CSAC Bulletin Article

New Laws Impacting Counties: Health and Human Services

Nov. 1, 2018

With Governor Brown signing over 1,000 bills into law this year, CSAC is publishing a series of articles to spotlight new laws that impact counties from each policy area. This week, the report from the Health and Human Services (HHS) policy area provides information on new laws affecting foster care, mental health, homelessness, and more. Stay tuned for more updates from other policy areas over the next several weeks.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

Budget Bill – Multiple Human Services Issues

AB 1811(Budget Committee) Human Services Omnibus. AB 1811 contains the statutory changes needed to enact many of the major human services provisions that were included in the 2018 Budget Act. This measure requires counties and the state to provide emergency assistance payments to caregivers who are caring for children while awaiting approval as a resource family, codifies the requirement to reconcile state and county costs and savings from Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) implementation, establishes an increase to CalWORKs grants, limits the county share of cost for future CalWORKs grant increases, ends California’s policy that prohibits SSI/SSP recipients from receiving CalFresh benefits along with a hold harmless for current beneficiaries, and establishes the Home Safe program to prevent homelessness for victims of elder abuse. This bill is currently in effect.

Funding Flexibility

AB 2821 (Mayes) Integrated and comprehensive health and human services system. This measure allows counties with an integrated health and human services agency, and upon approval by the California Health and Human Services Agency, additional flexibility with 2011 Realignment funding across social and behavioral health services. A county must provide  a resolution to the California Health and Human Services agency for approval. CSAC supported this measure to allow counties more flexibility in using 2011 Realignment revenue for critical services.

Foster Care

AB 2083 (Cooley) Foster Youth: trauma-informed system care. This measure requires counties to work with local agencies and entities to develop Memorandums of Understanding to ensure coordination of services for foster youth who have experienced trauma. It would also require the state to establish an interagency placement resolution team to provide guidance and technical assistance on identifying and securing the appropriate trauma-informed services.  

SB 925 (Beall) Foster Care. This bill requires a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to be included in the Child and Family Team (CFT), if a CASA is appointed, and the child does not object.

SB 1083 (Mitchell) Resource Family Approval. This measure extends the Resource Family Approval (RFA) deadline for current foster caregivers, including relatives and non-relatives, from December 31, 2019 to December 31, 2020. The RFA system is the new process by which foster parents are approved as caregivers.  

Homelessness Prevention and Services

SB 918 (Wiener) Homeless Youth Act. This measure requires the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to establish specific goals to prevent youth homelessness, improve the health and safety of youth experiencing homelessness, and increase system integration to help prevent homelessness for youth involved in the child welfare system or the juvenile justice system.  

In-Home Supportive Services

AB 110 (Committee on Budget) In-Home Supportive Services Wage Supplement. This bill outlines that the IHSS wage supplement will be subsequently applied when the state minimum wage equals or exceeds the county provider wage absent the wage supplement amount. AB 110 clarifies that a wage supplement can only be added to the highest wage paid in the county since June 30, 2017, with an exception for those agreements submitted prior to January 1, 2018. This bill is currently in effect.

AB 3082 (Gonzalez Fletcher) In-Home Supportive Services. This bill requires the Department of Social Services to convene a stakeholder group by February 1, 2019 to develop or identify sexual harassment and prevention materials to be available to IHSS providers and recipients and a method for data collection on sexual harassment in the IHSS program.

SB 857 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) In-Home Supportive Services: Provider Orientations. This bill requires Public Authorities in the counties of Los Angeles, Merced, and Orange to comply with the provisions of AB 119 (Chapter 21, Statutes of 2017), which mandates all public employers to provide union access to New Employee Orientations and directs the employer and the union to determine the “structure, time, and manner” of union access by mutual agreement. This bill is currently in effect.

Behavioral Health

AB 2099 (Gloria) Mental health: detention and evaluation. This measure allows a copy of involuntary 72-hour psychiatric hold paperwork to be treated the same as the original. CSAC supported this bill to address recent problems involving denials of care due to providers refusing to accept digital or photocopies of the required legal paperwork.

AB 2983 (Arambula) Health care facilities: voluntary. This measure prohibits acute care and psychiatric hospitals from placing a patient who is voluntarily seeking health care on a 5150 psychiatric hold as a condition of accepting a transfer. CSAC supported this measure to address the practice of using the 5150 hold to admit individuals who are voluntarily seeking services.

Mental Health Services Act

SB 192 (Beall) Mental Health Services Fund. This measure establishes a Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Reversion Account for unspent MHSA funds, a prudent reserve calculation, and a timeline for counties to submit the unspent funds to the account. Counties are required to submit an expenditure plan to the state by January 1, 2019. CSAC supported this measure which provides counties with clear direction for MHSA reserve standards.

SB 688 (Moorlach) Mental Health Services Act: revenue and expenditure reports. This measure requires the Mental Health Services Act Annual Revenue and Expenditures Report to comply with generally accepted accounting principles and to be submitted electronically in a machine-readable format to the Department of Health Care Services. CSAC supported this measure because it will make the process of submitting financial reports consistent across the state and increase transparency.

Substance Use Disorder

AB 2861 (Salas) Medi-Cal: telehealth: substance use disorders. This measure requires the Department of Health Care Services to allow Medi-Cal billing for Drug Medi-Cal certified providers delivering services through telehealth.  CSAC supported this bill as an important expansion of access to substance use disorder treatment.

SB 992 (Hernandez) Alcoholism and drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities. This measure requires residential alcoholism or drug abuse recovery facilities to develop discharge and continuing care plans for clients who relapse while receiving treatment and requires facilities to disclose any ownership or financial interest in unlicensed recovery facilities to Department of Health Care Services. CSAC supports this measure to ensure all clients are provided with a continued treatment plan.

Social Services Program Eligibility

AB 3224 (Thurmond) Public Social Services: County Employees. This measure codifies in state law that eligibility determinations for Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, and CalFresh must be conducted by county merit or civil service employees.

Emergency Medical Services

AB 3115 (Gipson) Community Paramedicine Act of 2018. AB 3115 was gutted and amended the last week of the legislative session with language from two failed community paramedicine pilot bills – AB 1795 (Gipson) and SB 944 (Hertzberg). AB 3115 included several worrisome provisions related to unworkable standards for the community paramedicine pilots as well as proposed changes to the composition of local medical committees and the state Emergency Medical Services Commission. CSAC opposed the measure, which was vetoed by the Governor. View the veto message here.


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