CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 04/01/2011

Adult Protective Services

AB 518 (Wagner) – Support
As Amended on March 23, 2011

AB 518, a bill by Assembly Member Donald Wagner, would continue to protect elder and dependent adults from financial abuse by eliminating the sunset date on the reporting of suspected abuse by financial institutions.

Counties support AB 518, which was passed by the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee on March 23. The bill will be heard next in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, but has not yet been set for a hearing.

Foster Youth

AB 212 (Beall) – Support
As Amended on March 29, 2011

AB 212, by Assembly Member Jim Beall, would implement technical provisions related to last year’s landmark foster care legislation, The California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010 (AB 12). 

AB 212 is the result of efforts by counties, co-sponsors, and Department of Social Services staff to “clean up” some provisions of AB 12. To that end, AB 212 mostly focuses on implementing KinGAP eligibility for young adults aged 18 to 21, and streamlining the assessment portion of the legal guardianship and adoptions process. 

AB 212 will be heard in the Assembly Human Services Committee – of which Assembly Member Beall is chair – on April 5. 

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 passed by the Assembly Education Committee on March 30. AB 709 will be heard next in the Assembly Human Services Committee.

Health and Public Health

SB 36 (Simitian) – Support
As Amended on March 29, 2011

SB 36, by Senator Joe Simitian, would allow counties to draw down federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding to offer health insurance to children in the event that existing state programs are unable to enroll new members due to insufficient funds. 

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. 

The Senate Health Committee passed the bill on March 23, and SB 36 was amended in the Senate on March 29. It has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee but not yet set for hearing. 

SB 594 (Wolk) – Oppose Unless Amended
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

SB 594, by Senator Lois Wolk, would greatly limit a county’s flexibility to organize and deliver public health laboratory services.

Counties are concerned that SB 594 would (1) require that a county’s designated public health laboratory be operated by a city or county and (2) expand the types of laboratory services that must be performed by a county’s designated public health laboratory to include lab services for all local health department programs.

Senate Bill 594 would eliminate the option for county health departments to contract with qualified private clinical laboratories to perform various laboratory services as needed. Furthermore, SB 594 would prevent counties from forming consortia to jointly operate regional public health laboratories. In these grim fiscal times, counties must retain the flexibility to fulfill their responsibilities in the most efficient, cost-effective, and accurate manner. 

Counties have asked the author to amend the bill in the following manner: 

  1. Remove sections that would require a county’s designated public health laboratory to be one operated by a city or county.
  2. Remove the expansion of the types of services that must be provided by a county’s designated public health laboratory.
  3. Remove the requirement that a local public health laboratory director report to the local health officer.
  4. Make the consultation services by the local public health laboratory permissive rather than mandatory.

Counties believe that in this economic climate, we must retain the flexibility to provide critical public services in the most cost-effective, appropriate and reasonable manner. It is for these reasons that CSAC, the Urban Counties Caucus, and the Regional Council of Rural Counties have asked Senator Wolk to amend the bill. SB 594 has not yet been set for a hearing, but has been referred to the Senate Health Committee. 

SB 695 (Hancock) – Support
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 695, by Senator Loni Hancock, would allow counties to draw down federal funding to help defray the cost of providing medical care to juveniles awaiting adjudication in county facilities. 

SB 695 would allow counties to use the local funds that we are already expending for juvenile medical care to pull down federal Medicaid matching funds for those youths who are Medi-Cal eligible. The measure also limits Medi-Cal services to the first 30 days of a youth’s stay in juvenile hall. 

SB 695 may impose a minor additional burden on county welfare departments, which must confirm eligibility under the bill, but we believe that the prospect of drawing down available federal Medicaid funding for youths awaiting adjudication in a county facility is a worthy goal. Some counties estimate that SB 695 would help them recover up to 40 percent of their medical costs for individuals in juvenile hall. 

It is also important to note that SB 695 will not incur any state General Fund costs, and provides a voluntary route for counties to recoup some medical costs for youth. It is for these reasons that CSAC and the County Health Executives Association of California (CHEAC) jointly support SB 695. The Senate Health Committee will hear SB 695 on April 6.

Mental Health

AB 154 (Beall) – Support
As Amended on March 24, 2011

AB 154, by Assembly Member Jim Beall, would require Knox-Keene licensed health plans to expand mental health coverage to include the diagnosis and treatment of any mental health condition or disorder as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV) (or subsequent editions), including substance abuse and nicotine treatment. 

AB 154 was also recently amended to allow the newly established California Health Benefit Exchange to offer mental health services that conform with the minimum essential benefits package as outlined in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148). 

AB 154 builds upon the original California mental health parity legislation, AB 88 (Thomson, Chapter 534, Statutes of 1999), which requires health plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of severe mental illnesses of a person of any age, and serious emotional disturbances of children, under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions.

AB 154 would help ensure that private health plans treat individuals with mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring disorders in a comprehensive and meaningful way. It is for these reasons that CSAC and the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA) jointly support AB 154. The bill is set for hearing on April 5 in the Assembly Health Committee.

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