Children and families face cuts in mental health services

Children and families face cuts in mental health services

Posted: Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Some behavioral therapists say the state is about to put at-risk children in an even riskier situation. It is a situation many therapists and service providers feel was forced upon them at the last minute, but the state says it is running out of time to make major cuts.

“Ideally we wouldn't make cuts at all, but what we are trying to do is make cuts that protect those that are most in need and still leave service arrays available for everyone,” said Deputy Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The proposed rule change would limit who is eligible to receive behavioral health rehabilitative services in the future. Slatton-Hodges says the program cuts could make up a $20-million hole in the agency’s budget. The shortfall was due to the fact the agency needed that much more money in order to maintain the level of services they provide to Oklahomans in need.

“Anytime you're making cuts to a program there are going to be people who are not going to receive the service they did before,” Slatton-Hodges told Fox 25. The OKDMHSAS says the program was selected, in part, because it had not cut down on hospitalizations like many had predicted when the Medicaid-funded program was expanded several years ago.

However many service providers feel the rule change was rushed and little notice was given to those who provide rehabilitative services to children and families.

“It would mean that the families that we service would not get the same quality of care as they are receiving now,” said Cheryl Hunter-Wilson, the executive director of Life Resources Children and Family Services.

Hunter-Wilson says the changes could force some parents to wait longer for their children to get help, or could lead to more children being hospitalized in order to meet the stricter requirements. Those hospital stays would also fall back on the state to pay for.

“You're talking about children that may have to go into the hospital, but then you think about those that we help keep out of the prison system,” Hunter-Wilson told Fox 25.

Providing for mental health services has been a priority promoted by the governor this past year. A spokesman for her office sent us the following response regarding the budget situation and proposed cuts to OKDMHSAS:

"Oklahoma state government faced a $188 million budget shortfall this year. That shortfall required almost every agency to absorb significant budget cuts. The Department of Mental Health was not one of the agencies that got cut; in fact, it received a $2.2 million increase. It received that increase after intense lobbying from Governor Fallin, who believes that mental health is a priority issue for the state of Oklahoma,” Spokesman Alex Weintz said in an email.

"Where the Department of Mental Health (as well as the Department of Human Services) did lose funding, however, was in the form of federal FMAP funds. Unfortunately, President Obama's decision to cut Oklahoma's FMAP funds may reduce services in mental health as well as health services for poor Oklahomans."

The rule change still has to be approved by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The first step in that process begins Wednesday afternoon and is open to the public for comment.

  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Maine prepares for new work requirement people who receive food stamps

    Maine prepares for new work requirement people who receive food stamps

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:00:42 GMT
    It's a federal law that hasn't been enforced in Maine since the recession. But Governor LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services will soon start enforcing work requirement for able-bodied adults who collectively get $15-million dollars a year in food stamps. More than 200,000 people in Maine currently receive food stamps to help feed themselves or their families.
    It's a federal law that hasn't been enforced in Maine since the recession. But Governor LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services will soon start enforcing work requirement for able-bodied adults who collectively get $15-million dollars a year in food stamps. More than 200,000 people in Maine currently receive food stamps to help feed themselves or their families.
  • 116 passengers and crew missing in Air Algerie flight

    116 passengers and crew missing in Air Algerie flight

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:28:48 GMT
    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.
    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.
  • Arizona inmate gasps for air during two hour execution

    Arizona inmate gasps for air during two hour execution

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:31 AM EDT2014-07-24 09:31:35 GMT
    (CNN) -- Joseph Wood snorted and struggled to breathe during his nearly two-hour lethal injection Wednesday, his attorney said."It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and 40 minutes.
    (CNN) -- Joseph Wood snorted and struggled to breathe during his nearly two-hour lethal injection Wednesday, his attorney said."It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and 40 minutes.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.