CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services update 5/2/2014

Public Guardian

AB 1725 (Maienschein) – Oppose
As Amended on April 30, 2014

AB 1725, by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, remains a concern for counties as it will increase costs and workload levels and hasten the erosion of county authority in conservatorship investigations should this measure move forward.

AB 1725 was amended April 30, and while the amendments reflect an improvement in the bill, counties remain opposed to the remaining provisions that would allow a Probate Court to make a recommendation of conservatorship to the county Conservatorship Officer (CO) and require the CO to conduct the investigation and file a report within 30 days of the probate court recommendation.
While the proposed language does not require the CO to recommend conservatorship to the Superior Court, it does compel the CO to conduct a conservatorship investigation. This is contrary to current law, whereby a CO retains the authority to determine whether an investigation is warranted upon receiving a referral by a medical professional. 

Should the mandate in AB 1725 become law, counties anticipate a significant increase in workload and county costs for conservatorship investigations. Further, the measure would also impose an arbitrary and frankly unrealistic 30-day mandated timeline for the investigation and submission of a report to the Superior Court. 

CSAC urges counties to oppose AB 1725, which has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee but not yet set for hearing. 

General Assistance

AB 2311 (Bradford) – Oppose
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 would increase county-funded benefits for a specific population and remove local authority to set GA levels that meets the needs of each community. 
The Assembly Human Services Committee passed AB 2311 on April 29, and it goes next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. CSAC urges counties to weigh in on this issue. 

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 discussed amendments and passed the measure on April 29. It goes next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 

AB 1975 (Hernández) – Oppose
As Amended on March 28, 2014

AB 1975, by Assembly Member Roger Hernández, would require Local Emergency Medical Services Agencies (LEMSA) implementing a trauma care system to commission the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to conduct a comprehensive assessment periodically of equitability and access to its trauma system, and would require the local EMS agency to submit the results of each assessment to the EMS Authority. 

Counties oppose AB 1975. Local EMS agencies, with the oversight of the EMS Authority and the Commission on EMS, currently perform objective and independent trauma planning and system evaluation. While there may be value on a case-by-case basis for a local EMS agency voluntarily choosing to use the ACS, there exists no compelling argument to mandate the use of ACS statewide in each local EMS system.

It is anticipated that AB 1975’s mandate to require the use an American College of Surgeons’ trauma system survey will cost counties and local EMS agencies, at a minimum $65,000 every five years, not including the necessary EMS staff time to prepare and support of the ACS audit. The increase in EMS staff costs could surpass $100,000 a year in many counties. Local jurisdictions would have no choice but to pass along these costs to hospitals by increasing trauma center designation fees.

It is for these reasons that CSAC, along with Los Angeles County, the California Hospital Association (CHA), the Emergency Medical Administrators Association of California (EMSAAC), and the Emergency Medical Directors Association of California (EMDAC) oppose AB 1975. It will be heard on May 6 in the Assembly Health Committee. 

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 placed SB 1029 on their Suspense File 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 passed the bill on April 28, and it is now on the Senate side awaiting referral to committees. 

AB 1654 (Bonilla) – Support
As Introduced on February 11, 2014 

AB 1654, by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, would increase the amount of the child support pass through for those on CalWORKs aid from $50 for one child and $100 for a family with two or more children to $100 and $200 respectively. 
CSAC supports the measure, which was placed on the Suspense File by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 30. 

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. 

he Assembly Human Services Committee passed AB 2547 on April 29 on their consent calendar, with the recommendation to the Assembly Appropriations Committee to also place it on consent. 

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 passed SB 1341 on April 30. It goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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