Utah Legislature passes supplemental appropriations bill for behavioral health

A supplemental appropriations bill for behavioral health passed in the Utah State Legislature this week. The appropriations supplement those previously provided for the remainder of the fiscal year. 

S.B. 2002 provides budget increases for Behavioral Health Services, reduces unused appropriations for Medicaid Expansion, and provides one-time appropriation for Washington County Court Support Services. The bill’s chief sponsor is Sen. Allen Christensen, chair of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee. 

On the House floor, Rep. Paul Ray of the 13th district said the bill was needed to backfill a budget shortfall from lower than expected Medicaid enrollment.  

This bill is actually just restoring funding that came out due to what we were expecting on the Medicaid expansion that honestly just didn’t work. If you know anything about how we do fundamental health in Utah, we do it through the county. We run all of our mental health from the county and we fund a lot from the state…when we did the Medicaid expansion and enrollment in that, we anticipated a lot more enrolling. So we put in $10 million anticipating that enrollment would cover that cost. When it did not, we ended up short $3.9 million.”

The bill appropriates $3.9 million in operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2020. 

 

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The appropriations for operating and capital budgets will be sent to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.  Of the $3.9 million, $3.5 million will be allocated for local substance abuse services. The remaining $398,000 will be allocated for state substance abuse services in order to restore funding to the Washington County Court Support Services program.

The State Division of Finance will transfer $3.9 million to the Medicaid Expansion Fund from the General Fund. 

The bill will take effect immediately upon approval by the Governor. The Utah General Session will begin on Monday, January 28th.