In his seventh State of the State Address this evening, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam reported a state surplus that includes new recurring...
Many aspects of state government impact the lives of Tennesseans with disabilities. Funding for needed services is determined by the amount allocated in the state budget each year. This month, Governor Haslam heard budget proposals from each department in his administration before he will develop a final plan for Fiscal Year 2017-18 to present before the General Assembly at the start of the new year.
We are pleased to share that the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) has not included a cut to the budget for the Family Support Program for the coming year. We appreciate the work of the Department and Commissioner Debra Payne to preserve this essential program serving over 4,000 Tennessee Families.
We also appreciate the work of DIDD and the TennCare Bureau to provide the opportunity for Tennesseans with developmental disabilities to qualify for services for the first time through the new Employment and Community First CHOICES program. So far, there are 524 people enrolled in this program. TennCare has requested funding to serve an additional 700 people in fiscal year 2017-18 on top of the initial 1700 spots made available the first year.
There are currently 57 individuals with disabilities still residing at Greene Valley Developmental Center, nine are scheduled to transition in December 2016 and the remaining are scheduled to transition in 2017. Through three Seating and Positioning Clinics, DIDD was also able to provide services to 718 people in the past fiscal year.
Commissioner Payne has requested recurring funding to maintain the 1% provider rate increase created by non-recurring funds last fiscal year. On top of this, DIDD would like an additional 1% provider rate increase targeted at direct support professional pay in non-recurring funds for fiscal year 2017-18.
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services proposed to establish a $6 million Substance Abuse Safety Net, as well as add $3.5 million to enhance the continuum of Crisis Services, and $3 million to sustain critical mental health services.
For fiscal year 2017-18, the TennCare Bureau is requesting $13.3 million to align the budget with expenses for Federally Qualified Health Centers.
TennCare’s current Health Care Innovation Initiative will include the launch of Tennessee Health Link on December 1st, 2016. Tennessee Health Link will provide integrated and value-based behavioral and primary care services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. Additionally, on January 1st, 2017, thirty primary care practices across the state will receive incentives for participating in an aligned Person-Centered Medical Home Program.
The TennCare Bureau anticipates future changes in Medicaid under the new Presidential administration and plans to readdress the budget as new information becomes available.
We will continue to share news as it is made available to us regarding funding that impacts people with disabilities in our state.