Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Wrap Up: Bills, Committee Reports, and Other legislative Stuff.

Weekly Legislative Wrap-Up 04/09/09

The Senate bill filing deadline and the House bill filing deadline have both passed. After this report on bills filed we will have no new legislation to be introduced. The focus of all future wrap-ups will be about what has happened in committee meetings.

Committee Meetings:

House Mental Health Reform:
On Wednesday, April 8, 2009 the House Mental Health Reform committee debated two bills that directly affect people served by the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.

The first bill debated was House Bill 673:
House Bill 673: Support for Developmental Disability Services-Earle.

This legislation will create a statewide data collection system that will reflect how many people with developmental disabilities are currently waiting for services and what services they are waiting for. The bill also permits the Department to ensure that State-funded developmental disability services are authorized on an annual or semi-annual basis depending on the services, and will also give direction to the Department to develop developmental disability service definitions that allow for funding of a person-centered plan.

This bill was also debated with many of the committee members stating that a statewide data collection system that could present to the legislature any gaps in services was a needed legislation. This bill was voted on and passed out of committee with a favorable report. The bill will now be re-referred to appropriations.

The second bill debated was House Bill 672:
House Bill 672: Accountability for State Funding/MHDDSA-Earle.

The committee had a vigorous debate regarding this bill but did not vote on it. It will be taken up next week. The bill would require LMEs to hold a public meeting at one of their board meetings before moving funding from one disability group to another. It does not limit the LMEs ability to move funds but it does give the disability advocates an opportunity to voice their concerns on the front side of changes as opposed to after the fact. The bill also had language that would require LMEs to meet Division benchmarks prior to moving funds. This language caused considerable debate and in the last few minutes of the meeting Representative Alexander proposed an amendment that would require the public hearings but remove the benchmark language. In addition her amendment would require the Department to report to the Legislature on how single stream LMEs were using funds by January 2010.

Bills filed:
House Bill 925: Data Sharing/DHHS Agencies. – Representative Alexander
This bill authorizes the sharing of confidential information among agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services in order to conduct quality assessment and improvement activities and coordinate appropriate and effective care, treatment, or habilitation of DHHS clients.

House Bill 940: Funds/NC Special Olympics. – Representative England.
This is a funding bill that will appropriate $200,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fiscal years.

House Bill 1087: MHDDSA Client Rights/Provider Entities. – Representative Braxton
This bill makes technical correction to the clients rights and humans rights committee. It removes the language referring to county program and inserts local management entity.
House Bill 1088: DHHS/Procurement Methods.-Representative Braxton.
This bill would exempt from purchases and contracts law purchases by certain mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services facilities.

House Bill 1129: Clarify Silver Alert-All Ages. – Representative Mobley
This bill clarifies that the Silver Alert system may be issued for a person of any age who is believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairment.

House Bill 1188: Improve LME Accountability. – Representative Insko
This bill makes technical corrections to the appointment of area authority and county program directors and membership on a local management entity board of directors.

House Bill 1237: Establish Adult Day Health Overnight Respite.-Representative Moore
The bill would establish adult day health overnight respite programs and to direct the Division of Medical Assistance to pursue a Medicaid waiver to provide coverage for respite care.

House Bill 1243: Study Medicaid Income Levels/CAP.-Representative Mobley
This bill will authorize the legislative research commission to study the income requirements of the Medicaid and Community Alternative Programs (CAP).

House Bill 1297: Provider Credentialing/Insurers. – Representatives Stewart
This bill pertains to the credentialing of health care providers under health benefit plans.

House Bill 1309: Residential Treatment Facility/TBI.-Representative Insko
The bill directs the commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services to adopt rules providing for the licensure and accreditation of residential treatment facilities for persons with traumatic brain injury.

Additional Legislative News:

This week the North Carolina Senate passed its budget. The budget sits at $21 billion dollars and for MH/DD/SA it closely tracks the Governor’s proposed budget.
During the Health Appropriation meeting Senator Doug Berger stated that
the budget reflects at 5% decrease from the continuation budget in fiscal year 2009-2010 and a 6% decrease for fiscal year 2010-2011.
The budget does support the Governor’s proposal to close the Wright and Whittaker schools.
The Senate’s proposed budget does not reflect any cuts to the CAP/MR-DD Waiver program or to the START Crisis program.
The Senate budget special provisions did include direction to the Division to begin the process of applying for a TBI Waiver and a direction to the Institute of Medicine to study Veteran Mental Health services.
The Senate budget also continued to support the medically fragile child care center located in Raleigh.

1 comment:

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD said...

Thank you for this thorough overview. Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: Clinical Licensed Psychologist, NC Mental health Reform blogspot: