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Title XIX Medicaid Administrative Match funding formula impacts

April 17, 2013

TACOMA, WA - The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Board of Health is expected to vote today on a budget amendment that would implement a $1.6 million budget reduction to the Department’s 2013 budget.

The cut is the result of changes to the Title XIX Medicaid Administrative Match federal funding formula. The federal funding reimburses the Department for services it provides to low-income people who receive Medicaid, but because of the retroactive changes, the Department has not been reimbursed since July of 2012.

“Public health funding is under fire. The changes to the Title XIX Medicaid Administrative Match reimbursement formula that unfairly target Washington is just another example,” said Director Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH.

The Department is also preparing for an up to $600,000 cuts from sequestration, additional Title XIX changes and unknowns in the state budget. “We remain hopeful that the state will preserve the current level of public health funding, but the budget process is not over,” said Chen.

At the Board’s request, the Department has proposed alternative options that spread the budget impact to other programs and use $500,000 of the agency’s $1.5 million reserves. The Board tabled voting on a budget amendment at the April 3 and April 10 meetings. At the April 10 meeting, Board Chair Stan Fleming asked the members to be prepared to “enter into a final decision” on the issue today.

Today, the Department will present proposals that preserve the mobile vaccine, tuberculosis infection control and Black Infant Health programs while retaining 9 or 10 of 11 Family Support Centers. In order to preserve more funding to those programs, the Department would reduce services in code enforcement services, Smoking in Public Places enforcement and tobacco prevention efforts, and possibly Outdoor Clean Air. The reduction will cause the Department to reduce its Full Time Equivalent (FTE) rolls by up to 13.5, which includes some vacant positions.

The Department’s original proposal presented at a March 20 study session would have resulted in the closure of a number of Family Support Centers throughout the county, reducing Maternal Child Outreach efforts and cutting 18 FTEs.

“When it comes to cuts, there are no easy choices left. It has been a difficult process for our staff and the Board,” said Chen.

Contact: Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager, (253) 798-2853, ejeffers@tpchd.org

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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