Health and Human Services
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AB 8 (Núñez) – Vetoed
As expected, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez’s health reform proposal, AB 8. The following is an excerpt from the Governor’s veto message:
“AB 8 would put more pressure on an already broken system. AB 8 does not achieve coverage for all, a critical step needed to reduce health care costs for everyone. Comprehensive reform cannot leave Californians vulnerable to loss or denial of coverage when they need it most. Finally, to be sustainable, comprehensive reform cannot place the majority of the financial burden on any one segment of our economy. Unfortunately, AB 8 falls short on all three accounts. California needs a financially sustainable health care reform plan that shares responsibility, covers all Californians and keeps our emergency rooms open and operating. I cannot support reform efforts that fall short of these goals and threaten to weaken our already broken system.”
AB 110 (Laird) – Chapter No. 707
AB 110, by Assembly Member John Laird, was signed by the Governor. The bill will allow public entities that receive General Fund money from the state Department of Health Services for HIV prevention and education to use that money to support clean needle and syringe exchange projects. Specifically, the bill authorizes the funds to be used for the purchase of sterile hypodermic needles and syringes.
AB 315 (Berg) – Chapter No. 264
The Governor signed Assembly Member Patty Berg’s AB 315, which would allow the Counties of Alameda, Mendocino, Humboldt, and any other county to implement or continue a program for the funding and delivery of services and benefits through an integrated and comprehensive county health and human services system by repealing the sunset date of January 1, 2009.
AB 423 (Beall) – Vetoed
Assembly Member Jim Beall’s AB 423 would have required that a health care service plan contract and a health insurance policy issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2008, include the diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness of a person of any age. The measure also requires plans and policies to provide substance abuse treatment.
The Governor stated in his veto message, “While I share the author's interest in improving access to mental health and substance abuse services, I cannot support this bill as it would contribute to higher health care costs, potentially making coverage less affordable. California needs comprehensive health care reform that will provide coverage for all, promote shared responsibility and make health care more affordable. I encourage the author to work with me to enact comprehensive health care reform that will provide all Californians access to health coverage, strengthen prevention efforts, increase access to mental health and substance abuse services, and promote affordability.”
AB 752 (Dymally) – Chapter No. 544
The Governor signed AB 752, by Assembly Member Mervyn Dymally, which addresses the agreement among public hospitals on how to distribute stabilization funds in Years 3 through 5 of the federal hospital financing waiver. The distribution methodology is specific to public hospitals and reflects a unanimous agreement among all affected public hospitals.
AB 1113 (Brownley) – Vetoed
The Governor vetoed AB 1113, by Assembly Member Julia Brownley. AB 1113 would have eliminated the sunset date on the 250 Percent Working Disabled Poverty Program, which provides Medi-Cal coverage to persons with disabilities who are employed and earning up to 250% of the federal poverty limit.
In his veto message, the Governor states, “While I strongly support the California 250 Percent Working Disabled Program and appreciate its role in promoting work among persons who are aged and disabled, I cannot support this bill. This bill contains a drafting error that would result in unequal treatment of similarly situated aged persons, in direct conflict with federal Medicaid law. Given my strong support of services for persons with disabilities to allow them to safely remain at home and lead productive and independent lives, I am directing the Department of Health Care Services to pursue legislation to continue and improve this important program. For this reason, I am returning AB 1113 without my signature.”
AB 1226 (Hayashi) – Chapter No. 693
The Governor signed AB 1226, by Assembly Member Mary Hayashi. This measure would make a number of changes to physician provider eligibility processes and timeframes under the Medi-Cal Program, effective July 1, 2008. Specifically, the measure will exempt physicians who change location within the same county – and who are currently enrolled and in good standing in the Medi-Cal program – from submiting a complete application package for program enrollment. Instead, the bill provides that physicians will only be required to submit a change of location form.
AB 1617 (DeSaulnier) – Vetoed
AB 1617, by Assembly Member Mark DeSaulnier, would prohibit Internet sales of tobacco products to consumers in California.
The Governor’s veto message indicates he is not supportive of an outright ban on Internet sales. “In vetoing nearly identical legislation last year, I noted that the federal Jenkins Act, which requires the sale of tobacco across state lines to be reported to the Board of Equalization, is already in place to help identify taxable sales of tobacco. Further, existing law reduces youth access to cigarettes over the Internet by requiring Internet sellers and shippers to verify the age of the purchaser. Proponents should address any perceived deficiencies in these laws rather than seeking an outright prohibition that will be difficult to enforce.”
