CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 05/20/2011

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. 

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed AB 212 as part of their unanimous consent calendar on May 18. It now goes to the Assembly Floor. 

AB 652 (Mitchell) – Support
As Amended on May 10, 2011

AB 652, by Assembly Member Holly Mitchell, would ensure that health plans cover the initial health assessments and forensic medical evaluations for children in out-of-home placements. 

Assembly Bill 652 specifically would require commercial health plans, the Healthy Families Program, and the Medi-Cal program to reimburse providers for the cost of the initial health assessment and forensic medical evaluations for children in foster care. State regulations require an initial medical examination for all children newly placed in out-of-home care. The Lance Helms Child Safety Act of 1998 authorizes counties or local law enforcement agencies to refer a child who has been removed from his or her home due to suspected physical or sexual abuse, or neglect for a forensic medical examination. 

Los Angeles County is sponsoring this measure because the county is only reimbursed for these services if the child is enrolled in fee-for-service Medi-Cal. Most children who are removed from the home by the local child welfare agency and placed in out-of-home care are automatically eligible for fee-for-service Medi-Cal; however, the child must be disenrolled from prior coverage, if applicable. Counties cannot always obtain reimbursement from Medi-Cal managed or another health plan. The forensic medical evaluations may be deemed out-of-network without prior authorization. Please note that these exams must be conducted within 72 hours for high risk children and those ages zero to three. For all other children the exams must be conducted within 30 days.

CSAC is supportive of the goal of the bill to ensure that health plans are covering these medical examinations. It is for this reason that CSAC, along with the County Welfare Directors Association, have taken a support in concept position on AB 652. 

The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed AB 652 on the Suspense File on May 18. 

AB 846 (Bonilla) – Support
As Amended on March 31, 2011

AB 846, by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, would provide assistance to foster youth who may have been victims of identity theft.

AB 846 is clean up to AB 2985 by Assembly Member Bill Maze (Statutes of 2006), which required county child welfare and probation agencies to request consumer credit disclosures on all foster youth turning 16 and to refer a foster youth to a credit counseling organization upon any indication of negative credit or evidence of identity theft. Specifically, AB 846 clarified that the request may be made by the state or a county and authorizes the requesting entity to refer the youth directly to a governmental or nonprofit organization that provides information and assistance with identify theft and other credit problems.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 846 on May 11. CSAC supports the bill.

Was on the Assembly third reading file. The Assembly passed AB 846 on May 19, and it now goes to the Senate. 

AB 709 (Brownley) – Support
As Amended on April 6, 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 on the Assembly’s consent calendar. The Assembly passed AB 709 on May 19, and it now goes to the Senate. 

Adult Protective Services

SB 718 (Vargas) – Support
As Amended on May 2, 2011

SB 718, by Senator Juan Vargas, would make it easier to report suspected elder abuse.

Senate Bill 718 would allow a county or long-term care ombudsman program to implement a confidential Internet reporting tool that mandated reporters may use to report suspected elder abuse. Senate Bill 718 also would allow the state, in conjunction with counties and other stakeholders, to develop a form for written reports, as well. The bill also specifies the information to be gathered by both methods, which will speed efficiency in both making and processing reports of suspected elder abuse. Recent amendments also compel any county that chooses to use this method to issue reports on the system to the Legislature, which is a common state oversight tool. 

Counties are responsible for investigating reports of suspected elder abuse, and have a vested interest in ensuring the safety and financial security of elder Californians living in our communities. Senate Bill 718 would serve this interest by giving counties the option to implement a new Internet-based system with the goal of increasing the ease by which a mandated reporter may submit a report of suspected elder abuse. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear SB 718 on May 23. 

AB 1288 (Gordon) – Support
As Amended on May 16, 2011

AB 1288, by Assembly Member Rich Gordon, would protect the assets of vulnerable seniors or dependent adults from misuse and fraud while a conservatorship petition is pending in court. 

Assembly Bill 1288 specifically would extend the period of time in which a public guardian or conservator may petition to protect the assets of seniors and dependent adults from 15 to 30 days. The bill also would expand the scope of the possession or control of property by the guardian to include assets held in the name of a proposed conservatee’s trust.

