Like the Governor, one of the primary responsibilities of the General Assembly is to craft the state budget. Last week, members from the House and Senate purposed budget amendments to the Governor’s introduced budget. In the next two weeks, each chamber will be making decisions about these budget amendments as they craft their budget bills. This year, there are several budget amendments focused on mental health services. Here is an overview:
Increased Reimbursement Rates for Licensed Mental Health Professionals
Item 303 #11s ( Hanger) & Item 303 #21h (Hope)
This amendment provides $3.3 million GF to increase the Medicaid rates for licensed mental health professionals (LMHPs), psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers. These rates are lower than Medicare and commercial rates, resulting in fewer providers accepting Medicaid patients in need of these services.
Fully Fund STEP-VA Outpatient Mental Health Services
Item 312 #4s (Barker) & Item 312 #6h (Hodges)
This amendment adds $15.0 million GF the second year to fully fund outpatient mental health and substance abuse services pursuant to the System Transformation, Excellence and Performance in Virginia (STEP-VA).
Clinical Psychologist Residency
This amendment adds $25,000 GF each year to provide grants of up to $5,000 per year for Virginia students who are in a residency program for clinical psychologists. Each student receiving a grant shall agree to set up practice in the Commonwealth for a period of not less than two years upon completion of their residency program.
Regional Mental Health Coordination Pilot Program in Northern Virginia
This amendment would re-create a public and private collaborative process in Northern Virginia that existed in the last decade to better and more comprehensively address needs within the region, share responsibility for meeting those needs, and strive to have individuals with mental health needs have those needs met in ways and programs that best meet their needs in the cost-effective ways. Such services shall include preventive, early intervention, outpatient, in-home, inpatient, residential, supportive, and other services. Participants in this pilot program shall include CSBs, state facilities and programs, private hospitals, partial hospitalization, and crisis stabilization programs, residential treatment facilities, private community providers, criminal justice personnel, consumers and advocates for consumers.
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