into consideration,  you should know counseling with mat has the same results as mat alone.  The only difference is with counseling requirements, you have patients who are dropping out of  treatment that allows them to function in life because of the endless therapy requirements.  Also those who are forced into therapy when they are stable are just resentful, therefore it will not work. You cannot expect a person who does not have depression to benefit from depression therapy,  therefore why would you expect someone stable and healthy on suboxone to benefit from continual addiction therapy. Therapy should always be offered, but as a requirment to receive a life saving medication only causes harm to the patient and thier families. Drug tests, pill counts and counseling from thier doctor at each visit has the same result without causing unneeded harm. How would you like to have to schedule in forced continual counseling that has no benefit around your work and family in order to get your life saving diabetes medication.  Please take science and also the prescribing doctors opinions into consideration before unintentionally causing harm. 

    Leave a comment

    ng5136-PA-PAMedSociety-DigitalAd-Brand-970x90