Governor Corbett's 2013-14 Budget: Historic Funding for Human Services

Jul 02, 2013, 12:57 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

Programs for Domestic Violence, Rape Crisis and Older Pennsylvanians Receive Record State Funding

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Governor Tom Corbett's 2013-14 budget delivers on his promise to support those in Pennsylvania who need it most. It provides record state funding for older Pennsylvanians, individuals with disabilities, and domestic violence and rape crisis programs.

These investments will ensure the state continues to increase access to affordable, quality health care and related services through a broad healthcare safety net and delivery network.

"Over the last few months, I've heard incredibly moving stories from the intellectually and physically disabled; from families whose loved ones passed away too early as a result of brutal domestic violence; and from older Pennsylvanians struggling to make ends meet," Corbett said. "Helping these individuals is not only the right thing to do; it's our moral duty to our citizens."

Areas of investment include:

Record State Support for Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services

Corbett's 2013-14 budget includes the most state funding for domestic violence and rape crisis services in Pennsylvania's history.

Almost $14 million will be dedicated to domestic violence agencies that provide emergency services such as a 24/7 hotline; emergency shelter and financial aid; and victim advocacy.

Rape crisis centers will receive an increase of more than $950,000, for a total of $8 million, to be distributed among 50 rape crisis centers in local communities.

"Too many Pennsylvanians are too afraid or are unable to come forward after falling victim to domestic violence or rape," Corbett said. "With this funding, we are able to provide the environment, resources and services to both prevent these crimes before they occur and help those affected to move on with their lives."

Help for Individuals with Disabilities

"One of the core functions of government is to help those who do not have the resources to help themselves," Corbett said. "For too many years, individuals with disabilities have had to wait for services that help to keep them in their communities and on a pathway to independence."

Funding has been increased by $20 million to assist Pennsylvanians with autism and intellectual disabilities as they transition into adulthood and the workforce. This includes support for caregivers and other assistance to help move young adults with disabilities out of special education programs and into independence and community life.  

Another $20 million will be directed to home and community-based programs for people with physical disabilities.

This brings the total investment over the last two years in this area to more than $55 million, helping to end the wait for services for more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians. 

Under Corbett, Pennsylvania has become a leader in helping individuals with disabilities enter and thrive in the workforce if and when they're able. The governor's solution is simple: provide a system that supports citizens with disabilities throughout their lifetime – from infancy, through school, and both through and after the transition into the workplace.

This year's budget reflects that commitment and serves more individuals, not only by reducing waiting lists, but through increased investments in early childhood intervention and special education. It also fosters innovation within the state's vocational rehabilitation system.

Support for Older Pennsylvanians

Older Pennsylvanians will benefit from an additional $50 million for services to help them stay in their homes and communities.

"This is the single largest investment in services for older Pennsylvanians since the creation of the Department of Aging," Corbett said.

Highlights include $275 million for a program that supports home and community-based services for seniors, including increased investments in Area Agencies on Aging and the Attendant Care program; and $227 million for PACE and PACENET, Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for qualified adults aged 65 and over.

Additional investments include $2 million to modernize senior centers and $12 million in caregiver support services.

Increased Healthcare Access and Affordability

Corbett recently signed Senate Bill 5, which provides $4 million to fund community health centers and additional medical services.  Also included in this budget is nearly $3.7 million to continue to recruit and retain healthcare providers in the Primary Health Practitioner Loan Repayment Program.

"Investing in community health centers and a physician loan repayment program allows us to better serve the uninsured and Pennsylvanians that live in areas with limited access to care," Corbett said. "This is a critical step in broadening the healthcare safety net."

Corbett remains concerned about the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) intent to move eligible children between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level off of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and into the Medicaid program. This move could result in a disruption of relationships with healthcare providers and delays in some families' abilities to access care.

However, the budget has continued his commitment to ensuring all eligible children in Pennsylvania have access to affordable health care, including more than $455 million in total funds to provide health insurance coverage for more than 200,000 children through CHIP.

Support for Healthcare Facilities

Corbett will also sign House Bill 1190 to modernize how hospitals are licensed in Pennsylvania. Prior to the bill, the Department of Health was the only licensing entity that would meet state regulations.

Now, for the first time in more than 30 years, nationally accredited entities that can be more responsive to the changes in the healthcare field can also be accepted as qualified licensing entities meeting Pennsylvania's hospital regulations. This will create a more efficient environment at the state and local level, while improving patient care, safety and quality. It will also reduce cost burdens on both hospital and state systems.

In addition, the budget increases assistance to nursing homes by nearly $70 million.

Other Services and Programs

Mental health services will receive more than a four percent increase in funding, while drug and alcohol services will be level funded.

Corbett's budget also continues health prevention and promotion efforts, with more than $14 million in funding for tobacco cessation and prevention programs.

The state will also continue its commitment to the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) program, providing approximately $42 million for grants to Pennsylvania-based researchers, universities, medical schools and other institutions for clinical, health services and biomedical research.

Media contact:    Christina Reese, Aging, 717-787-3368
Carey Miller, DPW, 717-425-7606
Aimee Tysarczyk, Health, 717-787-1783
Rosanne Placey, Insurance, 717-787-3289

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor