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HEALTH/HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

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It's tough reading through thousands of pages of bills to find out how they impact you, with only a few days before they become final.  Here are a few things you should know about the proposed Health/Human Services Budget (HHS):

  • It does not yet have a bill number, but it will be assigned one soon. Check back here for updates.
  • Services and programs are cut by $27.9 million compared to the current year (FY17, after the earlier round of cuts).
  • The cut is even deeper compared to FY16 - it's $134 million less (but that includes managed care savings).

The one good thing in the budget is that the federal government will increase its match, so that helps state dollars go a bit further.  Some things to note:

  • Aging and disability resource centers ("LifeLongLinks") is cut by $250,000 (25% cut).
  • Long term care ombudsman was cut by $163,921 (12% cut).
  • Child health specialty clinic funding is partially restored ($28,309).
  • Psychiatric medical residency program is suspended for one year ($2 million cut).
  • Cherokee MHI mental health practitioner training program eliminated ($8,000 cut).
  • DIrect careworker association for direct caregiver support and scholarships ($176,104 cut).
  • Office of Minority and Multicultural Health is eliminated ($74,389).
  • Funding for child vision screening is eliminated ($17,000).
  • Specialty health care access network for uninsured is eliminatd ($205,493).
  • Nursing homes received $2 million more to pay for their reimbursement rebase (they asked for $40 million).
  • Implements a number of "cost containment" measures that reduce reimbursement to some providers ($31 million).
  • Autism support program funds are reduced by $1 million (based on use last year & insurance to cover soon).
  • Restores funding for Family Support Subsidy and increases Children-At-Home component by $60,000.
  • Cuts funding to MHIs, but some of that reduction will be paid for since MCO payment to them can be matched by federal funds under new federal regulations.
  • One-time grants to two MH/DS regions (Polk County - $2.5 million and Scott County - $500,000) are eliminated.
  • Requires the Medical Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee and the Medicaid Drug Utliization Review Committee, when considering prior authorization and preferred drug listing for genetically-targeted biological products to treat rare conditions, to consult with experts in the treatment of those diseases.
  • Requires DHS and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to look into costs for privitizing background checks now done exclusively by DPS (including background checks for direct careworkers).
  • Directs all hospitals with psychiatric beds and the state-owned MHIs use the psychiatric bed tracking system, and update it at least twice daily.
  • Eliminates the cost settlement process for HCBS providers (supported community living, day habilitation, adult day services) and moves to a tiered rate system beginning July 1, 2017.  Requires DHS cost reports to be restructured in checkbox format for better consistency and time savings, and allows some providers to use it (psychologists, community mental health centers, ARNPs, HCBS habilitation providers, behavioral health intervention, case management, HCBS waiver services, behavioral health services, community-based neurobehavioral rehabilitation residential services and intermittent services).

There isn't much time but if you see something concerning in this, or any other budget, contact your legislators now!