Antonio, Burke Ask Kasich To Keep Local Behavioral Health Youth Program Running
PEP Connections to lose funding from new Medicaid restrictions
 
 

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) today wrote a letter* to Gov. John Kasich asking him to reconsider his administration’s move to shutter Cuyahoga County’s local Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections, a behavioral health program that serves some 500 high-risk youth each day.


“PEP Connections has changed the lives of so many families and their children in Cuyahoga County, and due to their intervention, 75 percent of the youth served by PEP Connections has shown a decreased severity of their clinical problems, and more than 71 percent showed improvement in their ability to function allowing them to live normal, healthy lives,” the bipartisan duo wrote in their letter to Kasich.


The Ohio Department of Medicaid will take away PEP Connections’ funding at the end of June, when the agency terminates a state waiver that ensures some $2 million per year in funding for the local organization. The department’s move comes amidst the state’s behavioral health redesign, as a way to cut funding and lower casework loads under the current administration.


“We look forward to finding a way to collaborate in our efforts to maintain this quality program for these children and continue providing them with the intensive behavioral healthcare that they truly need and deserve,” the lawmakers continued in the letter. “We sincerely hope that you will work with us and the Department of Medicaid to find a way to continue funding for PEP Connections for up to the next 12 months or until a new Medicaid-reimbursable service, such as High Fidelity Wraparound, is implemented.”


Burke and Antonio serve on the state’s Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, the state panel tasked with ensuring accountability and efficiency in the state’s Medicaid program.

 

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Antonio, Burke Ask Kasich To Keep Local Behavioral Health Youth Program Running

 

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) today wrote a letter* to Gov. John Kasich asking him to reconsider his administration’s move to shutter Cuyahoga County’s local Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections, a behavioral health program that serves some 500 high-risk youth each day.



 
 

Antonio Responds To Latest Ohio Opioid Crisis Report

 

The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.

“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”

The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.