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PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS ET AL. v. COMMONWEALTH ET AL. (12/21/81)

decided: December 21, 1981.

PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION OF STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in the case of Pennsylvania Association of State Mental Hospital Physicians and A. Maher Mansour, President of Pennsylvania Medical Research Scientists and an officer of the Pennsylvania Association of State Mental Hospital Physicians, in his capacity as an officer of the Association and individually as a taxpayer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Richard Thornburgh, individually and in his capacity as Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Helen O'Bannon, individually and in her capacity as Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare and Scott H. Nelson, individually and in his capacity as Deputy Secretary for Mental Health.

COUNSEL

Ira Silverstein, Meranze, Katz, Spear and Wilderman, for petitioners.

Kathleen F. McGrath, Deputy Attorney General, with her LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, and William S. Rawls, Executive Deputy Attorney General, for respondents.

Judges Williams, Jr., MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 308]

Petitioners*fn1 have filed a petition for review addressed to our original jurisdiction requesting that Respondents*fn2 be enjoined*fn3 from transferring funds,

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 309]

    appropriated to the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), to the Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) pursuant to a written agreement between Respondents and MCP providing for the management and operation of the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (EPPI) by MCP. Presently, before this Court for disposition is Respondents' preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer. For the reasons which follow, we will sustain the preliminary objection.

EPPI was established pursuant to the Act of April 18, 1949, (Act) P.L. 599, as amended, 50 P.S. §§ 581-583.1 to "provide training and teaching to graduate and undergraduate students in the mental health field and [to] conduct research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of mental, neurological and related disorders." Section 1 of the Act, 50 P.S. § 581. Section 1 of the Act also authorizes agreements, through DPW, by which EPPI may become associated with other medical schools "in providing diagnosis, treatment, training, teaching and research." In 1980, the General Assembly further amended the Act to provide that "[s]uch agreements may provide for the transfer of responsibility by the department for the management and operation of the institute in whole or in part." 50 P.S. § 581. Pursuant to this amendment, DPW and MCP entered into a written agreement on January 9, 1981 transferring the responsibility for managing and operating EPPI to MCP. The agreement was effective through June 30, 1981.*fn4

From the petition for review it appears that $6,200,000 was appropriated by the General Assembly in a general appropriations bill to DPW for the operation of EPPI for the fiscal year beginning July 1,

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 3101980]

. It is alleged in the petition that these appropriated funds were utilized to make payments to MCP pursuant to the written agreement for the operation of EPPI. Petitioners contend that this payment of appropriated funds to MCP violates Article III, Section 30 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which provides:

No appropriation shall be made to any charitable or educational institution not under the absolute control of the Commonwealth, other than normal schools established by law for the professional training of teachers for the public schools of the State, except ...


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