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News & Press: Updates for Members

House Bill 70 Update for Providers

Thursday, May 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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With Passage of House Bill 70 Close, Providers Will Not be Penalized

The members of NASW-NC directly support the only full-time lobbyist in North Carolina who lobbies on behalf of the social work profession. If you are reading this and know of social workers who are NOT members of NASW and benefit from our direct lobbying and advocacy work, please encourage them to join NASW, THE professional association FOR and BY social workers.

This update is being provided to give clarity on the status of House Bill 70 Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers. The bill passed the Senate with changes on Wednesday, May 29th. Due to these changes and scheduling, the House will not be able to hold a concurrence vote (a vote to agree to Senate changes) until Tuesday, June 4th. This will delay the Governor signing the bill into law by June 1st.

NASW-NC has confirmed that, because of this tight timeline, the Health Information Exchange Authority will not deem providers out of compliance with the law at this time. Meaning, if you have not signed the Participation Agreement or have not connected to NC HealthConnex, you are still able to submit claims without penalties during the June 1, 2019 deadline and the passage of House Bill 70.


For four years, NASW-NC has been keeping our membership informed about the law passed in 2015 creating the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (HIEA) and requiring all Medicaid and State Health Plan providers to connect to NC HealthConnex.
A year ago, NASW-NC drafted language with other behavioral health provider associations, which became House Bill 70, to delay the requirement for behavioral health providers to connect because of the cost and burden to connect to NC HealthConnex. NASW-NC brought this legislation to House leadership and asked them to prioritize the delay for behavioral health providers who serve Medicaid and State Health Plan patients. Our original ask was to delay connection by two years. However, after legislative changes in both the House and the Senate, the following will become law:
  • Delay connection by one year: providers who are not psychiatrists will need to be connected by June 1, 2020 (the original date in law was June 1, 2019). This removes the need to sign the Participation Agreement in order to get the extension to 2020.
  • Creates a limited exemption for providers for whom connecting would be an undue hardship until December 31, 2022. Providers cannot be granted a total exemption from connecting. NASW-NC will work with the Health Information Exchange Authority, the State Health Plan, and the Department of Health and Human Services to establish standards for this new hardship exemption as quickly as possible. For many small providers, this provision means you may not have to connect until 2022!
NASW-NC has your back! Without our advocacy and relationships with legislators, this legislation would not have advanced and hardship exemptions would have been lost!

What happens next?

Because of this legislation, providers are given an extra year to connect to NC HealthConnex should they chose to do so. As the law read, providers needed to sign a participation agreement in order to receive a one year extension. Because of NASW-NC's work, you no longer have to sign anything to get an extension.

We will inform you when this legislation passes the House concurrence vote and is signed into law by Governor Cooper.

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