CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services update 6/20/2014

General Assistance

AB 2311 (Bradford) – Oppose
As Amended on May 23, 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. 
CSAC is working with the author’s office to focus on policy to assist veterans in our communities, but remains opposed to the bill at this time. The Senate Human Services Committee will hear AB 2311 on June 24.
Affordable Care Act

SB 508 (Hernandez) – Support
As Amended June 5, 2014

SB 508, by Senator Ed Hernandez, would make necessary changes to the statutory framework for California’s implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). The measure is a follow-up to SBX1 1 (Hernandez and Steinberg, Chapter 4, Statutes of 2013) and ABX1 1 (Perez, Chapter 3, Statutes of 2013).

Specifically, SB 508 would codify the new federal income standards – utilizing modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) rules – established by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for determining Medi-Cal eligibility. SB 508 ensures California statutes accurately reflect how the Administration has defined the MAGI standards for purposes of eligibility of various groups.

Additionally, the measure would extend Medi-Cal benefits to independent foster care adolescents. SB 508 would ensure that foster youth who lose foster care eligibility due to having reached the maximum age for assistance would still be able to get Medicaid coverage up to age 26 or a higher age at which the state’s or tribe’s foster care assistance ends under federal law. Recent state law changes allow youth to remain in care beyond age 18, up to age 21. As a result, youth are leaving care at various ages. SB 508 ensures that these youth are treated equally for purposes of ongoing eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits. SB 508 also streamlines eligibility by deleting the deprivation requirement for parent or caretaker relatives.

SB 508 was passed by the Senate Health Committee on June 17 and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

Human Services

AB 2547 (Gaines) – Support
As Amended on May 15, 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 makes the County’s Integrated Health and Human Services Pilot Program permanent. 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. In making this program permanent, the bill has been amended to remove obsolete evaluation and reporting requirements used in the prior pilot.

AB 2547 was passed by the Senate Health Committee on June 18 and awaits a hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee.
Social Services

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

AB 1623, by Assembly Speaker 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. AB 1623 is currently on consent. 

AB 1654 (Bonilla) – Support
As Amended on June 17, 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 amended slightly and passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 17. It goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 
Emergency Medical Services

AB 1621 (Lowenthal) – Oppose
As Amended on June 9, 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. This measure was passed by the Senate Health Committee on June 18 and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

Homeless Assistance

AB 1733 (Quirk-Silva, Maienschein, Atkins) – Support
As Amended on May 23, 2014

AB 1733, by Assembly Members Sharon Quirk-Silva, Brian Maienschein and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, allows a fee waiver for a homeless person to obtain a certified certificate of live birth from the county registrar or recorder or an identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 
CSAC supports AB 1733. As the service provider of last resort for indigent Californians, counties deal with the effects of homelessness across our systems, including health, human services and public safety. AB 1733 will facilitate access for homeless people to services that are critical to helping them move towards self-sufficiency. Government and non-governmental entities fund a variety of services that help ensure the health and safety of homeless and low-income people. However, eligibility must be established in order to access these services, which often requires proof of identity with a birth record or valid identification card. Providing these services to homeless persons reduce costs to government and society overall, but particularly counties. 

AB 1733 was passed by the Senate Health Committee on June 18 and referred to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
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. SB 1054 was passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 17 and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

SB 1161 (Beall) – Support
As Amended on April 29, 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. SB 1161 was passed by the Senate Health Committee on June 17 and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

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