Senate budget writers turned their attention Monday to the state’s biggest agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.
The proposed budget for DHHS comes in at just more than $2 billion. It seeks to restore the CHINS program and increase payments to hospitals for uncompensated care.
The budget also lays out $24.5 million over the next two years to shore up the state’s troubled mental health system.
Senator Lou D’Allesandro questioned if the state can wait that long for a fix.
Commissioner Nick Toumpas replied there really is no choice.
“I’m not going to sit here and say there isn’t an issue. But I will also say, Senator, it wasn’t overnight that this issue was created. It’s not going to be overnight that it is going to be resolved.”
The Senate Finance Committee also questioned the agency’s $46 million in estimated savings for a transition to Medicaid managed care.
Already months behind schedule, Toumpas admitted that the full extent of those savings likely isn’t realistic.