Mental health budget less

By William K. Alcorn


Medicaid expansion in Ohio is a primary cause of a nearly $500,000 decrease in the county mental-health department’s new annual budget.

The Mahoning County Mental Health Board recently approved a total budget for fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015) of $6,818,145 — $493,960 less than the previous fiscal year’s budget of $7,312,105.

Because Medicaid expansion is enabling more people to qualify for Medicaid, services previously provided clients by mental-health board-funded agencies with state mental-health and local mental-levies are being paid for through Medicaid.

It shows Medicaid expansion in Ohio is working, because this is how it is supposed to be, said Duane Piccirilli, mental-health board executive director.

Piccirilli said the board staff and social-service agencies will work to get even more eligible mental-health clients on Medicaid so that the mental-health board’s state and levy dollars can be used for prevention and other related mental-health services.

This is a transition year regarding the major funding shift to Medicaid, said Howard Merritt, the mental-health board’s fiscal officer.

“We will monitor it closely to ensure it is working the way it is supposed to,” he said.

“If agencies don’t get as many new mental-health clients enrolled in Medicaid as expected, the board will look again at the funding situation. We don’t want that at-risk population to go without services,” Piccirilli said.

Projected revenues for FY 2015 are: two levies, $4.1 million; mental health continuum of care, $1,267,506; community medication, $272,583; regional collaborations, $215,839; grants and other funds, $779,385; board reserves/other, $182,832; total, $6,818,145.

Budgeted expenditures are:

Local hospital bed expenditures, $300,000; core agency allocations, $4,264,287; discretionary projects, $110,000; mental health board office (personnel, $634,540; operating, $293,350; services/other, $114,000); grants, collaboration and other, $779,385; miscellaneous other, $272,583; local “Hot Spot” projects, $50,000; total, $6,818,145.

Local “Hot Spots” is a new line-item created to fund gaps in services not anticipated or possibly a grant that requires a match, Piccirilli said.

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