No increase in mental health spending for Lycoming, Clinton counties

The Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board learned Wednesday that the proposed 2014-15 state budget does not include much in the way of additional funds for its Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities Program.

The proposed budget does not include any increases in spending for mental health and intellectual disability services, nor does it restore any of the 10-percent cut made to the program in 2012-13, said Deborah Duffy, HealthChoices Administrator.

“The mental health reduction was approximately $450,000,” she said.

However, the program would receive roughly $300,000 for state hospital discharge planning, which helps families or caretakers navigate financial information and planning to pay hospital bills or for ongoing care, if Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget is approved.

Duffy also said that there is a proposed initiative for the Waiting List for Intellectual Disability Services in the amount of $22 million, which would allow an additional 1,100 people with intellectual disabilities to receive home and community-based services. Currently, the list stands at more than 14,000.

She also noted that although there has been discussion regarding the impact of the Affordable Care Act and Gov. Corbett’s HealthyPA program on mental health base funds, the two agencies that make up the joinder board spend less than 3 percent of their total budget on mental treatment services for the uninsured, so “there do not appear to be any significant savings.”

The next Joinder Board meeting will be held at 9 a.m. May 21 at the Sharwell Building, 200 East St.