Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Senate plans hearings on gaps in mental health care

Sen. Pat Vance - (Photo / Submitted)

The state Senate’s Public Health and Welfare Committee is planning a series of public hearings on gaps in mental health care in Pennsylvania, according to Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland), who chairs the committee.

The first hearing will be held at 10 a.m. next Tuesday, June 23 in Room 8-EB at the Capitol. The topic will be continuity of care for individuals with mental illness when they are released from prison back into the community.

Vance said in a recent phone interview that a “severe” shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists have contributed to gaps in mental health care.

“It’s shocking,” she said. “At first I was just going to introduce legislation, but the more I learned about it, the more I realized we needed to have hearings.”

Vance said there’s “great disparity from county to county,” with little uniformity for patient care between them. “Some counties do a great job with mental health, some counties do a very bad job,” she said.

Part of the problem is the amount of time it takes patients to be seen, Vance explained.”I recently had a constituent whose waiting time was seven months,” she noted. “Can you imagine calling me to tell me you’re having a coronary, and I say, ‘Let me get back to you. I’ll see you in seven months.'”

“We closed a lot of our state mental health facilities,” the senator said. “And, unfortunately, far too many patients have ended up in our jails and prisons.”

Vance said if the state budget process gets extended beyond its June 30 deadline, “then we’ll have hearings over the summer.”

Larry Portzline
Larry Portzline covers York County, nonprofits, workforce and education. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

Business Events

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Healthcare Heroes

Thursday, April 07, 2022
Healthcare Heroes

Nonprofit Innovation Awards

Thursday, May 19, 2022
Nonprofit Innovation Awards

Health Care Update Webinar

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Health Care Update Webinar