Local lawmakers testify at public hearing on Hamburg State Center

HAMBURG – Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) and Representative Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) testified at Monday’s public hearing hosted by the Department of Human Services regarding the proposed closure of Hamburg State Center.

Argall and Knowles, who share a local office in Hamburg’s borough building, stated their concerns for the residents of the state center.

“This cannot be a rushed process,” Argall testified. “The department needs to assure each and every family member that their loved one will receive an appropriate placement and make sure that our most vulnerable residents have no loss of care during the transition.”

Knowles noted that during the upcoming budget deliberations that nothing should be considered off the table.

“Let me be clear, during the upcoming budget hearings and processes, there are no sacred cows,” Knowles testified. “With that being said, government has the responsibility to provide core and essential services to the people of Pennsylvania.”

Over the last several decades, similar state centers have closed across the state.

Argall and Knowles both challenged the department not to rush through the process and listen to the needs and concern of every family member with a loved one at Hamburg State Center.

“I ask that throughout this process, the department make decisions in a thoughtful, transparent way, keeping the residents and employees’ needs in mind,” Knowles said.

“We all share a common goal and that is to do what is best for the patients, their families and employees here at Hamburg State Center while being good fiscal stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” Argall said.

Argall asked the department to weigh in on several issues regarding the proposed closure, including why the department chose Hamburg State Center instead of other state centers, a detailed timeline of upcoming events, how properties of other closed state centers have been repurposed and utilized and why Hamburg State Center was not closed in prior rounds of cuts.

“Every patient and their family must be heard through a very deliberative process,” Argall said.

You can read Senator Argall’s testimony here.

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