AUGUSTA &ndash Today, Governor Mills released a supplemental budget proposal that invests in Maine children and foster parents, individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families, people facing a mental health crisis, older Mainers in need of health coverage, and the public health system.
"This budget proposal makes responsible investments to ensure Maine people have access to essential services that support their health, safety and wellbeing," said Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "We thank the Governor for supporting these initiatives and look forward to working with the Legislature on the proposal."
The funding Governor Mills has requested for DHHS through the supplemental budget includes:
- $1.5 million for 20 new positions to respond quickly and effectively to reports of child abuse or neglect. These new positions build on the 62 the Mills Administration and the Legislature have previously approved, including frontline caseworkers who have now all been hired.
- $2.5 million to support reimbursements to foster families who are caring for Maine children, resulting from an increase in the number of children in care.
- $1.1 million to restore a forensic crisis team, scaled back by the previous administration, that will work in partnership with the Department of Public Safety to divert people with severe mental illness from jail and emergency rooms and transition those already in prison back into the community.
- $2.6 million to eliminate the current Section 29 waitlist as DHHS seeks to overhaul and improve the range and flexibility of services for adults in Maine with developmental disabilities and autism.
- $469,000 to increase caregiver and respite support and provide training for families, state staff, and providers to improve person-centered planning and community inclusion for adults with developmental disabilities and autism as part of our broader strategy for reform.
- $27,000 to establish staffing and support for a mortality review committee to improve accountability, identify areas in need of intervention, and pursue quality improvement for individuals eligible for adult services.
- $314,646 to eliminate estate recovery for MaineCare enrollees not using long-term care, to encourage enrollment among older adults who are eligible for basic health coverage.
- $910,000 for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory to support its capacity to test for and isolate biological, chemical, or radiological hazards, such as lead, radiation or rabies.
The supplemental budget proposal does not create any new programs.
The Fiscal Year 2020-2021 biennial budget, passed last year with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Mills, set state appropriations for DHHS at $2.7 billion over the biennial. This supplemental proposal, which takes into account budget balances from last year and projected revenue, adds $14.5 million, or less than one percent in net appropriations.