This post is part of a series of blog posts that explore the Ohio Budget Update.

This is the final budget of the Gov. John Kasich’s two-term administration and it was a challenging budget for the legislature and the administration with an ongoing decline in state revenue during the current fiscal year. With the initial announcement, in March state leaders proposed that the pending budget would need to be reduced by $800 million in general revenue funds over the biennium. This total grew to nearly $1 billion by mid-June. As a result, most state agencies received a 4-6 percent across-the-board cut and Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes and hospitals are frozen at January 1, 2017 levels. However, both the House and the Senate identified $170 million to fund priorities to help combat Ohio’s opioid crisis.

Opioid Crisis

Ohio’s growing opioid epidemic, with some of the rural areas of the state being the hardest hit in the country, was an area of focus throughout the budget process. The additional federal funding Ohio receives for Medicaid expansion has provided more than $1 billion for Ohio to help combat the crisis, which is one benefit to the decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio on which most legislators seem to agree. In 2016, 4,149 Ohioans died from a drug overdose, which equals 11 people a day. Throughout the budget process, advocacy organizations and health care professionals testified that they are seeing the potential of even a higher number of deaths in 2017. As such, the House and Senate both identified $170 million in funding for additional efforts to fight the growing epidemic as follows:

Mental Health and Addiction:

    • Requires Superintendent of Insurance to develop consumer education on mental health and addictions services insurance parity and creates a hotline to help consumers understand their benefits
    • Creates medication addiction treatment (MAT) standards for prescribers
    • Creates and funds the County Hub Program to combat opioid addiction to be administered by each ADAMHS board
    • Continuum of Care Services funding to ADAMHS boards for subsidized support psychotropic medication and MAT needs of indigent citizens
    • $20 million for recovery housing
  • $2 million for workforce recruitment and retention

Child and Family Welfare

  • Community Innovation Funds of $3 million in FY 2018 and $4 million in FY 2019 to provide funding for community projects that focus on support for families, assisting families in avoiding crisis and crisis innovation
  • Data collection and sharing by agencies that serve multi-system youth
  • Permits a county family and children first council to establish and operate a flexible funding in order to assure access to needed service by families and children in need of protective services

Criminal Justice

  • Creates a pilot program for mental health courts, including antipsychotic drugs that are administered in long-acting injectable form
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in specialized docket programs for drugs
  • Specific grants in support of addiction services alternatives to incarceration
  • Provide specialized re-entry services to offenders leaving prison
  • Creates the Psychotropic Drug Reimbursement Program, through which county jails are to be reimbursed by ODMHAS for psychotropic drugs dispensed to inmates

Wellness and Prevention

  • All Roads Lead to Home program includes a public service announcement (PSA) campaign, website and 24-hour hotline
  • $500,000 each fiscal year to support evidence based prevention in school settings
  • $1.5 million each fiscal year for ADAMHS boards to purchase the provision of evidence based prevention services from providers certified by ODMHAS

Local Government Fund (LGF) Priorities to help local communities:

  • Creates a new fund, Targeting Addition Assistance Fund (TAAF) in FY 2018 and 2019
  • Directs the funds to be utilized as follows:
      • $1 million by the Department of Health for Toxicology Screenings to reimburse county coroners for screenings for drug overdose deaths, and requires screenings for certain drugs
      • $5 million to the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to allocate grants to municipalities to provide services to those addicted to opiates and supplement grants distributed by Community Nonresidential Programs
      • $6 million for Substance Abuse Stabilization Centers to be allocated to local ADAMHS boards, a center to be located in each state psychiatric hospital region
      • $150,000 by ODJFS for Children’s Crisis Care facilities
      • $500,000 for Brigid’s Path Pilot for neonatal abstinence syndrome
      • $5 million through ODMHAS for ADAMHS boards to use for the Continuum of Care services
  • Continued funding for naloxone for local law enforcement through project DAWN in the county