This week we saw a flurry of bills being filed. We also saw Speaker Joe Hackney appoint the House committees. There have been very few committee meetings. The Senate will continue to hold briefing on budget issues. Up next week the Senate fiscal staff will brief members on the Medicaid budget in North Carolina.
Here are some of the bill filed that are of interest to our community:
HB95: Personal Care Services/Patient Consent-K. Alexander.
This bill will require health care facilities to give a patient or client the option of choosing to have a personal care services provider be of the same gender as the client.
SB 114: Exempt Some Church Facility LU/LA Elevators-Hoyle
This bill would exempt places of worship owned and operated by religious institutions from certain provisions of the North Carolina State Building Code relating to limited use and limited access elevators. Churches have been exempt from the access rules as outlined by the Americans with Disability Act. This bill addresses exemptions for churches under the North Carolina State Building Code.
HB 137: Capital Procedure/Severe Mental Disability-Insko
This bill would amend the capital trial, sentencing, and post-conviction procedures for a person with a severe mental disability. The bill would remove the death penalty but life in prison without the opportunity for parole would remain.
HB 138: Increase Adult Day Care Reimursement Rate-Farmer-Butterfield
This bill would appropriate funds to the state adult day care fund and to the home and community care block grant to provide a rate increase for adult day services as recommended by the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging.
The appropriation for this is one million fifty-nine thousand five hundred sixty-one dollars ($1,059,561) for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fiscal years.
Of the funds appropriated there will be $561,357 dollars put in the State Adult Day Care Fund and $498,204 dollars in the Home and Community Care Block Grant. The funds will be used to support a not less than 5.00 per day per client rate increase.
HB 139: Dentistry Funds for Special Care Populations-Farmer-Butterfield
This bill will appropriate funds to the Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services, for the purchase of additional mobile dental units, as recommended by the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging. The appropriation for this legislation is two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2009-1020 fiscal year, and the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2010-2011 fiscal years.
HB140: Adult Care Home Medication QI Pilot Analysis-Farmer-Butterfield
This bill will direct the Division of Aging and Adult Services, Department of Health and Human Services, to analyze and report on the experiences of the division’s pilot program on medication safety in adult care homes, as recommended by the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging.
HB 142: Home and Community Care Block Grant Funds- Farmer Butterfield
This bill would appropriate $2,500,000 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and $2,500,000 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the Division of Aging and Adult Services to be used as additional funding for the Home and Community Block Grant. This request also came from the Aging Study Commission.
HB143: Strengthen Disaster Planning/LTC Facilities-Farmer Butterfield
This bill directs the Division of Health Service Regulation, Department of Health and Human Services, to review the recommendations from the Disability and Elderly Emergency Management (DEEM) Task Force and to take appropriate action to strengthen disaster planning and disaster preparedness for long term care facilities. This bill was another recommendation for the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging.
HB144: Special Care Dentistry Collaboration-Farmer Butterfield
This bill directs the Division of Medical Assistance, Division of Public Health, and the Division of Aging and Adult Services to collaborate with the UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University Schools of Dentistry and the North Carolina Dental Society and current special are dental providers to examine dental care options as recommended by the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging.
HB145: Project C.A.R.E. for Dementia Funds-Farmer Butterfield
This bill would appropriate $500,000 from the General Fund to the Division of Aging and Adult Services for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fiscal years. The funds support individuals with dementia and their caregivers. C.A.R.E. presented to the Aging Study Commission.
HB147: DHHS Workgroup on Mixed Populations ACH-Farmer Butterfield
This bill addresses the need to convene a workgroup to develop short-term and long-term strategies to address issues of mixed population in adult care homes. This topic addresses recent news articles regarding people with mental illness being housed along side people who are elderly and frail. The bill directs the Division of Health Services regulation, the Division of Medical Assistance and the Division of Aging and Adult Services in the Department of Health and Human Services to create the workgroup. The primary issue driving this bill is that staff may not be able to address the unique needs of the two populations mentioned in this bill. The second issue driving this bill is the need to find appropriate housing options for people with mental illness and people who are elderly.
Additional Legislative News:
Legislative leaders in North Carolina are anxiously awaiting the final vote on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the economic stimulus bill. North Carolina legislators are currently facing a $2 billion dollar deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and may be looking at a $3 billion dollar deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Departments across North Carolina have been asked to present to the Governor 3%, 5% and 7% budget cuts across their divisions. We are slowly starting to see these documents circulated through the General Assembly. Budget leaders in the Senate and the House are both expressing deep cuts and no new money for the biennial.
The only topic in Washington, DC this week was the conference report on the economic stimulus bill. Late today WRAL news was reporting that North Carolina will see $6 billion in stimulus money. How many strings come with that money is not yet known. Alliance for Children and Families sent out the following analysis of the economic stimulus bill:
Today, House and Senate conferees struck a deal on a $789 billion economic recovery package. The package now needs to be approved by both chambers before it can be signed into law by President Obama.
The details of the package are still emerging, but we wanted to pass along the news that the recovery package reportedly includes:
• $86.7 billion in new Medicaid money via an increase in the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP). We do not yet have confirmation on the treatment of Title IV-E.
• Moratoria on several Medicaid regulations, including an extension of moratoria on three finalized regulations (TCM, school-based administration and transportation, and provider taxes) until June 30, 2009; a new moratorium on the regulation for hospital outpatient services until June 30, 2009; and a Sense of Congress that there will be no further action on the non-finalized regulations on intergovernmental transfers, Graduate Medical Education, and rehabilitative services.
• $3 billion for TANF.
• $19 billion for health information technology.
The final vote on the conference report is expected in the House later today and in the Senate tomorrow.