CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services

Senate Health Committee Passes Health Care Coverage for the Undocumented Bill

This week the Senate Health Committee heard SB 4, a measure by Senator Ricardo Lara to provide health care coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California to undocumented people in California. The Committee heard testimony from advocacy groups and undocumented individuals, who recalled several occasions where the individual or a family member required medical attention, but did not obtain it due to the cost of the services and/or knowing that they would be turned away from primary care. SB 4 was passed by the Senate Health Committee and will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where an approximation of the cost of the measure will be developed.

The Committee also passed SB 614 – authored by Senator Leno, sponsored by CSAC affiliate the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California – which would require the Department of Health Care Services to expand the peer family support specialist certification program statewide.

Laura’s Law Bills Moving to Assembly Judiciary Committee

The Assembly Health Committee passed two bills – AB 59 by Assembly Member Waldron and AB 1193 by Assembly Member Eggman – now moving on to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

AB 1193 remains a concern for counties as it requires each county to implement Laura’s Law in their county unless the County Board of Supervisors opt out of participating. It would also extend the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002 to January 1, 2022 from the current repeal date of January 1, 2017. CSAC is opposing the bill.

Assembly Member Waldron’s April 6 amendments to AB 59 removed the mandate requiring all counties to implement Laura’s Law. Because of this change, CSAC changed our position to NEUTRAL.

Senate Education Committee Holds Vaccine Bill

On Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee heard SB 277 by Senator Pan, which would eliminate the personal believe exemption for required immunizations in order to attend public or private (K-12) schools and daycare facilities. This bill was held in Committee as Chair and Senator Liu urged Senator Pan not to take a vote on the bill at that time. Instead, Senator Pan will negotiate amendments to the bill, which will be taken up for a vote only, without public comment, on Wednesday, April 22.

CSAC supports SB 277, along with our affiliate the County Health Executives Association of California.

Conservatorship Bill Moves to Assembly Judiciary Committee

CSAC continues to oppose Assembly Member Brian Maienschein’s AB 193, along with the Urban Counties Caucus and the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. AB 193 would authorize a Probate Court judge to recommend a Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) conservatorship to the county officer providing conservatorship investigations if the court determines, based on evidence and the opinion of a medical professional, that a person for whom a probate conservatorship has been established may be gravely disabled and is unwilling to accept, or is incapable of accepting, treatment voluntarily and is thus eligible for a LPS conservatorship. The April 14 amendments now require the court to act in consultation with a physician.

However, despite the amendments, county concerns regarding potential costs, increased workload and the erosion of county authority in conservatorship investigations remain. CSAC encourages counties to review the bill and weigh in on county impacts.

The bill will be heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on April 21.

Congress Passes “Doc Fix” bill

On April 15, Congress passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, commonly known as the “doc fix” bill. This bill reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care coverage to uninsured children up to age 19. Current funding for this Federal-State partnership is set to expire in September 2015; however H.R. 2 would extend the funding for an additional two years. This reflects a CSAC federal priority for 2015.

Other provisions of H.R. 2 include:

  • Reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act through 2015; along with authorizing $500 million through the SRS program to support local schools, transportation infrastructure, emergency response and other critical services (yet another CSAC federal priority for 2015)
  • Extending funding for 2 years for Community Health Centers (also known as FQHCs), National Health Services Corps and Teaching Centers;
  • Extending funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program for 2 additional years;
  • Permanently extending the Transitional Medical Assistance Program; and
  • Delaying the scheduled reductions to Disproportionate Share Hospital Funding until 2018.

H.R. 2 was signed into law by President Obama on Thursday, April 17. CSAC wishes to thank the counties which weighed in on the CHIP, SRS, FQHC, and DSH funding provisions for their efforts and extend our gratitude to CSAC’s federal lobbying firm, Waterman and Associates, for their efforts on behalf of the successful legislation.

Health Homes for Patients with Complex Needs 2.0

The Department of Health Care Services released the second iteration of their Health Homes concept paper in conjunction with hosting a webinar for stakeholders and interested parties this week. Currently, the concept paper can be found on their Health Homes for Patients with Complex Needs 2.0 Website. According to DHCS, a recording of the webinar, along with the PowerPoint presentation, will soon be posted as well.

For your reference, an analysis of the first HHPCN concept paper was included in our February 13 edition of the CSAC bulletin. A more detailed overview of the updated concept paper will be provided by CSAC staff; however we would like to solicit your feedback on the concept paper. Should you have any comments and/or concerns, please contact Michelle Gibbons at mgibbons@counties.org or at (916) 327-7500 ext. 524.

DHCS is also soliciting feedback on their concept paper by May 6. Comments can be sent to HHP@dhcs.ca.gov.

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