HARRISBURG – The Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed the budget request for the Department of Human Services on Wednesday.
The hearing was part of the third and final week of the committee’s examination of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $45.8 billion plan, which seeks to boost state spending by more than $1.3 billion above the current year’s budget.
Committee members questioned Acting Secretary Dr. Valerie Arkoosh about how the department is handling reduced federal emergency funding, as well as the Shapiro Administration’s request for state taxpayers to backfill hundreds of millions of dollars cut by the Biden Administration.
- The department was encouraged to provide greater clarity on the amount of funding counties should expect for mental health programs.
- Department regulations are impacting a law approved last year to address telehealth and outpatient psychiatric care.
- The budgetary impact of Gov. Shapiro’s call for a $15 minimum wage remains murky.
- The success of the Real Alternatives program was highlighted, and the department was urged to continue its support for this excellent program.
- The department was also encouraged to address transparency and cost concerns related to pharmacy benefit managers for Medical Assistance recipients.
- Concerns were raised regarding care in nursing facilities, personal care homes and home- and community-based care. In addition, the department was questioned about inspection of facilities and how determinations are made regarding the level of care that is necessary for patients.
- Addressing housing issues and homelessness was also discussed as a priority.
You can find the hearings schedule, livestreams, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
CONTACT: Jason Thompson