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Area Health Care Organizations See Reduced State Funding

In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community, Michele Skalicky explores how area non profit health care organizations have been impacted by state budget cuts.

Many organizations in Missouri have faced budget cuts and could be facing more as the tough economic situation forces lawmakers to find ways to cut costs…and nonprofit healthcare organizations are no exception.The state’s Department of Mental Health saw significant budget cuts last year, which trickled down to organizations such as Burrell Behavioral Health in Springfield.Dr. Todd Schaible, Burrell President and CEO, says state funding makes up a significant portion of Burrell’s budget.Last year’s budget cuts--about a 10% cut for community psychiatric behavioral health services--affected Burrell, he says, but they made up for the loss of revenue in other ways…Schiable1 :He anticipates about a 2% cut this year, which he says is very understandable given the times we’re in…Schiable2 :Burrell offers a variety of mental health services to about 17,000 individuals each year in 17 counties.Dr. Schaible says it’s important that they always have various sources of funding so, when there’s ebb and flow, they remain stable.Dewayne Long is executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill or NAMI’s Hope Center here in Springfield. They offer a variety of services to those with a mental illness including support services, information and educating the community to try to erase stigmas.He says NAMI provides a place for people to go where they’re accepted for who they are…Dewayne2 Janet Plemmons was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 3 years ago…Janet1 :She found out about the Hope Center thru her psychiatrist. At first she was hesitant to go to NAMI. She got to a point where she thought about ending her life, but she didn’t want it to end that way so she started reading self-help books and finally sought help at the Hope Center…Janet2 :Today, Plemmons works part-time at NAMI, leading support groups and helping others struggling with mental illness.She’s one of about 3000 individuals each year who seek help thru NAMI.Long says so far they haven’t been impacted by state budget cuts but cuts have affected people they serve. He says they’ve seen a significant increase during the recession of people seeking services. He says they’re always concerned they could lose state funding, but he remains optimistic that won’t happen since they’re a consumer-operated center.CoxHealth last summer saw a 20% reduction in the amount of money it receives in Medicaid payments, which amounted to about $12 million a year. Jake McWay is chief financial officer at Cox…Jake1According to McWay, the healthcare industry is in belt-tightening mode already, and this just forced them to make changes sooner.McWay says none of the reductions was in physician services, so the cuts didn’t impact patients’ ability to access care.He says it’s important to understand that, regardless of what levels Medicaid payments have been at over the last several years, they’re still far below what it actually costs to deliver care…Jake3 :CoxHealth’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Edwards says Missouri is less competitive in creating jobs when commercial payers and companies getting coverage thru them are paying a premium to offset Medicaid shortfalls…Steve2Edwards says there are no specifics yet out of Jefferson City on any Medicaid cuts for next fiscal year.You can find this story and others in our Sense of Community Series on our website KSMU, I’m Michele Skalicky.