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Governor Tom Wolf must Address the Collapse of PA's Intellectual Disability System

Getty Images: Puzzle pieces with three hands
This morning, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star published an op-ed prepared and signed by 17 statewide CEOs and leaders (including Achieva’s President and CEO, Stephen Suroviec) in the disability community calling on Governor Wolf and the PA General Assembly to take action to invest in and support the community Intellectual Disability/Autism (ID/A) system of care.
 
We strongly encourage self-advocates, families, and friends to contact the Governor and your State Legislator and ask them to increase ID/A Funding by the full $541M (not partially at $400M) to raise government rates for community-based services and invest in Direct Support Professional wages to support “Equal Pay for Equal Work”. You can do so easily by clicking The Provider Alliance’s Action Center to send a message to the Governor and your State Legislator.
With billions of dollars in stimulus money at their disposal, Wolf, General Assembly must act now

 
By Seventeen Disability Industry Leaders

At a time when Pennsylvania has billions of dollars in federal money plus state treasury receipts dramatically outperforming projections, the Wolf administration is failing to fully address the collapse of the community system that provides critical services for people with intellectual disability and autism.

The administration’s actions may have tragic consequences for people with disabilities.

Congress and President Joe Biden have asked governors to rescue disability programs by increasing funding for the community system’s Direct Support Professionals.

These DSPs provide lifesaving, caring supports for persons with disabilities, and this goal was a key element of the passage of the American Rescue Plan. It is also a vital provision of the pending Build Back Better legislation. Our commonwealth has received money to achieve this goal, but doing so requires leadership by our Governor to use both the federal dollars and Pennsylvania’s increasing revenues for this purpose.

Instead of responding to the crisis, the Wolf administration has presented a plan that fails on several fronts:
  • Fails to strengthen community services as required by federal law.
  • Fails to fund a wage that will hire enough skilled workers to operate community services.
  • Fails to offer a pathway to reduce an up to 60 percent turnover in community program staffing.
  • Fails to provide rates for sufficient staffing for programs serving people with medically and behaviorally complex issues.
  • Fails to restore service to 6,500 people who have lost supports in the last 18 months.
  • Fails to provide Equal Pay for Equal Work – 30 percent less than state workers.
  • Fails to support the 5,000 people in crisis at this moment.
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