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Important update on HB2253

I received the following information from Rachel Freund of PMHCA she has been working diligently to rally support for HB2253.  Consider spreading the word about this and also consider being in Harrisburgh on April 1, 2008 to show support for HB2253.

Please help us raise the monthly $60 personal needs allowance for nearly 9,000 personal care home residents on SSI in Pennsylvania! 

Good news! We are happy to report that Representative Jim Marshall (R-Beaver) introduced a bill last week, House Bill 2253, that proposes to raise the $60 monthly allowance to $120.

Thank you, Representative Marshall!

Early co-sponsors of HB 2253 are Ramaley, Depasquale, Mann, Mantz, D. O’Brien, Readshaw, Sainato, Vulakovich, R. Miller, Saylor, Pickett, Killion, Watson, Kula, Goodman, Helm, Cappelli, Caltagirone, Frankel, Gibbons, Dally, Belfanti, O’Neill,  Geist and J. White Now we need the help of our friends and partners from all over Pennsylvania to help us move this bill! Here’s what you can do:       If your legislator is NOT on the list of co-sponsors above, you can call him or her and ask for their support of HB 2253 as a co-sponsor.        Thank those House members who are co-sponsors.       Write a letter to your legislator asking him or her to support HB 2253 as it moves through the House        Ask your friends and colleagues to help us generate support on HB 2253 

AND: Join us in Harrisburg on Tuesday, April 1st (April Fools’ Day!) to

“Rally to Raise the $60”.

 We will rally in the Capital Rotunda at 2 PM to shine a light on this important issue! Here are some ‘talking points’ about the $60 personal spending allowance: ·         The allowance has been $60 per month since 1993; due to inflation, what cost $60 in1993 now costs approximately $83  ·         Residents must now cover their medication co-pays and over the counter meds with the $60 monthly allowance, as well as co-pays for doctor visits  ·         They must also pay for toll telephone calls, clothing and shoes, bus fares, haircuts, cigarettes, snacks and entertainment, as well as other personal needs   ·         It is clear that many PCH residents are not getting enough of their own money to meet ongoing expenses.   For more information contact Rachel Freund, PA Mental Health Consumers’ Association 412-621-4706 ext. 22 or rfreund@verizon.net  Please pass it on! Thanks!

Rachel

“Task Force to study uses for Mayview Hospital site”

This article was found in the Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The website it can be found on is located at … http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08059/860974-55.stm

Task Force to study uses for Mayview Hospital site
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Once Mayview State Hospital closes, South Fayette Commissioner Deron Gabriel would like to see small shops developed on the 335-acre site on Mayview Road in South Fayette.

He’s not suggesting large anchor tenants, but doctors’ or dentists’ offices, a hardware store or delicatessen — businesses that would, in his view, add to the quality of life as well as the tax base.

But he is just one of 11 members of a task force investigating potential uses of the property.

At the group’s first meeting last Thursday night, Mark Mansfield, Upper St. Clair’s acting manager, spoke in favor of development “complementary to the 470-acre park next door.” The township’s Boyce Mayview Park borders the hospital property on three sides.

Roy Kraynyk, executive director of the Allegheny Land Trust, spoke against intense development, saying it could lead to problems such as landslides and downstream runoff.

Mr. Gabriel said “small, tastefully done development” should not cause environmental problems. He also felt it could complement Upper St. Clair’s adjacent park.

The Mayview property is zoned for low-intensity residential use, primarily single-family homes. While acknowledging that all options are on the table, Mr. Mansfield later questioned the level of support for that kind of development.

“This is a unique piece of property,” he said. “There’s not a lot of uniqueness to creating another subdivision.”

The task force, headed by Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, and Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson, is expected to meet every four to six weeks in the coming months.

Mr. Kotik said he looked forward to an open discussion of a compromise plan.

While he wants to limit task force membership, Mr. Pippy said he hoped to add others to the panel representing nearby property owners and community groups.

