Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Action Alert: Take Action on Managed Care Waivers Today


The NC General Assembly and the State DHHS are developing a plan to require all developmental disability services to be managed with mental illness and substance abuse services in a managed care system. The Arc, along with almost every other developmental disability related organization, opposes this move. Services and support for people with developmental disabilities are life long and do not fit in the medical model of managed care.

Last year, we worked with the DHHS and General Assembly to develop a plan allowing the managed care model to expand to two LME's if the state would work with advocates and other stakeholders to study the effect of such a system and to review other possibilities. Now the Council of Community Programs and the DHHS are lobbying the legislature to remove these provisions. They are pushing a plan to allow three LME's to immediately bid to manage over one half of the counties in North Carolina. This plan is being touted as a cost saving measure, but there are more effective and efficient methods to manage the developmental disability system.

We just learned a few hours ago that DHHS will issue a Request for Application today or tomorrow allowing for statewide expansion of the managed care waiver by 2014.

Basically, the focus has become rapid expansion of Managed Care at the expense of positive outcomes for people with developmental disabilities.

The Arc is working with Legislators. We are asking to be involved in plan development and requesting the opportunity to present options that are best suited to manage the developmental disability system. We need your help now!

Please call your legislator with this simple message...

*Please do not place the DD system into a managed care system with mental illness and substance abuse services.

*Bring DD advocates, providers, families and consumers to the table to help design a system that works

*Review proposals by The Arc and others concerning the 1915i option and DD system design.

If legislators ask you for additional information please refer them to our website and tell them we will deliver a packet of information to them and are available for questions.

Find your state legislator here

NC Legislative Building Phone # (919) 733 7926

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick Bill Update: Juror Qualifications

HB 234: Juror Qualifications/Disabilities was on the calendar yesterday for third reading. There was a debate about the age section of the bill. There was no more debate regarding the rights of people who are deaf or hard of hearing to serve. The final vote was 106 in favor to 12 opposed.

The bill will now go to the Senate. Senator Clodfelter and Senator Brunstetter will lead the bill through the committee and floor debate.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Hot Topics: Coming This Week in the NC General Assembly

This week the House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will continue to hear presentations on key budget topics. On the agenda for Tuesday is Health Choice and on Wednesday there will be a presentation of possible consolidation options.

A few key bills will see action this week. On the House floor HB 234: Juror Qualifications/Disabilities will get a third reading and final vote before heading to the Senate. We will be following the floor debate regarding this bill. We expect to see at least one amendment that will only affect the ability for a person over the age of 66 to request a deferment of jury duty.

In the Senate Mental Health and Youth Services, members will be presented SB 316: Add'l Section 1915 Medicaid Waiver Sites-(Sponsor: Senator Fletcher Hartsell). This is the bill that will remove the current restrictions on expansion of the 1915 b/c waiver sites that was placed in special provisions during the previous budget cycle.

We are also waiting on more details regarding the projected revenue picture. Under the Blog-N&O blog had a recent post that stated that the state tax revenue was above the projections but non tax revenue was bellow projections. How these numbers shake out is important as we near subcommittee budget presentations. On that topic, House Education Subcommittee has stated there will be no additional meetings for presentations to the committee. The members of this appropriation subcommittee are beginning to create what will become their budget.

Read the report:General Fund-March Report: Fiscal Research Division.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NCGA Update: Bill Vote Information

Today the House took up HB 234: Juror Qualifications/Disabilities. This bill was hotly debated, similar to last years debate. Although this bill simply brings our state statute in line with federal law, it became increasingly clear that several members of the House did not feel that people who are deaf or hard of hearing should be jurors. The bill sponsors Representatives Rick Glazier, Sarah Stevens, and Ruth Samuelson presented excellent arguments to counter the points brought up by opposition, including that our current statute is illegal, that deaf people are currently serving as jurors and that the AOC requested this change. The bill received a vote of 94 in favor and 24 opposed. There was an objection to third reading. This bill will be back on the calendar for Monday.

In the Senate there was a vote taken on Senate Bill 248: Update Archaic Disability Terms. This bill was presented yesterday in Senate Health by its sponsor Senator Fletcher Hartsell. The bill comes out of the General Statutes Commission and updates existing statutes to People First Language. The bill had a single amendment presented by Senator Fletcher Hartsell to fix a additional term. The bill received unanimous support and will now go to the House.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NCGA Update: Two Bills of Interest Make It Out of Committee-Plus Budget Update

Two bills of importance to the disability community made it out of their respective committees today and are on the calendar tomorrow for a floor vote.

The first of these is Senate Bill 248: Update Archaic Disability Terms. This bill is being sponsored by Senator Fletcher Hartsell and it comes out of the General Statues Commission. The People First Language bill directed the General Statutes Commission to review all existing general statues and to update disability language as recommended. This is the first bill to come out of that study. The bill was heard today in the Senate Health committee and it received a unanimous favorable report.

The second bill is House Bill 234: Juror Qualifications/Disabilities. This bill will update a current state statute that prohibits people who are deaf of hard of hearing from serving on juries. Although the Administration of Courts has been using the federal laws, including ADA to provide equal access to the jury process, it is more than time that we bring our state statute into line with the federal laws. The second part of the bill will permit any person with a disability who feels that they can not adequately serve as a juror to request to be excused, to defer or be exempted from jury duty by making a signed statement of the request including a brief explanation of the disability. This bill also received a unanimous favorable report by the House Judiciary A committee. It will be on the House floor for a vote tomorrow.

Budget Updates:

This week the House and Senate Joint Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee met to discuss the governor's budget. During the Tuesday meeting a motion was made to vote on the proposed governor's budget and to accept it as a starting point for further cuts. This was a very unusual motion to be made by the committee. Chairman Nelson Dollar explained to committee members that they still need to find an additional 357 million dollars in cuts to get to their targets.

The remainder of the weeks presentations will focus on Medicaid and CCNC. There has been no indication from the chairs as to when the actual budget process will begin or how it will work.

However, we did get a bit of insight into what might happen next from the Joint Education Appropriation Subcommittee. Today this subcommittee held its last information/presentation appropriation meeting. They will now begin the process of working with staff on a subcommittee budget report. The next called meeting will be to show that report.

Former Governor Sighting:

Governor Jim Hunt was in the General Assembly today educating the new leadership on the importance of Smart Start. Smart Start is the signature education program from Governor Hunt's administration.