Legislative news – 3/9/2015
March 6, 2015 – First Funnel Update
Under the Golden Dome
There is no “fun” in funnel week. That mantra drives both legislators and lobbyists as they try to survive the chaos that results from the first legislative deadline to move bills forward. This winnowing process allows legislators to more clearly focus on bills that are priorities. The week was largely spent in subcommittee and committee as bills move forward. The next funnel deadline, April 3, requires a bill to have passed one chamber, and a committee in the other chamber. Between now and then, legislators will be occupied with floor debate to ready bills for that deadline.
SF 281: This bill authorizes $2.5 million to develop pilot projects in each of the area education agencies to provide mental health services to students. The bill was amended in committee to also include suicide prevention and counseling services. Under the proposal, the AEAs would contract with providers to serve the mental health needs of students. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill which passed the Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SF 293: This bill establishes a mental health professional loan forgiveness fund. All eligible mental health professionals as defined in 228.1 could apply for loan forgiveness in exchange for working in a mental health shortage area. The bill sets the framework for this program but provides no funding. IMHCA is registered in support of this bill which passed the Senate Education Committee and is on the Senate debate calendar.
SSB 1167: This bill establishes a workforce development center within the Department of Public Health. The goal is to develop a private-public partnership to address workforce shortage needs in health care and long term care. IMHCA is registered undecided on the bill which passed the Senate Human Resources Committee and is on the Senate debate calendar.
SSB 1208: This bill creates a study of the health and well-being of children in this state including their mental health needs. IMHCA is registered in support of this bill which passed the Senate Human Resources Committee and is on the Senate debate calendar.
SSB 1253: This bill creates a legislative oversight committee for the process of moving the state’s Medicaid program to managed care. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill which passed the Senate Human Resources Committee.
HF 218: This bill would require parity in telehealth insurance reimbursement. The bill was amended to remove the mandate on private insurers to provide reimbursement for telehealth services. That amendment, however, says that if a private insurer provides telehealth reimbursement, they are then required to cover the same codes they cover for in-person visits. The majority of insurers currently provide some degree of telehealth reimbursement. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill which passed the House Human Resources Committee and is on the House debate calendar.
Died in the Funnel
HF 106: establish a mental health workforce center
HF 170/HF 178: placement of elderly people with aggressive or psychiatric behaviors
HF 180/SF 169: evidence based depression screening for elderly people
HF 317: telehealth reimbursement for mental health services
HF 361: children’s mental health advisory & disability services council
HF 362/SF 262/SF 325: alternative transportation options for mental health patients
HF 380/SSB 1212: music therapist licensure
HF 404: telehealth reimbursement
Emily Piper | email@example.com
Piper Consulting Services
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