Agency Budget Requests for 2019

October 25, 2018

There is some good news and some not so good news in the requests that Agencies have submitted to be included in the Governor’s budget (which will be public on December 18th).  This is the first look that we have at the Agency priorities – what have we learned? DBHDS did not request a “refresh” for the DD Waiver rates to bring them up-to-date since they were developed based on 2014 cost data.  We will be able to make the “ask” as a budget amendment. They did ask for 11 staff (six in Licensing and 5 in DD) to increase the monitoring of providers and an additional 40 positions for Central Office to implement and provide oversight for current initiatives. They also requested funding for SIS administration for individuals on new slots and funding to continue the contract with Burns and Associates. DMAS did request funding to increase the Outpatient rates to 100% of Medicare which is the same request we made as a budget amendment last year (and were prepared to submit again this year.) The wording does not reference “outpatient,” but we have confirmed that it is to increase rates for “counseling” and “evaluation” billed under CPT codes in the 9000’s. They also requested funding to raise rates for HCBS Nursing Services to 75% of the “Benchmark” from the Burn’s Study – they are currently well below that level. There is funding requested for Supportive Housing, language about the “Transformation” of the CMHRS services with no funding as they are committed to making the Transformation cost neutral, and funding for the expansion of the Crisis Response system as the next phase of STEP-VA.  Of note is there is no funding to finish the expansion of Outpatient Services which is technically the next phase of STEP-VA. We do not know what, if any of this, will be included in the Governor’s budget; this does, however, give us a glimpse into what the key agencies are thinking.