The Governor's SFY 20/21 State Budget proposal -- HB 1 (operating budget and capital budget spreadsheets) and HB 2 (trailer bill with detailed policy proposals) -- included some proposals that we are supportive of, such as funding for building Designated Receiving Facility (DRF) bed capacity and establishing a separate behavioral health children's unit, but other omissions that are of great concern to us, including lack of sustainable rate increases for DRF beds.

The House Finance Committee's work on the next biennium State Budget (2020/2021) was completed last week with a partisan vote of 13-9 to pass their budget with amendments. The full House is expected to vote on the budget on April 11th. The House Finance Committee has made significant modifications to the Governor's proposed budget, including removing the Governor's proposal to fund the construction of a new forensic hospital and adding a capital gains tax to help fund more school aid. The House Finance Committee did make some positive changes, albeit minor, that we supported, including addressing the dedicated fund for the proceeds for the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, as well as removing the repeal of the Graduate, Indirect Graduate Medical Education and Catastrophic Aid to Hospitals provisions. While no money was appropriated to these last three provisions, they remain as provisions in the DHHS budget, which allows for potential funding in the future. Once the budget is voted on by the full House, the process starts all over in the Senate Finance and Senate Ways and Means Committees. The biggest concern with the budget as it stands, is the lack of sustainable rate increases for DRF beds and increased capacity at New Hampshire Hospital to relieve the ongoing ED boarding crisis.

While NHHA has been following many bills of interest to our members, a priority focus area continues to be ensuring that the settlement agreement signed in 2018 regarding the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments due to hospitals is properly funded, which, to date, has been appropriately maintained in the budget. Our other major priority has been to ensure that the behavioral health crisis continues to be addressed by implementation of meaningful reforms to include increased inpatient capacity at New Hampshire Hospital, adequate reimbursement for designated receiving facilities (DRFs), funds to renovate DRFs and reimbursement for emergency room boarding and various reimbursement statutes are modified, among many other provisions, to ensure that hospitals are able to provide the patient care and access to services that are most needed.

Legislators have been working on funding various components of the 10-year Mental Health Plan by passing individual bills that address various recommendations in the plan but also incorporating other recommendations into the budget. The Senate has several bills that they have retained to attempt to incorporate more of these fiscal needs into their version of the budget once they begin their work, which will begin in earnest in the next couple of weeks.

 

All of the bills that NHHA is following can be found on our web site here and includes links to bill language, the prime sponsor, hearing dates/times and the status of the bill.

Download the full April 2019 Legislative Newsletter

Download the full March 2019 Legislative Newsletter

 

Please find below a downloadable list of all state laws affecting hospitals as a result of the 2017 NH Legislative Session.

2018 State Laws Affecting Hospitals

 

NHHA Advocacy Staff

Steve Ahnen, President

(603) 415-4250

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Kathy Bizarro-Thunberg, Executive Vice President, Federal Relations

(603) 415-4252

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Paula Minnehan, Senior Vice President, State Government Relations

(603) 415-4254

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Nick Carano, Director, Fiscal Policy & Reimbursement

(603) 415-4253

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Debbie Augustine, Legislative Assistant

(603) 415-4256

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