Gov. Tom Wolf allowed the $31.53 billion state budget approved by the legislature on June 30 to become law without his signature on July 11, 2016, with hopes that a revenue package would soon follow. The Senate and the House of Representatives subsequently passed the revenue package on July 13.
The 2016-2017 state budget includes $15 million to support new initiatives to tackle the heroin and opioid addiction crisis facing Pennsylvania: $5 million for emergency addiction treatment through the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and $10 million for behavioral health services through the Department of Human Services (DHS).
The Governor is calling for the monies to be used to implement his proposal for Medicaid-funded addiction clinics called Centers of Excellence across the state. Doing so, he says, would allow the state to draw down an additional $5.4 million in federal funding for an overall total of $20.4 million to combat the opioid crisis.
"Once established through the DHS, the proposed Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Centers of Excellence would be the first stop for people in need of treatment – providing medication-assisted treatment and connecting those in need with appropriate wraparound services, such as cognitive-based therapies and employment assistance," said a recent press release from the Governor's Office.
The 2016-2017 state budget also includes:
- $4.671 million for programs under the Department of Health that support the supply and distribution of primary health care practitioners in Pennsylvania, including the Loan Repayment Program (LRP), J-1 Visa Waiver Program (J-1), National Interest Waiver Program (NIW), National Health Services Corps (NHSC), and health professional shortage designations.
- $5.4 million for West Nile virus and Zika virus controls.
- A $3 million loan to the Medical Marijuana Program Fund to assist in establishing the infrastructure needed to regulate the industry in Pennsylvania.
- An additional $1.3 million – for a total of $6.997 million – for Critical Access Hospitals across the state
- $3.15 million for ABC-MAP, the state's new prescription drug monitoring program.