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State Lawmakers Advance $100M Bill to Support Pa. Behavioral Health

May 23, 2023

The state House Human Services Committee unanimously advanced legislation today allocating $100 million in federal funding to support adult mental health in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 849, sponsored by Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh County), authorizes the state to spend $100 million in one-time federal funds set aside in the 2022–2023 state budget. Last year, the state’s Behavioral Health Commission on Adult Mental Health provided recommendations to the General Assembly about how to allocate the funding. During a meeting this morning, lawmakers said they were focused on making the bill the best it can be to support the state’s behavioral health system.

“We cannot afford to sit on $100 million in federal funds available to address the commonwealth's critical and ongoing need to support behavioral health services,” Schlossberg said in the statement. “I look forward to furthering negotiations with my colleagues in the House, the Senate, and the Shapiro administration to get this over the finish line.”

The legislation would allocate:

  • $40 million to expand access to mental health services and supports
  • $34 million toward behavioral health workforce improvements
  • $25.5 million for criminal justice and public safety initiatives
  • $500,000 to evaluate the overall impact of these initiatives

In a letter last week, HAP urged the committee to advance the legislation, highlighting the opportunity to support the state’s behavioral health system and the workforce.

“There are unique challenges in health care, however, because the entire interrelated continuum of care is being disrupted,” the letter noted. “In almost every community statewide, Pennsylvanians’ access to many vital health care services is threatened.”

The legislation moves to the full House for consideration. HAP continues to emphasize the importance of this legislation—and other behavioral health initiatives—and will provide updates to members.

Today’s committee meeting is available online.

For more information, contact Heather Tyler, vice president, state legislative advocacy.