State Budget Update & More

April 10, 2023

Good morning from Albany where the NYS Senate is expected to resume session at 11:00 am.  The same is expected on the Assembly side.  

State Budget:  Last week both houses passed a budget extender through today, April 10, guaranteeing state operations (including paychecks for state workers) would continue after the statutory April 1 budget deadline while rank and file members of the Legislature went home to their districts for the holidays.  During the week, legislative leaders and their staff continued to meet, presumably to iron out issues that have an easier path to resolution.  Later today the Governor is expected to send down another budget extender that continues 2022-2023 budget spending levels through April 17, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see a two week extender, depending on how much progress was made last week. 

Last week we co-drafted an organizational sign-on letter, ultimately endorsed by 16 associations representing providers and consumers from across the behavioral health sector.  The letter pressed for ALL of the insurance proposals to be included in the final agreement.  See attached letter.  COLA advocacy continued as numerous groups including the NYS Council generated hundreds of letters that were sent to the legislative leaders pushing for 8.5% plus rate increases.

Funding Announcements:  On Wednesday, Governor Hochul announced the availability of funding to expand access to Home-Based Crisis Intervention teams throughout New York State. Administered by the state Office of Mental Health, this funding will help create 13 new teams and expand 26 existing ones, enabling them to provide critical mental health services so that at-risk children and youth can avoid psychiatric hospitalization.

The Office of Mental Health will provide $6.2 million to create 11 new teams to serve children and youth between the ages of 5 and 21, who are at imminent risk of psychiatric hospitalization. The agency also partnered with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council in an effort to establish two teams that will exclusively serve children or youth dually diagnosed with both a developmental disability and mental illness.

Carve-out of the Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit:  In related news, the Department of Health (DOH) is hosting another informational webinar about the transition of the pharmacy benefit from Medicaid Managed Care to NYRx, the Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) pharmacy program. Presentations from past meetings are available on the transition website.  Another Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit Transition webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.   Registration is required to attend this event .  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.  registration formFrequently Asked Questions 

Media Hits:  Last week the NYS Council was featured in two publications that focus on healthcare.  In Monday’s Crain’s Health Pulse 3 NYS Council member agency leaders and the NYS Council’s Executive Director discussed the consequences of the ongoing rate disparity that exists between the Medicaid APG government rate and commercial rates. And, we were featured in Mental Health Weekly where we discussed our ongoing efforts to secure an 8.5% COLA and rate increases for mental health and substance use disorder providers.  

Upcoming Events:  Don’t forget – we have an upcoming conversation with State Medicaid Director Amir Bassiri coming up on Monday, April 17 from 10-11.  We will share a link for the meeting with all members via email on Wednesday, April 12 at 11:00 a.m.