House Bill 248 (Support for Older Adults and DHHS Study) recommends that the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services consider establishment of a subcommittee on aging; to make changes to the adult care home and nursing home advisory committees to conform to the administration for community living rules and recent changes to the state long-term care ombudsman program; and to direct DHHS to study the Hope Act and related federal regulations and to make recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services. The primary changes being proposed impact the way county commissioners make nominations and appointments to the community advisory committees and strengthen the accountability of community advisory committee members as designated agents of the NC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The bill was vetted by the DHHS Office of Government Affairs, the NC Association of County Commissioners, and the NC Attorney General’s Office. H248 passed the House of Representatives with no opposing votes and has now been referred to the Senate for consideration. NCALA, in partnership with the NC Association Long Term Care Facilities, is strongly in support of this bill.
House Bill 513 (Set State/County Special Assistance Rates) establishes the maximum monthly State/County Special Assistance rates for adult care home residents and residents of Alzheimer’s/dementia special care units. For each year of the fiscal biennium of 2017–2019, the maximum monthly rate for residents in adult care homes will be $1,347 per month per resident, and for the same two years the maximum monthly rate for residents in Alzheimer’s/dementia special care units will be $1,515 per month per resident. The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee, and if it passes out of that committee it will then be referred to the House Appropriations Committee. Since the bill has a financial component, it was not susceptible to crossover and can be voted on at any time before the end of the 2017 long session.
House Bill 593 (Increase Personal Care Services Rate) increases the rate paid for personal care services provided to Medicaid and NC Health Choice recipients. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance, will increase to $4.25 the fifteen-minute rate for personal care services. The rate increase will affect only half of the 2017–18 fiscal year. To implement the rate increases detailed in the bill, $17,979,122 will be appropriated from the state’s General Fund to the DHHS Division of Medical Assistance, and $37,385,544 for FY2018–19. These funds will provide a state match for an estimated $37,529,126 in federal funds for FY2017–18 and $78,037,561 in federal funds for FY2018–19. This bill has also been referred to the House Health Committee and it also, if passed in that committee, must then be referred to the Appropriations Committee. Since H593 has fiscal components, it too was not susceptible to crossover and can be discussed and voted on any time during this year’s session.
NCALA is also advocating for permanently lifting the Special Care Unit moratorium (Session Law 2015-241, Section 12G.2). Beginning on July 31, 2013, the law ordered the moratorium on Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Services Regulation-issued SCU licenses. The moratorium is due to be lifted on June 30, 2017.