Officials also plan to develop a Web link for public input.

Karen Marshall, a real estate agent for Keller Williams, said the property could be attractive to developers, even though the residential market has slowed and asbestos removal could be expensive.

Mr. Mansfield said removal of asbestos and lead-based paint were an issue, at least in some hospital buildings.

State officials are expected to close Mayview, Allegheny County’s last state hospital for people with mental illnesses, by the end of the year and move most patients into community settings.

Officials noted that similar task forces have been employed before. Their recommendations can be included in legislation typically used by the state to determine disposition of former state hospital property.

Besides the two lawmakers, Mr. Gabriel, Mr. Mansfield and Mr. Kraynyk, other members of the task force are Ford Thompson, of the state Department of Public Welfare; Joe Brimmeier Jr., of the state Department of General Services; Rich Kuppelweiser, Mayview’s chief operating officer; South Fayette Manager Mike Hoy; Emerald VanBuskirk, executive director of the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce; and Chris Goswick, of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development.

Joe Fahy can be reached at jfahy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1722.

“Pinnacle, Hershey plan joint facility”

The following article was found on Pennlive.com with a print date of February 22, 2007  the exact address for it is …  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2008/02/pinnacle_and_hershey_will_comb.html 

Pinnacle, Hershey plan joint facility

by DAVID WENNER, Of The Patriot-News
Tuesday February 26, 2008, 11:48 AM

A section of the former Polyclinic Hospital campus is at Third and Wisconisco streets, Harrisburg

Dauphin County’s two health care giants will join forces to meet the region’s need for inpatient mental health services.

PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will operate a 74-bed facility on the site of the former Polyclinic Hospital in Harrisburg.

They plan to open the $12 million facility April 1. It will be called the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and employ about 150 people.

Hospital beds for people with severe mental illness have been on the decline in central Pennsylvania for years. A recent blow was the 2006 closing of Harrisburg State Hospital and its 206 beds.

Dr. Roger Longenderfer, CEO of Pinnacle, noted 31 percent of Dauphin County residents who needed inpatient psychiatric care during the first quarter of 2007 to had to be moved outside the area.

Longenderfer and Dr. Harold Paz, CEO of the Penn State-Hershey, stopped short of saying the new facility will put an end to such transfers. But both said it’s unacceptable for local patients to be sent away, and the collaboration will lead to improved and expanded services.

The new facility will care for children, adults and elderly patients. Both Pinnacle and Penn State-Hershey have long operated inpatient psychiatric units, and all of those beds will now be housed in the new unit.

With the opening of the new facility, there will be 30 more beds than was previously offered by the two organizations.

A major benefit of the collaboration, Paz and Longendefer said, will be its ability to contribute to and benefit from research at Penn State-Hershey, and to collaborate with that facility’s medical school to train doctors and nurses to care for people with mental illness.

“A Call For Change” OMHSAS Publication

A Call for Change is a publication of the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, it offers insight into what the future may hold for Consumers and their families with regards to the drive to empower Consumers and encourage the use of the Recovery Model

“Mayview wants to ease patients’ transition” Feb 25, 2008

I loved this article it offers some down to earth ideas on how to help folks transition from Mayview State Hospital into the community.  It was originally printed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on February 25, 2008

The article can also be viewed on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s website at …  http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_554085.html 

Mayview wants to ease patients’ transition
By Rick Stouffer TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, February 25, 2008

Something as simple as inviting someone to dinner can have a huge positive impact on a person who’s been released from a state mental health facility, Bob Fairchild said.”Sometimes the people on the ward may be the only family that person had, and so being without a family can be a major depressive,” Fairchild said Sunday morning at an adult education program at Bower Hill Community Church, Mt. Lebanon.

Fairchild, 38, who said he’s spent time in Pennsylvania’s mental health system in the central part of the state, was a surprise participant. He came to the Moffett Street church for an afternoon program, arriving early because of infrequent bus service from his North Hills apartment.

