Budget cuts for PA mental health services?

    Spending cuts proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell may affect the state’s mental health and substance abuse services.

    Governor Rendell has proposed spending cuts that will affect close to 400 programs. Some of those are in the area of behavioral health. From WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, Maiken Scott reports:

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    Budget cuts affect mental health care


    A 2 percent funding cut could affect the Community Mental Health Grant Program, which funds services for people who are not Medicaid eligible and have no other insurance. Pennsylvania’s Behavioral Health Special Initiative, which provides services for people with substance abuse problems, could also see a 2 percent cut.

    Joan Erney, Deputy Secretary in the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, says she hopes that agencies can absorb the budget cuts without reducing services:

    Erney: We’re really looking for the counties to look at administrative efficiencies that they could employ rather than cut direct services.

    Erney says more details about budget cuts will emerge in a March 11 budget briefing, and budget conversation with Pennsylvania counties will begin in the next weeks.

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