Counties today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement to expand the state’s support of mental health and related health care priorities in Pennsylvania and called on the administration and General Assembly to work closely with counties to address the mental health system as their top priority for 2020.
“Counties provide important community-based mental health services such as such as residential programs, family-based support, outpatient care and crisis intervention – all of which are critical to the well-being of our constituents and our communities,” said Jeff Snyder, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) president and Clinton County commissioner. “Counties support the attention being given to the mental health needs of our citizens through the Governor’s ‘Reach Out PA’ initiative, but funding levels for county mental health services also have direct impacts on whether these important community and family supports will be available. For too many years, we have seen state funding for mental health services lag far behind needs even as caseloads continue to increase.”
Lisa Schaefer, executive director of CCAP, noted, “Increasing mental health base funds for expanded services, beds and diversions is the top priority for Pennsylvania counties in 2020. At the same time, the commonwealth must continue to support the successful Behavioral HealthChoices program, which for the past 20 years has allowed each county the flexibility to deliver mental health and drug and alcohol services to Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid. Close collaboration between the commonwealth and its county partners is critical to fully support Pennsylvania’s mental health system and the needs of our citizens who are impacted by mental illness.”
The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical services, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and are also involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development.
CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.