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Top Priorities for Pennsylvania’s Health Care Providers

Coalition calls on lawmakers to expedite behavioral health funding

January 09, 2023

Pennsylvania’s newly elected state and federal leaders have an important opportunity to advance health care across the commonwealth, especially to improve access to behavioral health.

In a trio of letters today, HAP and the Pennsylvania Provider Advocacy Coalition urged the state’s elected officials to “expedite the release of the critically needed $100 million in mental health resources” and outlined the state’s top health care priorities.

Last year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a law providing $100 million in one-time funding to support adult behavioral health services. During October, the state’s new behavioral health commission submitted its report, calling for targeted investments to bolster behavioral health in Pennsylvania.

In its letter, the provider coalition urged Governor-elect Josh Shapiro and the General Assembly to enact the commission’s funding recommendations, which include:

  • Stabilizing, strengthening, and expanding the workforce
  • Improving the criminal justice and public safety systems
  • Expanding capacity for services and supports

“Addressing the challenges facing our mental health system will require an ongoing, sustained commitment by state government, counties, and all stakeholders,” the coalition wrote in its letter to Shapiro and the General Assembly.

Additionally, in separate letters to U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) and Shapiro, the advocacy coalition outlined several core challenges for the provider community related to workforce, financial strain, health equity, telehealth, and fair Medicare payments.

Both letters also noted the role of the Medicaid program to care for the state’s most vulnerable citizens and improve health outcomes.

During the new year, HAP continues to communicate with state and federal lawmakers about the challenges Pennsylvania’s hospitals are facing and the ways they can support Pennsylvania’s hospital community. HAP also continues to highlight the behavioral health crisis and the policies and regulations that are needed to expand and sustain Pennsylvanians’ access to behavioral health care.

The letters on behavioral health, and to Fetterman and Shapiro are available online.

For questions, contact Jeffrey Bechtel, senior vice president, health economics and policy.