PA DHS Centers of Excellence


Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of drug overdoses in men ages 12-25 and eighth among the general population. However, there are often waiting lists for a person seeking treatment.

In 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf allotted $15 million in behavioral health funds and medical assistance funding to create a series of 20 Opioid Used Disorder Centers of Excellence throughout the commonwealth. An OUD Center of Excellence, also known as a health home, works to coordinate care for people enrolled in Medicaid. These centers would focus on treatment those with SUD’s by integrating behavioral health with primary care.

Patients in an OUD Center of Excellence:

  • Have an OUD;
  • May have a co-occurring behavioral and/or physical health condition;
  • Need help to navigate the care system;
  • Need guidance to stay in treatment.

In 2016, another 25 Centers of Excellence were chosen throughout the commonwealth.

Every person with a substance use disorder (SUD) or opioid use disorder (OUD) requires a different treatment capacity. The Centers of Excellence embrace every individual’s unique treatment path and focus on a holistic treatment method, not just treating the addiction. Each patient at a COE receives integrated care and evidence-based, medication assisted treatment and will have health navigators to assist them in their journey to recovery.

Health navigators help an individual engage in the healthcare system. Navigators find an individual the right health insurance and work with family members on after care.

The Centers of Excellence will also utilize Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. Peer Recovery Specialist use their personal experience with addiction to encourage individuals throughout their recovery journey.

Rhode Island is currently implementing a similar program, Anchor ED. When a person comes into the ED after an overdose, you are paired with a Recovery Coach to help introduce them to the recovery resources and support available.  This includes linking individuals to treatment, provide education to an individual and their family, and will follow up once an individual has left treatment. Recovery coaches are available 24/7 to hospitals throughout the state.

The Centers of Excellence embody many of the same ideas and actions of the Anchor ED program and can serve as a model as the programs are developing. With the implementation of the new OUD Centers of Excellence, it is estimated that over 10,000 people suffering from OUD will now have access to treatment in Pennsylvania.

For more information on the Pennsylvania OUD Centers of Excellence, please visit:




For more information on Anchor ED, please visit:


Our Partners

Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society
Pennsylvania Dental Association
DEA 360 Strategy
Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association
The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association
Pennsylvania Medical Society