His comments gave a personal touch to remarks from Allegheny HealthChoices Inc. CEO Mary Fleming and Mary Jo Dickson, administrator of the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health. The two had been invited to present an update on the closing of Mayview State Hospital in South Fayette.

Slated to close by year’s end after 115 years of service, Mayview will be the third state mental hospital in Allegheny County to close in the past 25 years, following Dixmont in 1984, and Woodville in 1992. The closings follow nationwide judicial rulings against long-term hospital stays for the mentally ill, treatment and medication improvements and a general movement toward relocating patients in communities.”It’s important that people know what to do, know about mental illness,” Dickson said. “We have to plan for what’s happening with current patients at Mayview, but also plan for people who would use the hospital if it was there in the future.”

When the state announced in August that Mayview would close by the end of 2008, the hospital had about 225 patients, with about 60 patients discharged before the announcement.

“Today, we have 180 patients at Mayview, with about 150 from Allegheny County,” Dickson said. The hospital serves Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties. The plan was to have the patient number down to 150 by June 30, but Fleming said that might not occur.

“One of the big problems we have in reintroducing these people back into communities is finding suitable, affordable housing,” Fleming said. Allegheny HealthChoices is a nonprofit organization hired by the five counties to oversee the five-county Mayview planning process.

Fleming said the reintroduction of most patients into a community setting has to be done correctly the first time, because “when you discharge a patient, that bed closes. You can’t take the person back and put them in that bed again,” she said.

Rick Stouffer can be reached at rstouffer@tribweb.com or 412-320-7853

“Mayview patients’ care is topic of adult class”

  This is more of a FYI kind of post regarding a class to be held to discuss planning of community care for folks discharged from Mayview.

Mayview patients’ care is topic of adult class

By The Tribune-Review
Friday, February 22, 2008
An adult education class focusing on a comprehensive plan for community care for patients from Mayview State Hospital will be conducted from 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday at Bower Hill Community Church, 70 Moffett St., Mt. Lebanon.Presenters will be Mary Fleming, CEO of Allegheny Health Choices, and Mary Jo Dickson from the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health.

State officials announced in August that the Public Welfare Department will close the South Fayette psychiatric hospital by the end of the year.

Further information about the class is available by calling 412-561-4114

“Panel considers Mayview reuse options; Patients leaving mental hospital by year’s end”

This article, from theFebruary 22, 2008 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is more in depth then my post yesterday on the same topic. 

Panel considers Mayview reuse options
Patients leaving mental hospital by year’s end
Friday, February 22, 2008

With patients scheduled to move out by the end of the year, officials are beginning to look at other uses for the Mayview State Hospital property.

An 11-member task force led by state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, and Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson, met for the first time last night to consider future use of the South Fayette site.

The task force, which met at the hospital’s conference center, spent part of the meeting going over a status report on the 335-acre property.

Rich Kuppelweiser, Mayview’s chief operating officer and a task force member, distributed a list of about 30 hospital buildings, some of them dating to the 1890s and about one-third of them in poor or very poor condition.

Mr. Kotik said he looked forward to an open discussion from everyone on a compromise plan for the property’s reuse.

Other task force members expressed varying concerns about reuse of the property.

Mark Mansfield, Upper St. Clair’s acting township manager, said officials there favored redevelopment that complements Boyce Mayview Park, which borders the hospital property on three sides.

South Fayette Commissioner Deron Gabriel favored small business or other commercial development.

Roy Kraynyk, executive director of the Allegheny Land Trust, said his group wants to guard against problems that could be brought on by development, “so we don’t see another landslide or increased flooding downstream.”

A massive slide on the former Dixmont State Hospital property, the site of a proposed Wal-Mart shopping plaza, closed Route 65 in Kilbuck in 2006.

