Lawmakers host hearing on state budget impact - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Lawmakers host hearing on state budget impact

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Some lawmakers are questioning how the state budget will affect you and your family members. 

Health and mental health, in particular, were at the center of today's hearing.

The state budget is a done deal, but some lawmakers worry that across the board cuts will leave the people in need of mental health or drug treatment, left out on the streets.

The legislative black caucus held a hearing, Tuesday, to learn more about the impact of the cuts.

"It's not just detrimental to those who are receiving treatment," Representative Sonya Williams-Barnes said. "It's detrimental to all of the residents here in our state. And it should be of great concern."

The Department of Mental Health says the closure of two adult men chemical dependency units will be the biggest impact.

"All of our 14 mental health centers offer primary residential treatment for males across the state," said Diana Mikula, executive director of the Mississippi State Department of Health."However, the service will no longer be free."

Wait times for psychiatric evaluations could also get longer.

As for the Department of Health, it's already been penny pinching.

"Back in January, because of our decreases in Medicaid income and our decreases in patients, we decreased our clinic hours, decreased our number of clinics and decrease our clinic personnel, already," said Dr. Mary Currier, State Health Officer.

They will try to prevent changing anymore clinical services, instead they'll make changes to things like restaurant inspections to save resources where they can.

"We may change the number of inspections that restaurants get it if they make an A," said Currier. "So they don't get inspected as often if they make a really good grade."

Still, they expect more layoffs within the department. 

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