SB 137 (Torlakson) – Vetoed
SB 137, by Senator Tom Torlakson, would have changed eligibility for the California Children’s Services (CCS) Program, which provides treatment services for persons under age 21 diagnosed with severe chronic disease or severe physical limitations, from an annual gross income of $40,000 or less to an annual or monthly income equal to or less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
The Governor states in his veto message, “While I strongly support expanded access to health coverage for low-income children, I cannot support this bill as it lacks necessary funding and is a piece-meal solution. The best way for California to increase access to services for children with special health care needs is through comprehensive health care reform. Under my reform proposal, all low-income children will have access to the Medi-Cal or Healthy Families Program. Eligible children will have access to important case management services through the California Children's Services Program. I encourage the author and proponent of this bill to work with me to enact comprehensive health care reform and provide necessary funding to better serve children with special medical needs.”
SB 238 (Aanestad) – Chapter No. 638
Senator Sam Aanestad’s SB 238 was signed by the Governor. The measure will allow federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to be reimbursed by Medi-Cal for multiple visits by a patient with a single or different health care professional on the same day at a single location. SB 238 includes a dental hygienist and dental hygienist in alternative practice within the definition of allowable practitioners.
SB 260 (Steinberg) – Vetoed
The Governor vetoed SB 260, by Senator Darrell Steinberg. The measure would have allowed federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to be reimbursed by Medi-Cal for multiple visits by a patient with a single or different health care professional on the same day at a single location. SB 260 would specifically allow for billing for two visits when a patient has a medical visit and an additional visit with a mental health practitioner or a dental professional.
The Governor’s veto message states, “While I support improving access to health care services, including mental health services, I cannot support this bill as it would increase General Fund pressure at a time of continuing budget challenges. Mental health services are already included in the Medi-Cal rates for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. Allowing separate billing for mental health services would lead to increased costs that our state cannot afford. For this reason, I am returning this bill.”
SB 474 (Kuehl) – Chapter No. 518
SB 474, by Senator Shelia Kuehl, makes technical changes to the Medi-Cal hospital financing waiver enacted by SB 1100 (Perata), Chapter 560, Statutes of 2005. The Governor signed this measure. The bill addresses the distribution of "stabilization" funding that is directed to 22 public and private hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of uninsured and Medi-Cal eligible patients. SB 474 also addresses the closure of the King/Harbor Medical Center in Los Angeles County.
SB 624 (Padilla) – Chapter No. 653
SB 624, by Senator Alex Padilla, would allow local enforcement agencies to conduct inspections of retail businesses for illegal tobacco sales to minors. Current law allows only the Department of Public Health to conduct such inspections, creating a situation in which a small percentage of businesses are inspected. Teen smoking rates in California are rising, and the public health risks of the early adoption of a tobacco habit are well documented and numerous. The Governor signed SB 624 on October 13.
Child Welfare Legislation
AB 81 (Torrico) – Vetoed
Assembly Member Torrico’s AB 81 would have allowed parents to surrender infants up to seven days old under California’s Safe Surrender Law. Current allows for surrender of infants up to 72 hours old.
The Governor’s veto message states, “California's law was carefully crafted to balance the creation of a safe surrender option while preserving the rights of children. The current 72-hour period contained in law allows for a no-questions-asked safe surrender of a newborn, and is supported by research and statistics, which indicate that most neonaticide occurs within the first day. Experts have raised concerns that instead of improving child safety, increasing the time that a baby may be surrendered from 72 hours will put newborns at greater risk by keeping them in an unsafe environment without proper care and supervision.”
AB 298 (Maze) – Chapter No. 565
The Governor signed AB 298, by Assembly Member Bill Maze. The measure will specifically provide that a relative caregiver's preference for legal guardianship, rather than adoption, may not constitute a basis for recommending removal of the child from the relative caregiver for purposes of adoptive placement.
AB 340 (Hancock) – Chapter No. 464
The Governor signed AB 340 by Assembly Member Loni Hancock. This measure will establish a five-county pilot project to implement a more family friendly process for approving relatives, adoptive parents, and foster parents to care for foster children. AB 340 also provides that any unanticipated savings received by a county may be retained by the county for expenditure on the demonstration project in a subsequent fiscal year.
AB 1331 (Evans) – Chapter No. 465
The Governor also signed AB 1331, by Assembly Member Noreen Evans. This bill will require a county to screen each foster youth in its care when that youth reaches 16½ years of age, in order to determine whether the youth is eligible for federal Social Security or Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits. After completion of the screening, the measure will also require the county to make the application for benefits on the youth's behalf.
