York, Adams, Lancaster House Delegations Lead Push to Increase Mental Health Funding
HARRISBURG – In the midst of heated budget debates, Republican members of the York, Adams, and Lancaster County Delegations of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pursued additional funding to support those who need it the most in their communities. The members’ efforts led to Act 87 of the 2012 state budget which reallocates any unspent funds distributed to counties for fiscal year 2011-12 for mental health and intellectual disability services in 2013.

“Mental health and intellectual disabilities is an area where any additional funding can go a long way in improving lives,” said Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover). “The total unspent funds statewide gathered up for this effort totals more than $7.6 million in additional funding for programs and services that benefit our communities.”

The reallocations of funds were distributed earlier this month. Lancaster County received an additional $454,552 in mental health/intellectual disability (MH/ID) funding, and increase of 3.1 percent in state funding. York/Adams counties received an additional $494,016 a state funding increase of 2.7 percent.

“The efforts of our delegations to secure these funds are not unnoticed by the professionals working in mental health and intellectual services,” adds Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) “However, we should not have to go to such lengths to secure funding for those who, quite frankly, desperately need it. Hopefully the need will be recognized, and this small piece of state budget funds can become a permanent line item in the yearly state budget.”

James Laughman, Lancaster County executive director of Lancaster County’s Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, and Early Intervention programs says the additional funds allowed his county to eliminate a mental health services waiting list, allowing those in need to get services when they need it. The funds also helped expand programs for individuals dealing with dual diagnosis of mental health and intellectual disabilities.

“We, the counties that have been traditionally underfunded, appreciate the willingness and conviction of the Adams, York and Lancaster County House Republican Delegations to address funding inequities for counties,” Laughman said. “Many people and parties didn’t want to deal with this issue because anytime you talk about funding reallocation you hear people talk about making winners and losers. The reality is that system does already exist and this piece of legislation began the ball rolling to start addressing funding allocations.”

The funding formulas that determine how much counties receive have not been updated since the 1960s and 1970s. For this reason, counties such as York, Lancaster, and Adams are often left shortchanged for programs such as mental health. Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/York) authored House Bill 1455 to address these antiquated MH/ID funding formulas, and provide funding based on populations.

“Our counties are growing, but with current funding formulas our communities are falling behind,” Tallman said. “House Bill 1455 would fix that, and if you based the mental health funding on current population figures, York County would see a funding increase of 62 percent, Adams County would receive an additional 54 percent, and Lancaster County would see an increase of 73 percent.”

House Bill 1455 is currently under further review in the House Human Services Committee. For more information on this and other legislation being pursued by the delegations, visit www.pahousegop.com.

York/Adams/Lancaster Delegations of House Republicans
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove
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