More on one house budget bills

March 14, 2021

First, it appears that both the Senate and the Assembly one house budget bills restore the 1% Human Services COLA that the Governor had deferred in his executive budget proposal.

Next, it looks like both the Assembly and the Senate have rejected the Medicaid Global Spending Cap – a tool the Governor has used over many years to clamp down on and ensure growth in the state’s Medicaid Program is controlled and ‘capped’ at what many believe to be an unrealistically low rate.  The Global Cap has been a major thorn in the side of any state agency or advocacy group seeking Medicaid rate increases over the years.  This is an important proposal.

Finally, regarding our ongoing fight to obtain a full accounting of state and health plan spending associated with the carve in of behavioral health services into Managed Care, proposal Part CC of S.2507C pages 42-48 (below) is part of the larger proposal (rejected by the Assembly) to create a new Office of Mental Health, Addiction and Wellness.  Specifically this section of that proposal requires the new state agency to complete a ‘new report’ that would detail the expenditures associated with funds made available to providers and health plans for the carve in, on an annual basis.  The final section states that any financial savings realized from the creation of the new Office shall be reinvested in services and supports funded by the Office.

OUR POSITION:  NYS Council members may recall that in the SFY 2014-2015 enacted budget, our association had the foresight to advocate for (and we ultimately obtained) language in that budget that requires the state agencies to prepare an annual report for the leaders of the minority and majority houses of the Assembly and the Senate reporting on the BH transition to Medicaid Managed Care in detail.  Setting aside the fact that the state has never released the information that the 2014-2015 enacted budget required be sent to lawmakers, the language in today’s Senate one house only requires a report on this spending going forward and only once the new Office is established.   At best, this leaves 5 years of BH MMC spending (and potential savings) unaccounted for (2015-2020).

12    § 9. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, on or before Octo-
    13  ber 1, 2021 and  annually  thereafter,  the  office  of  mental  health,
    14  addiction,  and wellness, in consultation with the department of health,
    15  shall issue a report, and post such  report  on  their  public  website,
    16  detailing  the  office's  expenditures  for  mental health and addiction
    17  services and supports, including total Medicaid spending directly by the
    18  state to licensed or designated providers and payments to  managed  care
    19  providers  pursuant  to  section  364-j  of the social services law. The
    20  office of mental health, addiction, and wellness shall  examine  reports
    21  produced  pursuant  to  this section and may make recommendations to the
    22  governor and the legislature regarding appropriations for mental  health
    23  and addiction services and supports or other provisions of law which may
    24  be  necessary to effectively implement the creation and continued opera-
    25  tion of the office.
    26    § 9-a. Any financial saving realized from the creation of  the  office
    27  of  mental  health,  addiction,  and wellness shall be reinvested in the
    28  services and supports funded by such office.