Cuts will affect patient programs
By Austin Sanders, 11:50AM, Thu. Aug. 31, 2023
A member of United Workers of Integral Care addresses the mental health agency’s board of trustees on April 28, 2023 (Photo by Austin Sanders)
Integral Care, the public mental health care provider that delivers services across Travis County, is preparing to adopt a budget tonight that will cut about 48 jobs – most of which are patient-facing.
According to a document presented at the agency’s Aug. 17 Board of Trustees meeting, the staff-proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-2024 comes in at $131,528,557 – roughly $22 million less than the last budget. More than 80% of the budget decrease comes from a reduction in spending on capital projects, but about 6% of the cuts come from the agency’s operations budget.
That equates to about $8.6 million worth of cuts, which includes the 48 layoffs and funding for 67 vacant positions. Members of the employees union, United Workers of Integral Care, fear that the cuts will reduce patient quality of care. Agency management actually projects serving more clients in the next fiscal year (which would improve their state funding), though current staff would have their already crammed caseloads increased even more.
Some of the cuts are to administrative positions, but 77% are to programs. The agency’s adult outpatient mental health program will have 43 positions cut, which amounts to nearly one-quarter of that program’s budget allocation. Other affected programs include substance use disorder treatments and crisis services at both residential facilities and community clinics.
UWIC has urged the board to delay layoffs “until all possible funding options have been explored,” UWIC co-president Tovah Moriarty told the Chronicle. “We want to see if they can avoid layoffs entirely.”
But that seems unlikely. A FAQ posted by Integral Care management indicates they have already “explored new revenue streams, expanding existing revenue streams and scrutinizing expenditures” to prevent layoffs.
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