3-28-11: Mental Health Services Taking a Hit?

March 28, 2011 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

The 2012 budget is a major issue in the General Assembly this week– it’s due in exactly one week.  In preliminary versions of the budget, mental health services are poised to receive some major cuts:  The House of Delegates is proposing a $6.7 million reduction to the mental health budget in order to restore funds for public education. That’s in addition to a 2.5% rate reduction for mental health services that was part of the Governor’s original budget.

Linda Raines, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Maryland, says the cuts for mental health are far greater than for any other group–and she says they can have a drastic impact:  “The number of people served by the Public Mental Health System has grown by 40% in just four years, yet funding to meet this increased need for services has grown only 17% during the same period.”

Meanwhile, Delegate Norman Conway, Democrat of the lower Eastern Shore, and head of the Appropriations Committee, said these cuts may not be a done deal, and will be a subject for discussion next week when the House and Senate conference to reconcile their budgets:
“I think this is an instance when maybe more reductions in this area had been taken than maybe we focused on, so we’re going to take another look at it, then we’re gonna do what we can to modify it.”

For more on what the possible cuts could mean for Maryland residents, Sheilah speaks with Linda Raines, Executive Director, Mental Health Association of Maryland, and Lori Doyle, Chief Operating Officer, Mosaic Community Services, Inc.

Entry filed under: Health, On Air, Policy. Tags: , , , .

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