Spotlight Bill -
House Bill 1001:
House Budget Bill to cut Mental Health and Addiction appropriation by over $26M for the biennium.
HB 1001, the State Budget Bill, would inexplicably make cuts to the mental health and addiction budget. As currently constructed, $26M would be cut from the biennium budget as compared to the previous budget passed by the Indiana General Assembly.
At a time when behavioral health resources are needed now more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hoosiers require robust comprehensive behavioral health services. Depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug overdose and suicide are all on the rise due to COVID-19.
The proposed budget would reduce several line items, including funding for Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Substance Use Disorders (SUD). Additionally, the proposed budget would reduce the Recovery Works program, which is designed to move individuals in the criminal justice system into mental health and addiction treatment, when appropriate. Such a reduction in this highly successful program will likely lead to increased incarceration and recidivism rates.
Now is not the time to reduce state mental health and addiction funding in Indiana. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for mental health services and there has also been an increase in alcohol and drug use through the health emergency. Clearly the Budget as constructed would have a dramatic negative impact on the ability of mental health and addiction providers in meeting the increasing demand for services. State funding for mental health and addiction is critically important to ensure that the delivery of services is provided to those most in need. When such services are not available or accessible, there is a corresponding reduction in overall health and well-being, resulting in increased costs under Medicaid due to increased utilization, as well as unnecessary hospitalizations and increased homeliness--all factors in leading to increased societal costs.
What possibly could be the rationale for these cuts? Due to the on-going fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state agencies initially calculated their base budget with a 15% reduction. But after review of the January state revenue report, the Administration stated that it is likely that the revenue forecast will reflect additional General Fund dollars available compared to the revenue forecast that was used to prepare the Governor’s recommended budget. Further, the Administration stated that they supported full restoration of mental health and addiction funding, assuming the revenue forecast does in fact grow as expected.
Mental Health America of Indiana strongly supports the Administration’s position to restore Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) appropriations to previous budget levels, assuming that the revenue forecast does in fact grow as expected. Unfortunately, HB 1001 as drafted, does not fully restore the $26M in funding cuts for the biennium for mental health and addictions.
Please ask your Representative to FULLY RESTORE the $26M funding cuts for mental health and addiction services, including Recovery Works, in HB 1001, the Budget Bill.
To read more about the proposed state budget bill, please read below:
House Bill 1001: STATE BUDGET - Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, K-12 and higher education, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes. Replaces the governor with the budget director or the budget director's designee on the state board of finance. Renames the personal services/fringe benefits contingency fund as the budget agency contingency fund (fund).