Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of In Re: Petition for Approval of the After Care Community Living proposals for the mentally ill submitted by Allegheny County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Program, or, in the alternative, for relief of Allegheny County from the obligation to ensure said community living arrangements for mentally ill clients discharged from state-operated facilities after September 1, 1978, dated March 14, 1979.
Alexander J. Jaffurs, County Solicitor, with him James H. McLean, County Solicitor, and Loraine S. Tabakin, Assistant County Solicitor, for petitioner.
Howard Ulan, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 562]
The issue in this case is a narrow one. Does the petitioner county of Allegheny (County) have a right
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 563]
of appeal from an action of the respondent Department of Public Welfare (DPW) denying it additional funding or relief*fn1 from the obligation to insure additional mental health service in the community?
On August 2, 1978, the County applied to the DPW for additional funding for its "Aftercare Service";*fn2 alternatively, application for relief was made pursuant to Section 508 of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act (MHMR Act). Section 508 of the MHMR Act in pertinent part provides:
Relief of county from obligation to insure service; State's obligation; liability in such cases
(a) If local authorities cannot insure the availability of any of the services required by Section *fn3011a or if they assert that it would be economically unsound to do so, such authorities may make application to the department to be relieved for the period of one year from the duty to insure their availability.
Such application shall specify; (i) the service or services involved and (ii) facts upon which it seeks relief.
(b) If the department after consideration of the application and such independent investigation as it shall deem appropriate determines that ...