Sen. Nick Frentz: Republican Health and Human Services Budget cuts funding to the St. Peter Security Hospital
Sen. Frentz Statement:
“The Senate Republican majority today cut more than $335 million from the health and human services budget, including cuts to the St. Peter Security Hospital direct care and treatment. These cuts put the safety of staff at risk and reduce the state’s ability to assure quality, clinically sound care to some of our most vulnerable individuals. The Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter is both the state’s largest psychiatric hospital and the only secure facility in the state that treats people living with severe, complex mental health disorders exhibiting dangerous symptoms. These cuts will make our local facility less effective for patients and less safe for staff. Under this bill, Minnesota falls short of its commitment to provide secure treatment and reintegrate patients back to their home communities, where they can lead meaningful, dignified lives.
I am also disappointed the bill doesn’t include funding for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, child protection, foster care or permanency programs. Many of the proposals in the bill will take the state out of compliance with federal requirements. In addition, this bill is fiscally irresponsible. It makes numerous promises the Republican majority can’t keep at a time the state has a $1.6 billion budget surplus. This bill uses one-time money for ongoing programs and shifts payments out into the future.”
BACKGROUND/GOP HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET BILL
The bill provides funding for FY 2018-19 for the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Health (MDH) as well as many health-related boards, but the Republican-led bill is predicated entirely on shifts and gimmicks. Through payment and policy delays the bill pushes over $454 million of Health and Human Services spending into the FY 2022-23 biennium. The bill funds ongoing programs with one-time money and unnecessarily uses sketchy budget tactics at a time when the state has a $1.65 billion surplus.
Funding shifts to FY 2022-23: Shifts more than $454 million into FY 2022-23 with payment and policy delays:
o Disability waiver rate setting (DWRS) modifications: $18.8 million
o Inpatient hospital rebasing delay: $40 million
o Capitation payment delay May 2021: $197.656 million
o Capitation payment delay April 2021: $197.656 million
With a General Fund cut of $335 million in FY 2018-19, the bill also cuts funding for child care assistance, reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors, funding for assessment and support planning for long-term care services, an 8.5 percent reduction for the Department of Human Services central office, a 7% cut to Direct Care and Treatment, and a 7 percent base reduction for the Department of Health.
The bill eliminates the guaranteed renewability requirement for health plans in Minnesota. Guaranteed renewability has been on the books in Minnesota for 25 years and removing it will leave consumers vulnerable to plans being yanked out from underneath them when it’s time to renew their health insurance policy.
The MA reimbursement cut to Minnesota hospitals and providers and the delay of inpatient hospital rate rebasing will adversely affect rural hospitals and creates a disincentive for more providers across the state to offer care for MA program enrollees.