Pennsylvania’s 2018-2019 budget is ready ahead of schedule. Gov. Tom Wolf approved the $32.7 billion state budget on June 22, 2018 – a week prior to the June 30 budget deadline.
While much of the attention on this year’s budget centered around increased spending for education and workforce development, the final budget does affect health care as well. Notably, a proposed three percent tax on Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Net Patient Revenue is not included in the final bill.
The Pennsylvania Ambulatory Surgery Association led a coalition of 17 state-based medical societies, including the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), that successfully opposed the tax. Had it been implemented, the ASC tax would have come at a significant cost – dramatically decreasing patient access to quality, affordable community-based healthcare in Pennsylvania.
The new budget also includes funding for a wide variety of health-care related items such as:
- Opioid Use Disorder Treatment—The budget includes $4.5 million to provide home-visiting services for families affected by opioid use disorder, plus an additional $800,000 in increased rates to home-visiting providers
- Lyme Disease Prevention and Awareness—$2.5 million will go toward implementing Lyme disease prevention, education, awareness and surveillance activities.
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Funding—The state will maintain its funding for the PDMP, allocating more than $3 million toward the program.
- Community HealthChoices (CHC) —Pennsylvania has budgeted more than $662,000 toward CHC, a Pennsylvania’s new long-term care initiative. CHC is a managed care program intended to increase opportunities for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities to remain in their homes while receiving services.
For more details on the 2018-2019 budget, view the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website. And, check out PAMED resources on Lyme disease and opioids.