There has been lots of discussion about cuts in the Governor’s proposed 2016-2017 budget. There are tax cuts and cuts to waitlists, but one cut that has been getting very little attention is the 56% cut to med management services for community providers. This cut has gotten so little attention because it isn’t being called a cut, it’s being called an equalization of rates. However, it would reduce rates to a level that would no longer allow our community based mental health providers to effectively offer this service that is so critical for many patients to stay at home or in their own communities. Already operating at a loss, many of these community based mental health providers will have to scale back these services or, more likely, close the programs altogether.
Services like medication management are what enable patients to function in their communities. Access to these services provides patients with the exact dosage of the one medication that doesn’t make them sick, the coping mechanisms and support they need to survive the worst symptoms of their illness, or the consistent support they need to live happy and healthy lives at home. Closing these programs would mean that thousands of patients and their families would have no one to turn to. The lucky patients would find more expensive residential treatments and the unlucky ones would go untreated, ending up in jails, emergency rooms, or worse, in the news associated with a fatal tragedy.
This is not what we want for Maine and it is not what we want for the thousands of people who need these services. With our jails and emergency rooms already struggling to provide adequate services for these patients, why would we cut funding to organizations that provide the lifeline that allows them to stay with their families and communities? Please stand with us in opposition to the cuts to med management and help protect our community based behavioral health services!