Senate Committee Approves 2013 Labor-HHS Budget; Votes to Increase Block Grants, Integration Activities

by Rebecca Farley on June 15, 2012

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to approve a fiscal year 2013 budget that includes a $20 million increase to the Mental Health Block Grant and a $20 million increase to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

The move came as part of a package of increases across the federal agencies within the committee’s jurisdiction. The committee noted that the increases to the block grants were included “in recognition of the severe budget cuts taking place to public mental health and substance abuse treatment systems nationwide… Increased funding for this safety net program is needed to meet the growing demand for services resulting from the economic downturn, as well as the mental healthcare needs of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families.”

The SAMHSA portion of the budget also included:

  • Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration (PBHCI): $30.8 million from SAMHSA budget authority (level vs. FY 2012) and $35 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (level vs. FY 2012). It is important to note that because SAMHSA has been using each year’s PBHCI allocation to fund all four grant years for each selected grantee (meaning that no past grantees are reliant on future years’ appropriations for continuation of their activities), what appears to be level funding from 2010 actually represents a major increase in grant activities.
  • Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration Technical Assistance: $2 million (level vs. FY 2012)
  • Project LAUNCH: $34.6 million (level vs. FY 2012)
  • Children’s Mental Health Services: $6.5 million (level vs. FY 2012)
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network: $48.7 million (+$3 million vs. FY 2011)
  • Youth Violence Prevention: $12.8 million (-$10.4 million vs. FY 2012)
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Programs of Regional and National Significance: $370.8 million (-$23.4 million vs. FY 2012)
  • Targeted Capacity Expansion programming: $13.3 million (-$14.7 million vs. FY 2012)
  • Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment: $28.2 million from SAMHSA budget authority (level vs. FY 2012) and $25 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (level vs. FY 2012)
  • Access to Recovery: $87.7 million (-$6.1 million vs. FY 2012)
  • Criminal Justice Activities: $65.1 million (-$1.8 million vs. FY 2012)
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Programs of Regional and National Significance: $184.4 million (-$1.6 million vs. FY 2012)

To read the full committee report, with appropriations levels for additional SAMHSA programs, click here. The section for SAMHSA begins on p. 108.

Although the House has not yet taken up its version of the Labor-HHS-Education budget bill, it is expected to include severe cuts to SAMHSA and other federal agencies. The House is operating under an overall budget blueprint of $1.028 trillion, substantially less than the Senate’s top-line amount of $1.047 trillion. House appropriators have made it clear they intend to seek sharp cuts across a variety of social services programs, including programs created under health reform such as the PPHF. The Senate numbers approved this week are widely seen as a move to stake out a strong bargaining position in the inevitable negotiations that will occur between the chambers.

For full coverage of this year’s budget process, please see the Federal Budget section of our blog.

 

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