Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, released the below statement on the State Budget:
Throughout this budget process, there was significant consensus among the Governor and his administration, legislative leadership, advocates and stakeholders about the need to address pressing issues around the health of our citizens – particularly in the area of behavioral health, substance abuse and Medicaid services, and we applaud all those who took part in its development for their efforts.
Specifically, this budget agreement:
- Fully funds the settlement agreement reached last year on the state’s Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) and Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs, which supports hospitals in the provision of uncompensated care, and also provides significant funding for the overall state Medicaid program;
- Advances patient care by making significant investments in New Hampshire’s mental health system, including:
- increasing the rate paid to hospitals operating involuntary mental health units known as designated receiving facilities (DRF);
- moves the services for children out of New Hampshire Hospital to a more appropriate setting for their care and provides funding to renovate and operationalize that space at New Hampshire Hospital for up to 48 adult inpatient beds;
- adds additional mobile crisis teams, including one statewide with the ability to address the needs of children so that patients can get the services they need and potentially avoid the need for inpatient level care;
- increases the number of transitional housing beds so that patients are able to be discharged from an acute inpatient setting with the supports they need to live in the community; and
- establishes a new forensic hospital for those patients currently in the Secure Psychiatric Unit at the state prison.
- Increases Medicaid provider rates to help sustain services and recruit and retain employees across the continuum of care, from mental health and substance use services to hospitals, home care agencies and nursing homes.
Budgets are a reflection of our values and a statement of our priorities. This budget addresses a number of important initiatives that are vital to the health and well-being of New Hampshire citizens, and we hope it will move forward.