Important Message From the PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services about the Affordable Care Act

With open enrollment starting for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid eligibility changes going into effect, October 1st is a big day for the Department of Public Welfare (DPW).  We want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the ACA in case you have questions about what happens on October 1st.

We Are Ready

Staff in the County Assistance Offices and throughout DPW have attended many trainings over the last month and are ready for the changes to Medicaid eligibility.  Additionally, the computer system changes were successfully loaded and validated this past weekend.  This means, on October 1st, Pennsylvania will be compliant with these pieces of the federal  ACA law.

Applying for Health Insurance  Coverage

In Pennsylvania, individuals seeking health insurance coverage may apply through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM), also known as the Exchange.  The Exchange is scheduled to be operational on October 1, 2013, with the start of open enrollment.  Beginning October 1st, individuals will be able to go onto the Exchange and purchase insurance.  The Exchange will also determine eligibility for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Cost Sharing Reductions.  To apply through the Exchange, go to Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014. Insurance coverage will begin January 1, 2014 for individuals applying by December 15th.

Low income individuals and families may qualify for Medicaid and can apply through COMPASS. To take a brief screening tool for Medicaid, click here. It’s important to note that there is ‘no wrong door’ in applying for health insurance coverage. Individuals can apply through the Exchange or COMPASS to determine which coverage option(s) they qualify for.

More Information on the ACA

More information on the ACA is available on the DPW website and on the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance website. For individuals without internet access, they may call the federal hotline at 1-800-318-2596. For individuals with questions regarding Medicaid, they may call the PA Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355.

Please join the Friends of the Poor for their Clothes Line for Men Open House!

When: Monday, September 23rd from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Where: Former Marian Catholic School, Second Floor, 638 Hemlock St., Scranton, PA 18505

Please RSVP via email at or call (720) 255-7416.

Attached you will find a copy of our brochure and referral form.  We will be accepting referrals starting September 24.

We really hope to see you there!


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New Public Art Project Puts Face to Mental Health Recovery

I’mSA_FacesofMHFlyer copy the Evidence/Mental Health Campaign’s Faces of Mental Health Recovery Public Art Project celebrates people in recovery and those who support them

Perry County Council of the Arts hosts first exhibition, Oct. 11-Nov. 22, 2013

Opening marks Mental Illness Awareness Week 2013

People can and do recover from mental illness. The evidence is the men and women who live successfully in their communities, surrounded by supports and services that enable them to lead healthy and fulfilled lives. To put a spotlight on mental health recovery, the I’m the Evidence/Mental Health Campaign (ITE/MH), a grassroots initiative of the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHAPA) and Support the Journey, announces the Faces of Mental Health Recovery Public Art Project, a new project that celebrates individuals in recovery and their supporters.

Faces of Mental Health Recovery uses photography to engage individuals, organizations, and communities in the support of recovery. The two-phase project launches September 7-8, 2013, with a hands-on photography workshop. During the workshop, which is led by artist and community organizer Kara Newhouse, people in recovery and individuals from their support networks learn photography skills and how to tell their personal stories.

Phase two is a public exhibition of large-scale, black-and-white portraits and testimonials generated from the workshop. The portraits will be wheat pasted onto wooden panels installed outside of Landis House, a community art space owned and operated by Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA). Inside, participant testimonials and additional photos will be displayed.

The exhibition opens with a reception on October 11, 2013, during Mental Illness Awareness Week 2013 (October 6-12). It remains on view through November 22, 2013.

“One in four people in the U.S. live with mental illness. People also are able to recover and live full lives,” says Sue Walther, Executive Director of MHAPA. “Faces of Mental Health Recovery celebrates this recovery and shares the message that with support, opportunity, example, and encouragement comes hope. The project shows—in the faces and stories of the people featured—that recovery is possible and that it is unique for everyone. Furthermore, the exhibition highlights how our everyday actions support people in recovery.”

Newhouse, who partnered with ITE/MH on the planning and development of Faces of Mental Health Recovery drew inspiration for the project from international street artist JR’s INSIDE OUT, a global art project that transforms personal identity into works of art.

Says Roger A. Smith, Executive Director of PCCA. “We are excited to be the launch pad for this powerful project. Part of PCCA’s mission is to support artists and celebrate their successes. Faces of Mental Health Recovery not only supports and celebrates individuals in our community—artists and non-artists—it uses an installation technique employed by artists and activists the world over to turn issues that impact us all into art for everyone to share. We are proud to use our space to help spread the message that mental health recovery is real and happens in communities everywhere.”

Following the PCCA exhibition, Faces of Mental Health Recovery portraits will be archived and seen online at ITE/MH also hopes to bring the project to other communities across Pennsylvania.

Exhibition details: Faces of Mental Health Recovery opens at Landis House on October 11, 2013, with an opening reception from 6pm-8:30pm. The exhibition is on view until November 22, 2013 and is free and open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm-5pm. Landis House is located at 67 N. 4th Street, Newport, PA 17074.