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Senate Bill 906 SB 906, calling for a state center closure moratorium, has passed the House by a vote of 139–55. The bill amends the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions; and, in responsibilities of the State, providing for a state center closure moratorium. The amendment sponsored by state Representative Lee James passed Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The measure eradicates previous wording on the bill that placed a moratorium on the closure of state centers until all Medicaid waiver-eligible individuals on the waiting list (of over 13,000) received funding for home or community-based care. The moratorium would now have a five-year limit.

The bill calls for the creation of a task force on the closure of state centers. The task force would convene within 60 days and be comprised of the Secretary of Department of Human Services, one representative from each state center, one representative from the Governor’s office, the chair and minority chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and House Human Services Committee, two family members of residents of state centers, and one representative of a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate for those with intellectual disabilities. The bill now goes back to the Senate as the bill was amended on the floor yesterday.

Composite of Calendar Pages and Clock

(From DHS)

08/27/2019

DHS Announces Time, Venue Changes for Polk, White Haven State Center Public Hearings

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced changes to the times and locations for the public hearings on the planned closure of Polk and White Haven State Centers.

“We heard the concerns from families, legislators, and stakeholders about time of day and location for the hearings, and we want as many interested people as possible to be able to attend these hearings,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We are committed to hearing from the community, and these hearings will give affected individuals, advocates, and stakeholders to the opportunity to formally raise concerns and share their perspectives to inform the transition process.”

Under Act 3 of 1999, DHS is required to hold public hearings within 30 days of announcing plans to close a facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Comments offered at these hearings will guide DHS during the transition process and help DHS understand resources and options that will need to be available to residents and families during the transition.

The hearings are now scheduled for:

·  Polk State Center – Monday, September 9, 5 p.m. – Atlantic Avenue Church, 160 Atlantic Ave., Franklin, PA – updated start time

·   White Haven State Center – Thursday, September 12, 5 p.m. – St. Patrick’s Church, 411 Allegheny St, White Haven, PA 18661 – updated start time and location

A toll-free hotline has been established for family members of Polk and White Haven residents who have questions during the closure process. Family members will be able to speak with staff from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 1.888.565.9435 or by email at RA-PWRAStateCenters@pa.gov.

For more information regarding services for people with intellectual disabilities and the closures, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James – 717-425-7606

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