SB 720 (Kuehl) – Chapter No. 475
SB 720, by Senator Sheila Kuehl, would provide clean-up language to SB 500 (Statutes of 2005). The Governor signed this measure on October 11. Recall that SB 500 encouraged the joint placement of infants and their teen parents when both fall within the jurisdiction of the juvenile dependency court. The bill created a new type of licensed placements called “whole family” placements in which the teens and their children were supported by trained foster parents. As SB 500 was implemented, the state Department of Social Services identified three areas that needed further clarification, including group home placements, existing placements, and non-related legal guardians. SB 720 contains these technical clarifications.
SB 785 (Steinberg) – Chapter No. 469
SB 785, by Senator Darrell Steinberg will help to ensure that foster children placed outside of their home county are able to access mental health services. Due to the complexity of the state’s mental health program, when children are placed outside their home counties, they often have difficulty accessing needed care. This measure will assist in resolving this problem and meeting the mental health needs of children in the foster care system. SB 785 was signed by the Governor on October 11.
AB 98 (Niello) – Chapter No. 589
AB 98, by Assembly Member Roger Niello, will enable counties to offer more subsidized employment opportunities for CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work participants. The measure also requires the state to pay 50% of the wage subsidy to counties that include subsidized activities within their welfare-to-work activities.
AB 1078 (Lieber) – Chapter No. 622
The Governor signed AB 1078, by Assembly Member Sally Lieber. AB 1078 includes several measures to promote earnings and assets of CalWORKs recipients, including maximum use of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), exclusion of specified retirement accounts as assets for applicants, and added information for participants in grant-based on-the-job training programs.
In-Home Supportive Services Legislation
AB 182 (Ma) – Vetoed
AB 182, by Assembly Member Fiona Ma, would have required that each public authority and nonprofit consortium providing for the delivery of in-home supportive services (IHSS) develop standards and core topics to be used in training of providers and recipients.
The Governor’s veto message states, “While I support improved quality for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and training activities, I cannot support this bill as it is unnecessary. California can already develop training standards for IHSS providers administratively at both the state and local levels. This bill could lead to the development of dozens of different training standards across the state. I believe consistent training standards can be more effectively developed at the state level. To that end, I am directing the Department of Social Services, in consultation with consumers, counties and other key stakeholders, to establish appropriate training standards for IHSS providers administratively to the extent resources are available to accomplish this task. For these reasons, I am returning AB 182 without my signature.”
AB 238 (Beall) – Vetoed
Assembly Member Jim Beall’s AB 238 would have expanded IHSS services to include reading services for the blind. The Governor’s veto message states, “I strongly support the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program which provides services to low-income aged, blind or disabled persons so they can remain safely in homes. My Administration has worked hard to secure more than 1.7 billion in federal funds to protect these important services. However, I cannot support expanding the program's scope to include reading services. This expansion would add more than one million dollars in new costs at a time of ongoing budget challenges. We must balance our need for important program services with our fiscal reality.”
AB 836 (Bass) – Chapter No. 397
The Governor signed AB 836, by Assembly Member Karen Bass. This bill requires the State Controller to provide in all payroll warrants issued to IHSS providers between January 1 and April 15 of each year a notice and informational flyer informing those providers that they may qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
AB 979 (Price) – Vetoed
AB 979, by Assembly Member Curren Price, would have required the Department of Social Services (DSS) to seek federal funding for all aspects of the IHSS program, including training for providers of services. The Governor’s veto states, “While I support maximizing federal funding and have secured more than 1.7 billion dollars in new federal funds to maintain the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, I can not support this bill as it is not necessary. The Department of Social Services can already identify and apply for any federal funds that are available to support or enhance the IHSS program. For this reason, I am returning AB 979 without my signature.”
SB 868 (Ridley-Thomas) – Chapter No. 447
The Governor signed SB 868, by Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas. The measure authorizes criminal background checks of applicants for the IHSS provider registries.
SB 945 (Padilla) – Vetoed
SB 945, by Senator Alex Padilla, would have permitted an IHSS applicant or recipient to authorize any person, including a family member or provider, to receive a copy of the notice of action affecting the amount of services to be provided and to request a hearing to challenge any proposed action.
The Governor’s veto message states, ”While I strongly support existing due process protections for low-income aged, blind or disabled persons served by the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, I can not support this bill as it is unnecessary. Existing regulations already allow an IHSS recipient to authorize another person to receive notices and/or file hearings on their behalf. For this reason, I am returning SB 945 without my signature.”