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FSSA Cutting Budget, Staff, and Services

The head of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Agency testified before State Budget Committee Wednesday. FSSA Officials told the committee new federal health care laws, a rise in the number of people using services, and changes to the state’s own low income health care plan will all impact the upcoming budget.

FSSA Secretary Michael Gargano says not including Medicaid, his agency will seek to cut about $81 million from its budget, by reducing staff numbers, cutting back on contracts, and spending less on in home and community based programs for the elderly and disabled.

With Medicaid costs included however, the state is predicting a deficit, and one that could rise, Gargano says, depending on how much it costs Indiana to begin implementing new federal health care laws.

“We know 2012 and 2013 will be preparation years for health care reform," he says. "We’ll need to make infrastructure, staffing, operational and I.T. system changes, which will affect more than just our client eligibility systems. There are many things we don’t yet know yet, what federal grants would be available, and what the full requirements of health care reform would be.”

The current FSSA budget relies on about $300 million of federal stimulus money that will be gone at the end of the current budget cycle in June. Medicaid costs are unclear at this time. The Medicaid forecast is expected to be released in the next couple of weeks.

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