The West Volusia Hospital Authority has unanimously approved its budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year at the rolled-back rate of 1.4073 mills.
The Hospital Authority’s $18.6 million budget includes funding for a number of health care agencies and hospital emergency care, along with funds to lobby the Volusia County Council to reconsider how Medicaid reimbursement fees are calculated.
The health care agencies receiving funding include regular partners with the Hospital Authority — The Neighborhood Center, Stewart-Marchman-Act Healthcare, Rising Against All Odds, and others — as well as some new agencies. New recipients include New Hope Human Services and the Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties.
New Hope Human Services is the outreach arm of New Hope Baptist Church in Deltona. With $50,000 in funding from the Hospital Authority, the organization will begin certifying individuals experiencing homelessness so they can be eligible for benefits.
RAAO and other agencies already on the Hospital Authority’s bankroll were performing this service in DeLand, but New Hope will be the first agency to serve in this role in Deltona.
The budget also includes a previously agreed-upon $4 million for hospital expenses. Of that, $1 million is explicitly for reimbursing area hospitals for emergency-room costs to treat individuals who are members of the Hospital Authority’s health card program.
The health cards are for those individuals whose income is equal to or less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The program is meant to address the needs of those too poor to afford health care or health insurance, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
The Hospital Authority Board of Commissioners also agreed to increase funding for the board’s legal counsel by $10,000, and to increase the amount of money in the “other operating expenditures” category to potentially challenge the way Volusia County divvies up federal Medicaid money.
The Sept. 24 Hospital Authority meeting also included the appointment of Hospital Authority Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Donna Pepin to the board, filling a seat vacated by Commissioner Brian Soukup.
The West Volusia Hospital Authority board meets at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. Meetings typically occur at DeLand City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave. All meetings are open to the public.