Voices’ Blog

House and Senate Budget Items!

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

This week, the House and Senate money committees released their budgets and debated them on the floor of each chamber. The positive news is that both the House and Senate prioritized funding for children’s mental health services.

The House fully funded our requested amendment, patroned by Delegate O’Bannon, for an additional $450,000 for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry. This is in addition to the $1 million the Governor added for these services. House total: $1.45 million Item 315 #2h

The Senate voted in favor of adding $1 million to the children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry; that includes the $450,000 we requested (through patrons Hanger and Howell) plus an additional $550,000. The Senate was responding to the Governor’s School Safety Task Force recommendation to add funding for children’s mental health services.  This amount is also in addition to the Governor’s $1 million amendment. Senate total: $2 million. Item 315 #2s

Here is a full list of the important budget amendments affecting children’s mental health that we are following.

Improving the Quality of Medicaid-funded Children’s Mental Health Services

The Senate included a language amendment to require the state Medicaid agency (DMAS) and the state mental health agency (DBHDS) to review intensive in-home services, therapeutic day treatment and mental health support services, including considering practice models, reimbursement rates, and the need for a less intensive level of services. Voices requested this amendment. Item 307 #17s

Identifying Available Mental Health Services for Public School Students

The Senate includes a language amendment to require the Secretaries of Health and Human Resources and Education to work together to review available mental health services available to students in the school system and in the community mental health system.  Item 282 #2s

Reinvesting Savings in the CSA Program

The Senate included a language amendment to allow unspent appropriations in the Comprehensive Services Act to be reinvested to address service gaps. Item 283 #1s

Changes to Medicaid-funded Mental Health Support Services

The Senate included a language amendment requiring that the state Medicaid agency (DMAS) give the legislative money committees 30 days notice of any proposed changes in rates or services for this particular Medicaid-funded service. MHSS is used primarily by adults, but also by some older teens; DMAS is in the process of revising this service. Item 307 #12s

Suicide Prevention

The House included an amendment to provide $650,000 in FY14 to expand statewide suicide prevention education and training. This is a recommendation of the Governor’s School Safety Task Force.  Item 314 #1h

Mental Health First Aid

The House included an amendment of $1.85 million in FY14 to expand mental health first aid training and certification targeted to school personnel, clergy, and others. This is a recommendation of the Governor’s School Safety Task Force. Item 315 #3h

 

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