Joinder board ponders Pennsylvania’s budget

The Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board discussed Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2013-14 state budget at its meeting Wednesday morning.

Agency Administrator Deborah Duffy said the governor’s proposal keeps funding flat for mental health and intellectual disabilities services. Any increases in the budget are for new services proposed by Corbett, and do not fund existing programs, she said.

The Joinder Board, which oversees the Lycoming-Clinton Mental Health-Intellectual Disabilities Program and Lycoming Children and Youth Services, already is coming off a budget year in which it saw a 10-percent reduction, she added.

Duffy said the state’s spending plan and how it affects local services may change as lawmakers debate programs and spending.

“That budget is based on a lot of assumptions,” she said. “I’m not at the point where we know what direction it really will go.”

Board members also reviewed options to receive a human services block grant. A pilot program was rolled out last year for 20 counties, according to Duffy. She said block grant funds can be distributed by locally identified needs.

“It just brings the decision making down to the local level,” she said.

The board also agreed to a contract with Community Care Behavioral Health to provide managed care mental health and substance abuse services for Medical Assistance clients.