Thursday, November 12, 2009

NCGA: Update Joint Legislative Oversight Committee MH/DD/SAS

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse services met this week.
It is becoming more clear to the committee members that the cuts to this budget are extremely significant and that community based services are struggling to continue to serve the most needy in our state.

In response to the 40 million dollar cut to state funded services that the LMEs are trying to manage Senate Martin Nesbitt stated that "we can not sugar coat what is happening out there. We did a bad deed and we cut them (LMEs) too much." "After all the meetings they had they still can't serve folks. Our first order of business is to tell our fellow members that we need to fix this. When you make a mistake and we made a mistake we need to fix it."

This 40 million dollar cut is in addition to a 16 million dollar cut to state funded services directed toward people who are also receiving CAP/MR-DD waiver services.

The committee members listened to numerous reports on how the LMEs are managing their budget reductions, how the budget reduction is affecting people with CAP/MR-DD waiver services that were also receiving state funded dollars for ADVP or support services, and finally they heard about the changes to case management.

It is clear to the members that the cuts in the current budget are quickly dismantling the community based delivery system for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive disorders.

It was also alluded to during this meeting that next years overall general fund will face a growing deficit. It is therefore the goal and the responsibility of the committee members to ensure that MH/DD/SAS receive very few additional cuts.  The top priority for this committee is to educate their peers on the importance of restoring as much funding to these services as possible or face a collapse in the system.

1 comment:

bodey037 said...

It is a little late for state legislators to realize they "did a bad thing." It is not just a "bad thing" to those of use trying to care for one or more disabled child(ren). I, for one, would love to hear an explanation as to why our elected leaders did not listen to the chorus of voices which warned them of this disaster before the budget was enacted.