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Unusual Incident Reporting

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is excited to release a new system that will allow drug and alcohol treatment facilities to electronically submit unusual incident reports to agency staff to review and accept for disposition. This new system is called the Electronic Reporting System (ERS).

The Bureau for Quality Assurance in Prevention and Treatment, Division of Accountability and Program Improvement, will maintain a record of each unusual incident report submitted by drug and alcohol treatment facilities.  This information is critical in ensuring appropriate follow-up on individual incidents and is also helpful in identifying statewide trends for use in regulation-setting.  The Division of Accountability and Program Improvement will also utilize this information to conduct investigations of unusual incidents when warranted.

Blue gradient button with the text Electronic Reporting System (ERS) click here

Upon first accessing ERS, you must reset your password.  Simply enter your Login ID and click the password reset button.  Once you’ve logged into ERS, you will be directed to a Welcome Page with helpful information about how to use ERS.

If you are unable to electronically submit an unusual incident report via ERS, complete the following forms, as appropriate:


Important things to remember about unusual incident reporting

DDAP has received an increased number of incident reports from licensed facilities over the past year. This appears to be due to a misinterpretation of 28 Pa. Code §§ 709.34 (c) (relating to reporting of unusual incidents) and 715.28 (c) (relating to unusual incidents).  As a result, many of the reports received by DDAP involve issues or incidents that are not required by regulation to be reported.  DDAP requests that facilities refrain from sending incidents that do not qualify as reportable incidents. Examples of incidents that should not be reported include but are not limited to:

  1. A client was referred to urgent care or emergency room for cold, fever, coughs and other minor illnesses that did not require the presence of police, fire or ambulance personnel.  
  2. A client left the facility against facility and/or medical advice.
  3. A client came to the facility intoxicated that did not require the presence of police, fire or ambulance personnel.  
  4. Clients engaging in intimate relationships determined to be with mutual consent.
  5. Involuntary discharge from treatment services.
  6. Incidents not listed in 28 Pa. Code §§ 709.34 (c) and 715.28(c).

The following regulations outline the drug and alcohol treatment facilities’ requirements related to the reporting of unusual incidents to DDAP.  For additional information see Licensing Alert 02-2018 – Reporting of Unusual Incidents.

Freestanding Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities (i.e., non-Narcotic Treatment Programs)

§ 709.34. Reporting of unusual incidents.
(c) To the extent permitted by State and Federal confidentiality laws, the project shall file a written unusual incident report with the Department within 3 business days following an unusual incident involving:

  1. Physical or sexual assault by staff or a client.
  2. Death or serious injury due to trauma, suicide, medication error or unusual circumstances.
  3. A significant disruption of services due to a disaster such as a fire, storm, flood or another occurrence that results in the closure of a facility for more than 1 day.
  4. Event at the facility requiring the presence of police, fire or ambulance personnel.
  5. Outbreak of a contagious disease requiring CDC notification.

Narcotic Treatment Programs (NTPs)

§ 715.28. Unusual incidents.
(c)  A narcotic treatment program shall file a written Unusual Incident Report with the Department within 48 hours following an unusual incident including the following:

  1. Complaints of patient abuse (physical, verbal, sexual and emotional).
  2. Death or serious injury due to trauma, suicide, medication error or unusual circumstances.
  3. A significant disruption of services due to a disaster such as a fire, storm, flood or another occurrence.
  4. Incidents with potential for negative community reaction or which the facility director believes may lead to community concern.
  5. Drug-related hospitalization of a patient.