CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services update 8/15/2014

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, along with The Urban Counties Caucus and the Rural County Representatives of California, remain in opposition of AB 2311. The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 2311 on the Suspense File.

Human Services

AB 2547 (Gaines) – Support
As Enrolled on August 8, 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.

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 is enrolled and awaits the Governor ‘s action.

Medi-Cal

SB 1341 (Mitchell) – Support 
As Amended on May 6, 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.

CSAC continues to support SB 1341, was passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It will now move to the Assembly Floor for consideration.

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 Assembly Appropriations Committee and will proceed to the Assembly Floor.

SB 1089 (Mitchell) – Support 
As Enrolled on August 14, 2014

SB 1089, as amended by Senator Holly Mitchell, is sponsored by Los Angeles County and intended as a technical clean-up measure for AB 396 (Chapter 394, Statutes of 2011). AB 396 created a voluntary program that allows counties to draw down federal matching funds for the medical treatment of minors who are held in a juvenile justice facility and require hospitalization. SB 1089 seeks to clarify the county’s share of the costs and encourage the development of a claiming process.

SB 1089 is enrolled and awaits the Governor’s action.

Homeless Assistance

AB 1733 (Quirk-Silva, Maienschein, Atkins) – Support 
As Amended on June 26, 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 Appropriations Committee and will proceed to the Senate Floor.

CalWORKs

AB 1654 (Bonilla) – Support
As Amended on August 4, 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, beginning January 1, 2016.

While CSAC supports the AB 1654, the Senate Appropriations Committee held it on the Suspense File.

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.

The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 1452 on the Suspense File.

AB 264 (Maienschein) – Support 
As Amended on June 12, 2014

AB 264, as amended, by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, eliminates the current requirement that the 16 days of housing assistance provided to homeless families through the CalWORKs program be used consecutively. AB 264 will allow counties to target the intermittent cycle of homelessness by increasing flexibility for the receipt of temporary housing assistance.

The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 264 on the Suspense File.

Emergency Medical Services

AB 1621 (Lowenthal) – Oppose
As Amended on June 24, 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 held on the Suspense File by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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 passed by the Senate and awaits concurrence by the Assembly.

Mental Health

SB 1054 (Steinberg) – Support 
As Amended on June 23, 2014

SB 1054, by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, would require the Board of State and Community Corrections to administer and award mentally ill offender grant reductions on a competitive basis 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 juvenile and adult offenders.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 1054 and it will now proceed to the Assembly Floor.

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 passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will proceed to the Assembly Floor for consideration.

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