Mental health officials say budget cuts will immediately affect 73,000 Oklahomans

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Mental health patients and families are in more danger - that is according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

This comes after another $13 million cut was announced Friday.

Earlier this year, the agency announced it had to cut $9.8 million, meaning it is down a total of $22.8 million this year.

However, when you factor in federally matched funds, the department said it's down around $40 million.

It is money mental health advocates said could mean someone’s life.

For many years, Heath Hayes struggled with depression and drug addiction.

"I've been to jail. I've spent tons of money on drugs and failed out of college," Hayes said.

He said getting treatment saved his life.

That is why he felt sickened to learn more is being cut from mental health.

"The people who need the medications, the therapy, the treatment, I think that it's a tragedy," Hayes said.

According to ODMHSAS, more than 73,000 Oklahomans will experience reduced services.

“When we went through budget cuts like this about six years ago, we saw an increase in the rate of suicide in Oklahoma," said Terri White, with the Department of Mental Health.

Janet Cizek owns a treatment center in Tulsa and cares for about 5,000 patients each year.

She is in a panic after learning $7 million will be cut from private-based providers, like her, across the state.

"To think that some people will lose their job, to think that some people who need treatment will die," Cizek said.

In addition, the agency said the cuts will affect the inmate population.

"When we limit services that the DAs and local law enforcement have access to, criminal justice numbers go up, period. Including ultimately the Department of Corrections," White said.

Also, mental health workers said taxpayers will end up spending more.

"What we know very clearly is, when someone gets treatment, it costs about $2,000 per year per person. When someone's in the Department of Corrections, it costs a minimum of $19,000 per year per person," White said.

One of the biggest fears is public safety.

"It's saying that the next door neighbor might not be safe. It's that someone who needs treatment might be getting behind the wheel of a car. It really impacts and affects everyone," Cizek said.

NewsChannel 4 reached out to Governor Mary Fallin’s office Friday but did not immediately hear back regarding the cuts.

Below, ODMHSAS broke down what services will see cuts and by how much:

ODMHSAS

FY16 Budget Cuts

(State Revenue Failure)

Since January, ODMHSAS has cut $22.8 million from current-year operations and services, the result of two state revenue failures. Details of the cuts are as follows:

First Revenue Failure

  • $4.4 million – Cuts to ODMHSAS Administration/Operations

Direct cuts to ODMHSAS administration and operations including personnel and ODMHSAS services.

  • $1.5 million – Cuts to Mental Health Court Expansion

Internal cost reductions that were targeted for expansion of mental health courts.

  • $1.3 million – Cut to Safety Net Services

Funds for safety net services and reimbursement for contracted private agency providers associated with uncompensated care.  Approximately 650 Oklahomans impacted.

  • $1 million – Postponed SOC Expansion

Postponement of expansion plans for Oklahoma’s Systems of Care program.

  • $400,000 – Cuts to Prevention Services

Cuts to the statewide prevention network and related services.

Second Revenue Failure

  • $7 million – Cut to Private Community-Based Providers

Private, contracted treatment providers will lose $7 million in funding from current year treatment contracts.  This is expected to impact up to 3,500 Oklahomans in need of treatment services.

  • $4.1 million – Delay of Final Reimbursement Claims for Contracted Providers

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) will delay final FY2016 claim payments to reduce billing that in turn will save the department $4.1 in the current fiscal year billing cycle.

  • $1.83 million – Rate Cuts for Private Providers

Cuts will be made to provider rates for inpatient, psychiatric residential treatment, licensed behavioral health practitioner (LBHP) and psychologist services.  These services are all delivered by contracted private providers throughout
the state and will include:

  • A 3% cut to the acute inpatient reimbursement rate ($22,333)
  • A 15% cut to the psychiatric residential treatment services rate ($875,000)
  • A 10% cut to the reimbursement rate for an LBHP Under Supervision ($537,419)
  • A 30% cut to individual licensed behavioral health services (15% overhead and 15% rate) ($346,802)
  • A 10% rate cut to psychologists in independent practice ($48,835)

As a result of these cuts, providers will also lose federal reimbursement for services.  This will mean an approximate $4.7 million total reduction to FY2016 provider billing.

  • $1,303,262 – Capped Delivery of Psychotherapy Services

Medicaid psychotherapy services delivered by licensed behavioral health professionals will be capped.  This will mean reduced services for approximately 73,000 Oklahomans and a loss of over $3,646,840 million in FY2016 provider billing.

  • $5,000 – Cuts to Treatment Plan Updates

Reimbursement for treatment plan updates will now be limited to once every six months, per client, for all providers.  This cut is expected to impact total provider billing by $12,817 in FY2016.