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“Petrarca successfully fights closing of forensic psychiatric unit at Torrance State Hospital”


This one was news to me, I wasn’t aware of the possibility that the forensic unit at Torrance was being considered for closure.   but the above link is to a press release from State Rep Joe Petrarca indicating that he had stopped the closure



MHA email newsletter about Rep. Dan Frankel’s proposed legislation

The following information is from an email newsletter I received today, Tuesday, March 31, 2009, from Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania (MHAPA) it indicates that State Representative Dan Frankel is introducing legislation involving funds received from the sale or lease from state mental health facilities.  I included the link from the email that takes you to a form you can fill out to send to your state representative asking them to co-sponsor the bill.

Representative Dan Frankel is introducing legislation that would ensure the proceeds of the sale or lease of a mental health facility would be used to establish a mental health community services account.  The community mental health system would directly benefit from this legislation.  The legislation requires the reinvestment of the proceeds into one-time costs related to housing options and services that support independent living. 

Please contact your PA House representative and urge him/her to co-sponsor Representative Frankel’s legislation.

Personal Needs Allowance Raise Celebrations!

There are two celbrations planed to celebrate the successfull increase in the Personal Needs Allowance for folks on SSI in Personal Care Homes.

Pittsburgh …

The Pittsburgh event is to be held … Thursday, February 26, 2009; 10 AM – 12 noon …a PDF file with details is available at …  https://share.acrobat.com/adc/document.do?docid=3e378dfa-a23f-4043-87df-3731b2291d33


Harrisburg …

The Harrisburg event to be held … Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 10 AM – 11 AM a PDF file with details is available at … https://share.acrobat.com/adc/document.do?docid=89091900-3788-497d-9282-b633e23cff83

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.

Rep. Kathy Rapp authors legislation “imposing moratorium on all future state hospital closures”

I received Rep. Kathy Rapp’s fall 2008 newsletter in themal toda and discovered tha while sh was boasting about stopping the privitization of forensics at Warren State Hospital.  The article continued and indicated she had authored hb1455 calling for a study to determine the approximate number of inmates who are mentally ill.  She also is ctinuing her quest to put amoratorium on the closure of state hospitals until this study can be cmpleted.

Here’s a link to the full electronic version of her Fall 2008 newslette so you can ead the full text yourself. 


The link is a nightmare, but I made it so it was easy to find and faster to download or preview online if you prefer.  I posted it uing a free service at http://www.acrobat.com  you can create and share pf files for free.

Smoke Out

  This is an article talking about the potential smoking ban in PA.  It still needs to be signed by Gov. Ed Rendell, but it sounds like the bill will pass.  The article was found in the Warren Times-Observer on June 12, 2008 at the following address …. http://timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/502125.html?nav=5006


Businesses bracing for change


POSTED: June 12, 2008
Pennsylvania residents will no longer be able to light up after a meal at their favorite restaurant.

A compromise bill banning smoking in most public places was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday. It had been approved earlier by the state House. It now goes to Gov. Ed Rendell, who has said he will sign the legislation. It will be effective in 90 days.

Local restaurant owners and managers had mixed reactions to the bill on Wednesday.

Monte Culbertson, owner of Snuffy’s Cafe and Lounge, said his primary concern isn’t the effect the new law will have on his business. He worries that exceptions in the bill will give an unfair advantage to other establishments.

“As long as they are not giving exceptions, I’m in favor of it,” said Culbertson.

The bill would ban smoking in enclosed or substantially enclosed areas, but allowing establishments with up to 20 percent of their annual sales in food to continue to permit smoking. Hotels would be able to have 25 percent of their rooms designated as smoking. Smoking would also be permitted in up to 25 percent of a casino floor or 50 percent of a casino floor, if the casino can prove to the state Department of Revenue that the smoking ban is harmful to its business. Designated outdoor smoking areas at sports events or recreation facilities, theater or performance establishments, private clubs, nursing homes, cigar bars, tobacco promotion events, and private homes would not be affected by the law.

Some local restaurants have already banned smoking, ahead of the new state law.

The Applebees restaurant at Warren Commons has been smoke-free since June 1. According to General Manager Erin Lichtenfels, the restaurant made the decision to go smoke-free and is serving as a test for other Applebees restaurants.

Lichtenfels feels that so far the transition to no smoking has gone smoothly.

“We haven’t seen a drop-off in business. We get many positive comments from customers,” said Lichtenfels.

The American Cancer Society has supported the bill since its initial introduction. However, Diane Phillips, director of government relations for the Pennsylvania region, believes that the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“Were happy it passed because it covers a majority of Pennsylvania, but there are still some exceptions,” said Phillips.

Phillips believes that smoking in any enclosed area should be banned without exceptions.

“As a consumer, we can go to other places, but for people who work there, they have no choice but to breath in secondhand smoke for eight- hour shifts.”

Individual violators can be fined up to $250 for the first offense, up to $500 for a second offense if it is within a year of the first, and up to $1,000 for a third offense if it is within a year of the second.

MHA Take Action on HB1448

I received the following by email through PMHCA, but it was sent through them by MHA.

During the week of May 5, 2008, HB 1448 will be brought to the floor of the PA House for a vote. If the current version of HB 1448 passes, the community mental health system will be the beneficiary when a state owned mental health facility is sold or leased. The bill requires the reinvestment of proceeds into one-time costs related to housing options and services that support independent living. In addition to having bi-partisan support in the General Assembly, HB 1448 is supported by the entire mental health community and the Rendell administration. The links included in the message from MHA will take you to more information, or to a site to find your state reps depending on which one you click on.


Unfortunately, HB 1448 is at risk. Representative Kathy Rapp plans on introducing an amendment that would impose a moratorium on the closure or population reduction of state mental health and mental retardation facilities, pending a study to determine the prevalence of serious mental illness and substance abuse in the inmate population of state correctional institutions and county jails.


Please contact your House representative and urge his/her vote in support of HB 1448 without amendment. Not only would this amendment disrupt the current process at Mayview State Hospital, it would also extend the moratorium to reducing the census at state hospitals across the Commonwealth, which means that many people who can thrive in the community would not be given that chance. For additional talking points on why this amendment should be defeated, click here.

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