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.
The state Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to temporarily reopen 12 beds at the state’s psychiatric hospital.
The state now needs to find more than $2 million to cover the cost.
Mental health advocates say the plan to add beds at New Hampshire Hospital is an encouraging first step in addressing long waiting lists for treatment.
But Ken Norton with the state chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill says there is still much work to be done.
State department heads will spend the coming weeks working to meet Governor-elect Maggie Hassan’s mandate to cut spending by 3 percent next year.
Federal regulators have given the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Service 30 days to provide information about the state’s Medicaid program.
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