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News & Press: Updates for Members

NASW-NC Legislative Update: Senate Budget and HB 70

Monday, June 3, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Senate Budget

Last week, the North Carolina Senate released their proposed budget. Their budget was heard in various committees and was then voted on and approved by the chamber on Friday. Compared to the House budget, the Senate budget falls short in many categories important to social work- particularly for those with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder services.

Provisions in their budget include:

  • $250 million to construct a new administrative facility in Granville County for DHHS employees currently working at the Dorothea Dix location in Raleigh.
  • Cuts $51.4 million in single-stream funding in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years. The House budget cuts would total $36.4 million each fiscal year. Single stream funding is a means for LME/MCOs to provide services for individuals diagnosed with mental illness, developmental disability, or substance use disorder.
  • Funding for 1,000 innovation waiver slots. These slots provide services to meet the needs of Individuals with Intellectual or Development Disabilities who prefer to get long-term care services and supports in their home or community, rather than in an institutional setting.
  • Funding to increase reimbursement rates for foster parents.
  • State employee raises: 2.5 percent raises in each of the next two years that would start in July. The House version wouldn’t start raises until January 2020.
  • Like the House budget, the Senate budget provides grants for School Mental Health Support Personnel. This would allow funding for public school units to employ, contract with, and/or train school mental health support personnel as well as to contract for other health support services.
  • Like the House budget, the Senate provides funding for Reentry Programs which will fund a total of two new LCSWs per fiscal year (four total).
  • Unfortunately, like the House budget, the Senate did not expand Medicaid. Further, they shot down several amendments from other legislators to include it in the budget.

What happens now? The House is unlikely to concur with Senate changes so the bill will go to a conference committee. House and Senate leadership will appoint legislators from both chambers to work together and come up with one state budget. This process could take weeks!

What can you do? Medicaid Expansion has been a priority for NASW-NC. It was a highlight of Social Work Advocacy Day in March and is on our legislative agenda. As House and Senate members work to negotiate a budget behind closed doors, you can still advocate that they include Medicaid Expansion in their budget proposal. Here are several things you can do: 

  • Sign this petition from the NC Justice Center to urge lawmakers and Governor Cooper to expand Medicaid.
  • Contact your legislators and directly ask them to expand Medicaid. Click here to read NASW-NC’s talking points! Click here to find your North Carolina Representative and North Carolina Senator.

House Bill 70 Update

Though the deadline to connect to the state’s Health Information Exchange Authority was this past Saturday (June 1st), legislators put providers at ease with an amendment on Thursday to House Bill 70. The amendment prevents providers from being penalized for not connecting between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 since the bill should be signed into law this week. We anticipate the House to concur with Senate changes early this week and the Governor to sign the bill into law soon. Read more about the bill’s progress from NASW-NC! NASW-NC members received this information on Thursday!

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