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Sen. Downing Reviewing Baker's Budget, Eye On Health Services

Jim Levulis

Massachusetts State Senator Ben Downing says he looking into how Governor Charlie Baker is proposing to close a $1.8 billion budget shortfall with savings in the state’s health program. The Pittsfield Democrat is keeping an eye out for any area impacts following last year’s closure of North Adams Regional Hospital.Under Baker’s $38 billion spending plan, Mass Health’s budget would be $15.3 billion, down from a projected $16.9 billion if no changes were made. Most of the savings would occur by delaying payments to the next fiscal year, a practice done in the past, and a redetermination of coverage. Senator Downing says how the savings are divided could impact providers, like Berkshire Health Systems.

“Given everything we’ve gone through in North Adams we don’t want that impact to be on our community hospitals,” Downing said. “Especially as BHS and BMC [Berkshire Medical Center] are trying to expand up there to provide more and more services.”

Baker’s budget represents an overall increase of three percent.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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