The Department of State Health Services has outlined nearly $246 million in possible cuts as Texas faces a potential $18 billion shortfall in the next budget period.
The 2011 Legislature will have the final say as agencies respond to budget-trimming orders from Texas leaders, including Gov. Rick Perry.
More than 20,000 Texans who receive state-funded mental health services would lose care under proposed DSHS budget cuts released this week, according to a story published Thursday in the Austin American-Statesman. Mental health programs took the hardest hit with $134 million in proposed cuts.
DSHS has proposed an $80 million cut to the state's 39 publicly supported community mental health centers, which provide low-cost psychiatric care for poor or uninsured people.
The agency said $44 million in cuts to five psychiatric hospitals in Austin, Terrell, San Antonio, Rusk and Wichita Falls would eliminate 183 beds, or 12 percent of their total capacity. Austin State Hospital would lose 24 of its 299 beds.
Other health department programs facing cuts include Children with Special Health Care Needs, which provides money for treatment and medication for children with a variety of health problems and for people of any age who have cystic fibrosis. The program's budget would be cut by more than $24 million.
Texas officials anticipate a $15 billion to $18 billion state budget shortfall in 2012-13. Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Perry ordered state agencies to cut 5 percent from their 2010-11 budgets and cut an additional 10 percent over the next two years.