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RESOLUTION #3134

RESOLUTION BY THE WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OPPOSING HOUSE BILL 335 AND SENATE BILL 268, WHICH WOULD ELIMINATE THE CURRENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCHOICES (BHC) PROGRAM AND REMOVE COUNTY MANAGEMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND MERGE IT WITH GENERAL HEALTH SERVICES.

WHEREAS, House Bill 335 and Senate Bill 268 have been introduced in the current legislative session and both aim to eliminate the current Behavioral Health Choices (BHC) program and merge Mental Health programs with Physical Health programs; and

WHEREAS, BHC has delivered tremendous results for Pennsylvanians and their families who rely on the lifesaving services that this program has delivered for the last 21 years.; and

WHEREAS, due to BHC, more Pennsylvanians are receiving more services than ever before; and

WHEREAS, BHC provides flexibility for local elected officials to develop their own solutions, accountability and transparency for lawmakers and taxpayers, and consumers and family members have consistently given high satisfaction ratings to their local county BHC services; and

WHEREAS, Eliminating BHC would disrupt care for 2.9 million Pennsylvanians and their families; cripple counties’ ability to deliver coordinated human services; and deal a major setback to the state’s efforts to stem the opioid epidemic; and

WHEREAS, virtually every advocacy group; provider; mental health and recovery organization, and county commissioner in our state supports BHC including the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), Drug and Alcohol Services Providers Organization of Pennsylvania (DASPOP), Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHAPA), Pennsylvania Association for Behavioral Healthcare (PABH), Pennsylvania Association of County Administrators of Mental Health and Developmental Services (PACA MH/DS), Pennsylvania Association of Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA), Pennsylvania Association of County Human Services Administrators (PACHSA), and the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association (PMHCA) among others; and

WHEREAS, BHC is managed far more efficiently and is more cost effective than its physical health counterpart and there is a great deal of data to prove it; and

WHEREAS, BHC allows for local customization of services and local partnerships and creates a system in which collaboration with law enforcement, schools, the court system, and local hospitals to provide integrated solutions is the priority rather than adhering to broad state or regional mandates; and

WHEREAS, history has shown that a “carved-in” model has simply resulted in larger profits for MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) but did not lead to better care and a large amount of the dollars allocated for care does not reach the consumer but instead becomes a part of the MCO’s profit margin; and

WHEREAS, it is clear that there is no way to save money with this “carved-in” model without jeopardizing care, services, or programs that Counties are currently providing at a low cost; and

WHEREAS, some Counties are so efficient with their programs they are able to return dollars to the state every year and there are reinvestment programs that allow Counties to use savings to address new needs and that any savings currently generated will go to the profit margins of MCOs and not improved services for the communities: and

WHEREAS, the Counties are delivering services much more efficiently and affordably than the MCOs and there is no evidence that the MCOs will become more efficient overnight or will cut their profit margins to match the low cost of County administration; and

WHEREAS, this change would not only remove local control over services and turn it over to large corporations but also result in the loss of jobs, revenue, and services for County residents,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Warren County Board of Commissioners do hereby opposes House Bill 335 and Senate Bill 268 which would merge Mental Health programs with Physical Health programs and remove county management of Human Services programs;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Warren County Board of Commissioners will submit this resolution and accompanying letter of disapproval to the regional legislative Representatives and State Senators, and provide copies to the state Department of Humans Services and the Governor office as well as regional Commissioners in an effort to respectfully request the Administration and General Assembly take steps to oppose House Bill 335 and Senate Bill 268  and consider taking action to study this issue further before initiating any changes.

ADOPTED this day 27th day of February 2019.

 

COMMISSIONERS OF WARREN COUNTY

 

Benjamin Kafferlin

Chair

 

Cindy Morrison

Attest:                                                                   Vice Chair

 

Pamela J. Matve                                                    Jeff Eggleston

Chief Clerk                                                           Secretary