Update on the Governor’s Proposed Amendments to the Budget

April 20, 2020

Here is a portion of the House Appropriations Committee Briefing package from this morning.  This expands on our Post of 14 April which described the Governor’s strategy.  These slides offer some greater context and perspective. We have also communicated with the leadership of both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee the following:
  • We have reviewed the Governor’s proposed amendments to HB29 and HB30 and, for the most part, support the strategy that “unallots” funds in the biennial budget as a short term suspension of making decisions without enough information.   We are concerned, however, that the prediction that a “reasonable forecast” will be possible later this summer may be wrong and there will not be sufficient stability until much later in FY21. 
  • For the Developmental Disability providers, funded by the three DD Waivers, the lack of the increase promised by the “Refresh of Rates” in the budget coupled with the Administration’s apparent reluctance to ask for any of the enhancements or flexibilities allowed by CMS during this time of crisis by submitting a substantial request in an Appendix K, the result may be devastating. 
    • More than 150 private providers (primarily day services) have already closed and more are likely to do so in the near future as funds run out to cover basic costs.  And,
    • Many residential providers are scrambling to meet the needs of residents who are “staying at home” with reduced staff and higher costs to meet all of the critical safety protocols.
  • I recognize that the Governor did “unallot” funding for the 250 DD Waiver slots added in FY22 by the General Assembly, but he did not “unallot” the funding for the 1085 slots (not including Emergency Slots) which were “new” in the Budget he introduced at the beginning of the Session.   Given the systemic damage already done and the prospect of a delayed, reduced or eliminated “refresh,”  it seems highly unlikely that  there will be the capacity to grow and serve additional individuals. The funding for those slots could be allocated to the rates needed to begin to rebuild the system of community care.