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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 29, 2016 01:45 PM
From: Senator Patricia H. Vance
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo #24 - Suspension of Medical Assistance Benefits
Please join me in cosponsoring legislation which would close a significant treatment gap for vulnerable individuals with mental illness and drug addiction.

This specific population often finds themselves in and out of the criminal justice system. While they receive the medical help they need while incarcerated, a gap often exists upon release until a Medical Assistance application can be processed. This may take anywhere from 45-90 days while the individual may be going without stabilizing medication. This all too often leads to behavior that results in further incarceration, and the cycle continues.

My legislation would suspend Medical Assistance benefits rather than terminate them for enrolled individuals who become incarcerated. This way the benefits will be effective the day of release resulting in maintenance of treatment, better health outcomes and more successful offender re-entry. At least 18 other states suspend rather than terminate coverage.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office at 787-8524.

Introduced as SB1279