Chief Finance Officer David Reed gave his regular financial status report, which showed the health department with only a $33,000 deficit at the end of March, which is nine months into the fiscal year. However, home health agency MEPCO has a deficit of half a million dollars, Reed said.
He expected most of that deficit to be eliminated when MEPCO receives its Medicaid cost settlements soon. The settlements are estimated to total $504,000.
Reed also discussed the changes brought about by the passage of House Bill 1, which aims to increase transparency and accountability for Kentucky’s taxing districts. A central online registry will be created for the taxing districts to post their budgets and other financial information. Also, if a taxing district wants to impose a new fee or tax rate increase, it must have a public hearing in conjunction with its county fiscal court.
Finally, Reed addressed concerns about another piece of state legislation passed last month that sought to reform the ailing state pension fund. If, as the bill requires, the state must pay the actuarially required contribution starting in 2015, that will increase the health department’s employer rate to 45 percent. The current rate is 23.8 percent.
Reed said such an increase in the rate would cost the agency about $1 million. The health department’s current budget totals $12.8 million, so the increase in pension contributions would enlarge the budget by about 8 percent.
Baptist Health partnership
Health Director Nancy Crewe discussed the health department’s new partnership with Baptist Health in Richmond for diabetes education services. Last year, the state defunded the six Diabetes Centers for Excellence, one of which is in Richmond.
The hospital has made a commitment to make diabetes education services available to everyone in the community at no cost, Crewe said. Baptist Health will be conducting its own classes and certified courses. The hospital also will be handling clinical nutrition counseling services by referral from the health department, Crewe said.