OTPG: A Year In Review 2015

I can hardly believe that we’re already beginning a new year; it seems like barely any time since this time last year when we were preparing for the AATOD conference that was held in Atlanta March and April of last year. If you haven’t heard yet, the AATOD conference was a huge success. OTPG members and volunteers did an excellent job; which represented the state of Georgia very well. With the rise of opioid abuse and overdose around the country the timing of this conference was prefect.

The opportunity AATOD brought to OTPG has allowed us to develop better relationships with some key stakeholders within Georgia. We have been able to develop and cultivate a valuable relationship with Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Frank Berry and the head of the Division of Addictive Diseases Cassandra Price. DBHDD has worked hard to put together a plan will allow MATs throughout the state to become Medicaid specialty providers and expand access to treatment to individuals formally unable to afford services. This project is in the beginning stages and we all hope the first providers approved are able to begin billing Medicaid in May of 2016. We are very thankful for the leadership of Cassandra Price, Von Wrighten, and the rest of the DBHDD team.

We continue to build the relationships within our state with other stakeholders as well. During the annual OTPG conference in November at Lake Lanier, the DEA made a presentation regarding record keeping that was informative. Our State Opioid Treatment Authority (SOTA), Von Wrighten also presented on access to services for pregnant women. We hope to further strengthen our relationships with all of our regulators and stakeholders throughout the future. One of the methods OTPG is working on to assist in these efforts is through hiring a lobbyist.

We are also proud to report that our financial stability as an organization is better than ever. Our success would not have been possible without the support of our executive board, membership, and faithful sponsors.

I am excited about the future direction of OTPG and the awareness of MAT that is growing in the country and our state. We have to be prepared to meet the challenges we face in our state in the coming year. With your help I know that we can accomplish this task. On behalf of OTPG I would like to wish each of you a Happy New Year.

Jonathan Connell
President, OTPG (2016)