Voices’ Blog

Update on House and Senate Budgets

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

Here you’ll find some highlights of how our budget-related legislative agenda issues fared in both the House and Senate budgets so far this session…

Children’s Mental Health

Expanding Crisis Services and Child Psychiatry

Voices’ Campaign for Children’s Mental Health requested $450,000 in additional funding for FY14 for children’s crisis services and child psychiatry, in addition to the Governor’s $1 million amendment for this purpose.

–  The House approved this amendment in full. Item 315 #2h

–  The Senate approved this amendment in full and added more funding for a total of $1 million. Adding funding for children’s mental health services is a recommendation of the Governor’s School Safety Task Force. Item 315 #2s

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

For a full list of mental health budget amendments, click here.

Early Childhood

Home Visiting

The House and Senate budgets both included funding for home visiting programs, CHIP and Healthy Families. We prefer the Senate proposals that recognized the need to bring funding for home visiting back to the pre-recession levels of investment.

–   The House provides $190,000 for Healthy Families and $410,000 for CHIP of Virginia from the TANF block grant (federal funds). CHIP-Item 297 #2h HF- Item 343 #2h

–   The Senate provides $1 M for Healthy Families ($700,000 in GF and $300,000 in TANF) and $727,628 for CHIP of Virginia ($427,628 in GF and $300,000 in TANF). CHIP- Item 297 #2s HF- Item 343 #2s

Part C/Early Intervention

In addition to the funding proposed in the Governor’s budget, the House and Senate both add funding for Part C/Early Intervention. We prefer the Senate proposal that would restore $6 M of the $8.5 M shortfall for services.

–   The House proposal for Part C/Early Intervention includes $2.3 M in FY13 and $3.75 M in FY14. Item 315 #1h

–   The Senate proposal for Part C/Early Intervention gets closer to closing the shortfall at $3M in FY13 and $6M in FY14. Item 315 #3s

Child Welfare/Foster Care

Provide re-entry supports to foster youth involved in the juvenile justice system

Both the Senate and the House included nearly $120,000 in their respective budgets to fund the Voices-led effort to provide eligibility for Independent Living services to former foster youth being released from the Department of Juvenile Justice between the ages of 18-21, which include educational, employment and housing supports. Voices brought the bills and budget amendments to the patrons.

Budget Amendments: Senate (Favola, Item 338 #2s), House (Brink, Item 341 #2h)

Corresponding bills: Senate (Favola, SB863), House (Brink, HB1743)

Medicaid Extension

Extend Medicaid coverage for individuals up to 133% of the federal poverty level under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The House and Senate differed on their approaches to extending Medicaid. The House budget (Item 307 #11h) requires a long list of reforms be completed before extending Medicaid and does not allow extension until July 1, 2014 at the earliest. It would likely take much longer to complete the extensive list of reforms, so in essence, this version delays extension indefinitely. The Senate budget (Item 307 #18s) was amended during debate on the Senate floor yesterday to allow Medicaid extension to take place once Virginia has gotten approval for reforms from the federal government, meaning extension can happen much sooner. The Senate budget also establishes a special trust fund to capture savings from the various reforms and from the extension itself to cover future costs.

You can read more about what happened this week with Medicaid extension here.

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