Testimony on the Commonwealth Budget Cuts by gabyion


									                  Conference of Allegheny Providers
  C               C/o Stephen Christian-Michaels
                  Family Services of Western PA
  A               3230 William Pitt Way
  P               Pittsburgh, PA 15238
                  (412) 820-2050 – ext 438

       Human Services Sandbagged
             Testimony on the Commonwealth Budget Cuts
                                            April 15, 2003

The Conference of Allegheny Providers (CAP) is made up of fifty three agencies which contract to
provide human services in Allegheny County. Collectively our budgets represent $500,000 million
dollars dedicated to providing human services. We serve 125,000 Allegheny County residents and
employ 13,500 staff. Many of the agencies provide multiple services.

               73%    Mental Health (MH)             60%     Mental Retardation (MR)
               28%    Drug & Alcohol (D&A)           26%     Children Youth and Family (CYF)
               17%    Juvenile Justice (JJ)           2%     Aging

The Commonwealth current approved budget has a total impact of over $25 million in cut services.
This means consumers will not get the services they need. Staff will be laid off and other service
systems will be forced to serve these clients with no funding including our jail, emergency rooms,
mental health clinics, schools and other community based providers who are already stretched
beyond what they can provide.
                                                                                      # of Residents
The cuts to human Services include:                                Size of Cut        to be unserved
               Human Service Development Funds (HSDF) 100% cut 4.7 million                  10,000
               Drug & Alcohol Treatment                         52% cut 7.2 million           3,000
               Employment & Training                            27% cut 6.0 million           1,000
               Mental Health                                      6% cut 5.0 million           2,500
               Homeless Services                                 5% cut 148,311                  500
               Aging Services                                    4% cut 69,500                   625
                       TOTAL                                             23.1 million        16,975

Assumptions seem to have been made when these budget cuts were made:
     HSDF is only “walking around money” (WAM)
             False, these funds pay for basic needs for people with out insurance, Medicaid or Medicare

       Drug & Alcohol treatment doesn’t work
             False, D&A treatment works better than many medical treatments
                     Not to treat addictions, increase cost to the public sector (CYF, Jails, etc)

       Counties fund human services, not the Commonwealth
             False, MH, MR and D&A treatment is 95-98% state & federally funded in Allegheny County
    Small grass roots providers funded largely from HSDF or D&A funds will go out of business.
           No provider can stay in business when 50% or 90% of your funding is eliminated

       Families in Family Support Center will not be able to receive counseling.
              Many families are fearful to seek traditional services and will increase risks of child
              abuse and neglect, delay treatment and will cost more in more formal settings.

       52% of the Drug and Alcohol consumers will go with out treatment.
             Drug and Alcohol treatment is already horribly under funded. This is a crime.

              While there was a 38% cut of all Drug and Alcohol services, treatment funds are cut
              by 52% while other categorical prevention services were not cut.

       3 million dollars for BH services in the transfer of funds from HealthChoices to Medical Assistance
               People on General Assistance MNO or CNO categories of MA will loose services

       Safety net function provided by the mental health providers will have to be substantially cut
              back with the layoff of staff resulting in crisis services such as expensive inpatient care

       Reductions in vocational training at a time when we are encouraging people to leave welfare and
             become self sufficient, is reversing our commitment to reduce dependency on welfare.

       Allegheny County has the largest percentage population of older adults and we are cutting
             services to the older adults, many for which there is no alternative.

       County Jail, Emergency Room, and Homeless Services costs will increase with greater demand

       No Cost of Living Increase impacts all Human Services
             The lack of a cost of living increase for human services is a budget cut, given that most other
             program costs go up each year (health insurance, rent, utilities, etc.). This impacts Mental
             Retardation, Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol, Children’s Services, among others

    Collectively, the lay off of 650 staff, given most of our costs are in personnel costs.

       Increase costs in unemployment, Medicaid and other Welfare related benefits

       Agency purchase of services and goods in communities will decease, impacting the community

       Drug & Alcohol state budget cuts will reduce ability to obtain Federal funding in the future
             State must show maintenance of efforts in order to be eligible for 600 million drug voucher funding

The speed with which this budget was developed and then passed did not allow for the usual research
and public scrutiny. We implore you to advocate for restoration of these cuts. To have the working
poor, the disabled and people struggling with addiction, the most under-funded of human services must
be re-evaluated. We recognize that the state of the economy has had serious consequences to the state
revenue streams, but certainly. The most disadvantaged should not be taking this large a hit.

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