Miss. House approves money for crisis centers, dialysis patients

Published 7:05 pm Friday, January 25, 2008

The Mississippi House approved bills Thursday to help some of the state’s neediest citizens.

The bills move to the Senate for more work. Both chambers must agree on the same plan before a bill can go to Gov. Haley Barbour

One bill passed by the House would give the Department of Mental Health an additional $59.5 million to get through the current budget year, which ends June 30.

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The bill directs $20 million to community mental health centers, which have fallen short of cash because of a complicated restructuring of Medicaid budgets. The rest of the money would be split among larger mental health centers the department operates.

The House passed another bill that would set aside $3.9 million to provide non-emergency transportation so about 400 Medicaid patients can go to kidney dialysis.

The House approved a separate bill to allow the state to operate the transportation program for dialysis patients for two more years. Under current law, the program would stop June 30. The bill would continue the program until June 30, 2010.

The bills are House Bills 159, 145 and 67.