AUGUSTA – Groups that provide services to people with substance-abuse problems said Tuesday that they can’t absorb proposed state funding cuts of 25 percent or more.

Barbara Dacri, executive director of Crossroads for Women, said she’s not sure how her organization would handle the types of reductions proposed.

She said the state tried a one-size-fits-all approach that didn’t consider factors such as geography, gender and the needs of the clients.

“We don’t run the kind of program where someone can go back to work in two weeks,” she said.

Dacri was one of several service providers who went to the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee to show their concern about proposed rate cuts. Crossroads runs a short-term residential program in Windham and a halfway house in Portland.

The state is proposing to cut the per-person, per-day rate from $262 to $200 for the residential program, and from $135 to $100 for the halfway house.

Committee members said they have been getting phone calls and e-mails from some of the 19 providers that would be affected by the rate changes.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Brenda Harvey said her staff will meet with providers to determine whether the reductions can phased in.

Regardless, the state budget requires her to make the cuts.

“We’ll do the best we can to mitigate this impact, at least through a transition year,” she said.

Of the 19 providers, 10 would get rate reductions under the current proposal.

Others’ rates would go up.

In terms of beds, 139 beds across the state would be funded at a lower rate, and 206 beds would be funded at a higher rate, Harvey said.

“Some of these are very dramatic changes, and I’m being told they are unsustainable,” said Rep. David Webster, D-Freeport.

David Faulkner, executive director of DayOne in South Portland, said his agency provides treatment to adolescent boys, many of whom have already been incarcerated. The state is proposing to cut DayOne’s rate from $233 per person per day to $90.

“It isn’t a question of a little cut,” he said. “We can’t keep our doors open.”

He said the state was supposed to work with providers to set the new rates, but that’s not what happened.

“On the 10th of June, we had our first meeting,” he said. “We walked in, and we were told what the new rate was.”

Harvey said there has been confusion about the cuts among providers, and officials will work to address it so the new rates can be implemented by Sept. 1.

“We’re going to go back to the drawing board and redo this,” she said.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: [email protected]