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Dept. of Health and Hospitals Proposed Budget Depends on Contingencies

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion state budget for the next fiscal year seemingly leaves the state relatively unscathed.

Jindal’s plan allocates $8.9 billion for DHH. That would only be a cut of less than one percent – much less, proportionally, than other departments are potentially facing.   

Some of DHH’s biggest cuts could be shouldered by the Office of Behavioral Health, with a proposed $53.7 million reduction and the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, with a possible $31.9 million budget cut. Both of these offices received mid-year reductions on Feb. 1.

There are some funding increases; most noticeably Medicaid payments to providers could see a bump of $21.7 million.

But Steve Spires with the Louisiana Budget Project said DHH’s budget still depends heavily on pending outcomes, such as the savings from the Bayou Health reforms put into place last year and the privatization of the LSU charity hospitals.

"But there’s a lot of questions around that. We don’t yet know how they’re going to be structured. In some instances, partners have not been identified yet. We don’t really know how the funding mechanisms is going to work and we don’t know what protections are going to be in place for the uninsured," said Spires.

Spires said if these factors don’t play out, DHH could see a more significant cut in funding.

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