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Budget hurts thousands with mental illness

The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities and county mental health officials are questioning the $65 million the Administration and Legislature state they put back into the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) budget above the Governor’s budget framework.

Other than the additional $14.7 million put into the ODMH 505 community services line — it appears the rest never existed.

The $14.7 million put into the hospital operations line was removed from another existing line. The $36 million placed in a Medicaid appropriations line will never be realized based on Medicaid utilization projections by both the state and county boards.

With this budget, thousands of non-Medicaid eligible individuals with severe mental illness will not receive needed services.

Additionally, neither Medicaid eligible nor non-Medicaid eligible individuals will receive services such as housing, peer support, employment, etc.

Beyond cuts to the community, ODMH took an additional $31 million from the 408 for hospital costs after closing two state hospitals. Overall, while ODMH took a 17 percent cut from the Legislature, communities took a 34 percent cut in funds from ODMH.

The ADAMHS Board (Alcohol, Drug Addiction, Mental Health Services of Adams, Lawrence, Scioto Counties) is evaluating the impact of cuts on local services. Additionally, the Board is advocating that the legislature correct errors in the original budget and avoid further cuts.

The Governor and Legislature must correct this situation by:

Replacing the $14.7 million cut from the ODMH 408 hospital and community services line item.

Moving the $36 million from the 635 Medicaid appropriations line and placing an additional $36 million into the 505 community services line item.

Holding ODMH to the same standard as every other entity and prohibit them from taking the additional $31 million from 408.

Tony Pollard, CEO, ADAMHS Board