State’s Partial Budget Includes Funding for Controlled Substances Database and Student Loan Forgiveness

On Dec. 29, 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he was partially vetoing the budget that the General Assembly sent him the week prior. He is, however, releasing approximately $23 billion in emergency funding for schools and social service organizations to keep their doors open.

It appears that among the funds being approved are the Primary Health Care Practitioner line at last year’s level of $4.671 million. This is the line item under the Department of Health which funds the Primary Care Loan Repayment Program and the residency program, among others. Funding is also being released for the prescription drug database, known as ABC-MAP, at $2.146 million. Funding for PHC4 is also released at last year’s level of $2.710 million.

Gov. Wolf either decreased or fully vetoed a lot of other critical programs. The veto included funding for regional cancer institutes; diabetes programs; regional poison control centers; and Medical Assistance critical access hospitals, hospital-based burn centers, and obstetrics and neonatal services, among others.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society will continue to advocate on behalf of Pennsylvania physicians and patients as the legislators work toward a full state budget.