Governor Kasich’s recent budget proposal includes plans to make sure that Ohioans who are mentally ill or have addiction problems will get more help. The Dispatch has more below:
After struggling through years of cuts, mental-health advocates say that Gov. John Kasich’s budget would expand treatment, housing and other services for the mentally ill and addicted.
Much of the help is tied to an expansion of the tax-funded Medicaid program, to give health coverage to more poor and disabled Ohioans. Many of the uninsured who now receive locally funded services would become eligible for Medicaid, freeing an estimated $70 million a year that county officials could re-direct to housing, employment and other help.
In addition, the governor’s proposal would remove up to 1,200 mentally ill residents from nursing homes, providing them instead with community-based services.
“Some mentally ill people, not just those who are severely mentally ill, will get help and beat this disease,” said Terry Russell, executive director of the National Association on Mental Illness Ohio. He called the Medicaid expansion “the most-significant development in years for the people I represent.”
Kasich’s proposed 2014-15 budget also calls for increasing the rate paid to adult-care facilities for the mentally ill, now $16 to $28 per day, and consolidating mental-health and drug-addiction services to save $1.5 million annually and streamline services.
The House Finance Committee will hear testimony today about the plan from Greg Moody, director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.
In addition to freeing up local dollars, Moody said, the governor’s plan would reduce costs associated with hospital emergency rooms, criminal courts and jail, places where those suffering from mental illness and addictions often end up when they have no access to services.
Franklin County officials say they would likely redirect local money to housing, prevention, education and outreach to reduce the stigma faced by those with mental illness and addictions and their families.
You can read the entire article here.