Budget Supports Pennsylvanians’ Mental Health
Investments support behavioral health and other essential health care services
UPDATE (August 9, 2022): HAP has learned that the $42.6 million increase for mental health services is not allocated to increase funding to counties for behavioral health services as initially anticipated. HAP continues to advocate for comprehensive solutions to address the behavioral health crisis, including increasing at-home, community-based, and other behavioral health services throughout the continuum of care.
Harrisburg, PA (July 8, 2022) – The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) reacted to the General Assembly’s passage of the 2022–2023 state budget, which includes more than $142 million in additional funding to support behavioral health care. HAP President and CEO Andy Carter released the following statement:
“HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community thank the General Assembly and Governor Wolf for making Pennsylvanians’ mental health a priority in this year’s state budget.
State investments will help more Pennsylvanians access care when and where they need it. Pennsylvania’s behavioral health crisis is complex and addressing it will require many strategies over the long term. This budget takes important steps to meaningfully improve the lives of many Pennsylvanians, their families, and our communities.
HAP also thanks state leaders for enacting several priorities—both within and separate from the budget—that support health care for Pennsylvanians, including maintaining important Medicaid supplemental payments that help hospitals continue to provide essential services to their communities.”
Background: The commonwealth is in a behavioral health care crisis. Because there are not enough services to meet the need, more Pennsylvanians are arriving at hospitals experiencing mental health emergencies. These patients often spend days, a week, or longer in emergency departments as they wait for in-home, community-based, or other behavioral health services.
The 2022–2023 state budget makes investments that support behavioral health care, including:
- $42.6 million increase for county mental health offices to bolster at-home and community-based behavioral health services
- $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding set aside for initiatives to support adult behavioral health care (funding will be allocated by future legislation based on recommendations made by a blue-ribbon commission)
The budget also maintains $29.8 million for important Medicaid supplemental payments to hospitals that are matched by federal dollars to support essential health care services for Pennsylvanians. That includes trauma centers, burn units, obstetric and neonatal units, and critical access hospitals that ensure access to health care in rural communities.
Separately from the budget, the General Assembly recently extended regulatory waivers that have helped hospitals prioritize patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic and passed bills that:
- Support the health care workforce by expediting professional licensing for veterans and military spouses (including in health care fields) and extending the reach of home health care providers
- Further support behavioral health care by allowing behavioral telehealth services and improving coordination between physical and behavioral health care providers
- Ensure that providers can care for sexual assault victims who wish to remain anonymous
- Provide commonsense flexibility to allow clinicians’ ID badges to be used at multiple facilities within a health system
About HAP: HAP is a statewide membership services organization that represents 235 hospitals as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online.
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Tags: Workforce | Access to Care | Public Health | State Advocacy | Behavioral Health | COVID-19 | PA House | PA Senate