CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 09/12/2011

LIHP Grants with Short Deadline Available from Blue Shield Foundation

The Blue Shield Foundation of California is soliciting grant proposals to help counties implement their Low Income Health Programs (LIHPs). Proposals from counties are due to the Foundation by September 27.
The Blue Shield Foundation is offering the competitive grants – up to $150,000 per project – as part of its mission to help counties successfully develop and implement LIHPs. Last year, the Foundation made grants to 22 counties to help them develop a plan for LIHPs. This new round of funding is available to help those counties and others implement a LIHP by 2012. 

For a full description of the grants and requirements, please visit the following link on the Blue Shield Foundation of California’s website. Counties with questions may also contact Richard Thomason at (415) 229-5292. 

CSAC is also proud to partner with the Blue Shield Foundation of California to present a workshop at our Annual Meeting on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as federal health care reform. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, November 29 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the CSAC Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Additional details will be available soon.

Medi-Cal

ABX1 30 (Blumenfield) – Watch
As Enrolled on September 6, 2011

ABX1 21 (Blumenfield) – Watch
As Enrolled on September 8, 2011

The Legislature has passed two measures to implement a managed care plan tax on Medi-Cal managed care plans to fund the Healthy Families Program. The tax was originally proposed as part of the budget package but was not acted on in June, and was revived in the last days of the legislative session. 

ABX1 21 extends the sunset date on a gross premiums tax on managed care plans from July 1, 2011 until July 1, 2012. The gross premiums tax, also called a “MCO tax” was originally created through AB 1422 (Bass, Chapter 157, Statutes of 2009). The tax is projected to produce $207 million in revenue in 2011-12. Those revenues will be matched with federal funds (for total funds of approximately $500 million) and used to provide a reimbursement rate increase to Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans and to fund the Healthy Families Program. 

Additionally, the measures clarify that the proposed tax would remain in effect if there are no further law changes to do any of the following:

  • Transition Healthy Families Program enrollees to Medi-Cal or other state programs
  • Transfer administrative functions for the Healthy Families Program away from the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board or its vendors
  • Cease operations or repeal the Healthy Families Program
  • Cease operations or repeal the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board

The Legislature had passed AB 1422 with industry support in 2009. Both measures, ABX1 21 and ABX1 30, were enrolled last week and now go to the Governor’s desk. 

AB 396 (Mitchell) – Support
As Enrolled on September 8, 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 provided outside the grounds of a correctional facility. 

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. Recent amendments also specify that the counties which elect to participate and the state must negotiate administrative costs associated with obtaining the federal funding annually, and counties agree to pay the nonfederal share of administrative costs. Of course, the implementation of AB 396 is also predicated on federal approval. 

The Assembly concurred in Senate Amendments and passed AB 396 on September 8. It now goes to the Governor.

Child Welfare Services/Foster Youth

AB 194 (Beall) – Support
As Enrolled on September 6, 2011

AB 194, a bill by Assembly Member Jim Beall, would grant foster youth priority enrollment in a public university or community college system until January 1, 2017. 

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 and includes a sunset date of January 1, 2017. 

Counties support efforts to ensure the long-term success of foster youth and former foster youth and therefore support AB 194. The Assembly concurred in the Senate’s sunset date amendment and passed AB 194 on September 6, 2011. It now goes to the Governor. 

AB 212 (Beall) – Support
As Enrolled on September 6, 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, stakeholders, 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, as well as KinGAP payments and the fingerprinting of guardians. 

The Assembly concurred in Senate Amendments and passed AB 212 on September 6. It now goes to the Governor. 

AB 717 (Ammiano) – Support
As Enrolled on September 7, 2011

AB 717, by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, would improve the use and operation of the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).

The CACI is a tool used by county child welfare agencies when conducting investigations and hiring of staff. However, because of the sensitive information within the system, CACI has been the target of litigation throughout the years. A result of some of that litigation is a due process structure for persons listed on the CACI. Assembly Bill 717, as amended, will improve due process by, among other things, affording all persons listed in CACI the right to request a due process hearing if they have not already had the opportunity to do so. Assembly Bill 717 would also help streamline the system by permitting “inconclusive” reports to be purged. Also, AB 717 would allow the Department of Justice to purge all reports in CACI where the person listed has reached 100 years of age. 
Counties believe the CACI system is an important tool in our child welfare system work, and are committee to utilizing the system in an efficient, timely, and constitutional manner. Recent amendments also link AB 717 to AB 212 (Beall), and counties are supportive of both measures. Assembly Bill 717 was passed by the Assembly on September 7, 2011, and the measure now goes to the Governor.

