This December 13, 2014 article from The Intelligencer, talks about the ways that Governor-Elect Tom Wolf is paying his way and putting limits on gifts for him and his staff.
The above link will take you to an article that I found on the front page of the TimesObserver which is the local paper for the Warren, PA area. Before anyone starts telling me it has nothing to do with mental health, I will say those who are thinking that are partially right. I say partially, because in the broader picture, this is something that has stroong potential for effecting folks with mental illnesses in Pennsylvania, because as many are aware, last year the state decided to decrease what the amount they paid for the state’s portion of Supplimental Security Income (SSI) While I at the time commended legislatures on not getting a COLA increase, I am no concerned because they are slated for a 1.7% pay raise and it was just within the past few months that I saw an article in the same paper indicating that the chance of folks on Social Security getting an increase were slim at best and I believe there might have been mention of another decrease being discussed. So those who are elderly, disabled and any other groups who happen to have a need for Social Security are at risk of not getting any kind of increase, while State government officials are most likely going to get an increase in their pay.
I feel that this is one of those times where from whee I’m sitting it seems like the state government is looking out for themselves and ignoring the fact that they have caused hardship on the more vulnerable portion of the Pennsylvania citizens. funny how you are suppose to be working for us, but in reality especially for those of us in all aspects of the mental health community it feels like you are working against us.
This article found in the Warren Times observer on August 4, 2010 talks a little more about the closing of the Warren State Hospital Forensics unit. Parts of it are new info, while other parts are quotes from places I blogged about yesterday.
WSH Unit Closing
41 jobs will be lost in county
By BRIAN FERRY email@example.com
In a move that means the loss of 41 Warren County jobs, the state has decided to close the Warren State Hospital Regional Forensic Psychiatric Center.
The closure was announced to employees on Monday and will be completed by the end of October, according to Department of Public Welfare Press Secretary Michael Race.
Warren State Hospital personnel declined comment on Tuesday and directed questions to Race.
“The Warren Forensic Unit will be closed,” Race said Tuesday. “We are, in fact, consolidating two forensic units. It will result in a cost savings to the commonwealth.”
The unit is the smallest of three in the state. It provides psychiatric treatment and evaluation of people who are “under criminal detention” with the goal of stabilizing disorders and returning them to the criminal justice system. The 25 patients from 14 counties at the medium security facility will move to a similar facility at Torrance State Hospital in Westmoreland County.
“Counties impacted by the consolidation will still have access to forensic services through the forensic center at Torrance,” Race said.
The closure and consolidation will save the state an estimated $2.3 million per year, Race said.
That the forensic unit is closing is not a sign that the entire Warren State Hospital will follow suit. “This should not be seen as some sort of harbinger of any closure of this hospital itself,” Race said. “Warren State Hospital will not be closing and there will be no changes to the civil section of the hospital.”
Race said the department will work with the 41 forensic unit employees providing “assistance for them in finding job placement” within the state hospital system or elsewhere.
In a press release, State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-65th) “harshly criticized the governor’s and the Department of Public Welfare’s decision to consolidate and close the facility’s Regional Forensic Psychiatric Unit effective Oct. 31.”
“The governor’s most recent decision to close one of our state’s most cost-efficient and effective forensics units in order to preserve hundreds of millions of dollars in newly borrowed, special interest discretionary funding… is absolutely insane,” Rapp said.
She said the $2.3 million annual estimated savings will not be realized because of the loss of “family-sustaining” jobs, an increase in mental health care costs and the number of prison inmates in Warren County, and the costs to county government and family in taking up the slack in the rehabilitation process.
“Any time a state hospital is shut down or an experienced and skilled forensic unit such as the staff at the Warren State Hospital is consolidated or eliminated, it greatly increases the possibility that our most vulnerable citizens suffering from schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and drug addiction will wind up unnecessarily incarcerated, unfairly exploited or otherwise victimized in mainstream society,” Rapp said.
Rapp spearheaded the opposition against proposals to privatize the unit three years ago.
<Article originally found in the August 4th, 2010 edition of the Warren Times Observer and could be found on their site on Aug 4, 2010 at the following address … http://timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/533909.html?nav=5006 >