A look at the 2020-2021 stopgap budget: Health & Human Services | The Numbers Racket

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Over the past two weeks, we’ve taken a look at the 2020-2021 stopgap budget, examining how appropriations changed for state agencies such as PEMA, the Department of State, Military and Veteran Affairs, Criminal Justice and the Department of Community and Economic Development. 

For the most part, the funding in the $25.8 billion stopgap budget will remain at the same level as the 2019-2020, but there are a few areas where the budgets differ. 

This week, in part three of our look at the five-month budget plan, we’ll go deep on the changes being made to funding for the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services.

Department of Health

The Department of Health will receive funding at the same level as in the 2019-2020 budget. The department is funded for a full 12 months, unlike other departments in the stopgap budget, which are only funded for the five-month duration of the budget. 

The COVID funding bill, Senate Bill 1108 and House Bill 2510, allocate from the Coronavirus Relief Fund $10 million to Community-Based Health Care Centers and $10 million for vaccine, treatment and therapy development in qualified biotech.

Department of Human Services

The state Department of Human Services will receive full funding at Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation with the exception of governor’s initiatives and legislative initiatives, which are reduced to five-twelfths

The following programs are funded at an amount other than five-twelfths:

  • Capitation – after adjusting the proposed budget down by the costs proposed to roll to 2020 – 2021, now funded in 2019- 2020, and shifting the assumed collection of $200 million from the Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021, the Capitation appropriation appears fully funded with one exception – the assumed savings from minimum wage of $20 million was not replaced.
  • Critical Access Hospitals – although only funded for a portion of the year, it appears the intent is to ultimately increase the line by $810,000 in 2020-2021.
  • Autism Intervention and Services – although only funded for a portion of the year, it appears the intent is to ultimately increase the line by $1.4 million in 2020-2021.
  • County Child Welfare – after adjusting the proposed budget down by $1.5 million made available in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the appropriation is funded at 87.5 percent. 

Two items not currently funded by the stopgap budget are the waitlist initiative, meant to serve 732 individuals on the intellectual disability/autism waiting list and the proposed $3 million to provide access to reproductive healthcare. 

The General Assembly’s COVID funding bill, allocates from the Coronavirus Relief Fund $692 million to long-term living providers including:

  • $175 million for newly created health collaboratives to assist nursing facilities, assisted living residences, and personal care homes
  • $245 million for nursing facilities
  • $140 million for personal assistance services
  • $50 million for assisted living residences and personal care homes
  • $13 million for adult day care services
  • $8 million for high volume ventilator and tracheostomy providers
  • $1 million for residential habilitation providers
  • $50 million for Community HealthChoices managed care organizations
  • $10 million for Living Independence for the Elderly providers
  • $260 million for providers of services to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism
  •  $10 million for critical access hospitals, $10 million for domestic violence programs
  • $10 million for homeless assistance programs, and $8 million for legal assistance.
Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.