CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services update 4/25/2014

Public Guardian

AB 1725 (Maienschein) – Oppose
As Proposed to be Amended

AB 1725, by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on April 22. Assembly Member Maienschein shared proposed amendments with the committee, which then passed the measure as proposed to be amended. It will be amended next in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 29. 

CSAC is reviewing the proposed amendments, which seem to be heading in the right direction. The proposed amendments strike two of the most problematic provisions from the bill by removing the language that would have expanded the definition of grave disability to include substance use disorders and addiction and to allow a family member or “interested person” to directly petition the probate court to establish a conservatorship. The remaining provision to authorize the probate court to recommend an LPS conservatorship to the county conservatorship officer remains, and CSAC is reviewing the proposed amendments to assess whether the language would still compel the officer to conduct a conservatorship investigation. 

CSAC will continue to participate in the discussion of the bill, and wishes to thank Assembly Member Maienschien, his staff, the Assembly Health Committee and staff, and the sponsors for their openness to responding to county concerns. 

Social Services

SB 1029 (Hancock) – Support
As Amended on April 10, 2014

SB 1029, by Senator Loni Hancock, would authorize CalWORKs and CalFresh benefits for individuals in the community who were convicted of a drug felony after December 31, 1997. CSAC supports the measure, which was passed by the Senate Human Services Committee on April 8. 

It should also be noted that the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Health and Human Services heard this issue as part of their agenda on April 9. CSAC and several counties registered their support for the proposal, which the Committee left open for a future vote. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear the bill on April 28. 

AB 1623 (Atkins) – Support
As Amended April 21, 2014

AB 1623, by Assembly Speaker-Elect Atkins, would authorize any city, county, or community-based nonprofit organization to establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking, as specified beginning January 1st of 2015. The bill would also specify additional confidentiality provisions relating to information disclosed by a victim in a family justice center and would require each family justice center to provide mandatory training for all staff members, volunteers, and agency professionals.

CSAC is supportive of efforts that assist victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking. The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed the bill on April 22, and it is now on the Assembly’s consent calendar. 

AB 2547 (Gaines) – Support
As Introduced on February 21, 2014

AB 2547, by Assembly Member Beth Gaines, would allow Placer County to continue to operate their successful integrated, coordinated, and seamless approach to health and human services delivery in the County for another five years. 

Sponsored by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, AB 2547 extends the sunset date to January 1, 2022 for the County’s innovative Health and Human Services blended pilot program. Operated in conjunction with the State, Placer County’s Integrated Health and Human Services Pilot Program serves 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. 

The Assembly Human Services Committee will hear AB 2547 on April 29. 

Mental Health

SB 1054 (Steinberg) – Support
As Amended on April 7, 2014

SB 1054, by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, would resurrect the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction (MIOCR) grant program by providing $25 million for juvenile offenders and $25 million for adult offenders in 2014-15. 
The competitive grant program would be administered by the Board of State and Community Corrections and disbursements would be made from the Recidivism Reduction Fund to counties that expand or establish a continuum of swift, certain, and graduated responses to reduce crime and criminal justice costs related to mentally ill offenders over four years. 

CSAC strongly supports Senator Steinberg’s efforts to target funding for intensive services to those who suffer from mental illness in the criminal justice system. The Senate Public Safety Committee passed SB 1054 on April 22 with strong county and law enforcement support. It has been referred to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. 

SB 1161 (Beall) – Support
As Amended on April 10, 2014

SB 1161, by Senator Jim Beall, would require the Department of Health Care Services to expand substance use disorder (SUD) residential treatment capacity and medical detoxification services in California by pursuing a federal Medicaid waiver with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

SB 1161 seeks to ensure that residential care facilities for substance use disorder and medical detoxification services are available to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Expansion of provider capacity is a critical component of ensuring that the Medi-Cal expansion meets the needs of those seeking substance use disorder treatment. As California looks to expand treatment capacity, it should partner with the federal government in seeking flexibility in the models for delivering care that will allow for the most cost effective expenditure of public funds. 

CSAC is also supportive of DHCS’s pursuit of a broad federal waiver to test a new model for better access and care coordination within the Drug Medi-Cal program and SUD services at the county level. The Senate Health Committee passed SB 1161 on April 24. It goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Medi-Cal

SB 1341 (Mitchell) – Support
As Amended on April 7, 2014

SB 1341, by Senator Holly Mitchell, would codify the existing agreement between the Administration, Covered California, and the counties regarding the respective roles of the State Automated Welfare System (SAWS) and the California Health Eligibility Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS). 
Specifically, SB 1341:

  • Specifies SAWS as the system of record for Medi-Cal and that SAWS shall contain all Medi-Cal eligibility rules and case management functionality. The bill permits the MAGI rules for Medi-Cal to continue to be housed in CalHEERS as they currently are; and,
  • Requires that Notices of Action (NOAs) for Medi-Cal be programmed into the Medi-Cal system of record: the SAWS systems.

The Senate Health Committee will hear SB 1341 on April 30. 

General Assistance

AB 2311 (Bradford) – Concerns
As Introduced on February 21, 2014

AB 2311, by Assembly Member Steven Bradford, would alter locally-established General Assistance (GA) eligibility to allow honorably discharged veterans to receive GA benefits for a longer period of time. 
Each county establishes GA benefit eligibility and award levels to best serve the needs of their communities. While counties strive to serve veteran populations, AB 2311 raises concerns because it would increase county-funded benefits for a specific population. 

The Assembly Human Services Committee will hear AB 2311 on April 29. 
Emergency Medical Services

AB 1621 (Lowenthal) – Oppose
As Amended on April 21, 2014

AB 1621, by Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal, would create a State Emergency Medical Services Data and Information Systems (SEMSDIS), mandate the use of electronic patient care record systems, and require local EMS agencies to submit patient and system data to the EMS Authority.

CSAC and CHEAC are generally supportive of the concept of expanding the use of electronic emergency medical services data. However, this bill creates a costly regulatory mandate on counties and EMS providers. The cost of implementing an electronic patient care record system can be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars, and funds for this purpose are virtually nonexistent for most counties, most acutely in our rural counties.

For these reasons, CSAC has joined with CHEAC to oppose AB 1621. The Assembly Health Committee will hear the measure on April 29. 

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