Committee Approves Legislation to Delay Polk Center Closure

State Senators Scott Hutchinson (R-21), John Yudichak (D-14), Michele Brooks (R-50), and Lisa Baker (R-20) announced today (October 22) that the Senate Health & Human Services Committee passed Senate Bill 906, which establishes a moratorium on closing the Polk and White Haven State Centers. 

Their joint statement:

“The residents of Polk and White Haven are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. We need to be their voice. The residents and families deserve full transparency, a well-thought-out plan, and the active input of residents, families, staff, and other affected individuals.  Before we close the doors on two facilities that have been the only home many residents have ever known, we must consider the wishes of the families, the complex needs of the residents, and the capacity of every community to meet those needs.

Today’s action represents another step forward in protecting the people who live at White Haven and Polk State Centers, their families and the employees at the Centers from this unilateral decision made by the Department of Human Services. We also want to ensure that any future closures being considered by DHS are made in an open and transparent manner that includes participation by family members of our most vulnerable citizens.”

SB 906 would do the following:

  • Prohibits the Department of Human Services from closing a state facility until all Medicaid waiver-eligible individuals in the Commonwealth are authorized to begin receiving home and community-based services.
  • Requires DHS to provide notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin when all individuals have received authorization to begin home and community-based services.
  • Establishes the Task Force on the Closure of State Centers upon publication of notice.
  • Requires the Secretary of DHS to convene an initial meeting of the task force within 60 days.

Companion legislation, House Bill 1918, passed in the House Health Committee today as well.

Click here for Senator Hutchinson’s comments on the bill.

Click here for video of the committee meeting.

Contact:          Justin Leventry           (717) 787-9684           jleventry@pasen.gov