Details are starting to come in on the jointly announced 3-way 2012-13 NYS budget agreement between the Cuomo Administration and both houses of the legislature. Here are some preliminary details we are hearing:
- Overall: The on-time budget will total about $132.5 billion for New York State’s next fiscal year, slightly reducing overall spending while increasing school aid and Medicaid by about 4%, within previously agreed upon limits.
- Public Works: It will create scores of public works projects in what’s being called the “biggest parks improvement program in state history.”
- Gambling: It will authorize 7 Las Vegas-styled gambling casinos.
- Centralizing/Reducing Costs of State Government: The agreement specifies that Cuomo can transfer funding among agencies involving only information technology and “back office” services, not funding the Legislature directed for programs and services.
- Reduced Role for Comptroller: The agreement will end some “pre-audits” of state contracts by the state Comptroller’s Office.
- High Earners’ Tax: the budget includes about $2 billion in additional revenues from a “millionaire’s tax” adopted last December.
NYS Office of Mental Health Budget
- State Hospital Downsizing: Look for OMH to close up to about 500 state hospital beds in the coming year. Such closures will require a bit more notification that agreed upon last year, about 45 days for a ward and up to 75 days for a facility.
- Facility Closures: There will be no new facility closures this year, as the Legislature has blocked the closing of Kingsboro Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn. Look for some Kingsboro residents to transfer to nearby South Beach PC in Staten Island, which will also start admitting some Brooklyn inpatients. Hudson River PC, which shut down a few months ago, is officially closed.
- Facility Consolidations: the Legislature approved the Governor’s proposal to combine the management of the 3 NYC children’s psychiatric centers in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx into one NYC Children’s Center.
- Reinvestment!: In a real victory for NYAPRS and our colleagues, look for a resumption of stronger language authorizing a portion of savings from bed and/or facility closure to be reinvested to boost local community services in the surrounding areas.
- Sex Offender Civil Confinement Program: The legislature rejected most of the Administration’s proposals to reduce the cost and size of the inpatient portion of the program.
- Mainstreaming Education in Children’s Hospitals: As reported by our friends at MHANYS, “the legislature has agreed to support the Governor’s budget language calling for equalized education for children and youth in psychiatric hospitals (this became a prime issue for MHANYS since we strongly believe that educational opportunities are a key to recovery).”
- COLAs, Executive Compensation: the Legislature kept in language authorizing a cost of living adjustment, although once again they agreed to suspend action for another year. It rejected inserting language from the Governor creating a “pay for performance” approach for next year and also rejected the Governor’s proposed limits for nonprofit executives.
- Behavioral Health Services Council: was created by combining OMH’s Mental Health Services Council and OASAS’ Services Council.
- Veterans’ Mental Health Services: look for some funding for peer to peer vet support and some provider training programs on vet needs.
- Still pending: No word yet on the fate of the $16.8 million in supported housing proposed by the Governor for adult home residents with psychiatric diagnoses.
While budget language is still not available, the following has been reported:
- Healthcare Exchange: according to the Associated Press, “the Senate’s Republican majority refused to agree to create “health exchanges,” required by the federal government to create one-stop shopping for individuals and businesses to insure more Americans. Although there will still be time after the budget passes to negotiate a health exchange tailored to New York, Cuomo has said he may create a health exchange by executive order. And if the state doesn’t adopt its own plan and collect millions of dollars in federal funds for it, the Obama administration will impose one.”
- Prescriber Prevails: the legislature restored these protections for antipsychotic medications, requiring managed care plans to automatically approve prescribers’ and patients’ medication preferences in this category, even if they are not on plan formularies.
- Managed Care Rights Protections: the legislature approved the Governor’s proposal to add $3 million in enrollment brokers to help Medicaid beneficiaries transition into the integrated managed care designs to come.
- Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program: the budget will apparently require managed care and managed long term care plans to provide CDPAP services.
- Spousal/Parental Refusal: the legislature rejected the Governor’s proposal to eliminate Spousal or Parental Refusal, a provision used by seniors and families with disabilities “to access vital Medicaid funded health services for loved ones to maintain their well being in the community without resorting to institutionalization, extreme impoverishment, divorce, or termination of parental rights.”
- Still pending: information is not yet clear about the fate of the Supported Housing Reinvestment fund (the legislature had sought to cut about 1/3 of the $75 million proposed by the Governor).
Legislative leaders expect both houses will pass all the budget bills by Thursday, marking the second straight year a budget would be passed on time.
Stay tuned for more details as we get them.