For several weeks now you have been reading in the paper about proposed cuts to the state budget and the potential impacts these cuts could have on specific programs. I realize this can be very concerning to many of you and may instill a sense of uncertainty for our programs’ future.

I want you to know the Legislative Interim Committee on Health and Human Services voted 7 to 1 to continue their objection to the proposed Administrative Rules for Medicaid that would allow the Department of Public Health and Human Services to reduce the rates which would result in a reduction in services to Medicaid Programs.  It is great to see that the committee supports our own objections to the rate reductions almost as much as we do.

We all need to recognize and accept the fact that our state is experiencing some serious financial challenges, so some budget cuts are inevitable; however, the proposed 10% cuts are neither realistic nor are they necessary. I feel confident saying that I believe our legislature would oppose any budget proposal that calls for the elimination of the Part C and FES programs, Evaluation and Diagnostic Clinics, Targeted Case Management, PLUK resource and referral Library.  For more information regarding specific information regarding the proposed cuts to DPHHS, please refer to balancedbudget.mt.gov and http://balancedbudget.mt.gov/Portals/186/DPHHS.pdf. Developmental Disability services are referenced as Program #10 in this document (pgs 52-69).

A more generalized overview of Montana’s Budget – Facts and Figures can be found here:

http://www.familyoutreach.org/2017/09/20/balancing-montanans-budget-facts-figures/

I have been asked what people can do to support us and what ways they can help protect existing services (budgets), and the answer is simply this: contact the Governor and legislative representatives and request they support these programs and services.

The Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services advised us that the following will be the protocol they will follow:

Next Steps: The recommendations are open for public comment for two weeks. Comments can still be submitted electronically via the balancedbudget.mt.gov website, with comments made going to the Governor’s Office.  The process for implementing the 17-7-140 plan also includes an opportunity for input by the Legislative Finance Committee. Comments can be made directly to legislators during this two week period as well. The comment period will close with a public hearing forum at the next Legislative Finance Committee hearing that is currently scheduled for October 4, 2017. Soon after receiving comments from the Committee, the Governor will make his decisions regarding the 17-7-140 reduction plan recommendations.

 

I encourage you to take a moment to let the Governor and /or the Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Service know how you feel about the proposed reductions in services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

How to contact Governor Bullock:

Use messaging system at http://balancedbudget.mt.gov/

Or Contact:

Office of the Governor
PO Box 200801
Helena, MT 59620-0801
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
Phone: 406-444-3111
Fax: 406-444-5529

How to contact Sheila Hogan, the Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services:

Email: sheilahogan@mt.gov
Call: 406-444-5622

How to contact Legislative Finance Committee:

Legislative Finance Committee Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact me directly at this number: 406-443-3083.

On behalf of everyone here at Family Outreach, I want to thank all of you for welcoming us into your homes and allowing us to work with you and your families.

In closing I would like to note that 2017 marks our 40th anniversary of providing services and  we look forward to the opportunity to continue providing quality programing for the next 40 years.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mike Mahoney
Executive Director