TAUNTON — The office of Health and Human Services is getting considerable attention during the state budget process.
State Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, has proposed six amendments, many of them connected to Taunton State Hospital.
More than one-quarter of the 947 budget amendments that senators filed focus on the office, which oversees the embattled Department of Children and Families.
“Health and Human Services is a large part of the state budget, so it’s not that surprising there would be lot of amendments in those areas, but I do think there is new attention now on the Department of Children and Families, which has one of the most difficult jobs in state government,” said Noah Berger, director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
More than 50 percent of the $36.2 billion fiscal 2015 Senate Ways and Means budget proposal is devoted to Health and Human Services, with health insurance making up the majority of that spending.
For the third consecutive year, Pacheco proposed language defending Taunton State Hospital from the Patrick administration’s plans to close it. He filed several budget amendments aimed at repositioning and better utilizing “Taunton State Hospital through pilot programs that would address gaps in mental health services in the commonwealth,” according to a press release from his office.