Appeal from the Order of the Board of Claims in the case of Children's Rehabilitation Center, Inc. and Children's Care Center, Inc. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Docket No. 655.
Howard Ulan, Assistant Counsel, with him, Jules S. Henshell, for petitioner.
Melvin L. Vatz, for respondents.
Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 579]
The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) appeals an order of the Board of Claims (board) which held DPW liable for payments of per diem rates for interim care of patients and which awarded the Children's Rehabilitation Center, Inc. and the Children's Care Center (CRC and CCC) $231,356.34 plus interest, for providing those services.
The board found that CRC and CCC are private, proprietary facilities licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide services for mentally retarded and mentally disabled persons, including interim care of mentally retarded persons who have been removed from their home and are awaiting admission to a state operated facility. Using allocations provided by DPW, the Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MHMR) Program agencies established by each county purchase the interim care on a fee basis for each individual client.
On December 15, 1976, and again on January 17, 1978, CRC notified the county Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program administrators that it was increasing its per diem rates for interim care.*fn1 On November 11, 1976, and again on January 12, 1978, CCC also notified the program administrators that it was increasing its per diem rates.*fn2 On August 27, 1975, DPW issued Fiscal Memorandum No. 8 requiring private facilities to
[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 580]
submit budgets to DPW for approval of rates which exceeded $15 per day.*fn3 Because CRC and CCC did not submit budgets, DPW refused to approve the interim care rates. CRC and CCC hence filed this action seeking the difference between the amounts billed (at established rates) and the amounts paid (at DPW "approved" rates).*fn4
The board's conclusions included the following particularly pertinent ones:
5. DPW is required to pay the cost of interim care services.
7. When county programs purchase interim care services from CRC and CCC, they do ...