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News & Press: Updates for Members

Legislative Update: Action Needed!

Monday, April 8, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Monday, April 8, 2019
Kay Castillo, BSW, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation; Registered Lobbyist

 

North Carolina legislators are working tirelessly behind the scenes as the bill filing deadline approaches. Bill filing deadline is the date set, at the beginning of the legislative session, for legislators to file bills they wish to work on throughout the legislative session. For Senators, that deadline was last week and over 200 bills were filed within two days! The House has until April 16th to file bills. One more caveat of the legislative session, bills must make "crossover". This is the deadline for a bill to pass the House or the Senate in order to advance throughout the legislative session. If a bill fails to pass the House or the Senate, it is considered dead for the legislative session.
 

North Carolina House leaders also announced they would be introducing their version of our state budget the last week of April. Legislators must agree on a state budget before the start of the state fiscal year, July 1st. Starting the budget process early can be a good sign as it allows enough time to work on compromises to the budget between the House and the Senate. However, what to do with Medicaid Expansion will be a big part of the budget and the House and Senate currently disagree on how to move forward with the subject. This disagreement could hold up the budget process. Governor Cooper included Medicaid Expansion as part of his budget proposal.
 

It is likely House leadership will introduce their plan on a state solution to Medicaid Expansion this week. We will keep members updated on this proposal and any calls to action.


Take Action!

This Tuesday, April 9th at 9:30am the Senate Judiciary committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 375: Death by Distribution. NASW-NC opposes this bill!
 

This bill allows people who distribute a drug that results in an overdose death to be charged with murder. That means that drug users who share with friends, partners who use from the same supply of drugs, and people who sell to support a drug habit could face murder charges even when the death is an accident.
 

We need people at this committee meeting to urge legislators to VOTE AGAINST Senate Bill 375. It is critically important that we have 30-50 people at this meeting to voice opposition. Please try to make it out in person. If you would like to come and speak, please contact Kay Castillo, kcastillo.naswnc@socialworkers.org.
 

The meeting is in Room 1124 of the Legislative Building, 16 West Jones St, Raleigh. Please be there at 9:30am this Tuesday, April 9th (the 6-year anniversary of the enactment of NC's 911 Good Samaritan law!)
 

Rules of conduct during committee: Dress business casual. Prepare 1-2 minute remarks on why you oppose the bill. No signs. No chanting. Please be respectful.
 

If you can't make the meeting in person, please call members of the Senate Judiciary committee and urge them to vote against Senate Bill 375 because:

  • This bill will kill our 911 Good Samaritan law by discouraging people from calling 911 to report an overdose.
  • Evidence from other states shows that the majority of people prosecuted under these laws are friends and family of the deceased, not drug dealers as the bill claims to target.
  • The bill will place a financial burden on our criminal justice system (each murder charges costs over $426,000.
  • The legislature has been saying "we can't arrest our way out of the problem" and this bill will do exactly that.

Bills Filed of Interest to Social Workers
 

  • HB 555 Modernize Medicaid Telemedicine Policies: Requires updates to Medicaid and NC Health Choice Clinical Coverage Policy No. 1H which covers telemedicine. The bill would require Medicaid to pay for telemedicine services in a patient's home or a provider's home office. It would prevent a referral from being required before telemedicine is given. It would also include for any behavioral health provider enrolled in Medicaid to provide services. Currently, LCSWs can provide certain services via telemedicine to Medicaid recipients but no other masters level clinicians are eligible.
  • HB 562 Health Care Reimbursement Contracts: Requires providers to be directly reimbursed for services they provide. It would also require an insurer or a third-party payor to accept and honor a completed assignment of benefits agreement that assigns the insured's reimbursement benefits to a health care provider. While we seek more information on this legislation, we believe it is an attempt to address providers who render services through an agency but are never reimbursed due to the agency closing.
  • HB 587 Repeal Death Penalty: This legislation would repeal the death penalty in North Carolina. Further, the bill would provide that all current prisoners sentenced to death should be resentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Support HB 613 Essential Services for Homeless Youth: The bill allows for unaccompanied homeless youth to receive behavioral health services, as well as optometry and dentistry services, without a legal guardian present. North Carolina public schools identified 2,650 unaccompanied homeless youth enrolled in school in the 2016-17 school year. The bill allows for documentation of homeless status from a school social worker as well as several others listed in the bill to be acceptable for the youth to receive services. NASW-NC worked with Representative Susan Fisher from Buncombe County to get this legislation introduced based on conversations with access to care for school social workers.
  • SB 430 Health Insurance Provider Payment Stability: This legislation would require insurers to give a health care provider or health care facility written notice at least 30 days before an insurer retroactively denies a previously paid claim. The retroactive denial of a previously paid claim, the recovery of overpayments, or the offsetting of future payments would be required to be made within six months after the date of the original claim. Further, the bill requires recovery of underpayments or non-payments by a health care provider or health care facility to be made within six months after the date of the original claim adjudication.
  • SB 431 Provider Credentialing/Reimbursement: Modifies the existing credentialing provisions to make them applicable to licensed health care providers entering into new insurer contracts, instead of limiting the credentialing to licensed health care practitioners. Adds new provisions to require insurers providing a health benefit plan and credentialing providers for its networks to establish reasonable protocols and procedures for reimbursing health care provider applicants while their application is pending. Requires an insurer that has an existing contract with a group health care provider practice to participate in a health benefit plan network that credentials providers for its networks. Additionally, the bill requires the insurer to maintain a process to assess and verify the qualifications of a new health care provider that joins the group practice within 60 days of receipt of a completed provider credentialing application form approved by the Commissioner of Insurance. Requires the insurer to provide to the group practice a list of all information and supporting documentation required for credentialing a new health care provider that joins the practice.
  • SB 668 Capital Procedure/Severe Disability: This legislation would amend capital trial, sentencing, and post-conviction procedures for a person with severe mental disability. Further, it prevents insanity from being an option as a defense to a criminal action if prior alcohol and/or drug use are the sole cause of the psychosis or if voluntary intoxication and/or a voluntary drugged condition are the sole support for the defense. This legislation brings mental illness diagnosis' in line with intellectual and developmental disabilities as it relates to capital procedures and eligibility for the death penalty.

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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. 

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