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SEIU Healthcare PA Files Lawsuit Against Corbett Administration to Halt Department of Health Closings and Furloughs

On Monday, April 1st, 2013, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania along with State Senators Tim Solobay (D-46) and John Wozniak (D-35) and State Representatives Michael Hanna (D-76), Ted Herhai (D-58) and Pam Snyder (D-50) filed a lawsuit against the Corbett Administration on the grounds that its plan to close 26 public state health centers and eliminate 73 Department of Health positions including 26 community health nurses is violates both Pennsylvania law as well as its Constitution.

The lawsuit alleges that the Corbett’s Administration’s plan to shutter 26 public health centers (of the 60 total) and furlough 26 community health nurses:

  • Violates the mandates of Act 87 passed in 1996 which requires the DOH to “operate those public State health centers and provide at a minimum those public health services in effect as of July 1, 1995.”
  • Violates the Pennsylvania Constitution, which bars the Governor and executive branch from suspending laws enacted by the legislature. Therefore Governor Corbett and the DOH lack the legal authority to close state health centers as per Act 87 or any other provision of state law without approval by the state legislature.
  • Violates Act 9A of 2012 in which the legislature set funding for the operation of the 60 health centers and for the district nurse positions as provided in the current 2012-2013 state budget. Corbett’s proposal to reduce funding for the operation of state health centers and staffing in his 2013-14 budget has not been approved by the General Assembly.

In February, the Corbett administration’s announced plan to close 26 state health centers and relocate those nurses to health centers in neighboring counties was slated to occur in two phases (phase 1 would affect 7 state health centers on March 29th and phase 2 would close an additional 19 by May 31.) In addition, 73 DOH employees including 26 community health nurses that work in the district offices would see their positions eliminated by March 29.

As a result of increasing public and legislative pressure, the Corbett Administration announced in March that the furloughs would be postponed to May 3 and phase 1 closings would be postponed to from May 13 - 17. The lawsuit seeks to have the court issue a preliminary injunction order pending a trial and a permanent injunction against the plan thereafter.



What:   Media call to discuss the lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett, Department of Health and Acting Secretary of Health, Michael Wolf

Who:  SEIU Vice President for the State Sector Kevin Hefty, Department of Health Nurses and Attorney for Petitioners, Bruce M. Ludwig Esquire, of Willig, Williams & Davidson

When:  Tuesday April 2 at 12:00 PM

How: Call  800-771-0759  and enter access code 446005# to join the call

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