Rapp: Changes Needed at Warren State Hospital

Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) sent a letter to Acting Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth today to request her cooperation in caring for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens by increasing the total patient capacity at Warren State Hospital.

“The state has set a bed cap of 196 for Warren State Hospital,” said Rapp. “With total bed usage at the hospital continuing to move closer to maximum capacity, there is widespread concern throughout our communities that many people are needlessly languishing on a waiting list, or if left untreated, incarcerated in our overcrowded prison system, while the hospital has the capacity to serve more individuals.”

According to Rapp’s letter, the Department of Public Welfare’s December 2010 decision to close the forensic unit at Warren State Hospital has created a financial burden on county budgets, and specifically, the county criminal justice system. This decision has also created a financial hardship for families who must now travel hundreds of miles south near Pittsburgh to visit their family members.

“It is my personal opinion that the state Department of Public Welfare has a responsibility to care for our neediest citizens, not based on whether or not there are available beds, but based on their individual needs,” said Rapp. “I am requesting a face-to-face meeting at Warren State Hospital with you personally, area legislators and other concerned community members to discuss the critical situation at Warren State Hospital.”

Rapp’s complete letter to Acting Secretary Mackereth can be viewed in its entirety at www.RepRapp.com.

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