June 16, 2017 Edition
The Legislature worked tirelessly this week to pass the 2017-18 budget package by the June 15 Constitutional deadline. The week began with both houses convening full budget committee hearings on the trailer bills, with the Assembly taking an information-only approach and the Senate taking up a vote. The hearings allowed members of the budget subcommittees to fully weigh and discuss items included in each of the trailer bills and provided opportunities for public comment.
Budget trailer bills moved to the floors of both houses, where the budget bill (AB 97) and several accompanying trailer bills were passed, resulting in a $125 billion budget package. The Legislature will reconvene next week to hear remaining trailer bills.
CHEAC’s write-up of the approved budget package can be found here.
This week was largely dominated by budget discussions in the Legislature, though several policy committees did convene to hear a short list of bills. Rules Committees in both houses have now assigned most bills to policy committees, producing several busy weeks of hearings ahead.
Below, we highlight a few bills of interest to CHEAC Members. This week’s full bill chart is available here.
Access to Health Services
AB 1591 (Berman) as introduced 2/17/17 – Support
AB 1591, introduced by Assembly Member Marc Berman, was heard in the Senate Health Committee this week where it was unanimously passed to Senate Appropriations. The measure expands Medi-Cal reimbursement to include Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health centers (RHCs) as a means to improve access to behavioral health care throughout California.
Local Health Department Administration
AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) as amended on 5/30/17 – Oppose
Last week, CHEAC joined the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) in opposing AB 1250 by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr., which is now assigned to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. This measure specifies an extensive list of criteria that must be met when counties and cities contract out for personal services, including provisions related to cost savings, displacement of county and city employees, competitive bidding processes, and performance standards. AB 1250 poses significant challenges to local health department administration, as well as general local government operations.
AB 350 (Salas) as amended on 6/8/17 – Watch
AB 350, introduced by Assembly Member Rudy Salas, was unanimously passed by the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee and now moves to the Senate Floor. The measure deems any edible cannabis produced as being appealing to children or easily confused with regular candy if it is in the shape of a person, animal, insect, fruit, or other shape associated with candy.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved a second round of Whole Person Care (WPC) Pilot Projects, expanding efforts to provide comprehensive health care to medically-complex patients. CMS approved 15 applications in this round, eight of which built upon previously-approved pilots and seven of which were new pilots.
The WPC is intended to target Medi-Cal patients with complex medical issues and frequent users of multiple health systems. These pilot projects coordinate physical and behavioral health care, as well as social services to improve the health and well-being of beneficiaries through an efficient and effective use of resources. Specific target populations of approved pilots include individuals recently released from institutions or incarceration, those with mental illness or substance use disorders, and those who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The full list of CMS-approved WPC Pilot Projects is available here. More information on the WPC Program is available here.