Mental health services in Minnesota unexpectedly lost ground today, as the House Health and Human Services Finance Division introduced their proposed budget. The bottom line is that the House is aiming to take more away from mental health services than the Governor.
We find it hard to believe that the same Legislators that worked so diligently to try to find some solution for GAMC would abandon the critical programs that help keep Minnesotans independent and prevent hospitalization or other high-cost crisis situations. This news requires our immediate and strong response. Please call your Representative immediately, and tell them what mental health services mean to you and what you think about these cuts:
- Supportive long-term housing is important because it provides stability and a chance to recover. It is the single most important priority we have for our community.
- Instead, State Operated Services hospital system escapes unscathed from cuts. This rewards them for ignoring the Legislature, and refusing to deliver the services that we need.
- ACT Teams help defuse crisis situations, and find treatment for those who need it most.
- Cuts to county mental health grants attack the backbone of mental health services in Minnesota, delivered in the communities where we live. They provide services such as clinics, case managers, and housing that help us recover.
- These cuts come on top of 9 million of reductions to mental health grants in the GAMC compromise bill above and beyond lost reimbursement for services. GAMC was redesigned by cannibalizing the mental health system. In total, these grants will have been cut by over a quarter.
- Mental health services stand alone in receiving additional cuts beyond what the Governor proposed. Nursing Homes and Disability services stand to retain 100 Million that would have been cut. Mental health services are valuable, too. We can’t be the only target.
- Ultimately, this is a revenue problem. The dismantling of successful programs that help save money in the long-term is not an appropriate response to a temporary and politically exacerbated revenue shortfall.
- Expanding Medical Assistance may be a positive part of extending services to those who can’t afford them, but other cuts to hospitals and providers will weaken the system at the same time we’re adding more patients.
Tom Johnson, one of our client advocates, puts it well. You can treat a disease, and that’s part of the solution. But you also have to believe in people, too.
These cuts hit the very services that help Minnesotans with mental illnesses believe in themselves again and find recovery. At the same time, this plan will overwhelm and erode the emergency safety net that is supposed to treat them when they need it most.
The House plan is unacceptable to our community. It represents more hospitalization, less management of our conditions, and more costs.
Please call today, and send this information on to anyone who wants better lives for Minnesotans with mental illnesses.