2018 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2018 legislative session finally ended on Saturday, May 5, 18 days later than the planned 100-day session. Though the mental health bill was passed through a strong bipartisan effort about midway through the session, those of us at the regions and providing services were waiting for the budgets.

As you may know, House File 2456 added a number of core services to those the mental health regions are already required to provide. The most talked about of which are the behavioral access centers and the expansion of Medicaid-covered services.

That piece of legislation, however, did not include any appropriations and it was unclear what the legislature would do, at the time of that bill’s passage, with the budgets. We assumed at that time that the regions would be footing the bill for these new services, along with the new Medicaid-eligible services reimbursements.  We assumed correctly.

The session closed with no new appropriations to support the new required core services and the regions will be picking up the start-up and ongoing costs that are not covered by Medicaid.  We are still working through that and the rules are not yet completed, so there’s still time to work through this.  There’s an interim committee that will work on ongoing funding for the regions to sustain us after we go to the 20 percent fund balance required by Senate File 504, passed during the 2017 legislative session.

Additionally, the Complex Needs Work Group is continuing to meet to determine how the new services will be delivered and work out the kinks in the rules. I wish we knew more but we will keep you updated as things come together.

– Mechelle Dhondt, CEO