Exec Budget Proposal Today: Discussion of some NYS Council high priority budget requests

January 19, 2021

Today is the day the Governor will release his proposed 2021-2022 executive budget.  He will deliver his budget address at 11:30 a.m.  You can watch the live webcast at:  www.governor.ny.gov.

When budget bills are available, they will be available on the Division of the Budget website here: www.budget.ny.gov.

We will be reading the budget carefully and will provide details and analysis as soon as possible.

We will discuss what we know about the budget during our Thursday morning NYS Council Member Support call.  To access the call (9:15 – 10:00) dial in as follows:

Dial:  1 712 775-7035

Participant Code:  935759#

Based on our NYS Council executive budget priority list, we will be looking for budget language that discusses the following (below).  Please Note: This is NOT an exhaustive list of our priorities or concerns:

  • Language that responds to our request for a moratorium on any further withholds / cuts to all of our Programs and Services, a reversal on the 20% ‘withholds’ that have already significantly impacted our system of care, and that invests or reinvests certain funds in our mental health and substance use disorder system of care
  • A proposal/language that concretizes the Governor’s State of the State (SOS) announcement regarding use of the tele health modality with mental health and substance use disorder care recipients and the agencies that serve them.  (Note:  We also still expect state agencies to float regulations shortly that addresses details such as rates, etc.)
  • An answer to the question of whether the Governor is going to include revenue proposals in his executive budget that wold help to mitigate the $15B current year budget deficit facing NYS
  • Clarity regarding how and when the state intends to reimburse providers for expenses associated with the COVID 19 pandemic (Remember:  Governor recently thanked Senator Schumer and President-elect Biden for their commitment to reimburse NYS in the amount of $2B for its’ COVID expenses.  We want to know how and when these funds will be distributed to providers on the ground)
  • Specifics regarding the $1.5B the Governor stated (last year) he would be releasing to assist ‘organizations’ and ‘agencies’ with cash flow issues
  • Language or a proposal that would help to alleviate the workforce shortages we are suffering with to include flexibility in regards to scope of practice for certain practitioners (could be addressed via legislation later in the legislative session)
  • Proposals that seek to downsize state operated hospitals and/or state operated outpatient clinics and reinvest these funds in our system of care
  • Note:  It is unclear whether the exec budget proposal will include a language that seeks to create a new Office of Mental Health and Addictions Services and Supports

On another front, please note that over the weekend and as promised, I worked with our attorney Bob Hussar to draft a strong letter to the OMIG that calls for an immediate halt to a recently discussed expansion of the current OPRA audit, a reversal of the audits impacting 30 clinic organizations, and a meeting with the OMIG.  I shared it with our association partners for sign on.   The letter will be out the door today.  Stand by for more.