Missouri’s governor says $153,000 in funding for a stroke program will remain intact, and will come from the state Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) $1.4 billion budget.
Governor Mike Parson (R) spoke to Missourinet during an interview Tuesday afternoon in his Statehouse office in Jefferson City, as the Missouri House Budget Committee was discussing the issue in a hearing room downstairs.
While Parson recently line-item vetoed the $153,000, he reiterated on Tuesday that services for stroke patients will not be impacted.
“We’re talking about a $1.4 billion budget item,” Parson says. “If we can’t figure out as leaders in this state how to manage $153,000, we’re probably not doing the job as we need to be doing up here (in Jefferson City).”
The Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) System connects 911 and ambulance services with hospitals designated as trauma and/or stroke centers.
It’s a top priority of the American Heart Association (AHA).
The Bolivar Republican emphasizes that there won’t be any changes in services for stroke patients.
“I don’t know that you have to create a new line-item or anything to do that (fund the TCD system). That money is available there, these services are not going away and we’re going to continue to support rural hospitals,” says Parson.
The American Heart Association says the TCD program is necessary to ensure patients experiencing a stroke or life-threatening heart attack get to the proper hospital quickly.
DHSS says the governor vetoed the program, with the intent of finding a more stable long-term funding source than general revenue.
The Department says it’s working with hospitals, providers and first responders to ensure funding for the TCD program remains steady moving forward.
“I’m not for sure that it really is worthy of all the attention that maybe it’s got but that’s not my call to make,” Parson says. “But I think, like I said yesterday (to Missourinet) I think everybody just needs to sit back a little bit and kind of figure out what’s going on here.”
Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, said during a Tuesday hearing that it would be unconstitutional for DHSS to shift money away from a specific purpose the Legislature had already designated it for.
Chairman Fitzpatrick says the budget process doesn’t allow agencies like DHSS to move funds around, after they’re designated for specific purposes.
During the hearing, Fitzpatrick warned DHSS Director Randall Williams not to attempt to shift funding.
“You shouldn’t be doing that. You’re not going to do that. If you do do that, there will be hell to pay. That is not how this game works, ok?” says Fitzpatrick.
Residents packed a Missouri Capitol hearing room, for the House Budget Committee hearing.
Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Governor Mike Parson, which was recorded on July 17, 2018 inside the governor’s office in Jefferson City:
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