CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services update 7/7/2014

Medi-Cal 

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. 

On July 2, SB 508 was heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and placed on the suspense file.

Mental Health 

SB 1054 (Steinberg) – Support 
As Amended on June 23, 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. On July 2, the Assembly Appropriations Committee heard SB 1054 and placed it on the suspense file.

County Public Hospitals

AB 2546 (Salas) – Support 
As Amended on June 26, 2014 

AB 2546, by Assembly Member Rudy Salas, authorizes and provides a statutory framework for Kern County to form the Kern County Hospital Authority. The Hospital Authority positions Kern to evolve with the changing health care landscape and innovate to better serve its low-income residents. CSAC supports AB 2546, which was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

CalWORKs 

AB 1452 (Stone) – Support 
As Amended on June 15, 2014 

AB 1452, by Assembly Member Mark Stone, would increase the amount of homeless assistance funding available to a family of four from $65 to $75. It would also require annual adjustments of the amount based on increases or decreases in cost of living expenses. 

CSAC supports the measure, which was heard on June 30 by the Committee on Appropriations and placed on the suspense file.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment

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 heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on July 2 and placed on the suspense file.

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