Immediate Action Needed on Block Grant

Immediate Action Needed on Block Grant
 

Please contact House members immediately to support Rep. Gene DiGirolamo’s amendment on the block grant when HB 1261 (Welfare Code vehicle) comes up for a vote in the House. Rep. DiGirolamo’s amendment replaces the administration’s block grant language regarding the pilot program with a more reasonable framework for a REAL pilot program.

All efforts to reach a compromise with the Corbett Administration have failed. The Senate Appropriations Committee has amended the most recent version of the welfare code language into HB 1261, which is expected to be brought to a vote on the Senate floor later today.

PCPA Alert: Children’s Behavioral Health Services

PCPA Alert
June 25, 2012
MHA Issues Family Alert for Children’s Behavioral Health Services
 
 
The Mental Health Association (MHA) in Pennsylvania has issued the following alert to families.
 

FAMILY ALERT: CHILDREN’S BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES

The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) has been made aware of recent policy and practice changes by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations (BH-MCOs) that have limited and may continue to negatively impact children’s access to behavioral health services, for example, Summer Therapeutic Activities Programs, Behavioral Specialist Services, and Therapeutic Staff Support.  If you are having difficulty accessing a home-, community-, or school-based behavioral health service your child needs or has had in the past, or that has been prescribed for your child, please contact DRN’s Intake by calling 1-800-692-7443 or by sending an email to intake@drnpa.org.
 
Members are encouraged to be aware of the practice and policy changed referenced in the communication from the Disability Rights Network and to share, as appropriate, DRN contact information. Members are also encouraged to inform PCPA of local managed care and Medical Assistance Transportation Program policy and practice changes that impact access to or continuity of care. 

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Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287

www.paproviders.org

Sign NDD to Help Stop Cuts

This January, all nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs face indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts of 8.4 percent through a “sequester.” Such cuts will devastate medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; housing and social services; and international relations.

Every local, state, and national organization in the country that cares about funding for any of these core government functions is urged to sign onto this letter—drafted by the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF) and other leaders of national coalitions—urging Congress to avoid the sequester by passing a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does include further cuts to NDD programs.” 

Mental Health America is a member of the Coalition for Health Funding and has advocated for a solution to the nation’s financial woes that would maintain the solvency and leadership of our public health agencies, including SAMHSA.
 

For a copy of the letter, click here.

 To sign the letter, click here by COB June 22, 2012

 

You’ll be asked to provide your organization’s name as you want it listed on the letter, your contact name, contact e-mail, and the type of organization (national, state, local).  Only begin your organization’s name with “The” if you want your organization listed alphabetically under “T.”

 Below we’ve provided answers to FAQs about the sequester, its impact on NDD programs, and the letter to help you understand this effort and build support for the letter within your organization and throughout the community. If you have additional questions, please contact Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding, at eholubowich@dc-crd.com.

 Given the volume of signatures expected across the diverse NDD community, we are unable to accommodate edits to the letter.

 Thank you for your consideration.

 

 NDD Letter FAQs

What is “NDD?”

Discretionary programs differ from “entitlement” programs that are funded rather automatically to meet the needs of all who qualify for them. Discretionary programs are those that Congress funds annually through the appropriations process. Congress retains complete discretion, or choice, on whether, and at what level, to fund discretionary programs.

Nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs are core functions government provides for the benefit of all, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Every day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.

What is the sequester?

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and NDD programs. The law also directed a congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of the bi-partisan “super committee” to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a “sequester” to take effect on January 2, 2013.

To sequester means to set apart or to take something away until a debt has been repaid. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and nondefense—in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps.

There are a few discretionary programs that are exempt from the sequester in the first year, such as Pell grants in the Department of Education. Some mandatory programs (e.g., Medicaid) are also exempt from the sequester.

How will the sequester impact nondefense discretionary programs?

 In 2013, the sequester will mean an automatic 8.4 percent cut to program funding levels in 2013 for most NDD programs. These cuts will truly be across-the-board, with no departmental or agency control on how the sequester impacts individual programs.

