Governor’s Proposed Budget
The full details of Governor Pat McCrory’s proposed budget adjustments for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year have been released. The governor’s proposal invests in crucial areas including education, public safety, health and human services, as well as other needs in matters of importance to the people of the state. Last week, legislators received a detailed briefing from State Budget Director Andrew Heath on the proposal, which is available here
Since highlights were released last week, the governor’s budget proposal has received praise for building up the state’s rainy day fund, controlling government spending, investing in needed areas like public safety and mental health, and raising teacher pay to $50,000 for the first time in state history.
Of particular interest to health providers, the governor’s budget proposal includes the following:
- Invests $30 million to implement the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use, including transitional housing, case management, mental health first aid training, child crisis centers, tools to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, as well as evidence-based specialty courts, including drug and veteran treatment courts.
- Provides $3 million to expand Medicaid services for older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, by adding 320 new slots to the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults.
- Increases funding by $1 million for family caregiver support services, including respite care for caregivers.
- Invests $2.5 million to expand Medicaid services for people with developmental disabilities and children with Autism. This investment supports an additional 250 Medicaid Innovations Waiver slots, providing the needed services to help individuals with developmental disabilities to live successful lives in the community.
- Provides recurring funding to support the education of future healthcare professionals at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
Bill to Appropriate Funds
for Dementia Caregiver Program
The proposed bill, filed in the House of Representatives on April 27, is an act appropriating funds to NC DHHS to support the Project Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty Program and the No Wrong Door to Accessing Benefits 4 Initiative. It directs the Department to explore and report on possible expansion of North Carolina’s Medicaid Home and Community Based services waiver programs, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, the sum of $500,000 for the 2016–2017 fiscal year.
Development and implementation of this initiative shall include at least all of the following:
- Enhancement of the NC 2-1-1 database by migrating Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related information from community resources into the existing NC 2-1-1 database.
- Management of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related stakeholder partnerships.
- Evaluation and planning for statewide implementation of the No Wrong Door to Accessing Benefits initiative.
By October 1, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services shall explore and report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice on options for expanding the number of slots and the types of services available under North Carolina’s Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver programs, including the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP/DA) and the Community Alternatives Program for Choice (CAP/Choice) in order to increase access to adult daycare, personal care, and caregiver respite services.
State Licensing Boards
North Carolina legislators have backed off a proposal to eliminate state licensing requirements for a dozen occupations and consolidate other occupational boards.
Members of the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee meeting in early April shelved draft legislation for the upcoming General Assembly session, which started April 25. The decision for inaction came after people associated with the boards or the professions regulated spoke at the committee and urged lawmakers not to move forward. Bill supporters said licensing boards lower barriers for job seekers in professions and reduce customer costs. Committee co-chairman Rep Jonathan Jordan of Ashe County said more information is needed from the boards to ensure public health and safety are protected.