As you’ve probably seen, the Legislature went into a special session and worked some long hours to pass a FY 2014 budget.  While we’re still analyzing everything, here are some key provisions of the budget bill as it was sent to the Governor. 

Medicaid (AHCCCS) will be restored and expanded.  This will be a big bonus for our behavioral health system.  This change in Medicaid eligibility will provide health coverage to an additional 300,000 low-income Arizonans (everyone that makes less than 133% of the federal poverty level) starting January 1, 2014.  There’s also a new line item of $250,000 to fund Mental Health First Aid in the budget that passed.   The bill approved by both houses also appropriates $300,000 to fund dental care and nutrition supplements for certain folks with kidney disease and provides funding for electronic health records at the State Hospital

The 5% employee retention bonus for uncovered employees will be continued and made permanent.  The budget bill also repeals the requirement that state employees work for at least 90 days before becoming eligible for state employee benefits.  There will be much more to write about in future updates as we sift through the final budget.