Final 2006 Michigan Department of Community Health Budget More Generous Than Advocates Feared
Final 2006 Michigan Department of
Community Health Budget More Generous Than Advocates Feared
by Alison Hirschel, MPLP Elder Law Attorney
After months of political wrangling and draconian proposed cuts to the 2006 Medicaid budget, the final MDCH budget is far more generous than lobbyists and advocates expected. Nearly all of the program cuts and new program requirements for recipients in the Senate-passed and House-passed DCH budget bills were not included, and even a few of the cuts by the Governor were restored.
Among the most important outcomes:
Despite previous proposals from the House and Senate, the budget does not cut the $100 million funding for the MI Choice Home and Community Based (HCBS) Waiver program. However, waiver agents are required to reduce administrative costs by $2 per person per day and use those savings to increase enrollment in the program and provide additional services. Some waiver agents believe this reduction in administrative expenses could have a significant negative impact on their ability to manage the program;
Requires a report by the Department on the number of nursing home patients discharged who subsequently enroll in MI Choice. The budget anticipates a $1.3 million dollar savings from these changes and those savings are to be added to the MI Choice budget;
Restores most of the funding to the Office of Services to the Aging (although significant cuts included the total elimination of funding for senior center staff; and cuts to senior volunteer programs and the line item that funds care management; alternative care, in-home services, and access services);
Many observers fear that the budget is not entirely realistic
and assume the Department will have to seek significant supplemental appropriations
to cover shortfalls later in the fiscal year. Moreover, a number of issues that
may have a dramatic effect on the budget are not yet resolved including whether
the federal government will approve the Medicaid waiver application submitted
by the Granholm administration earlier this year.