It is the consensus of the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association that during the 2010-2011 Mississippi Legislative sessions the highest priorities should be given to the budgets of agencies providing services to children, specifically education and Medicaid.
Specifically regarding the education budget, the National Board Certification Supplement and teacher salaries should remain untouched, as comparatively Mississippi is one of the lowest ranked states in teacher salary in the southern region and nationally. Maintaining teacher salaries and the National Board Certification Supplement is essential to ensuring that our students receive the best education from the most highly qualified providers. The highest priority in the education budget discussions should be to maintain teacher salaries and National Board Certification Supplement at their current status.
Regarding Medicaid, the highest priority should be given to the maintenance of funds for the allocation of services to children. Recently revised and current Division of Medicaid policy has resulted in the reduction, delay or discontinuation of services for children in need. Application of revised policy and current reimbursement rates to private practice or hospital/clinic based practitioners have caused them to operate at break even or deficit budget. Further cuts to Medicaid potentially resulting in reduction of reimbursement rates will mean many service providers will not be able to afford to continue to see Medicaid clients in their practices. The highest priority in the Medicaid budget discussions should be to maintain current reimbursement rates for service providers to children.
– Rachel Powell, VP: School Issues