Alaska House Finance Budget Subcommittee finalizes their recommendations for the DHSS budget
The Alaska House Finance Budget Subcommittee for the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) restored the full funding of Medicaid Services as part of its fiscal year 2022 (FY22) operating budget recommendation. This was done by denying the Governor’s $35 million decrement, and instead deciding to fully fund Medicaid in the 2022 operating budget.
The subcommittee’s submitted recommended operating budget for the DHSS for FY22 is $3.461 billion.
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The Governor’s Amended Budget Allocation for DHSS’ FY22 operating budget was $3.409 billion. The subcommittee’s recommendation is an increase of just over $52 million, or 1.52%.
Funding comes from $1.115 billion in Unrestricted General Funds (UGF), $96 million in Designated General Funds (DGF), $179 million in other funds and $2.07 billion in federal funds. The UGF difference from the FY22 Adjusted Base to the subcommittee recommendation is a decrease of $1.391 million, or 0.1%.
The subcommittee accepted some of the Governor’s requests for amendments to the FY22 Adjusted Base, denied others and made 11 of it’s own amendments. These include the decision to fully fund Medicaid in the FY22 operating budget and to deny the Governor’s amendments that reduced the presence of Children’s Services and Juvenile Justice staff in rural communities.
The subcommittee believed that the delivery of these services electronically or through workers based in urban Alaska would be detrimental to the mission of Children’s Services and Juvenile Justice. They also added targeted funding to increase the recruitment and retention of caseworkers in the Office of Children’s Services. This will be done through retention bonuses, behavioral health support and tuition reimbursement for caseworkers.
They included funding for the implementation of the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact to improve services for families in rural Alaska. They also partially restored funding that was previously cut from the Public Health Nursing program and increased the availability of Behavioral Health grants and Individual Developmental Disability waiver services.
The subcommittee also made the recommendations to the House Finance Committee that they replace the Mental Health Trust Reserve Funds with an alternative funding source and review the Medicaid fiscal year 2021 carryforward language.
The subcommittee’s operating budget recommendations will now be reviewed by the House Finance Committee before heading to the floor to be voted on by all members of the House.