Is there really any chance Congress will change its mind about the sequester?

Of course there is! There is already a vocal constituency clamoring to exempt defense programs from the sequester’s reach. Of course, removal of only defense programs from the sequester would place additional burden on NDD programs. Leaders of national coalitions and networks who joined together in crafting this letter believe it is critical for Congress to reverse course and work to achieve deficit reduction with a balanced approach that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.

 What can my organization do?

Your organization can sign onto this letter, urging Congress to, “find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.”

 Your organization can also help by sharing this letter with your networks and state/local chapters. All national, state and local organizations are encouraged to sign. The more sign-ons we have, the bigger our impact!

 

For a copy of the letter, click here.

 

To sign the letter, click here.

 

You’ll be asked to provide your organization’s name as you want it listed on the letter, your contact name, contact e-mail, and the type of organization (national, state, local).  Only begin your organization’s name with “The” if you want your organization listed alphabetically under “T.”

 

If you have additional questions, please contact Emily Holubowich, Executive Director of the Coalition for Health Funding, at eholubowich@dc-crd.com.


Act Now!

ACT NOW! Before it’s too late, take a stand to save community mental health and substance abuse funding!

Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) has introduced an Amendment (A10823) to the State Senate’s budget bill (SB 1466) that restores all of the human services funding cuts recommended by Governor Corbett in connection with his proposed Human Services Block Grant program. DiGirolamo’s amendment also puts these funds back into their original appropriations, thereby blocking the new block grant proposal.

Representative DiGirolamo needs your support and action TODAY! Help him pressure Republican leadership to maintain existing funding levels for community mental health and substance abuse services and stop the Human Services Block Grant!

Timing is critical. It is likely that Senate and House Republican leaders will make a “behind-the-scenes” deal on the budget—among each other—in the next few days and with Governor Corbett next week.

Republican leadership will ask all of the members of its Caucus to withdraw amendments to SB 1466 in favor of an omnibus amendment (one amendment that incorporates any change to the Senate Budget Bill that has been agreed upon via the negotiated deal). If their members do not agree to withdraw amendments, then the House will spend a day or two voting on many amendments to SB 1466—most of which will not pass. They hope to have a final budget in place by June 15.

ACT TODAY to save funding for mental health and substance abuse services:

Contact your House members and ask them to:

  • express their opposition to the block grant and support for maintaining the current mental health and substance abuse funding levels to Representative Bill Adolph, the House Republican Appropriations Chair, and to Representative Mike Turzai, the House Majority Leader.
  • express their opposition to the block grant and support for maintaining the current mental health and substance abuse funding levels in their respective caucus meetings on the budget
  • voice their support, when talking to leadership and within their caucus meetings, for Representative DiGirolamo’s amendment that restores the funding cuts and blocks the block grant.

In addition, please contact Representative DiGirolamo to let him know how much we appreciate his ongoing support. You can contact him at:

Honorable Gene DiGirolamo
Chairman, House Human Services Committee
49 East Wing
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 783-7319
Fax: (717) 772-2414

gdigirol@pahousegop.com

Hon. Gene DiGirolamo
2424 Bristol Road
Neshaminy Valley Commons
Bensalem, PA 19020-6002
(215) 750-1017
Fax: (215) 750-1295

PCPA Legislative Alert: DiGirolamo Budget Amendments

Contact Legislators Monday to Vote “Yes” on DiGirolamo Budget Amendments!
Representative Gene DiGirolamo is introducing two amendments to Governor Corbett’s proposed budget, one which stops the block grant and a second which restores the human services funding cut still remaining after the Senate budget proposal, Senate Bill 1477, restored half. It is likely the amendments will be voted on June 5 (during PCPA Capitol Day)! It is crucial that every legislator in Pennsylvania be called or emailed on Monday to ask them to vote “YES” on the DiGirolamo amendments. More information will be shared when available. Further questions may be addressed to Anne Leisure (anne@paproviders.org).
_____________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287
www.paproviders.org