On February 2, 2012, Governor Tom Corbett introduced his budget recommendations for FY2012/2103. His proposed changes and cuts to the community mental health system are the most drastic since the system’s inception more than 50 years ago. They include:
- $110 million dollar reduction to community mental health services.
- An additional $12.6 million reduction to the Behavioral Health Services Initiative (BHSI) and the Act 152 Drug and Alcohol Program.
- A change in the administration of Community Mental Health funding – after the 20% cut, the remaining funds are put into a Human Services Development Fund Block Grant to county government. The behavioral health funding accounts for 73% of the proposed block grant total. (As yet, there is no process to ensure that counties will spend that 73% or any other identified percentage on persons with mental illness or substance abuse issues.)
- The elimination of the General Assistance (GA) cash assistance and slashing of funding for GA-related Medical Assistance. General Assistance is a last-resort program providing extremely meager benefits to 68,000 Pennsylvanians with no income. Mental health and substance use disorder clients/consumers are approximately 30% of the users of this benefit. (It remains unclear how the rules are going to be applied that will result in the projected savings.)
- A 20% reduction in funding for CHIPPs (Community/Hospital Projects Program), a state initiative, in partnership with the counties, that enables the discharge of people served in Pennsylvania state hospitals who have extended lengths of stay and/or complex service needs to less restrictive community-based programs and supports.
To receive more information and MHAPA advocacy alerts related to the state budget click here. To provide feedback on the budget to your elected officials, click here.
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