Greensburg, PA – State Senator Kim Ward (R-39th) released a letter today that she sent to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Public Welfare, Harriet Dichter, calling for reforms to eliminate the limitless government subsidies for methadone treatments.
The one page letter follows up on Ward’s questions during Secretary Dichter’s recent Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Confirmation Hearing regarding her statewide funding concerns for transportation and treatment for methadone users.
In the letter, Ward specifically calls on D.P.W. to explain why there is a minimum of treatments for individuals, but no maximum. She calls for shift in policy to focus the state’s goals with methadone treatment on recovery and not long-term maintenance.
“I am calling on the Dept. of Public Welfare to commit to only funding those methadone clinics that have a formally approved recovery program with a limit on the time that state will pay for treatments,” she stated. “With state funding at such a critical juncture, it is imperative that we utilize the taxpayers’ money wisely; therefore, the Commonwealth should not be in the business of providing artificial narcotics to addicted individuals for an infinite amount of time,” she finished.
In addition to the limit on treatments, Ward also is seeking D.P.W.’s position on subsidized transportation for methadone treatments. The current policy allows individuals to choose their preferred place of treatment no matter how far from their homes. The cost of the taxi or bus is picked up the by the government.
“Considering government is paying to transport these individuals to each clinic for treatment, there should be a reasonable expectation that they go to the closes available clinics; and not one that is in another county,” Ward continued.
Ward hopes to begin working with D.P.W. to highlight some of these financial inefficiencies, and develops more cost effective policies. She plans on sponsoring new legislation to regulate these practices if policies changes within the department can’t be ironed out.
Contact: Tom Aikens