The Mayview property currently is zoned for low-intensity residential use, primarily single-family homes, officials said.

Local real estate agents said the property could be attractive to developers.

“Because of its location, it will be extremely desirable,” said Doug Burig of Keller Williams, noting the property is close to Interstate 79 and Downtown Pittsburgh.

In August, the state Department of Public Welfare announced plans to close Mayview, Allegheny County’s last state hospital for people with mental illnesses, and to move most patients to community settings.

Mr. Kuppelweiser said that land reuse task forces have been convened before and have helped to shape future use of state mental hospital property.

The state Department of General Services, which acts as the state’s real estate agent, typically is guided by legislation in determining subsequent use of surplus state property, said agency spokesman Ed Myslewicz. Stipulations can be included that affect property use, he said.

Mr. Pippy said he expected that approach “to be the direction we’d want to go.”

Proceeds from any sale would go to the state’s general fund, he noted at the meeting. One audience member, Holly Cerini of Carroll, Washington County, said she felt funds should be allocated for mental health services in the counties served by Mayview.

Besides the two lawmakers, Mr. Kuppelweiser, Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Gabriel and Mr. Kraynyk, other task force members are Ford Thompson of the state Department of Public Welfare; Joe Brimmeier Jr. of the state Department of General Services; South Fayette Manager Mike Hoy; Emerald VanBuskirk, executive director of the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce; and Chris Goswick of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development.

Mr. Pippy said he hoped to add residents and community group representatives to the task force. He said a Web link will be developed for public input.

The task force probably will meet monthly, perhaps into next year.

Joe Fahy can be reached at jfahy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1722.
First published on February 22, 2008 at 12:00 am

“Reusing Mayview property”

  This one is dated February 21, 2008 about a meeting held at 7pm that day, but it does have a little info regarding Mayview that may be of interest to some.

Reusing Mayview property

A task force examining the reuse of Mayview State Hospital in South Fayette will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Regional Conference Room of the hospital’s Dietary Building.

The state Department of Public Welfare is targeting the end of the year for closing the hospital. The task force is addressing the issue of reusing the facility after it closes.

Task force members are state Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson; state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon; Ford Thompson of the state Department of Public Welfare; Joe Brimmeier Jr. of the state Department of General Services; Rich Kuppelweiser, chief operating officer of Mayview; Deron Gabriel, South Fayette commissioner; Mike Hoy, South Fayette manager;, Emerald VanBuskirk, executive director of the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce; Chris Goswick, planning division, Allegheny County Economic Development; and Roy Kraynyk, executive director of the Allegheny Land Trust.

First published on February 21, 2008 at 9:45 am

New Housbill – HB2253

Rep. Jim Marshall of Beaver is introducing a bill, HB 2253, to raise the Personal Spending Allowance for people on SSI in personal care homes from $60 – $120  Please ask your representatives to come along side of Rep. Jim Marshall in support of HB2253

As things stand now, after the personal care homes receive their portion of each person’s SSI they house, the individuals receive $60 per month which they need to budget bus transportation, clothing, personal hygeine items, co-pays for medications and doctor appointments, and any other “extra” they may need beyond what is supplied by the personal care home.  If this amount were increased to $120 the folks would still have the same number of “extras” to budget for, but it would be a more reasonable request then it currently is to expect them to pay for these items out of their pocket without giving them the funds to do it with.  This Bill would benefit anyone on SSI who resides in a personal care boarding home, so it reaches beyond the mental health Consumer population.

Special Announcement Regarding HB1448

The following comment was received from Representative Dan Frankel.  He added the comment to a post I did last night, but I felt it needed to be easier to access, so I decided to post it as a blog entry for ease of locating it.  Thank you to Dan Frankel for taking time to comment here.

“HB 1448 has been voted out of the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously and should be coming to the floor this March. It is important that the bill run clean without any  amendments. Any support and advocacy would be welcomed.”

Representative Dan Frankel

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