Today, the Legislature released its final 2020 supplemental budget, which reflects the budget conference committee work to reconcile differences between the Senate and House proposals that were released Feb. 24. The budget includes an additional $1 billion in new revenue since the 2019-21 budget was released last year. Notable spending includes more than $100 million for health care, $160 million for housing and homelessness and $100 million for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The final budget needs to be concurred on by both the House and Senate by tomorrow, March 12, when the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn. Overall, the final budget is positive for health care and WSHA is pleased to see many of our priorities at least partially funded.
The final budget includes no new general taxes and complies with the state’s four-year balanced budget requirement. It leaves $3 billion in total reserves at the end of the biennium, the largest balance in state history. Over the four-year outlook, reserves are expected to grow to $3.6 billion.
WSHA made progress on our top budget priorities. The big-picture highlights of the final budget include:
- $2.4 million state funds, $4.8 million total funds for patients who are stuck in hospitals – WSHA strongly advocated for this funding that had been tied to SB 6275. The Legislature appropriated additional funds that should also help with difficult to discharge patients.
- $100 million from the one-time appropriation from the budget stabilization account and $25 million in federal support to monitor and respond to COVID-19 cases in Washington State. (This is the initial funding amount, but because funds are from the budget stabilization account it is possible that additional appropriations may be made without legislative action. WSHA will continue to advocate that these funds be used for patients who are difficult to discharge and living in hospitals.)
- $64 million state funds appropriated in the last budget continues for 90- and 180-day civil commitment beds. The Medicaid per diem payment rate methodology for fiscal year 2021 established for acute care hospitals is at 100% of costs and for freestanding psychiatric hospitals at $940.
- $9.9 million state funds, $29 million total for Medicaid rate increases for primary care providers.
- $1.9 million state funds, $5 million total funds for primary care behavioral health rate increases.
- $8.4 million in state funds only to replace lost federal funding to maintain Title X family planning services across the state.
- $7.4 million for various supports for treating those with substance use disorder and addressing the opioid crisis.
- $18.8 million state funds, $37.6 million total to increase nursing home rates.
Policy Bills WSHA Supported: Good News!
On Monday, WSHA reported in Inside Olympia the progress on major bills that we support. We are pleased to share that any differences in the Senate and House versions were resolved and all of those bills are on their way to the governor’s desk.