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State Hospital budget slimmer for 2013-2015

Alex Schweitzer North Dakota State Hospital superintendent

The North Dakota State Hospital budget shows a $661,423 spending decrease for the traditional service unit of the hospital for the 2013-2015 biennium.

The traditional services unit of the hospital includes the inpatient psychiatric facility and the Tompkins Rehabilitation and Corrections Center. The secured services unit of the hospital is the program for sex offender evaluation and treatment. The Legislature approved separate budgets for each unit.

The North Dakota State Hospital Governing Body reviewed Monday the $62 million budget that was approved by the Legislature earlier this year. The Legislature also set the secured services budget at $11.1 million, up from $10.9 million.

Alex Schweitzer, State Hospital superintendent, said the current 2011-2013 traditional services budget had $62.6 million set aside for spending. Most of the spending decrease in the new biennium comes from closing the Children and Adolescent Program in 2012. The Governing Body previously reported the program was closed as youth patients are usually referred to private inpatient psychiatric and residential facilities rather than to the State Hospital.

With Children and Adolescent Program closed, the traditional services unit of the State Hospital saw the number of its full-time employee positions reduced by two from 371 to 369. Schweitzer said the traditional services unit of the hospital has three primary sources of funding; from the state general fund, federal government funds and funds from insurance companies for services rendered to clients.

The hospital will receive $42.7 million from the general fund, which is up $230,000 from $42.5 million for current biennium. Federal funds will decrease by $830,292 to $1.7 million and funds from insurance companies will drop $61,948 to $17.4 million.

The traditional services budget also includes $864,714 for road reconstruction on the hospital grounds for the 2013 to 2015 biennium. Schweitzer said these funds will be used to reconstruct 23rd Street Southeast and part of Circle Drive on the hospital campus.

The budget also includes $2.5 million to start the process of replacing the electronic health records.

The $62 million traditional services budget will maintain the hospital's capacity of 123 beds for inpatient psychiatric services and maintain staff levels to handle an 80 percent occupancy rate. The budget maintains 90 beds for the Tompkins Rehabilitation and Corrections Center and staffing levels to handle a 95 percent occupancy rate.

The secure services budget for 2013 to 2015 is $11.1 million, up $182,562 from $10.9 million for the current biennium. The budget will maintain 76 beds for the sex offender evaluation and treatment part of the hospital and maintain staffing levels to handle an 82 percent occupancy rate.

Schweitzer said overall the 2013-2015 budget allows the State Hospital to keep its overall occupancy rate at 86 percent, which is in range of the hospital's staffing pattern of 85 percent.

"This is about where we want our overall occupancy rates to be," he said.

The secured services unit of the State Hospital is funded by $11.1 million from the state's general fund and has 87 full-time employees.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at