Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Two State Departments Will Be Excluded from Merger Proposal

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Two State Departments Will Be Excluded from Merger Proposal

Article excerpt

A proposal to merge four state agencies into a Department of Health and Human Services will not include Pennsylvania's Department of Aging or its Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

As part of a budget proposal, Gov. Tom Wolf had put forth a plan to unify the state's departments of aging, health, drug and alcohol programs and human services into one Department of Health and Human Services, saying it would provide better and more streamlined services as well as savings.

The idea had faced resistance from some advocates and legislators who feared the loss of a "voice."

"There was just a lot of concern ... in members of the Legislature's minds that this was moving way too quickly," said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, chairman of the House Human Services Committee.

"Especially in this epidemic of opiates and heroin, doing away with the lead agency and burying it in a large bureaucracy, I think people thought that wasn't a good idea," said Mr. DiGirolamo, who was the sponsor of the bill that created the Department Drug and Alcohol Programs, which became an agency in 2011. …

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