Monday, December 11, 2023

Travis County commissioners OK $744M budget for Central Health after changes

File: Central Health Board of Managers meeting (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Travis County commissioners approved Central Health’s new $744 million budget Tuesday. The vote will come in a row between commissioners and the hospital district’s board of directors.

Commissioners also approved a $0.100692 tax rate per $100 valuation for Central Health. This means that the average homeowner will pay $56 more per year in property taxes.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Travis County commissioners to revisit Central Health’s budget Tuesday

On Sept. 6, the Central Health Board of Managers voted to approve a $744 million budget—an 18.4% increase from the previous budget. The budget and tax bill require final approval from the Travis County commissioners.

Central Health is Travis County’s hospital district and provides health care to low-income people.

“This will allow us to continue to be good stewards in fulfilling our mission to serve the low-income residents of Travis County who absolutely deserve to live the healthiest lives possible,” said Mike Gesslin, CEO. and president of Central Health. the vote.

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FIRST: Central Health wants $56 more a year from you, commissioners turn back services

Commissioner Brigid Shea abstained from voting on the budget. He asked for more evidence that more health care services are available to the population that needs them. In a meeting before Tuesday’s vote, Shea expressed similar concerns.

“I continue to struggle from a $744 million budget, $178.5 million of which is dedicated to general health care services,” Shea said. “That’s less than a quarter of your budget.”

Before Tuesday’s vote, commissioners also asked Central Health to spend more money on mental health services and inmate health care.

On Monday, Central Health board members said they were not ready to take over these services without further analysis. Board members agreed to change some budget language and add short-term funding for these services.

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Travis County commissioners also voted Tuesday to begin quarterly meetings between the Central Health board and Travis County commissioners for more thorough discussions of their budget.

What’s in the budget?

Total costs were $744.2 million and revenues totaled $336.5 million, according to Central Health.

The costs include $292.7 million for health care delivery, $28.6 million for administration costs, $380 million for contingency reserves and $35 million for the University of Texas affiliation agreement. The total health care service budget is about $181 million, which includes purchased and direct services.

The new budget funds the first year of Central Health’s seven-year health care equity plan to close health care gaps. It also provided $7 million for local mental health authority Integral Care to close its funding gap to avoid staff cuts.

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Other funds include:

  • $2 million for inmate health, including enrollment and health services, plus an ongoing $1.5 million commitment to pilot diversion services and fund continuing patient care
  • $4.7 million for Substance use disorder/medical-assisted treatment purchased services
  • $100,000 for direct SUD services
  • $1.5 million for medical leave
  • $11.7 for street medicine and homeless health
  • $125,000 for planning of the Central Texas Latino Family Support Conference
  • $1 million for Black Men’s Health Clinic through CommUnityCare

The new budget starts on October 1.

Nation World News Desk
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