The State Legislature Will Finalize the Budget Between Now and June 3

The State Legislature Will Finalize the Budget Between Now and June 3

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The State Legislature Will Finalize the Budget Between Now and June 3.  Please Help Protect School-Based Health Center Funding by Contacting (or Recontacting) Your Legislator Today!

While the Connecticut legislature’s Appropriations Committee has recommended restoring 75% of the cuts to essential human services originally proposed by the administration, last week the Governor countered by urging the legislature to undo roughly half of that restoration.  Analysis shows that, even in the best of these scenarios, children’s services will bear a disproportionately large share of reductions and, within that, funding to Connecticut’s School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) will be particularly harmed.  With SBHCs playing a critical role in identifying and treating our most at-risk youth through integrated, barrier-free medical and mental health services, cuts at any level will do further harm to services that are already chronically underfunded.

As just one of Connecticut’s SBHC providers, Child and Family Agency’s calculation is that, even if the legislature were to adopt Appropriations’ likely-best-case scenario proposal as is, CFA’s 18 SBHCs will lose nearly $160,000 (6.25%) per year in grant funding and another $66,000 in billable income due to lost staffing.  Statewide impact across 80+ SBHCs will be proportionately similar.

Expressed in terms of lost school-based services, this likely-best-case scenario will mean an estimated 1,375 fewer direct medical and mental health service encounters from CFA’s current average of over 22,000 visits per year.  Calculated at a statewide scale, the reduced staffing will mean that over 8,100 fewer visits per year will be provided to children for whom their SBHC is their usual source of care.  Deeper cuts will just deepen the impact.

  • For example, some of these lost visits will mean that students who need State-mandated school entry physicals will sit at home or on the streets waiting for an appointment, rather than being seen immediately so they can attend school.
  • Other lost visits will mean that a student with asthma or other condition who could have been treated during the school day may now go into an acute medical crisis and need to be seen in the Emergency Department, costly in terms of missed class time and medical expenses.
  • As a third example, some of the students who are in need of mental health supports will now sit on a waiting list rather than be seen before problems worsen.

If you share our concern regarding the impact of the proposed cuts to School-Based Health Centers, please contact one or more of your legislators to

  • thank the Appropriations Committee for restoring most of the administration’s proposed human services cuts;
  • remind them and your other legislators that even this reduced level of cuts will result in a real reduction in SBHC service delivery; and
  • urge them to please keep School-Based Health Centers squarely in mind as a priority as they work through the hard decisions involved in finalizing the budget.

For more information on the cuts and SBHCs please go to:  http://www.ctschoolhealth.org/

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR WITH THE EMAIL/LETTER BELOW 

To find your legislators: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/content/townlist.asp

Email/Letter Examples:
Dear Representative/Senator___________________,I am writing to express my deep concern for the cuts to children’s services in the State budget proposed for the next two years.  A basic review shows that children’s services bear a disproportionately large share of these cuts and, within that, funding to Connecticut’s School-Based Health Centers has been particularly harmed.  With SBHCs perennially playing a critical role in identifying, serving and treating our most at-risk youth through uniquely integrated, barrier-free medical and mental health services, it is vital that these cuts be restored to the greatest extent possible. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s recommendations make it clear that School-Based Health Centers will continue to be in one of the best, barrier-free positions to prevent such future tragedies and to ensure healthy life trajectories of all of our youth.

As the legislature enters its final days of crafting a difficult budget, we commend the Appropriations Committee for restoring roughly 75% of the administration’s proposed cuts to human services (SBHCs included).  As you work through the many hard decisions involved, we would simply remind you that even Appropriations’ significant restoration of much of the SBHC budget cut still leaves a reduction of 6.25% of that funding (5% January rescission plus 1.25% moving forward for the biennium), which will result in thousands fewer direct service SBHC visits for Connecticut’s children.  Please protect these services to the greatest extent possible.

Respectfully,

Your Name

 

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