Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Senate Budget Update

The full Senate Appropriations Committee met today to consider the budget. It is available online. The Senate will consider the budget bill on the floor tomorrow. I will provide a summary at the end of the week when it is final. Then, on to the House!

MH/DD/SAS Rules Commission Meeting Thursday May 27

The Commission meets next Thursday from 8:30-4:15 at the Clarion Hotel State Capital in Raleigh. On the agenda:
  • Division Director's Report, including 2 requests for waiver of a rule: 10A NCAC 27G .3806, Authorization: Facilities Providing SA Services to DWI Offenders, and 10A NCAC 27I .0606, Hearing Schedule and Composition of the Panel (for non-medicaid appeals)
  • Rules Committee Report
  • Advisory Committee Report
  • Proposed Adoption of 10A NCAC 27E .0301-.0304, NCI QA Committee (this has already been published for public comment, and through the Rules committee)
  • Proposed Amendment/Adoption of 10A Subchapter 26D, NC Department of Correction: Standards for Mental Health and Mental Retardation: Rules .0103 - .0906

Let me know if you would like the Commission materials emailed to you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And We're Off

The North Carolina General Assembly is back for the 2010 short session. I am going to try and communicate the happenings here on the blog as often as I can, but at least once a week. In just a few short days this week (the legislature convened on Wednesday, May 12), lots has been going on. See the DRNC legislative agenda on our website if you have not done so already.

Bills Filed Relevant to People with Disabilities and the Work of DRNC
  • HB 1682/SB 1138: An Act to Prohibit the Use of Corporal Punishment for Students with Disabilities as Recommended by the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. This bill seeks to amend the law to say that Corporal Punishment shall not be administered on students with disabilities. (DRNC Agenda bill).
  • HB 1683/SB 1140: An Act to Delay the Sunset of an Act Pertaining to the Discipline and Homebound Instruction of Students with Disabilities as Recommended by the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. This bill moves the sunset on this provision from March 1, 2011 to June 1, 2013. The provision was added to the statute on discipline and homebound instruction by 2008 legislation providing that a local educational agency shall be deemed to have a 'basis of knowledge' that a child is a child with a disability if, prior to the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action, the behvior and performance of the child clearly and convincingly establishes the need for special education. NCGS 115C-107.7. (DRNC Agenda bill).
  • HB 1674/ SB 1134: A Joint Resolution Authorizing the 2009 General Assembly to Consider a Bill to be Entitled an Act to Protect the Freedom to Choose Health Care and Health Insurance. This would allow the legislature to consider a bill with that title, presumably to direct the state away from provisions of the federal healthcare reform laws. There was also a bill filed seeking to amend the NC Constitution relating to health care services.
  • HB 1698: An Act to Update and Clarify NC's General Statutes on Older Adults and Long-Term Services and Supports, as Recommended by the NC Study Commission on Aging. This bill would update language concerning older adults in the long-term care statutes.
  • HB 1703: An Act to Direct the Division of Aging and Adult Services, Department of Health and Human Services, to Study the Issue of Criminal History Record Checks for Current and Prospective Owners, Operators and Volunteers of Adult Day Care Programs and Adult Day Health Services Programs, as recommended by the NC Study Commission on Aging.
  • HB 1730: An Act to Authorize the NC Health Insurance Risk Pool to Contract with the US DHHS to Administer the Newly Created Federal High Risk Health Insurance Pool. This bill will allow the the NC Health Insurance Risk Pool, a nonprofit entity supported by state funds, to enter into contracts with the US DHHS to administer the federal high risk health insurance pool established under Health Care Reform.
  • HB 1732: An Act to Direct DHSR, DHHS to Coordinate a Review of the Education and Training Requirements for Nurse Aides, as Recommended by the NC Study Commission on Aging.
  • SB 1150: An Act to Appropriate Funds for the NC Special Olympics. This bill would appropriate $100,000 for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Senate Budget Recommendations

Several Senate Appropriation sub-committees met on Friday to present budget recomendations. The Education sub-committee did not meet. The Health and Human Services (HHS) sub-committee met, and will meet again on Monday at 4. Highlights of differences from the Governor's budget are below:

Justice and Public Safety (JPS)

  • Funding for the Samarkand Youth Development Facility was eliminated (The Governor's budget restored funding for Samarkand).
  • Funding for wilderness camps was restored.

Health and Human Services (HHS)

The proposed Senate budget takes less reductions overall than the Governor's budget.

  • It eliminates an additional 20 positions within the Division of Central Management.
  • Eliminates 27 positions from the Division of Public Health.
  • Eliminates state funding for vaccines (the Governor reduced funding).
  • Reduced the appropriation to NC Health Choice for expanded enrollment.
  • Eliminates 50 positions within the Office of Education Services (there are currently 79 vacant positions, and 20 of them are educator/aide positions), and an additional 12 administrative positions (which are specifically identified). However, the Senate's budget does not include the reduction of residential services to 4 nights. It also does not include the suspension of on-site summer programs.
  • The Senate budget includes an expansion item in the budget for the Divisions of Services for the Blind and Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: $75,000 for contracted electronic information services, which allow visually-impaired persons to access print media through telephone systems.

The Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) budget has several changes:

  • Keeps the $41 million reduction in enhanced mental health services, which includes delaying implementation of peer support services until January 1, 2011, but also specifies changes to Community Support Team (CST) to include reducing the limit of hours per week from 18 to 5, and reducing the rate from $15.60 to $11.80 per unit.
  • It does not include the reduction in the Governor's budget for durable medical equipment program improvements.
  • It does not include the provision in the Governor's budget related to the addition of an indepenedent asesssment on high-cost services.
  • It does not include the proposed changes to several optional services: podiatry services, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy, adult dental care and private duty nursing.
  • It does still include the proposals related to Personal Care services: eliminating the program in the community, but applying for a 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services waiver for personal care services in Adult Care Homes.

The sub-committees and the full appropriations committee will be meeting early next week to vote on the budget, which will then proceed to the Senate floor.