skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

NE behavioral health advocates, consumers question $15 million funding shift

play audio
Play

Thursday, March 28, 2024   

A 2023 study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center concluded the number of Nebraskans with a mental health or substance abuse disorder has probably increased over the pre-pandemic level of 20%. It also observed 88 of Nebraska's 93 counties have a shortage of behavioral health professionals.

Nonetheless, the state budget now awaiting Gov. Jim Pillen's signature cuts $15 million from the Division of Behavioral Health's funding for the state's six Behavioral Health Regions, which distribute those funds to providers. Many advocates believe the cut is based on an incorrect conclusion.

Annette Dubas, executive director of the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, said because $15 million remained in the budget for the Regions, it was concluded the money was not needed. In fact, she said much of it was for projects and proposals awaiting Department of Health and Human Services approval.

"The problem is not that it's not needed; there's a problem with getting it out the door and into services quickly," Dubas explained. "Because we know the demand is there. And if it's not being spent, let's figure out why. That's what we want the governor to sit down and talk to us about, so we can figure out where the holdups are."

The $15 million will be shifted to the Lincoln Regional Center for hiring nurses and other staff. Dubas questioned how realistic it is for the center to spend this amount of money on staffing, especially when the state is facing a nursing shortage of more than 5,000 by 2025. She also questioned what will happen to any money left unspent.

Dubas stressed the Division of Behavioral Health is not the only agency losing money through this budget process.

"This administration has gone into a lot of different funds, cash funds, etc., and kind of swept out money that they perceive is not being used or is not being spent, to use to help with their property tax relief," Dubas asserted.

The Pillen administration is paying Epiphany Associates from Utah $2.5 million annually for up to four years, to find savings of up to 25% across state agency budgets.

Chase Francl, CEO of the Mid-Plains Center for Behavioral Health, which receives about 40% of its funding from Region III, said cutting programs that save the state money cannot be considered cutting "waste."

"Mental health and substance use treatment really is a prevention service," Francl contended. "If we can get this right, then people are going back to work and maybe aren't ending up in corrections. And you start restricting here, you usually are just going to be creating a greater need for more costly services down the road."

Mid-Plains served 3,200 people in Grand Island, Kearney and Lincoln last year. Francl added they currently have about 60 people on a waitlist for therapy services.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
Marine research on a recent expedition off of Santa Cruz Island in Southern California mapped the habitat of red gorgonian coral, sea stars and sheepshead fish. (Danny Ocampo/Oceana)

Environment

play sound

Marine researchers just wrapped up the first of three ocean expeditions off the coast of Southern California to map the biodiversity and support effor…


Social Issues

play sound

Michigan's population has hovered around the 10 million mark for the past 20+ years, but the state's latest report outlines projections of a …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As outdoor activities ramp up, May is a good time to think about observing good skin-care practices. More skin cancers are diagnosed than all …


The current lack of cohesive planning has made building new transmission lines difficult, prompting FERC's new rule. (Gregory Johnston/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

A new step from the federal government takes a step toward modernizing the process for building energy transmission lines - while also protecting wild…

Social Issues

play sound

Americans got a bit of a reprieve last month, as food and auto prices dipped for the first time in 90 days. As Texas households continue to deal …

Black women are at particularly high risk of heart disease and stroke during pregnancy, which TaShenma Mack found out firsthand before the birth of her daughter. (Photo courtesy of TaShenma Mack)

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Carolina's maternal death rate is higher than the national average and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among new moms in th…

play sound

The effect of technical glitches in overhauling the student financial-aid form known as FAFSA is still being felt. Issues stemming from a redesign …

Social Issues

play sound

A newly passed Connecticut bill will modernize the teacher certification process. House Bill 5436 is expected to make it easier for educators to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021