Counties often encounter these issues during Adult Protective Services investigations, and it is challenging to complete a petition for conservatorship within 15 days. AB 1288 is a common sense, simple measure to provide appointed guardians a suitable amount of time and authority to protect the assets of vulnerable seniors and dependent adults. It is for these reasons that CSAC supports the bill. 

The Assembly passed AB 1288 on May 19. It now goes to the Senate.

In-Home Supportive Services

SB 930 (Evans) – Support
As introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 930, by Senator Noreen Evans, would eliminate the requirements for counties to collect the fingerprints of each IHSS consumer and have both providers and consumers to submit fingerprints on each IHSS timesheet (a provision of current law that is scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year). The bill would also repeal statute that prohibits providers from using a Post Office Box (P.O. Box) for IHSS forms, including for paychecks. 

For these reasons, CSAC supports SB 930. The Senate passed SB 930 on May 19, and it now goes to the Assembly.

Medi-Cal

AB 396 (Mitchell) – Support
As Amended on May 12, 2011

AB 396, by Assembly Member Holly Mitchell, would provide the opportunity for counties to receive federal funding for the inpatient medical costs of juvenile detainees. 

Specifically, AB 396 would allow counties to draw down federal matching funds for the inpatient medical treatment provided to minors who are outside of a county detention facility for more than 24 hours. The bill specifies that participating minors must be eligible for Medi-Cal and detained in either a juvenile detention facility or probation camp. While the measure would require the Department of Health Care Services to develop a process to allow counties to collect federal reimbursement for outpatient medical care, the author points out that current law already authorizes DHCS to implement a similar reimbursement system for adult detainees. 

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. It is for these reasons that CSAC supports the bill. 

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed AB 396 on May 18. It now goes to the Assembly Floor.

Public Health

AB 581 (Pérez) – Support
As Introduced on February 16, 2011

AB 581, by Assembly Speaker John Pérez, would promote access to healthy food in communities throughout California. 

Assembly Bill 581 would require the state to seek federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative funds included in President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget. The federal funding is intended to combat the prevalence of “food deserts” within communities – areas with little to no access to quality foods that are both healthy and affordable. 

The federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative is designed to eliminate “food deserts” within seven years through innovative financing, grants, and private sector partnerships. Assembly Bill 581 specifically establishes the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative Fund at the State Treasury and positions the state to access these federal funds. The bill also requires a stakeholder process to develop recommendations on promoting healthy food and accessing federal funding that will be presented to the Legislature.

Assembly Bill 581 is modeled on successful Healthy Food Financing Programs in New York and Pennsylvania, and counties believe that the great agricultural state of California can take these efforts to a new level that benefits the health of our communities. 

Counties support efforts to increase the number of fresh grocery stores, urban and rural farm stands, farmers’ markets, and community gardens in underserved communities. It is for these reasons that CSAC supports AB 581. 

The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed AB 581 on the Suspense File on May 18. 

SB 594 (Wolk) – Oppose Unless Amended
As Amended on May 11, 2011

SB 594, as amended by Senator Lois Wolk, would still limit a county’s flexibility to organize and deliver public health laboratory services. Senator Wolk has worked with counties to hear our concerns about this bill, but recent amendments fail to address all of the issues that we, other county affiliates, and counties have raised. 

Recent amendments taken in Senate Health Committee did remove certain provisions in the bill, but, unfortunately, the amendments also created a new set of concerns for counties. They include: 

  • The codification of more than 30-year-old regulations is inappropriate and overly restrictive. We strongly urge the Department of Public Health to review and update regulations pertaining to the operation of public health laboratories to reflect rapidly changing laboratory technology that provides opportunities to develop new, more cost effective, and highly reliable models for securing public health lab testing.
  • We object to the removal of language which would have prevented the Department from passing on the costs of creating and maintaining a new continuing education program for public health microbiologists to local health departments.

Finally, counties remain concerned about the provisions of the bill which restrict how counties organize public health departments by requiring that the public health laboratory director report to the local health officer.

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 opposes SB 594 unless it is amended. 

The Senate Appropriations will hear the bill on Monday, May 23.

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