Thursday, May 24, 2012

House HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Releases Draft

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The North Carolina House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (HHS) met this morning, to the release their changes to the biennial budget passed last year.  The HHS budget covers a wide range of programs of relevance to people living with MS from the Division of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Community Care North Carolina (CCNC) to the Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Medicaid as a whole will see a substantial $168,676,461 increase in funding in addition to its initial $109 million, as a response to projected growth in eligibility and consumption.  Similar to last year, CCNC is charged to find significant savings as they continue to coordinate care among the aged, blind and disabled populations.

Also in Medicaid, non-emergency medical transportation had $1 million removed from its budget. This cut, is in anticipation of improved management and oversight.   Budget language directs the Department of HHS, Division of Medical Assistance and Department of Transportation, Public Transportation Division to develop a request for proposal (RFP) to manage this transportation.  While a budget cut, the Society is hopeful that better transportation coordination will benefit elderly and individuals with disabilities that rely on these transportation services will experience a diminishing quality of service.

Fortunately, there are some definitive positive points in the House budget proposal. Of chief note, House leaders revised the Medicaid therapies limit, repealing last year's limit of 3 visits to a speech, physical, or occupational therapist, and restoring the previous 30 visit limit.  Within Aging and Adult Services, the Home and Community Block Grant got an infusion of $1.25 million to provide community services.  Also the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Program did not encounter any additional cuts.

If you would like to read the House HHS budget for yourself, visit the Committee website here.  activisMS will continue to post throughout the NC budget process.

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