header includes circle logo and word collage

State Budget and Community Mental Health Services

Governor Corbett's proposed budget includes a new way of distributing the state money used for Community Mental Health Services. It appears that community mental health services will have to be cut if this proposal is put into place.

Reductions in funds would definitely take away at least some of the progress made toward a more recovery oriented system.

We are still in the proposal stage

We must first remember that this is a proposal. Nothing is final until there has been public debate and discussion and a final vote of approval by both the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Many things can change between the time the Governor proposes a budget and when the budget becomes final.

Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association (PMHCA) and other advocates and advocacy organizations are analyzing the budget as we begin to plan strategies that will express outrage about possible reductions in mental health services.

Who is affected

The proposal that will most directly affect people in mental health recovery who use services provided by county Mental Health offices and mental health providers is the distribution of state money through a block grant.

Block grants have been used to give governments more flexibility in how they can spend the money. With the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) that has been given to counties every year, the counties have been able to fill gaps in services and supports for people.

The proposed new HSDF will include 80 percent of the money intended for Community Mental Health services. This looks like mental health services money could be reduced by 20 percent, or $110 million. At Secretary Alexander's budget briefing on February 7, 2012, no details were available about what type of flexibility county government would have in using this money or the other funds that will be in HSDF.

Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of what the HSDF block grant may end up including:

It is too early to know how this money will be distributed by the Department of Public Welfare to county government. There are no details about whether some services will be required, or whether the current regulations and bulletins will apply or not.

People who want to review the Governor's Executive Budget will see that it is over 1,000 pages long and can take a fair amount of time to review and understand. Please call PMHCA at 717-564-4930 or email pmhca@pmhca.org if you have questions.

Action

We will need your help to restore funding. We will continue our review of the budget proposal and propose next steps. Please stay tuned!