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Mental Health Providers Stuck with Huge Budget Cut and No Answers
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The state is spending about 150 million dollars less this month than in July. Part of that comes from a 1.3 million dollar reduction in state grants for mental health services. That's a twenty percent drop from last month.

Nonprofit providers learned of the cut on July 30.

"Clearly, given 48 hours on a Thursday night to implement a change to begin on a Saturday morning was absolutely inadequate notice."

Diane Manning runs United Services, which operates outpatient psychiatric treatment, substance abuse programs, and domestic violence services in northeastern Connecticut. It has about 5000 clients.

"We actually have a signed contract with the state for the full amount. We're getting essentially short-paid. It would be equivalent to me paying 80 percent of my mortgage bill."

Manning says the short notice has crippled her ability to absorb the cut. It came too quickly to trim back staffing. For now, the plan is to suspend optional services -- and more programs may have to be eliminated.

The tricky part is she does not know whether she will recoup the money once a state budget is in place.

Nonprofits are not getting clear answers from the Rell administration. Jim Siemianowski, the spokesman for the Department of Mental Health Services, says the agency is working with Rell's budget office to find out whether these cuts will be permanent. But, he points out, these state contracts are contingent on available funding, so there are no guarantees until a state budget is finalized.