McNeill, House Policy Committee examine human services for the disabled community in Pennsylvania

BETHLEHEM, July 24 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from human services leaders at a hearing requested by state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh.  

The hearing focused on the importance of state and local services in helping people with physical and intellectual disabilities. 

“Quality human services programs are a vital necessity for the disabled so that they can effectivity function on a day-to-day basis,” McNeill said. “I wanted to discuss the options that are available to them and if needed, formulate a better plan across the state.”

McNeill co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman.

“I commend Representative McNeill for taking up this important issue that affects many citizens across Pennsylvania,” Sturla said. “My hope is that the issue of creating better programs for the disabled will be at the forefront of our discussion in the General Assembly when we return to session.”

Those testifying at the hearing included: Sheila Theodorou, director of Bureau of Supports for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Dr. Ed Norris, Department of Psychiatry chairman, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Shane Adams, supports coordinator supervisor, Service Access and Management. Also speaking on behalf of the Lehigh County Human Services Department were Josh Bridges, administrator of mental health and intellectual disabilities; Mike Paulik, deputy administrator for mental health, A panel from Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign, Ned Whitehouse and Tom Caraiti, advisors and a panel of parents.

The hearing was held at the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, Educational Conference Center.

Pennsylvania provides many services for people who might need help in their day-to-day lives.  These programs are offered through various state and local county assistance offices at http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/servicesfordisabled/.

As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, this meeting was one in a series being held across the state that covers matters such as putting people ahead of special interests, good jobs, quality schools, and fair taxes. Those interested can visit www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials.