Texas state budget shows Health and Human Services restructuring

Governor Abbott signed the $217 billion 2018-2019 state budget into law earlier this week. The governor vetoed approximately $120 million in spending, mostly in environmental programs.

Health and Human Services received approximately $79.5 billion for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, or about a 3 percent increase from 2015’s budget of almost $77.2 billion.

While both the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Health and Human Services Commission saw increases in their total funding (nearly 17 percent and 28 percent respectively), the Department of State Health Services saw a reduction of $4.9 billion from 2015’s budget. DSHS’ total funding for 2018-2019 is $1.5 billion.

“The budget change is related to the movement of the state mental health hospitals, WIC and some regulatory programs to other state agencies in order to allow us a greater focus on public health,” said Chris Van Deusen, Director of Media Relations at DSHS.

The Health and Human Services Commission confirmed that both WIC, the state mental health hospitals, and some regulatory services will be transferred over effective September 1 this year.

DSHS received $1.6 billion in the last biennium to provide WIC services and $870 million for mental health state hospitals. HHSC will receive similar levels of funding for 2018-2019.

HHSC will also take over regulatory services for

  • hospitals
  • ambulatory surgical centers
  • federal qualified health centers
  • birthing centers
  • rural health clinics
  • freestanding emergency medical care facilities
  • abortion facilities
  • end stage renal disease facilities
  • comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • chemical dependency facilities
  • crisis stabilization units
  • narcotic treatment programs
  • clinical laboratories
  • outpatient physical and speech therapy

The state budget reduces DSHS funding from all funding sources, cutting the general revenue fund by 82 percent, the general revenue fund – dedicated by 63 percent, federal funds by 77 percent, and other funds by 61 percent.