Monday, June 29, 2015
By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
Legislators took up a few bills last week but did not make any budget decisions. Not having a budget delays our advocacy work to support the social work profession. With things moving this slowly, legislators will not start budget negotiations for another two weeks due to the legislature’s week off for the July 4th holiday. With the two different budgets and two different Medicaid Reform plans, it is sure to be a while before we know what the state spending plan is and how Medicaid will be reformed. The longer legislators wait to make a plan for Medicaid and our state budget, the longer we wait to know about the fate of services, pay raises, Medicaid’s future, and other areas impacted by these decisions.
Relevant bills with action:
HB 372 2015 Medicaid Modernization: The House’s plan for Medicaid Reform includes Provider Led Entities covering services in all 100 counties. Each Entity must cover at least 30,000 patients and ensure appropriate services. Behavioral health services, dentistry, care for dual eligible patients, and pharmacy services are all excluded from the plan. Under the plan, 90% of Medicaid recipients would be served within five years. With bi-partisan debate, the bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate.
HB 556 Achieving a Better Life (ABLE) Act: The ABLE Act creates tax free savings accounts- 529 Accounts- for persons with disabilities in an attempt to ease financial burdens such as transportation, housing, education, in home supports, and more. The bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate where it is fully funded in their budget.
HB 714 Behavioral Analyst Licensure: This bill establishes a licensing board to oversee behavior analyst licensure in North Carolina. This license is a national one and many states are starting to establish a board to oversee the license in individual states. The bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate.
HB 652 Right to Try Act for Terminally Ill Patients: This bill would allow for terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs and biological products and devises that might not yet be approved by the FDA. The bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Governor.
SB 423 Foster Care Family Act: This bill does many things for children in foster care and parents choosing to foster. It would create liability insurance for foster parents and allow parents to make more decisions on behalf of the children in their care such as attending sleepovers or going on overnight trips, remove barriers to children getting drivers licenses while in foster care and provide them with insurance, and to study a Medicaid waiver for children with serious emotional disturbance. With changes voted on by the House, the bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Governor. This is terrific news for NC as the Governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
NASW-NC works on behalf of the social work profession on a variety of issues. It is a member benefit provided by NASW-NC to have a registered lobbyist advancing and supporting the profession of social work in North Carolina. The North Carolina Chapter works with National NASW on Federal issues such as reimbursement rates, immigration, student loans, and more. Your membership dues help support our advocacy efforts everyday on the state and federal levels. Thank YOU for being a member and staying engaged in supporting the social work profession.
We need you. If you are a social worker and not a member of your professional association we ask that you to join to support the advocacy efforts on behalf of your profession. Click here to join today!