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News & Press: Updates for Members

Legislative Update: Suicide Lifeline Funding Restored and Medicaid Transformation Addressed

Monday, June 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Legislators ran a marathon last week! Bills moved fast as legislators try to wrap up their work and adjourn the legislative session by the end of the month.

Budget override: The North Carolina Senate voted to override the Governor's veto of the state budget by a vote of 34-13. The House of Representatives followed suit last week with a 73-44 vote. The budget is now law. Click here to see NASW-NC's response to the budget.

House bill 933 was defeated! Last week, we alerted you to contact your legislators about this bill that would have allowed the sale of unregulated health insurance plans that aren't subject to state or federal requirements. The bill passed the Senate but was voted down in the House. We will continue to monitor this legislation in case it is attached to another bill moving this session.

Bills of interest

  • HB 156 Medicaid PHP Licensure
    This legislation would require Prepaid Health Plans to get a license from the Department of Insurance and meet certain standards in order to provide services to Medicaid recipients. This legislation is a positive step forward in administrative oversight of PHPs and should ensure provider and consumer protection under the plans. It was passed by the House and Senate and sent to the Governor to sign into law.
  • HB 403 Behavioral Health and Medicaid Modifications
    This legislation makes several technical changes to allow Medicaid Transformation to continue. It requires LME/MCOs to cover behavioral health services until new plans are fully operational, carves CAP/C recipients out of managed care, and allows for recipients with "serious mental illness, a serious emotional disturbance, a severe substance use disorder, an intellectual/developmental disability, or who have survived a traumatic brain injury" to be carved out until a BH/IDD tailored plans become operational.  This bill passed the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor to sign into law. NASW-NC continues to advocate for social workers under Medicaid Transformation and will work with the Department of Health and Human Services during the roll out of Medicaid Transformation.
  • HB 774 Amends Certificate of Relief
    This bill expands the number of justice involved individuals that are eligible for a certificate of relief. This will help individuals get a job and a place to live. Under the law, an individual could apply to a judge for this certificate regardless of how many convictions they have. Anyone with five or more convictions would have to wait three years after their sentence is complete. NASW-NC is supportive of efforts such as this to help justice involved individuals successfully transition back to communities. The bill passed the Senate and the House and was sent to the Governor to sign into law.
  • HB 969 Enhance Prison Security
    This legislation would increase the felony for inmates who expose themselves, masturbate, or throw bodily fluids at an employee. Any inmate found guilty of these charges would have this sentence added consecutively to their current sentence. NASW-NC is concerned this bill will further sentences of inmates with mental health diagnoses. The bill passed the Senate and the House and was sent to the Governor to sign into law.
  • HB 986 Various Changes to Education Laws
    This legislation makes several changes to education laws. Of concern is the repeal of the current School-Based Mental Health Initiative (section 5c of the legislation). Instead, the bill directs the Office of the State Superintendent to develop mental health training and suicide risk referral protocol. NASW-NC will advocate with the State Superintendent to keep components of the existing program intact that social workers have helped develop and continue the program until a new one is established. The bill passed the House and Senate and was sent to the Governor to sign into law.
  • SB 325 The Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act
    Filed last week and heard immediately in committee, this bill amends the time period for early voting. Early voting would begin no earlier than the third Wednesday before an election and would end no later than 7:00 p.m. on the last Friday before the election. For the 2018 general election, these dates would be October 17 through November 2. This provision eliminates the last Saturday of early voting. It would also require each voting location to be open at the same times across the county. NASW-NC is concerned about eliminating the last Saturday of early voting as it is a highly utilized voting day. Passed the House and the Senate and was sent to the Governor. The Governor may veto this legislation.
  • SB 335 Budget Technical Corrections
    As promised by legislative leaders, funding for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline was restored in this bill. The bill also included funding for Medicaid recipients to pay for eyeglasses starting in January and $5.5 million to increase the payment rate for in-home aide services provided under the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults. Group home funding and sustainability would also be studied under the bill. NASW-NC is supportive of the changes made to the state budget in this legislation. We will continue to advocate with lawmakers during the legislative session in 2019 to increase funding to services that were underfunded. The bill goes to the Governor to be signed into law.
  • SB 630 Revise IVC Laws to Improve Behavioral Health
    This legislation makes several changes to the state involuntary commitment process. The bill adds physician assistants, PhD level nurses, and LPCs to do first evaluation. It also incorporates a health screening to rule out any medical conditions which might be causing present symptoms. The bill would allow voluntary admissions to be done via a psychiatric advance directive and/or health care power of attorney. NASW-NC worked with organizations to enhance language in the bill and will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a health screening that maintains the scope of practice for social workers to continue providing IVCs. The bill was sent to the Governor to sign into law.
  • SB 768 People First Language 2018
    This bill updates the general statutes of North Carolina with people first language by changing the phrase "Mental Retardation" to "Intellectual Disability" in necessary sections of our laws. It also tweaks the legal definition of the phrase "mentally incapacitated." That definition would include a situation where someone is incapable of consenting to sex due to "a poisonous or controlled substance provided to the victim without the knowledge or consent of the victim." The bill was sent to the Governor to sign into law. NASW-NC is supportive of this legislation.

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