Good News about the Proposed PA State Budget for Intellectual Disability and Autism Services
I have good news about the proposed Pennsylvania budget to share with you. The collective strength and advocacy at the state level of individuals and organizations involved in human services has led to the most favorable budget proposal for intellectual disability and autism services that we have seen in Pennsylvania in many years. The proposed PA budget includes funding for a rate increase, affecting not just people with disability but also the people who support them.
This budget proposal is a win for intellectual disability and autism services!
Highlights from the proposed budget for intellectual disability and autism services include:
- $54.7 million to provide for rate increases from the renewal of the waiver program;
- $109.7 million to provide for increases in utilization and costs;
- $15.4 million for the Community Living Waiver to create a new program for family caregivers to ensure 1,000 individuals currently on the waiting list can continue to live at home;
- $8.5 million to expand services for individuals with disability to provide home and community-based services for 820 students graduating from special education—a figure that is projected to cover every such student this coming year;
- Funding to begin to transition individuals from the Hamburg State Center to home and community-based services;
- $9.3 million for new community participation services from the renewal of the waiver program; and
- $642,000 in Autism Intervention and Services for home and community-based services for 50 additional adults with autism spectrum disorder.
This is the first time in ten years that funding has been proposed for across the board rate increases, increased community-based services, and waiting list initiatives.
If the intellectual disability and autism portion of the budget remains intact, the budget will increase our ability to address direct support professional compensation, and decrease vacancies and turnover, as well as continue to improve the services we provide to the people we support.
This is an important time to make our voices heard. I encourage you to contact your legislator to let them know you support the proposed budget for intellectual disabilities and autism. The work we do every day is critical to the lives of the many people we support.
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Thank you for your continued commitment to our mission and the people we serve.
Charles J. Hooker III
President and CEO, Keystone Human Services