Wolf Administration Discusses Negative Impact of Proposed Cuts to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Funding
Today, the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) Dr. Dale Adair was joined by county agencies, providers, and other advocates at the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association to discuss the $9 million in cuts to mental health and substance use disorder services proposed in the House Republican budget, House Bill 218.
“The proposed cuts to mental health funding within House Bill 218 would jeopardize the way counties perform mental health services to some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. The last time funding was cut to mental health programs, the counties were unable to absorb the costs and critical programs ceased,” said Dr. Adair.
The proposed budget includes a reduction of $5 million in community mental health county allocations. This cut will jeopardize available funding to serve individuals leaving state hospitals to live in the community with related impact on serving individuals in the forensic unit.
In addition, there is a reduction of $4 million to county behavioral health funding, which would eliminate the amount that was included for treatment costs for 1,200 individuals not eligible for Medical Assistance who are newly able to receive substance use disorder treatment through the Centers of Excellence.
“Our providers have mastered the ability to do more with less during times of fiscal constraint, but without sufficient funding over the long term, there is only so much each provider can do to meet service needs,” said Richard S. Edley, PhD, President and CEO of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), the state’s largest and most diverse health and human services trade association. “Funding reductions have a negative effect both on those providing services as well as those receiving services. Funding cuts don’t just hurt the organizations receiving the funding. The cuts ultimately hurt the individuals and their families who rely on services and assistance through providers.”
Governor Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget included continuing the $20.4 million investment in creating 45 Centers of Excellence to improve opioid treatment outcomes, providing $13.4 million to partner with PCCD to increase access to naloxone for first responders and expand specialty drug court, and maximizing the $26.5 million in federal Cures Act funding annually for the next two years to help address the opioid epidemic.
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