TAKE NOTE: Proposed Repeal of CON
TAKE NOTE: Proposed Repeal of CON
Legislative Update
News from the NCGA
June 8, 2016 
by Tony Adams, Adams and Associates Government Relations

Proposed Senate Budget Approved

The NC Senate approved its version of the state budget for the 2016–17 fiscal year a few minutes after midnight last Friday, June 3. The Senate’s proposed budget varies in some key areas—relating to aging issues—from the version of the budget passed by the House of Representatives. The next step in the budgetary process will be for the House and Senate to appoint members to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the two chambers. It is anticipated that the mutually agreed upon compromise budget will be in place before the beginning of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Key items in the Senate and House budget proposals are as follows:
  • Funding for Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty), effective October 1, 2016, to support families acting as caregivers for family members with Alzheimer’s disease. The increased funding would provide vouchers for respite services and three additional full-time family consultants for Project CARE. (House proposes $550,000 in recurring funding. Senate proposes $300,000 in recurring funding).
  • Funding for two full-time equivalent staff positions within the Division of Aging and Adult Services to oversee continued development and implementation of the No Wrong Door to Accessing Benefits initiative. This includes enhancement of the NC 2-1-1 database and management of the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related stakeholders partnerships. ($200,000 in recurring funding in both the House and Senate plans).
  • Funding to the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a pilot program to increase access to Food and Nutrition benefits for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid through outreach and assistance with completion of the Food and Nutrition Services applications. ($600,000 in non-recurring funding in both the House and Senate plans).
  • Funding to increase the State/County Special Assistance rate, effective October 1, 2016, to $1,216 for adult care homes. This is a $34 increase. The rate has not been increased since 2009. (House proposes $3,750,000 in recurring funding. Senate does not have any funding for this).
  • Funding for Medicaid for the projected increase in the number of individuals receiving State/County Special Assistance due to the increase in the income eligibility level, effective October 1, 2016. Individuals receiving State/County Special Assistance are automatically eligible for Medicaid. (House proposes $4,100,000 in recurring funding. Senate does not have any funding for this).
  • Funding to support Alzheimer’s patients and their families through additional slots for the Community Alternative Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA). (House proposes $1,500,000 in recurring funding. Senate proposes $1,000,000 in recurring funding).
All About Seniors
Additional special provisions in the budget of special interest to aging advocates include:
  • Provision to extend the moratorium on home care agency licenses for in-home aide services. (House extends to June 30, 2017. Senate extends to June 30, 2019).
  • Provision to change adult care home cost reporting from annually to at least every two years. (Same in both the House and Senate plans).
Other issues of interest include the following:
  • Proposed Repeal of Certificate of Need (CON): NC Senate leaders are again pushing a plan to eliminate the Certificate of Need program that regulates the placement of new health care facilities. In the proposal, led by Sen Ralph Hise, the requirements would be eliminated by 2021. Past efforts to eliminate CON have failed, and this latest attempt was initiated on Tuesday, June 7, when the Senate Rules Committee, unannounced to the public, replaced a bill that would have named a state cat with language that would eliminate CON. The bill will be heard in the Senate Health Committee next week.
  • Adult Guardianship Bill: House Bill 817 (Enact Uniform Act on Adult Guardianship) passed the Senate Judiciary II Committee on May 26 with a few technical changes. The bill is scheduled to be on the Senate calendar for Wednesday, June 8. An additional clarifying amendment is expected to be offered.
  • Medicaid Reform Waiver on the Way to the Feds: On Wednesday, June 1, following a presentation to the House Health Committee by the Department of Health and Human Services on the finalized Medicaid reform proposal, Governor Pat McCrory signed a waiver request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services seeking approval to move forward with reform provisions. The reform proposal would shift the state’s Medicaid program from fee-for- service to private managed care. It is anticipated that the review of the waiver request by federal officials will take approximately 18 months.
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.


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