CSAC Bulletin Article

Several HHS Measures Cause Concern

March 31, 2016

Every year, bills are introduced that cause concern for counties. Bills that propose new duties or costs, are costly or downright impossible to implement, could have unintended fiscal consequences for critical services, are duplicative of current law or responsibilities, or, despite the best of intentions, could ultimately negatively affect  the people counties serve, always make it across the desk.

Currently, there are several child-centered bills that fit this mold moving through the legislative process – but it doesn’t mean CSAC will oppose them. CSAC has a long tradition of engaging with authors and stakeholders to help inform the policy in each measure in a way that works for counties and achieves the policy goals of the authors or sponsors – and improves the lives of those we serve.

Below are a few bills on which CSAC is engaging, presented here in the interest of informing county supervisors about current issues and seeking county input. They include:

AB 1737 (McCarty) would require all counties to establish an interagency child death review team to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing suspicious child deaths.  Currently, counties may establish interagency child death review teams, but are not required to do so. CSAC currently has a neutral position on AB 1737, as we support the investigation and especially the prevention of child injury or deaths, but is also gathering more information on the potential cost for counties that do not currently have a child death review team.  Please contact Farrah McDaid Ting at fmcdaid at counties dot org if you have information on potential costs, any concerns, or support for this well-intentioned measure.

SB 1291 (Beall) would require each mental health plan to annually submit a foster care mental health service plan to the State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) that details the service array available to Medi-Cal eligible children and youth under the jurisdiction Child Welfare Services or Probation. There would additionally be an annual mental health plan review conducted by an external quality review organization and more DHCS oversight. CSAC currently has a pending position on SB 1291, as its provisions seem duplicative of current reporting and oversight requirements for county mental health plans. However, CSAC is working with the author to gather better data on these populations and exploring ways to make existing data more accessible.

SB 1466 (Mitchell) would requiring screening services under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program to include screening for trauma. The bill would provide that child abuse and neglect or removal of the child from the parent or legal guardian by a child welfare agency shall be prima facie evidence of trauma for purposes on conducing a screening under the EPSDT Program. This would expand the duties for medical providers and county mental health plans, and may be duplicative of existing requirements under the EPSDT program. CSAC currently has a pending position on SB 1466 and is gathering more information about the measure.

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