The Latest Assisted Living News from the NC General Assembly!
The Latest Assisted Living News from the NC General Assembly!
Legislative Update
News from the NCGA
July 11, 2019
by Tony Adams, Adams and Associates Government Relations
The 2019–20 budget agreement between the NC House and Senate was passed and sent to Governor Roy Cooper on June 27. The Governor vetoed the bill the next day, June 28, and it is now back in the Legislature for a vote to override the Governor’s veto. There are more than enough votes in the Senate to override the veto, but unless several Democrats join all the Republicans there will not be enough votes in the House to override the veto. Unless both the Senate and House vote to override the veto, the Legislative leaders and the Governor will have to try to work out a compromise with which both sides can agree. In that situation, the negotiations may take weeks to come to a mutual agreement.
The budget passed by the House and Senate provides the most support for aging-related programs in over a decade. It provides funds to increase the personal needs allowance for Special Assistance recipients from $46 to $70 a month effective October 1, 2019. It also provides funding for Temporary Assistance for facilities that serve Special Assistance residents. It provides for an increase of the monthly payments to the facilities from $34 a month to $70 a month beginning October 1, 2019. The bill has $2,250,000 for special assistance personal needs allowance for adult care home residents. The budget also allocates $3,300,000 for temporary assistance for facilities that serve special assistance residents.

House Bill 410

The original version of the bill would require nursing homes and adult care homes to have emergency electrical services available for use during power outages. Each facility would be required to provide emergency electrical services sufficient to provide heat, air conditioning, lighting, and other essential electrical services required by the rules of the Medical Care Commission. After objections to the bill, a committee substitute was approved in the House that changes the bill so that a study committee will be required to report its recommendations by March 2020. After the revised bill was passed by the House, it was sent to the Senate, where it has been sitting in the Senate Rules Committee for over a month.

Moratorium on Special Care Units

In the budget approved by the House and Senate, the moratorium on special care units is extended from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021. There are certain exceptions in the section of the budget on the moratorium extension.

New Payment Methodology for Adult Care Homes

Included in the budget passed by the House and Senate is a section that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to assess examination and establishment of a new payment methodology for adult care homes to promote health as well as fair and reasonable compensation for the services rendered. It is the intent of the General Assembly to provide funding to adult care homes in a manner that recognizes the importance of a stable and reliable funding stream to ensure access, choice, and quality of care within adult care homes. To achieve these aims, the NC Department of Health and Human Services would be directed to establish and convene a workgroup to evaluate reimbursement options under managed care for adult care homes that consider all funding streams and to develop a service definition under managed care to accomplish this intent. The workgroup will consist of adult care home representatives and other relevant stakeholders.

Senate Bill 539 and House Bill 126

Senate Bill 539 would repeal North Carolina’s Certificate of Need laws. It is still in the Senate Rules Committee and has not been voted on. House Bill 126 would amend the Certificate of Need Laws. It passed the House and the Senate Rules Committee and is now going to be scheduled for a Senate floor vote. The bill would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to exempt certain facilities or companies from the Certificate of Need law.

House Bill 698

Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to study the standards for obtaining assisted living program accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Health Care to determine the feasibility of issuing adult care home licenses based on accreditation and to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services. Recommendations to the committee shall be reported no later than March 1, 2020. The bill passed the House without opposition and is still now in the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.

Senate Bill 302

Passed the Senate and was scheduled to be discussed in the House Health Committee on July 9, but it was removed from the calendar. It will be re-calendared at a later date. The bill authorizes adult care homes to use service plans completed as the result of a Medicaid personal care services assessment to fulfill the activities of daily living portion of the required service plans or care plans for adult care home residents.

House Bill 754

Would appropriate funds to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, to enhance protections for residents of long-term care facilities by moving the state’s long-term care ombudsman program towards national standards. The appropriated funds would create 10 full-time-equivalent ombudsman positions within the office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman program. This bill is currently in the House Committee on Appropriations, Health and Human Services, but has not been debated as yet.

House Bill 70

Would extend the deadlines by which certain providers are required to connect to, and participate in, North Carolina’s Health Information network known as NC Healthconnex. The Department of Health and Human Services shall establish a process to grant exemptions to providers of Medicaid and other state-funded healthcare services for whom acquiring and implementing an electronic health record system and connecting to the HIE network would constitute an undue hardship. Lastly, connection is voluntary for certain providers, including personal care, community alternatives programs, private duty nursing, and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) service providers. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor.

House Bill 185/Senate Bill 143

The SAVE Act, An act to deliver Safe, Accessible, Value Directed and Excellent Health Care by Modernizing Nursing Regulations. The bills’ objective is to modernize healthcare by removing outdated and unnecessary restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. H185 is in House Health Committee and S143 is in Senate Rules Committee. Neither bill has been debated in committee yet, but since both have fees included, the bills are eligible for consideration in the short session of 2020.
For more information about the North Carolina General Assembly, or to identify your legislators, please visit www.ncleg.net. For more information on these and other legislative issues, please contact NCALA.

ADAMS AND ASSOCIATES GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

1706 Rangecrest Road, Raleigh, NC 27612
(919) 841-0964    (919) 801-1837 Cell
ta@adamsgov-relations.com
919-467-2486
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