Friday, November 7, 2008

Change amidst the Ruins: The Economy Meets Rosie D.

As we have dreamed of building a new system for children's mental health care, we have heard over and over that, without mental health providers who are adequately reimbursed, we can do little.  With the budget being cut at the state level, it was only a matter of time before reimbursement was affected on the ground.  This came from MBHP the other day:
Alert #47:  This Alert is to inform providers within the MBHP network that, as of December 5, 2008 provider rates will revert back to those in place as of July 31, 2008.

In response to the current economic crisis affecting the Commonwealth, on October 15, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick announced a plan that will reduce spending within state government during the remainder of FY 2009. As part of this plan, MassHealth has established a savings target that will necessitate that MBHP’s earnings and administrative resources be cut and that total medical expenditures also are reduced.

Since the announcement of the budget cuts by Governor Patrick, MBHP has met with, and solicited input and ideas from, many stakeholders, including consumers, families, advocates, and providers, in an effort to devise a spending reduction plan that will minimize the negative impact on MBHP Members, the Commonwealth’s behavioral health delivery system, and the providers of services.

As part of the specific budget cuts, MBHP will roll back provider rates, effective December 5, 2008 to those levels that were in place as of July 31, 2008. To clarify, providers will be reimbursed at the current rates as announced in Alert #40, inclusive of dates of service from August 1, 2008 through December 4, 2008. Effective with dates of service thereafter, all providers will receive the rates that they were receiving as of July 31, 2008.
So, how can we talk of CSAs and better services in this era of shrinking resources?  MBHP and the other providers are doing what it can to preserve the provider network, but mental health reform is clearly getting tangled up very quickly in the morass of economic decay.  

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