CalWORKs and CalFresh

AB 959 (Jones) – Support
As Enrolled on September 8, 2011

AB 959, by Assembly Member Brian Jones, will increase efficiency in the CalWORKs and CalFresh programs by allowing for a one-month grace period during the discontinuance process. 

Assembly Bill 959 is a San Diego county-sponsored measure that is aimed at increasing efficiency at the county level by allowing county eligibility staff to restore eligibility and prorate payments for cases that have been discontinued due to missing information if that information is received within 30 days of the discontinuance notice. 

Current law specifies that once benefits are terminated for any reason, then the recipient must re-apply and begin the eligibility process over again. This stringent requirement is often blamed for “churning,” an expensive reality in which the county and recipients repeatedly perform each step of the eligibility process while waiting for or submitting information. By allowing for a 30-day grace period before terminating eligibility, AB 959 will reduce this “churning” and streamline the process for all parties. 

Counties believe that AB 959 will simply reduce the number of CalWORKs and CalFresh applications processed at the local level and save the time and effort of both county staff and program recipients. The Assembly passed SB 959 on September 8 and it now goes to the Governor. 

AB 1182 (R. Hernández) – Support
As Enrolled on September 8, 2011

AB 1182, by Assembly Member Roger Hernández, would allow CalWORKs applicants and recipients to own reliable cars. 

AB 1182 would specifically delete the requirement that counties assess the value of a motor vehicle when determining or redetermining CalWORKs eligibility. 

AB 1182 would increase the opportunities for recipients to find and maintain stable employment, while also increasing the state’s work participation rate, reducing grant costs in the long run and helping to avoid federal penalties. The Assembly passed AB 1182 on September 8 and it now goes to the Governor.

Health and Public Health

AB 581 (Pérez) – Support
As Enrolled on September 6, 2011

AB 581, as amended on July 11 by Assembly Speaker John Pérez, would create the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative. 

Assembly Bill 581 specifically requires the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative Council, which will develop a stakeholder process to help ensure healthy food is available throughout California, and especially in designated “food deserts.” The bill also creates a fund of the same name in the State Treasury, which positions the state to access available federal funds. 

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 concurred in Senate Amendments and passed AB 581 on September 6. It now goes to the Governor.

Health Care Reform

AB 1296 (Bonilla) – Support 
As Enrolled on September 8, 2011

AB 1296, by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, will streamline the eligibility and application process for Medi-Cal, the Healthy Families Program, and the new Health Care Exchange in accordance with the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014.

The Assembly passed AB 1296 on September 8, and it now goes to the Governor.

Mental Health

AB 1297 (Chesbro) – Support
As Enrolled on September 8, 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 and timelines, which will help maximize federal reimbursements for these services. AB 1297 would accomplish this by requiring the state and the California Mental Health Directors Association to develop a reimbursement methodology that conforms to federal Medicaid requirements and approved Medicaid state plan and waivers. Recent amendments also specify that counties will provide local matching funds for any amounts that exceed the state rate, thereby ensuring that no state General Fund dollars are spent as a result. 

The need for developing a new reimbursement methodology for mental health services provided by counties to Medi-Cal eligible individuals is acute. The State’s current Statewide Maximum Allowances (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 be reimbursed for these local costs by the federal government, all without impacting the state’s General Fund. 
Counties believe that AB 1297 will both streamline and enhance our 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. It is for these reasons that CSAC supports AB 1297. The Assembly passed AB 1297 on September 8, and it now goes to the Governor.

Child Care

AB 101 (Pérez) – Watch
As Enrolled on September 9, 2011

AB 101 by Assembly Member Pérez would allow family child care providers to form, join and participate in “provider organizations” for purposes of negotiating with state agencies.

The bill defines a “provider organization” as an organization that has all of the following characteristics:

  • The organization includes family child care providers.
  • The organization has as one of its main purposes the representation of family child care providers in their relations with public and private entities in the state.
  • The organization is not an entity that contracts with the state or a county to administer or process payments for a child care subsidy program.

This bill is jointly sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

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