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 George Washington Statue, Pennsylvania

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Disabled In Action of PA, the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumer Association, Liberty Resources and numerous advocacy and disability rights organizations held a press conference and rally today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, site of the National Conference of State Legislators’ summer meeting. The groups represent people of all ages, gender and disabilities — including wounded veterans, people with physical disabilities, the elderly, those with developmental and intellectual challenges and other health issues. The groups demanded access to better alternatives than just institutionalization — something that the groups say would greatly benefit not only those with disabilities, but taxpayers, too.

“Any budget cut to services for the disabled will result in fewer people with disabilities and family members being able to work and pay taxes, and more people will be institutionalized at a much higher taxpayer expense. We want the in-home assistance we need to live productive lives,” says Linda Anthony, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania. “Delivering those same services in our homes is typically less than half the cost of placing a person in an institutional care facility. Limiting our options is morally wrong and fiscally irresponsible.”

Right now, Medicaid only requires states to provide funding for costly nursing homes and institutions for older people and people with disabilities, but funding for less expensive community-based or home-based services is optional. Pennsylvania already has limited funding and lengthy waiting lists, forcing many to wait years for services.

Pennsylvania’s final budget must include at least the amounts that the Governor originally recommended in February 09 for mental retardation, autism, attendant care, services to people with disabilities and long term care — and at least level funding for other key programs. There should be no budget cuts to the mental health system and the $3 million decrease recommended by the Governor should be restored.

Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania works to advance, protect, and advocate for the human, civil, and legal rights of Pennsylvanians with disabilities. For more information, visit www.drnpa.org

Source:   http://www.examiner.com/p-379118~Pennsylvanians_With_Disabilities_Call_for_an_End_to_Institution_Only_Options.html



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