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A Word From the President
PA House of Representatives Passes Budget with Increased Disability Services Funding
Our voices have made a difference! On April 4, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to pass the state budget with all of the increased funding for intellectual disability and autism services.
Thank you to everyone who contacted their state legislator to share how important this increased funding is for intellectual disability and autism services!
This is the first time in ten years that the proposed PA budget has included funding for across the board rate increases. This budget also calls for increased community-based services and waiting list initiatives.
The next step is for the PA Senate to discuss and vote on the budget, which will happen in the coming weeks. If the intellectual disability and autism portion of the budget remains intact, the budget will increase our ability to address direct support professional compensation, and decrease vacancies and turnover, as well as continue to improve the services we provide to the people we support.
Right now, I ask you to do two things:
- Thank your PA Representative for being part of the House that passed a budget bill that invests in intellectual disability and autism services. Even if your Representative did not vote for the budget, it’s important to let them know that you appreciate the House’s action to support intellectual disability and autism services.
- Contact your PA State Senator and advocate for the intellectual disability and autism funding to be included in the Senate budget bill at the same funding levels as the Governor’s proposed budget and the current House budget.
Highlights from the proposed PA budget (both the Governor’s and the House’s) for intellectual disability and autism services include:
- $54.7 million to provide for rate increases from the renewal of the waiver program;
- $109.7 million to provide for increases in utilization and costs;
- $15.4 million for the Community Living Waiver to create a new program for family caregivers to ensure 1,000 individuals currently on the waiting list can continue to live at home;
- $8.5 million to expand services for individuals with disability to provide home and community-based services for 820 students graduating from special education—a figure that is projected to cover every such student this coming year;
- Funding to begin to transition individuals from the Hamburg State Center to home and community-based services;
- $9.3 million for new community participation services from the renewal of the waiver program; and
- $642,000 in Autism Intervention and Services for home and community-based services for 50 additional adults with autism spectrum disorder.
We will continue to share updates about the PA budget and intellectual disability and autism services. Please join our mailing list if you would like to receive regular updates like this from Keystone Human Services.
Charles J. Hooker III
President and CEO, Keystone Human Services