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Pennsylvania to close 2 centers for disabled over next 3 years

Pennsylvania

Public meetings will be held next month on the plans to close the Polk State Center in Venango County and the White Haven State Center in Luzerne County

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania officials have announced plans to close two centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the next three years.

The Department of Human Services said Tuesday that public meetings will be held next month to gather comment on the plans to close the Polk State Center in Venango County in western Pennsylvania and the White Haven State Center in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County.

The Polk center currently serves 194 residents and the White Haven center serves 112 people.

Officials say the commonwealth has steadily closed most state centers since the 1960s “when best practices turned toward community-based settings and away from institutions.” Fifty years ago, the department served more than 13,000 people with intellectual disabilities in state-operated facilities, but today fewer than 720 receive care in such facilities.

Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21) released the following statement after news of the closure:

I am truly disappointed that Governor Wolf is making a misguided decision based on incorrect numbers to close Polk State Center. The choices of residents and their families have been completely left out of the equation even though Polk is their home and they feel comfortable with the quality of the care they receive there. 

Secretary Miller was also deceptive and disingenuous in the way this announcement was made. I have repeatedly asked her to keep me apprised if there were changes in store for Polk State Center, so I was completely taken off guard this morning.  This is not the end of the conversation, however.”

Sen. Scott Hutchinson

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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