I don’t have to tell you that we’ve faced unprecedented challenges over the last couple of years.  State revenues have declined for nearly 3 years now, and we’ve dramatically reduced our spending and staffing levels in an effort to bring spending in line with state revenues.  Excluding the money that goes toward the matching funds that are required for Medicaid (AHCCCS) behavioral health & children’s rehabilitative services, the overall ADHS General Fund budget has been reduced by more than 47% during the past 3 years.

On July 1, 2008, our budget for non-Medicaid services was approximately $270M, compared with $143M for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1, 2010; a reduction of more than $127M.  But these are just numbers.  What’s more important is the practical and real impact of these reductions on the lives of Arizonans.  We put together an open letter to the public to summarize the reductions that we’ve taken over the last couple of years to document where we’ve been – which is posted on our home page.   The link also includes the quantitative budget reduction details and a line-by-line summary of the reductions.

The dominant budget reduction that will occur during Fiscal Year 2011 is an additional and substantial reduction to the behavioral health services that are provided to folks who don’t qualify for the state Medicaid program (AHCCCS).   Beginning in July, the only behavioral health services that will remain for individuals who don’t qualify for AHCCCS will be medications and related necessary services for adults with serious mental illness, crisis services, and some housing support.  People who qualify for their behavioral health services under AHCCCS will continue to qualify for their current services.

Our Behavioral Health Division is very busy coming up with the implementation plans for these reductions.  The ways in which we implement these service reductions are critically important, so these implementation plans are of course our top priority right now.

Our management team has spent a great deal of time and effort to do our very best to make our budget reductions in a thoughtful way and to minimize their impacts.  However, with General Fund budget reductions that have approached 50%, this has been a real challenge.  We know that these budget reductions have had and will continue to have real effects on people and families like yours.  We’ll continue to do our very best to try to minimize the impacts to the extent possible.