Wednesday the Senate Appropriations Sub Committee heard from the Department of Mental Health on their budget request for the FY2019. Executive Director Diana Mikula called for a consolidated budget with level funding from the General Fund of $207,763,132 and healthcare funds in the amount of $18,951,886.

In front of committee members, she outlined moves that the department had made to “live within their means,” making hard but necessary cuts to utilize the funding they already had access to. If approved level funding for FY2019 the DMH would shift $10 million form their institutional budgets to the Service budget which would then be distributed:

  • $8 million for the 14 Community Mental Health Centers for expansion of crisis services and purchase of services
    • Decrease the need for admission to state hospitals
    • Crisis beds would be added to regions that do not currently have them.
    • A jail based restoration service would be restored which would provide services to inmates facing trial after evaluation.
  • $2 million to expand the ID/DD Home and Community Based Waiver.
    • Request would be made to change current Section 22 language that prohibits anymore ID/DD enrollment to expand to current applicants.

Mikula sited that operational costs are down $10 million due to major streamlining of services. Direct Care Services have been restructured which allowed for a $1,500 starting salary increase in an attempt to lower the current 48% turnover rate. Behavior programs went from 5 to 2 during that restructure.

The majority of funds from the institutional budget were noted to go toward inpatient individuals, thus the push to head off the problem with crisis centers which have a 89% diversion rate.

Read the full request HERE.