expected, the 2019 long session of the General Assembly is busy with committees
meeting regularly. The budget, initiated
by the House this year, is expected to be published at any moment. At that point, activities will likely ramp up
to chaotic. The bill filing deadlines
for both the House and the Senate have already passed. The crossover deadline is May 9th. If a bill that does not have an appropriation
attached to it does not pass one of the houses of the General Assembly by
crossover/May 9th, it will no longer be active in this session. Any bill that does have an appropriation
attached to it does not have to meet crossover.
Even if a bill does not meet crossover, there is a chance that the bill
will be included as a special provision in the budget or could be attached to
an active bill. These kinds of
opportunities make for a lot of wheeling and dealing in the halls of the
of April 29th over 1,000 bills have been filed in the House and nearly
700 bills have been filed in the Senate.
A number of those bills are
related to MH/IDD/SUD services. All of
these bills can be found on the General Assembly website
by choosing “find a bill” and putting the bill number into the search engine on
the top right corner of the homepage. Here’s
a sample of some of the more notable bills:
- H822 calls for NC
DHHS to submit to the legislature a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan for
the State. The Plan would include a
10-year vision for Medicaid, Health Choice and state-funded MH/IDD/SUD
- H440 would
appropriate funds to conduct a feasibility study for having regional behavioral
health crisis centers. The study would
be done through Partners LME/MCO and findings would be reported by February
- H360/S624 provides
for a grant-in-aid for Guilford County to construct a facility-based mental
health crisis center for adults.
- H983 appropriates
funds for two Peer Wellness Center pilots—one in a rural community and one in
an urban community.
- H990 aims to
stabilize community-based group homes that receive State funds and are licensed
under Chapter 122C. The bill calls for a
NC DHHS report by November 2019 to the legislature on a more appropriate and
sustainable service model for residents of licensed, community-based group
homes, including a new rate model. It
also includes a transfer of $26 million for each fiscal year of the biennium,
non-recurring, from the General Fund to assist with the transition to a new
- S549 creates a
two-year child welfare and behavioral health pilot program that focuses on
comprehensive services for foster care children. The purpose of the pilot project is to
establish a trauma-informed integrated health foster care model.
- H656/S548 makes
various updates to the language related to Medicaid and Health Choice clinical
coverage, including Medicaid beneficiary appeals, adverse determinations for
services, requests for disenrollment, BH/IDD Tailored Plan closed networks,
adds Medicaid beneficiaries in foster care to those who can be covered by
Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs) and sets the Medical Loss Ratio for PHPs at 88%
(therefore they cannot spend more than 12% on administration).
- S387 sets minimum
work and community engagement requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries.
- H5/S3 have been
introduced to expand Medicaid and close the insurance coverage gap.
- H555 makes changes
to the Medicaid and Health Choice telemedicine and telepsychiatry policies to
increase access to services. On the
House Health schedule for this week.
- S570/H883 would
bring dental services for Medicaid and Health Choice beneficiaries under
Social Services and Juvenile Justice
- H935 will allow for
the repurposing and redeployment of positions within the NC Division of Social
Services to create 7 regional child welfare and social service centers along
with other changes needed per the Performance Improvement Plan that NC DHHS has
- H291 will extend
the Social Services Regional Collaboration Work Group and the Child Well-Being
- H613 makes changes
to Chapter 122C to allow for an unaccompanied homeless minor to consent to
certain health services.
- H580/S636 raise
the foster care rates.
- H121, H609, S413
and S614 further specify provisions related to Raise the Age of juvenile
- S601 are
recommendations on School-Based Mental Health that are based on the
deliberations of the School Mental Health Initiative. This is a joint effort by the Departments of
Public Instruction and Health and Human Services.
- H75 calls for a
study on the implementation of school mental health screenings for children who
are considered to be at-risk of harming themselves and others.
- H76 is the School
Safety Omnibus legislation that covers a spectrum of school safety issues and
links LME/MCOs with students referred by the Superintendent.
Workforce and Administrative Practices
are numerous bills that make changes to professional licensures, postpone the
HIE participation of some MH/SUD providers and exempt some IDD providers, and
call for a study to identify where there is administrative duplication causing
a burden for MH/IDD/SUD providers.