DHSS budget request includes health care workforce support and increased Medicaid funding
DHSS is requesting over $1.6 billion in general funds and $54 million for capital improvements next fiscal year.
Although the request lists over 25 funding priorities for the department, DHSS Secretary Josette Manning says supplementing direct care to vulnerable populations is one of their prime concerns.
“The care providers for those groups are not adequately funded at this point, and so we’re working to get people off the waitlist – and so all of those requests sort of come together to help address those things," she said.
Manning is referring to Delawareans with disabilities or over the age of 60. She is asking for just over $1.3 million to reduce the waitlist for personal attendant services.
“Workforce for long term care, and in general the health care workforce, has really been impacted with COVID and with the changing demographics in Delaware – but really making sure that we are supporting those folks who are providing direct care to our most vulnerable populations," she added.
The largest chunk of DHSS’s budget request is about $79.5 million for Medicaid coverage to help combat the recent decline in federal support.
Manning says during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government granted states extra Medicaid funding, but now that the public health emergency is over, states need to supplement the cost themselves.
Additionally, the department is requesting funding to implement legislative initiatives passed earlier this year, including $360,000 for medical marijuana regulation under the Marijuana Control Act.