According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, several agencies have released their budget requests to be considered during the next legislative session.
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Listed below are some of the health care related requests.
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS):
AHCCCS’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request consists of a $358.3 million increase in state General Funds (GF), and a decrease of $11.7 million in Other Appropriated Funds for a net appropriated fund increase of $346.6 million above FY2022.
Staff shortages in hospitals is an increasing problem as medical facilities deal with surging COVID-19 case numbers. The AHCCCS budget request for FY2023 will help address this problem. According to the request (on page 7), the 2023 year will represent the third time that funding goes to the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program.
The GME program saw $33 million in donations back in 2007, a number that’s estimated to reach $356 million in 2022. For FY2023, AHCCCS is requesting to add an additional $3 million GF increase for the program.
The GME program helps fund rural hospitals by state matching voluntary donations from local political subdivisions.
Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS):
Providing a comfortable experience for mental health patients is one of the priorities addressed in the ADHS FY2023 budget requests. The Arizona State Hospital, a facility operated by the department, is designed to provide care and treatment for mental health patients.
According to a report by the department, the Joint Commission performed an on-site Accreditation Survey on May 4, 2021. The facility was cited for not complying with the commission’s standards, more specifically related to the ligature points (various aspects of a facility such as shower chairs, door handles, ect). The facility was lacking in these areas.
According to the Joint Commission Standards, every patient has the right to receive care in a safe setting (Conditions of Participation 482.13 c2)
In response to these findings, the hospital will address several areas such as replacing patient door handles with compliant ones, lengthening and rewiring phones in each of the nursing stations, and addressing ligature issues with patient rooms.
The ADHS budget request has these services totaling $301,970.
Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR):
Tackling substance abuse among inmates is a critical component in the FY2023 ADCRR budget request. According to the department, a key component of recidivism reduction is focusing on substance abuse treatment. $5,000,600 was provided in FY2022 for substance abuse treatment, but these funds were only for one year.
One of the department’s biggest priorities is ensuring adequate staffing. Currently, the department has 25 licensed counselors and four licensed counselor supervisor positions to help administer treatment. This staff was only able to meet 12.9% of the total treatment needed in FY2020.
According to the department’s request, ADCRR released 15,715 inmates during FY2021. Approximately 86% of these inmates, however, were deemed as needing substance abuse treatment. The department treated and graduated 1,378 inmates from a primary treatment group during the same year. This amount met just 10.2% of the total treatment needed.
ADCRR is requesting $5,000,600 to help bring on more staff.
In addition to funding for staffing needs, ADCRR is also seeking funds to help with a new approach to substance abuse treatment. Thanks to a federal grant, the department opened a modified Therapeutic Community at the Tucson prison. The group will serve 270 inmates a year who need the greatest level of addiction treatment. According to the department’s budget request, there were 22,329 inmates who were assessed as needing this level of care.
ADHS is seeking $1,000,400 with this request to help establish new treatment locations.
There are a number of other agency budget requests ranging from agencies such as the Department of Education to Fire and Forestry Management. A full list of the state agencies’ budget requests can be accessed here.