“Money” Committees Report Out

February 03, 2019

The Sunday before “cross-over” is the day that the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee each report their amendments to “the Governor’s proposed budget” or in a short session like this one, to the existing budget.  We had requested:
  • Inclusion of the “refresh” of the DD Waiver rates – while this was not included in either report, the Senate did acknowledge that the provider rates do limit access to services and will “continue to evaluate issues . . . and address them as needed in future years.”
  • Increase of rates for LMHPs to begin to address the issues of access and workforce recruitment and retention for Outpatient Services.  The Senate included that request in their report.  We will not know the exact levels until the 1/2 sheets are published on Tuesday, but the funding seems adequate. There is also funding for an “increase for Certain Physician Rates to 70% of Medicare.”
  • There is no funding dedicated to increases of nursing rates in either report.
  • The Senate has funded 10 “reserve” DD Waiver slots, and included language about slot management (details will be available on the 1/2 sheet later this week); there are no additional slots in the House.
  • Both the Committees included the language requested by the Administration to support the behavioral health redesign – the House version specifically requires General Assembly approval in the 2020 Session which offers the opportunity for some funding strategies to be developed!  The Senate language is not yet available.
  • Both Committees also included specific language directing DBHDS & DMAS that they “shall not implement the proposed individualized supports budget”  [House] or “shall not require waiver providers or CSBs to use the proposed individualized supports budgets process” [Senate].  As it appears in both reports, some version will likely be in the final budget!
Half-sheets, which are mentioned above, will be out on Tuesday and will give more detail on a number of items. One important note – neither the House nor the Senate passed the Emergency Tax Conformity bill and have, at least for now, determined that they will not plan to spend any of the funds which might result.  They did not support the Governor’s proposal to use additional funds for the EITC, but did not finalize any alternative.