Governor Corbett Signs Budget Continuing Investments in "Healthy PA"

Jul 11, 2014, 14:22 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the 2014-15 state budget that invests more than $12.8 billion in total funds for health and human services programs that will help to increase access to quality, affordable healthcare.

In addition to advancing the governor's Healthy Pennsylvania plan, the budget preserves the safety net for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, seniors, children and low-income families.

"This reflects the importance we place on the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians," Corbett said. "Above all else, we must ensure services for those who need them most.  This budget maintains that purpose, while making strategic invests that will increase access and affordability for all Pennsylvanians."

The budget assumes federal approval of the Healthy Pennsylvania plan to reform Medicaid and increase access to health care for more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians through the private market.

The budget also invests in resources to serve more individuals who have been waiting to access needed services, allowing them to stay in their homes and communities, and it supports the infrastructure and practitioners needed to expand access to primary care services in rural and underserved areas.

"This budget is a testament to Governor Corbett's dedication to the people of Pennsylvania," Secretary of Public Welfare Beverly Mackereth said. "His unwavering commitment to our most vulnerable citizens, as well as his desire to obtain sustainable health care options for all Pennsylvanians is truly exemplified in the budget he worked so hard to deliver."

Health and human services investments in the signed budget include:

Reforming Pennsylvania's Medicaid Program: Accounts for $125 million in savings from the implementation of reforms to the Medicaid program and the implementation of the Private Coverage Option within the Healthy Pennsylvania Medicaid waiver; assumes approval of the waiver by the federal government.

Increasing Support for Community Health Centers and Health Care Clinics: Increases last year's investment in the Department of Health's Community-Based Healthcare Subsidy Program by $2 million, providing $6 million to Pennsylvania's community-based healthcare clinics.

Expanding Access to Primary Care Services in Rural and Underserved Areas of Pennsylvania:  Increase of $1 million for loan repayment assurance to health care practitioners working in primary care in rural and underserved areas. Also provides funding for new residency slots for medical school graduates who are legal Pennsylvania residents, or who have completed their medical school education in Pennsylvania and who commit to providing primary care in a rural Pennsylvania community upon completion of residency training, to help address the growing primary care shortage in our rural areas.

Expanding Services for Older Pennsylvanians and Individuals with Physical Disabilities: Increase of $27.8 million in General and Lottery funds to serve:

  • An additional 1,764 older Pennsylvanians through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Aging Waiver ($11.6 million);
  • An expansion of the LIFE program ($4.7 million);
  • An additional 500 individuals on the Options waiting list ($1.1 million);
  • An additional 204 individuals who transfer from the Department of Public Welfare's Attendant Care Program at age 60 ($1.4 million); and
  • An additional 1,599 individuals with physical disabilities in community settings ($9 million).

Expanding Services for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism: Additional $13.1 million to provide home and community-based options for: 

  • 700 young adults who are graduating from the special education system to continue to live independently in the community;
  • 400 individuals who are on the emergency waiting list to access crucial services to keep them in their homes and communities; and
  • 100 adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Moving Individuals from Institutional Care to Community-based
An additional $2.8 million to increase community placement for individuals currently in state mental hospitals and state intellectual disability facilities, enabling the transition of 90 clients from state mental hospitals to progressive mental health treatment in home-like settings and 50 clients from state intellectual disability facilities to home and community-based settings.

Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis: Increase of $2.2 million for services dedicated to victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Child Care Assistance:  Increase of $15 million in federal funds to allow an additional 2,895 children currently waiting for services to receive child care assistance.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Increase of $9 million to continue support of the Children's Health Insurance Program, assisting in the Healthy Pennsylvania goal of insuring all kids in Pennsylvania.

Child Advocacy Centers: $2 million for the support and expansion of Child Advocacy Centers in Pennsylvania, supporting a recommendation from the Task Force on Child Protection.

Media contact:    
Christine Cronkright, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Kait Gillis, DPW, 717-425-7606
Christina Reese, Aging, 717-787-3368
Aimee Tysarczyk, Health, 717-787-1783
Rosanne Placey, Insurance, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor