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“Money for Mayview patients?”

This article found in the Pitsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, February 26, 2009 and can be found at … http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09057/951665-57.stm

The article discusses the ongoing debate over where the proceeds from the sale or lease of the land occupied by the now closed Mayview State Hospital.

Money for Mayview patients?
Coalition wants proceeds from sale of hospital to be used for mentally ill
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sally Jo Snyder is about to reach the first of her three major goals regarding the closed Mayview State Hospital.

Next month, an appraiser will be chosen to analyze the value of the hospital’s 300-acre site on the South Fayette-Upper St. Clair border, both in light of the current zoning and the best use of the property.

The highest and best language means the appraiser will look at the type of development that would make the property the most valuable, and will include that in the analysis.

“Historically, properties like this have been sold for a song, then developed, and the community makes a killing,” Ms. Snyder said Tuesday.

This time around, she instead wants the appraisal to be followed by a sale at fair market value with proceeds going to a fund that will fill the void of Mayview by caring for the mentally ill.

“Let’s honor what the true intent of that land is,” she said.

Ms. Snyder, a United Methodist minister who heads the Consumer Health Coalition and has taken up the cause of former Mayview patients, has been pushing her agenda at meetings of a task force set up by the state to determine the eventual use of the Mayview property.

About 100 coalition members showed up at last Thursday’s task force meeting wearing black and gold T-shirts bearing a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The time is always right, to do the right thing.”

One problem for the coalition, though, is that the enemy is nebulous. The politicians involved — task force co-chairs state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, and State Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson, as well as state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, and state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park — have been supportive of the coalition’s goals, and legislation on the use of sale proceeds is in the works.

But precedent, bureaucracy and the state’s financial straits all pose challenges.

Ms. Snyder noted that an authority created by Haverford Township in suburban Philadelphia bought the 250-acre Haverford State Hospital site for $3.5 million in 2002, and in 2006 sold 39 acres to a housing developer for $17 million. None of the money went to benefit the mentally ill.

Officials in South Fayette have said that only about 90 acres of the Mayview property are usable; the rest are wetlands, steeply sloped or railroad right-of-way. The property also is fairly isolated, without access to major roads; and the officials are of the opinion that the buildings will have to be razed due to asbestos concerns.

South Fayette Commissioners also took action in October to protect their own rights in the debate by rezoning the Mayview property. Previously zoned for rural residential use, it is now zoned for development as a business park, with offices and service-oriented shops. The township also is looking into creating a new zoning district for the property, possibly aimed at recreational use.

Ms. Snyder noted that she was not a real estate expert, but in her view “that’s a sweet piece of land that people will want to get their hands on.”

She envisions a commercial/retail mix, “kind of like a SouthSide Works thing” on the property, which fronts Chartiers Creek across from Upper St. Clair.

She said a $2 million ballpark figure mentioned by the state Department of General Services, which administers the site, was ridiculously low.

“That’s not in the ballpark,” she said. “That’s not even on Route 28 on the way to the ballpark.”

The death of HB2253 … or is it? Part 2

  This is a second email I received from the same source at PMHCA regarding the death and hopefully resurrection of HB2253 offing another way you can help.

Click here to download the booklet mentioned in the following message

 

 

Dear friends – Here’s another way to get our message out about the personal needs allowance.

 

I’m attaching a booklet that tells the real stories of several personal care home residents and their struggles to survive on $60 per month. You can print a copy of this booklet (color is fantastic if you have a color printer!), personalize it with your own message and send it on to the Governor and your legislators.

 

You could even have everyone in your drop-in center, support group, clubhouse, personal care home or other group to write their personal messages. Some people may want to tell what they spend their monthly allowance on. Feel free to add more blank pages that you fill in.

 

You will want to include a cover letter that tells who is sending the booklet to them so they can contact you. Here is what we want the governor and our legislators to know:  

It’s time to give a holiday gift to Pennsylvania’s low income personal care home residents: SPLIT THE SSI RAISE!

Nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in PA’s personal care homes are struggling to live on a $60 monthly allowance that must pay for medication co-pays, transportation, clothing, phone calls and all personal items. They have not received a raise in their monthly needs allowance since 1993!

 

In January 2009, all citizens on SSI will receive a generous 5.8% cost of living raise, $37 per month – the largest raise in 25 years. PA’s PCH residents will not receive ONE CENT of the raise unless DPW decides lets some of it go to them. We advocate that the raise be split evenly between the residents and the owners, as it was for Dom Care.

Please ask DPW to “Split the SSI raise” so that some of our most vulnerable residents can better meet their own needs!

 

Send to:

1. Governor Edward Rendell

225 Capital Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or governor@state.pa.us

 

2. Your PA state legislators – You can find your legislator at www.congress.org. Type your zip code into the box beside “find your officials”. Send your message to your State Legislators.

The Death of HB2253 …. Or is it?

I received the following info in an email from a friend of mine at PMHCA.  The links at the end of this post will take you to a place you can download the files Rachel mentions in her update.

Dear friends – I’m writing to update you on our fight to Raise the $60 Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for residents of personal needs allowance and to thank you for all your help over the past year on this struggle. Here’s what we know:

Ø  House Bill 2253- The bill to raise the PNA will quietly die at the end of the 2008. We will work to get it reintroduced in the new session and will need your help in 2009 for that!

Ø  SSI Cost of Living Adjustment (raise) – We were excited to learn that people on SSI will be receiving a $37/month raise from Social Security starting January 2009. This is the largest raise in SSI since 1982!! However: Unless the Department of Public Welfare changes the amount of the personal needs allowance to reflect this raise, the personal care home residents will not receive ONE CENT of their raise.

It will all go to the owners of the personal care homes. We understand that the owners’ costs are also rising; they have received many raises over the past 15 years to address this. Residents have not received a raise for 15 years!

We are asking for DPW to support a split in the $37/month raise: $18.50 to the residents, $18.50 to the owners – this just seems fair and in fact, it’s what the Department of Aging does in their Dom Care Homes.

 

Here’s what we need YOU to do:

       Contact the governor’s office and your legislator to ask that DPW “Split the SSI Raise” between personal care home residents

       Here’s a message you can use:

It’s time to give a holiday gift to Pennsylvania’s low income personal care home residents: SPLIT THE SSI RAISE!

Nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in PA’s personal care homes are struggling to live on a $60 monthly allowance that must pay for medication co-pays, transportation, clothing, phone calls and all personal items. They have not received a raise in their monthly needs allowance since 1993!

 

In January 2009, all citizens on SSI will receive a generous 5.8% cost of living raise, $37 per month – the largest raise in 25 years. PA’s PCH residents will not receive ONE CENT of the raise unless DPW decides lets some of it go to them. We advocate that the raise be split evenly between the residents and the owners, as it was for Dom Care.

Please ask DPW to “Split the SSI raise” so that some of our most vulnerable residents can better meet their own needs!

 

Have a letter writing table at your holiday party! You can use the attached postcards to send your message – just print them up on card stock.

 

Send to:

1. Governor Edward Rendell

225 Capital Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or governor@state.pa.us

 

2. Your PA state legislators – You can find your legislator at www.congress.org. Type your zip code into the box beside “find your officials”. Send your message to your State Legislators.

 

Click here to download Christmas Postcards to get your message out to Pennsylvania State government Officials

“Mayview hearing: Money from sale should stay here, senator declares”

This article found in The Gateway Newspaper can be found in its original format at … http://www.gatewaynewspapers.com/signalitem/93999/    it talks about what should happen with any money that comes from the sale of Mayview State Hospital.

Mayview hearing: Money from sale should stay here, senator declares

By David Mayernik Jr., Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

 

Mayview State Hospital in Bridgeville is still on track to close by the end of the year.

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Pittsburgh) wants to ensure that money generated from the sale of the 335-acre property stays in the community.

In conjunction with a state Senate Democratic policy committee hearing last Thursday morning in Pittsburgh City Council chambers, Ferlo announced he has introduced legislation that would redirect funds to other community mental health facilities.

“Every sale dollar should help those who rely on mental health care services,” he said. 

Under the proposal, proceeds of any mental health facility would be deposited into one of two accounts, the mental health community services account or the mental retardation community services account.

Last August, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare announced plans to close clinical services of the civil section of Mayview by Dec. 31.

Last week’s committee hearing focused on how the hospital’s closure will affect patients and staff members.

“This is a high-impact issue,” said Ferlo.

Department of Public Welfare secretary Estelle Richman said there are currently six wards open at the hospital. The next could close this month.

Following a series of assessments, patients at Mayview are being placed in group homes, public housing or with family members.

Those in need of continuing treatment could be transferred to another hospital.

Since the closure announcement, approximately 80 patients have been discharged from Mayview, leaving 160 people still to be placed.

Richman anticipates that they will be discharged from June through Dec. 31.

“But no one will be removed from Mayview Hospital unless we can ensure their safe transition,” she said.

Mayview State Hospital, which treats patients with mental illnesses, serves 225 individuals from Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Greene and Washington counties.

State officials said Mayview’s closing is part of Pennsylvania’s commitment to reduce its reliance on institutional care and improve access to home and community-based services.

Ferlo said he would like to see a redevelopment group involved in the land re-use task force so that issues of community housing can be addressed.

“I really think we can look at this as an opportunity and meet the challenge.”

The task force — which includes state Sen. John Pippy and state Rep. Nick Kotik — was formed to help guide the future of the facility.

“Send Mayview sale funds to other facilities: Ferlo”

 This article was originally found in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on April 2, 2008 and can be found in it’s original format at …. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_560158.html

Send Mayview sale funds to other facilities: Ferlo
A bill introduced Tuesday by state Sen. Jim Ferlo would require that money generated from the sale of Mayview State Hospital be used for other community mental health services and facilities.Ferlo, a Highland Park Democrat, said he believes it’s important to determine where the money would go before the South Fayette hospital — or any mental health facility — closes.

Ferlo proposes depositing money from the sale of mental health facilities into the Mental Health Community Services Account or the Mental Retardation Community Services Account.

The state House is considering a similar bill, he said.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers, fifth floor of the City-County Building, Downtown, to discuss the impact of Mayview’s pending closure on patients and staff.

“Mayview remains on track to close by end of the year”

  The following article was found in the April 4, 2008 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and can be viewed in its original format at … http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08095/870445-55.stm

Mayview remains on track to close by end of the year
Friday, April 04, 2008

Officials remain on track to close Mayview State Hospital by the end of the year, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman said yesterday.

Six wards remain open at the South Fayette hospital and plans call for closing another ward at the end of this month, Ms. Richman told a group of state legislators during a hearing at the City-County Building.

That timetable is about 30 days behind schedule, and she said officials would slow the process further if patients are “not able to move into the community safely.”

But she said the state remained “well within the framework of meeting the closure deadline of Dec. 31.”

Ms. Richman was among a number of officials who testified at a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing about the impact of the closure. State officials announced plans last August to shut down the facility.

Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, said he requested the hearing to discuss the affect of the closure on patients and staff. Other lawmakers who attended were Sen. Richard Kasunic of Dunbar, the policy committee’s chairman, and Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills.

More than 200 patients were at the hospital when the closure was announced. Ms. Richman said more than 80 people have been discharged and another 65 should be moved by the end of June, leaving 95 patients at the facility.

She said the state has hired a contractor to conduct assessments on patients that hospital clinical staff believe may be at risk if they are released to the community. Based on those results, some patients could be transferred to Torrance State Hospital.

Despite the planning process, “unexpected and unfortunate events will take place,” she said.

David Jones, a welfare department official, said one patient disappeared two days after he left Mayview and was later found in New Jersey. Pennsylvania officials worked to ensure he had appropriate care in that state, he said.

Late last year, the state also temporarily halted the downsizing of Mayview following the death of a former patient who authorities said jumped or fell from the Birmingham Bridge. A second ex-patient, released from a Mayview forensic unit used to evaluate and treat people in the criminal justice system, also was killed when he was struck by a train.

While the state is tracking former patients, Ms. Richman also expressed concern about people with serious mental illness who are not part of the closure process.

Patricia Valentine, deputy director of Allegheny County’s Office of Behavioral Health, said the county has helped to develop an extended acute care unit at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland aimed at serving patients who formerly would be cared for at Mayview. Plans also are under way for developing another extended care unit that is not based at a hospital, she said.

The county also is working to develop an array of other housing programs and services, prompting opposition in some cases from the community.

Those that have drawn criticism, she said, include a proposal to open a 14-bed personal care home in Verona for people with mental illness and to provide housing and services in about 20 apartments for former substance abusers in Swissvale and to about 17 people in Shadyside who have had mental illness or substance abuse problems.

Mayview had about 500 staff members when officials announced the closure, not counting workers in the forensic unit. Ms. Richman said the state has placed more than 100 staff in other positions.

She expressed confidence that “we will be successful in placing all the remaining employees in state jobs by the time the hospital closes.”

Mr. Ferlo noted that he has introduced legislation that would require use of funds generated from the sale of Mayview for community mental health care. State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, has sponsored similar legislation.

Joe Fahy can be reached at jfahy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1722.
First published on April 4, 2008 at 12:00 am

“Pittsburgh legislator proposes using hospital proceeds for mental health care”

This short article was found in the Pittsburgh Business Times printed on April 2, 2008 and can be found in it’s original format at http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/stories/2008/03/31/daily17.html

I asked some of my contacts in the Mental Health related field from the Pittsburgh area about this article, because I was trying to figure out if it was connected to HB1448 in any way.  It turns out that Ferlo’s legislation mirrors the legislation introduced by Frankel in HB1448.  The reason for having it mirror Frankel’s bill is to try and get it moving through the state senate.

Pittsburgh legislator proposes using hospital

proceeds for mental health care

Pittsburgh Business Times

State Sen. Jim Ferlo on Monday proposed legislation that would mandate using proceeds from the sale of Mayview State Hospital for mental health facilities and services.

“With the impending closure of Mayview State Hospital, it is important that the state legislature redirect the funds from the sale to other mental health care facilities,” said Ferlo, a Democrat who represents the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh. “Every sale dollar should help those who rely on mental health care services.”

Mayview, a 100-year-old hospital in South Fayette, serves five counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Lawrence and Washington. It is scheduled to close at the end of the year.

A hearing on the hospital’s planned closing is set for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Pittsburgh City Council Chambers.

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