Thursday, May 28, 2009

158 Items:Mental Health Care Cuts put forward by House Health & Human Services Proposed Budget:2009-2011

Trimming the fat?---or cutting off your nose to spite your face somewhere down the road?

These are short-sited cuts. A better strategy would have been to go after more taxes from the corporations. HEY! YOU COULD START W/ BCBSNC! Naw, won't happen because Capstrat, headed by Eudy, former NC Dem Party Chairman, now creating adds for BCBSNC in order to block choice of government sponsored health insurance like Medicare, is right in the center of NC Dem Party and gee, we can't be rude to him, can we?


There are 158 items associated w/ suggested cuts put forward by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Health & Human Services, 2009-2011.

These are some of the more notable ones pertaining to issues I have been keeping up with.

Here is the document:

1. Lots of loss of money and positions within NC DHHS. (This will only make my job harder)

2. LME's are to have funding cuts and loss of positions (This will only make my job harder and make me steer away even more pointedly from the state funded clients).

3. Non-core LME functions lose money (This means I won't have to speak to Meridian Behavioral Health Services aka Smoky Mountain Center LME-----they were supposed to privatize, remember?-----regarding trying to steer my Medicaid client into their Recovery Education Center----group therapy not led by particularly skillful people----which would have meant I could not bill Medicaid for therapy)

4. Lots of miscellaneous cuts to children and infant services. (This means that kids w/ problems will grow up to be adults with problems and then go to jail where we will pay for them there).

5. No more new local health departments (It appears that what is in place, stays in place; local health departments are used by indigent clients).

6. School health nurses will lose funding (This is another stop-gap measure which keeps people from getting sicker, particularly those w/o health insurance).

7. Item 72: No more Special Olympics, a source of pride in the Waynesville community, in particular.

8. Item 74: The Key Program, which works on housing subsidy has reductions (Does this mean that Tom McDevitt, formerly CEO of SMC LME, will get a salary reduction----since he's still running that SMC LME program----even though he was fired).

9. Item 77: reduces Weatherization Assistance Program (Its not clear to me if this means that indigent clients will get a break re: some of their heating fuel or not. If disabled clients are living in Section 8 housing, they can't have a wood stove and they can't have a functioning fire place. Therefore, they are stock w/ expensive heating fuel).

10. Item 92: Big $5 million cut to the DSS Public Assistance programs. (more problems w/ Food Stamps which are already way to little. Bring on more soup kitchens, I reckon.)

11. Eliminates 5 positions within Vocational Rehabilitation Services (as far as I can tell---and after years of working w/ Vocational Rehabilitation Services, they should just get rid of all VR Services. Other than paying me for assessments, I have seen very little benefit from VR Services over the past 10 years in either GA or NC).

12. Eliminates funding for Senior Center Outreach Program (I guess my elderly client won't get her Meals on Wheels anymore; I don't know what the link of Meals on Wheels is re: this, however).

13. Item 132: Establishes a $50 co pay for non-emergency visits to the emergency room. (Now how are they going to bill Medicaid for this? It won't happen and they will not be able to squeeze blood from the turnip of indigent clients who would not be going to the ER unless they really needed to).

14. Item 135: Medicaid cards will be printed quarterly and not monthly.

15. Item 136: Big $53 million saved here: Case management services will be consolidated throughout the Medicaid program.

16. Item 138: 4% reduction in Medicaid fees across providers (that means you will have less available mental health services).

17. Item 142: all providers must file Medicaid claims electronically (its the easiest billing I've ever done, for sure, via EDS that interfaces w/ NC Medicaid)

18. Item 143: reduces dental services within Medicaid (There are very few dentists that will take Medicaid as it is; therefore, people will just continue to lose their teeth and the dentists that create dentures will make more money).

19. Item 144: reduces funding for Hospice services (I know that Hospice is already cutting out things like physicians, using instead nurse practitioners; I assume that Hospice is fairly dependent on donations and as we know, there are fewer of those these days. ).

20. Item 154: Positions eliminated within Department of Health Service Regulations (this is the agency within NC DHHS that is SUPPOSED to regulate Family Care Homes; I have a one inch plus file of letters from them indicating that they never could find a basis for any of my 10+ paper complaints associated w/ WNC Homes and so hey! we can save paper too; I turned the case over to Congressman Shuler's office; I bet HE won't get downsized).

21. Increase of licensing fees (I guess that certainly means I will not be able to rejoin American Psychological Association for its whopping $500+/ year).

One piece of good news: Federal judge ruled that Broughton Hospital should not have had its accreditation revoked in 2007 which means that $8 million goes back into the pot from the Feds re: monies that were kept when Medicaid/ Medicare clients were in Broughton.


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