Burke could lose $6 million if Texas doesn’t revive 1115 funding waiver

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Now an update to a story we’ve been following for you concerning the health of Deep East Texans. The state’s 1115 funding, money used to help pay for health care for uninsured Texans, is at risk.

County judge input, re-application for federal funding, and a lawsuit against the federal government are new developments to keep from losing it.

Burke CEO Melanie Taylor knows the mental health service risks losing $6 million. The federal funding provides mental health care across a 12-county region. She’s concerned, but said, “We are cautiously optimistic.”

It is an attitude that is needed after federal health officials in April revoked a 10-year funding extension because the state failed to collect public input, as the agreement requires.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit blaming political pressure because the state won’t expand its Medicaid program.

“I don’t want to comment on the political aspects,” was Taylor’s cautious reply.

Instead, Taylor backs Texas Health and Human Services reapplication for a one-year extension.

“If we don’t get this extension, and we lose this funding, you know, it’s the counties that are going to end up having to pick up the tab,” Taylor said.

Trinity County Judge Steven D. Page, who is also a Burke board member, has worried over two budgets.

“Housing inmates in jail and them receiving medical care. That’s something we are required by the state to provide. We’re gonna have to look at probably tapping the general fund, you know, the county tax dollars,” Page said.

County commissions are passing resolutions expressing their concern.

Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy said about the healthcare program, “Polk County has benefited immensely through partnerships with Burke, local hospitals, schools, and law enforcement, utilizing millions of dollars in federal funds since the program’s inception.”

The expression of need keeps Taylor hopeful.

“I don’t believe the federal government wants to see the citizens of Texas go without services. I just don’t believe anyone wants to see that happen,” Taylor said.

Time is running out for a decision. Burke’s funding ends on Sept. 30.

Public hearings on the healthcare funding begin as early as this coming Tuesday. Negotiations for a new extension are underway.

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