As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services, I have fought in the General Assembly for the health and well-being of our citizens. Our resourceful budgeting has allowed the General Assembly to address opportunities for further economic expansion and critical infrastructure needs that fall under the Department of Health and Human Services.
I have made great strides in improving our state’s mental health services by directing $18 million from the sale of the Dorothea Dix Hospital property to construct or convert existing, rural hospital beds into licensed, short term, inpatient, behavioral health beds. $2 million from the sale of this property will also fund pediatric mental health crisis centers. There has been an additional $20 million allocated for the state’s mental health services aimed at improving the livelihoods of those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse. For example, I have provided vouchers for respite services to help families acting as caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients, and won the argument to provide more money for Pre-K in most counties, as well as Child Advocacy Centers.
Also local social services departments and the efficiency of foster care facilities were improved with staff training and technical assistance capabilities in both. We must invest in furthering our efforts in this arena. We cannot go backward to the days of housing patients, or a hackneyed approach to health care. We can do better. Health and Human Services is the building block for a healthier North Carolina and I have worked hard to enhance our state’s overall health.