HB 1001, the Indiana State Budget Bill, would inexplicably make cuts to appropriations for mental health and addiction services. As currently constructed, $26 million would be cut from the biennium budget as compared to the previous budget passed by the Indiana General Assembly.
Now is not the time to reduce state mental health and addiction funding in Indiana. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for mental health services throughout our state, and there have been increases in rates of depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug overdoses, and suicide.
This proposed budget would reduce several line items, including funding for Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Substance Use Disorders (SUD). Additionally, the bill would reduce the Recovery Works program, which is designed to move individuals in the criminal justice system into mental health and addiction treatment when appropriate. A reduction in this highly successful program will likely lead to increased incarceration and recidivism rates.
It is clear this budget, as constructed, would have a dramatic negative impact on the ability of mental health and addiction providers to meet the increasing demand for services. State funding for mental health and addiction is critically important to ensure services are provided to those most in need. When these services are not available or accessible, there is a corresponding reduction in overall health and well-being and increased societal costs such as increased utilization of Medicaid, unnecessary hospitalizations, and increased homeliness.
What was the rationale for these cuts? Due to the ongoing fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state agencies initially calculated their base budget with a 15% reduction. However, after review of the January state revenue report, the current administration stated the revenue forecast will likely reflect additional General Fund dollars available compared to the revenue forecast used to prepare the Governor’s recommended budget. Further, the administration stated they supported full restoration of mental health and addiction funding, assuming the revenue forecast does in fact grow as expected.
Valley Oaks Health and Mental Health America of Indiana strongly support the administration’s position to restore Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) appropriations to previous budget levels, assuming the revenue forecast grows as expected. Unfortunately, as drafted, HB 1001 does not fully restore the $26 million in funding cuts in mental health and addictions appropriation.
Please contact your senator today and ask them to FULLY RESTORE the $26 million funding cuts for mental health and addiction services in HB 1001, the State Budget Bill.
To find your senator, visit the Indiana Secretary of State’s website.