Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried today announced that the Assembly's State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2018-19 budget proposal makes important investments in the state's public health systems and increases funding to combat heroin and opioid addiction. The plan also includes numerous funding restorations to promote the accessibility and affordability of care across the state.
"New Yorkers need a public health system that meets needs as diverse as its population," said Speaker Heastie. "This funding will make investments in critical public health programs, from school based health centers to community based providers to mental health crisis intervention teams and programs to combat opioid addictions. The Assembly Majority will continue fighting to ensure that our public health system protects our most vulnerable populations while meeting the needs of our families and communities."
"No New Yorker should have to go without health care. It is a basic human right," said Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee. "The Assembly Majority works to provide high-quality, accessible care throughout the state. Our budget proposal will protect and strengthen access to care for all of us, including the most vulnerable populations being targeted by the administration in Washington."
The Assembly recognizes the vitally important role that health care providers play in our healthcare system. For the first time in over ten years, the Assembly proposal would restore the trend factor for hospital, nursing home, home care, and personal care providers. This would provide $430 million in support to our critical safety-net providers.
In addition, the spending plan would provide $525 million in capital funding for the state's health care providers, an increase of $100 million from the Governor's proposal. Of this amount, $75 million would be dedicated to community-based providers, an increase of $35 million from the Executive proposal.
In recognition of the essential role of community-based healthcare services, the Assembly budget restores almost $9.2 million in funding for 30 public health programs that were slated for consolidation and cuts in the Executive budget, among them:
The One-House bill makes crucial investments in mental health care, including $15 million to expand children's mental health services, which the Executive budget would have delayed, and $10 million in capital support for children's behavior health development. The bill also includes language to ensure Office of Mental Health (OMH) hospital beds are not closed if there is a wait list for services in the catchment area. The Assembly would invest $1 million in supporting crisis intervention teams and diversion programs eliminated in the Executive Budget.
Seniors face some of the highest health care costs in the state and the Assembly budget would commit much needed resources to curb these expenses and preserve access to affordable long-term care. In the SFY 2018-19 proposal, the Assembly restores more than $27 million in long term care reductions, including more than $7.8 million to maintain the right of spousal refusal.
The Assembly provides $47.75 million in additional support of an expansion of heroin and opiate related programs, including treatment, recovery and peer support services. This investment will bring total spending in the Assembly proposal on heroin and opiate services to $270 million. The plan also includes $10 million in capital funding to support residential bed and opioid treatment program development.
The legislation also increases the proposed opioid surcharge from two cents per morphine milligram to two and a half cents per morphine milligram, which would generate an additional $31.75 million. The additional revenue would be used to expand opiate addiction treatment, prevention and recovery programs, school-based substance use programming, workforce recruitment and retention, substance abuse programming in local jails and alternatives-to-incarceration programs.
Other measures included in the Assembly budget would: