Greenville health care provider fears General Assembly budget cuts

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) – The North Carolina General Assembly is more than ten weeks behind in producing a budget for the fiscal year.

For community health care providers like Trillium Health Resources in Greenville, the delay does not inspire confidence in an abundance of publicly funded services.

In fact, Trillium executives face a potential budget cut of over $ 5 million for this year. They will have to reduce their spending by October 1, in less than 3 weeks.

Trillium provides mental health, developmental disability and addiction services in several counties in eastern North Carolina. Many of his patients depend on state funding to receive their therapies, medications, and other services.

Trillium has been initiating clearing funding for over two years now. He drew on more than $ 13 million from his savings between July 2019 and June 2020.

Last year, Trillium spent $ 4 million more than what it was given.

The service can no longer function with its savings.

“It’s about taking care of the North Carolinians, isn’t it?” Asked Trillium manager Cindy Ehlers.

“It’s about taking care of people and without this expansion we are not taking care of our people. If we focus on people, the expansion of Medicaid is obvious. But we don’t focus on the people, we focus on the politics and it’s the people who are hurting.

She says these politically motivated budget decisions will have serious effects on the real life of the community. In her 25 years of service, she has never seen a worse time to sustain another budget cut without any kind of expansion.

Ehlers said the COVID-19 pandemic has left so many people with feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation that are fueling an increase in mental health crises and addiction.

“We have the highest suicide rates we have ever had right now. This pandemic has caused more anxiety and depression than ever before and far more substance use, be it alcohol or opioids. I have no confidence that this will change.

For Jaac and Jill Afterschool Program Owner Christie Leary, the effects of budget cuts will be felt firsthand.

“If these kids aren’t able to get services, they come to us without knowing how to deal with depression because they couldn’t see their therapist today,” Leary said.

When asked what she would say to the North Carolina General Assembly that decides this budget, Leary replied, “Get out of your position and get back to normal as an ordinary parent with children who have. need these services and decide from this point of view ”.

Trillium Health Resources has reached out to stakeholders for advice on how to manage this funding cut. Trillium and its leaders want the community to know that they hear their frustrations and wish they could do something else.

Anyone in a crisis should call 911 immediately to receive the help they deserve.

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