CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 03/25/2011


SB 36 (Simitian) – Support
As Introduced on December 6, 2011

SB 36, by Senator Joe Simitian, would allow counties to draw down federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding for children’s health insurance. 

SB 36 builds upon AB 495 (Chapter Number 648, Statutes of 2001), which established a mechanism for California counties to voluntarily put up the non-federal share of funding in order to draw down federal funding through the CHIP. Counties that elect to do so are able to attract federal matching dollars for children’s health coverage and build upon the foundation of the state’s Healthy Families Program. However, the state’s dire fiscal situation may result in reductions to the Healthy Families Program, which serves more than 1 million children in California by offering low-cost health insurance. If this happens, SB 36 would allow counties to also draw down federal CHIP funding for children’s health insurance, helping to stem the predicted tide of thousands of California children without health care. 

Additionally, SB 36 would allow counties to draw down new federal CHIP Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) funding upon gaining federal approval through the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB). Enacted in 2009, the federal government raised the eligibility level to households with incomes up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). SB 36 would allow counties to draw down some of the new funding for families between 300 percent and 400 percent of the FPL at the state’s Medicaid matching rate.

SB 36 is similar to Senator Simitian’s SB 1431 from the 2009-10 legislative session. That bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The Senate Health Committee passed the bill on March 23, and SB 36 is now assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee, but has not yet been set for hearing. 

AB 300 (Ma) – Support
As Amended on March 10, 2011

AB 300, by Assembly Member Fiona Ma, would establish clear standards for the tattoo, piercing and permanent cosmetics industry in California.

AB 300 establishes a clear scope of local authority, clear requirements for registration of body art practitioners and consistent enforcement of mobile and fixed body art sites. The bill also requires body art practitioners, as a provision of registration, to complete courses on the transmission of blood borne pathogens and first aid.

The Assembly Health Committee approved AB 300 on March 23, and it now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It has not yet been set for a hearing in that committee. 

SB 662 (DeSaulnier) – Support
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 662, a bill by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would allow Contra Costa County to create an integrated and comprehensive health and human services system. 

SB 662 builds upon the success of Alameda, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Placer counties in creating an integrated health and human services system. These types of systems serve as a model of family-centered and needs-based delivery of services to children and families by providing blended education, mental health, probation, and child welfare services in a seamless team approach.

Counties support SB 662, which is set for hearing in the Senate Health Committee on April 13.

Mental Health 

AB 1297 (Chesbro) – Support
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1297, a bill by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro, would ensure timely federal reimbursement to counties for providing Specialty Mental Health Managed Care services. 

Specifically, AB 1297 would align the state’s requirements for the Specialty Medi-Cal Mental Health Managed Care program with existing federal requirements by utilizing federal Medicaid Upper Payment Limits instead of the state’s current Statewide Maximum Allowances (SMAs) system. The SMAs system has been frozen since Fiscal Year 2006-07, and counties have incurred significant costs for serving eligible populations during this time. AB 1297 would allow counties to recover these costs from the federal government, all without impacting the state’s General Fund. 

AB 1297 also eliminates the state’s current 15 percent limit on reimbursement for administrative costs. Counties already certify the full public expenditure of funds in order to draw down federal matching funds, and, under AB 1297, counties would be fully reimbursed by the federal government for the cost of providing services. 

Lastly, AB 1297 would expand the timeframe for submitting Specialty Medi-Cal Mental Health Managed Care claims from the state’s six months to the federal standard of 12 months. We believe that this provision will give counties the flexibility in submitting claims that complex health care scenarios demand. 

AB 1297 will both streamline and enhance counties’ ability to draw down federal reimbursements for Specialty Medi-Cal Mental Health Managed Care services – all at no cost to the state’s General Fund. The bill is sponsored by the California Mental Health Directors Association and has been referred to the Assembly Health Committee, but not yet set for a hearing.

Foster Youth

AB 709 (Brownley) – Support
As Amended on March 23, 2011

AB 709, by Assembly Member Julia Brownley, would ensure the timely enrollment of foster youth who must transfer to a new school. 

Existing law requires a school to immediately enroll a foster child, even if the child is unable to produce the records normally required for enrollment. This includes previous academic records, proof of residency, and medical records. However, existing law does not address the requirement to produce proof of immunization or a vaccination history prior to enrollment. AB 709 addresses this discrepancy by allowing schools to waive the vaccination record requirement for foster youth. 

CSAC supports the bill, which was amended and re-referred to the Assembly Education Committee on March 23. It is now set for hearing in that committee on March 30. 

AB 194 (Beall) – Support
As Amended on March 8, 2011

AB 194, a bill by Assembly Member Jim Beall, would grant foster youth priority enrollment in a public university or community college system. 

AB 194 specifically would allow foster youth and former foster youth to receive priority enrollment in the California State University and community college system, if the specific campus utilizes the required technology to grant priority enrollment. AB 194 also requests the participation of the University of California system. 

Counties support efforts to ensure the long-term success of foster youth and former foster youth and therefore support AB 194. The Assembly Higher Education Committee passed the bill on March 16, and it has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but not yet set for a hearing. 

SB 578 (Negrete McLeod) – Support
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

SB 578, a bill by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, would help foster children graduate from high school by establishing a system to recognize and properly classify previous coursework or credit from other schools and institutions. 

SB 578 would require each public school district and county office of education to apply full or partial credits for completed coursework by a dependent or ward to that school’s core curriculum for graduation requirements. 

Counties believe that SB 578 will give foster youth the opportunity to apply prior satisfactorily completed work toward a high school diploma and thereby increase the numbers of foster youth who graduate from high school. The Senate Committee on Education passed SB 578 on March 23, and it has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee but not yet set for hearing.

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