Health care budget measures introduced in Oregon legislature

Oregon Health Authority budget measures were introduced on Feb. 4, and the state Department of Human Services has also released its 2022 budget priorities.

During a Feb. 4 meeting of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, LC 289 was introduced for the short 2022 session. LC 289 deals with appropriating money from the general fund to state agencies for biennial expenses. It modifies some appropriations, limitations, and declares an emergency when it is approved.

 

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For the health authority, for the biennium ending in June 2023, the budget for health systems, health policy and analytics, and public health would be increased by $3 million to temporarily increase behavioral health residential treatment provider rates.

The budget would also be increased by $2.4 million to expand the duration of Medicaid postpartum cover to 12 months. The maximum limit for payment of expenses from federal funds would be increased by $6.4 million for postpartum coverage.

The Oregon Department of Human Services has also released a budget request agenda for the 2022 session. In it, the department asks for $24 million to build local equity infrastructure through data collection, employee training, and improving service delivery to BIPOC, LGBTQ, disability, and rural communities.

It also seeks $15.9 million for child welfare staffing. Specifically, the funding increase is due to a growth in caseloads and a need for more central operations capacity, especially coaching, consultation, and guidance to support operations. The funding would go to assist ongoing staffing shortages and resolving double-filled positions.

Another $6.8 million was requested for support service providers. Some $38.2 million was requested to fund staff and equipment to coordinate emergency management responsibilities, especially food, water, and shelter.

Finally, the department requested $27.6 million, through a combination of both state and federal funding, to support TANF-eligible families in Oregon.