NYAPRS First Look:
NYS 2016-17 Budget Roundup
Here’s what we understand at this moment from reviews of the budget document and responses by government officials. This year’s budget is a decidedly mixed one, with some very important advances in some areas and some real concerns in other areas, most notably the minimum wage issue.
Workforce: Minimum Wage Hike
We have some newly released information that was shared by the Administration with the Legislature on small minimum wage hikes for staff working at OMH funded community based agencies, designed to get staff to the levels consistent with the budget agreement between the Governor and the Legislature, which are:
- $11 per hour for employees in NYS businesses that have ten or more employees
- $10.50 for NYC agencies with less than 10 employees
- $10 per hour for employees in LI and Westchester businesses
- $9.70 per hour in the rest of the state
The state has estimated the amount of gross funding necessary to increase the wages of employees who are not being paid at these levels over the next few years as follows:
- $900,000 increase for the last 3 months of the current fiscal year (January-March)
- $5 million for FY 2017-18
- $14.4 million for FY 2018-19
We remain very concerned about the adequacy of these investments and whether they keep pace with existing salary structures (‘compression’).
20,000 Supportive Housing Beds: the Administration has committed to funding 20,000 new supportive housing beds over the next 15 years.
Criminal Justice Diversion
Crisis Intervention Teams and Diversion Initiatives
- Thanks to the leadership of Senate Mental Health Committee chair Rob Ortt, the Senate is funding an additional $500,000 to expand CIT initiatives and to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for an additional $1 million. We are very grateful to the chairs for, in total, committing a total of $3.4 million in new CIT initiatives over the past 3 years.
Criminal Justice Re-entry
Medicaid Restoration 30 Days Pre-Jail/Prison Discharge!
- Thanks to the leadership of Assembly Corrections Committee Chair Danny O’Donnell, the legislature’s Health Committee Chairs, members of the Administration and fellow advocates from the Legal Action Center and MHANYS, the Administration will be seeking federal approval to restore Medicaid benefits 30 days before discharge from a prison or a jail to permit appropriate advance discharge planning that will include medical, medication and care coordination services for ‘high needs individuals.” Great thanks to the 1,000 supporters who signed onto an online petition in support of this initiative, in just 3 days.
Criminal Justice focused Health Homes
- Thanks to the Administration, specialty health home pilots for criminal justice involved health homes will be established in the coming year.
Increased funding for Community-based Recovery Services
- The Administration has committed to fully allocate an annualized amount of $22 million in Community Reinvestment funding per historic formula of $110,000 per closed bed, restoring a possible $5.5 million cut. See examples of the wonderful uses of such funding over the past few years at: https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/transformation/all-programs-list.html.
- The legislature has separated out $30 million in community infrastructure funding for specified licensed OMH, OASAS, DOH and OPWDD, home care and primary care providers via a non-competitive process. See more details at http://www.nyaprs.org/e-news-bulletins/2016/014903.cfm.
- Prescriber Prevails: the legislature fully restored medication choice protections putting prescriber judgement over health plan approval processes.
- Project Inset proposed pilot: we are seeking funding for a new voluntary approach to offer an immediate, intensive and sustained assistance for people and families in crisis.