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Participate in the Medicaid Listening Tour
September 19, 2005

As previously shared, Governor Rendell is convening a Medicaid listening tour designed to “engage Pennsylvanians in a discussion about solutions for the Medical Assistance (MA) program in view of the burgeoning national healthcare crisis.” The media has been full of reports regarding proposed cuts to Medicaid on the national level and how that will affect individual states. At the same time, states are trying to meet the demands of a growing eligible population and a struggling economy. The Pennsylvania listening tour provides opportunity for members to speak to short and long-term solutions.

PCPA will be preparing testimony for the October 21 forum in Harrisburg, focused on behavioral health and long-term care. PCPA urges you to testify at one of the sessions. As members, your submission of testimony in your local area will strengthen the voice of the behavioral healthcare community. While focusing on preparation of short-term solutions and long-term strategies to share in testimony, PCPA asks members to be aware of the following issues and suggestions being generated by staff, and to feel free to incorporate them into prepared remarks.

  • Behavioral health has already had substantial cuts in the current fiscal year, in greater proportion than those experienced in physical health.
  • It is necessary, regardless of payment or funding source, that a full spectrum of behavioral health services be available in every county.
  • The state, along with the counties and their managed care partners, needs to consider how to reduce administrative costs (e.g. reduction of regulations, streamlining of oversight and paperwork requirements) rather than achieving savings through the reduction of services.
  • With the state’s focus on mental health recovery, changing county and state reporting requirements to focus on outcomes rather than process and regulation could achieve administrative savings.
  • The system must assure that dollars remain available for care. This requires a review of the cost drivers in the system to ascertain how savings can be achieved in multiple places.
  • The provider system is a substantial part of the economy in most communities across the commonwealth. An investment in the system, aside from the primary goal of providing treatment and support, is an investment in the economic development of the state.
  • Because of the historical underfunding of the system, Pennsylvania is losing some of its “best and brightest” clinicians to other public systems in nearby states that have funded the system to assure adequate wages.

Members who submit testimony for the Medicaid listening tour are asked to copy the association. Copies of testimony or questions about preparing testimony may be sent to Kris Ericson or George Kimes. Additional information about the tour can be found in PCPA Infos on the web site dated September 4 and September 16.

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