Published On: Fri, Jul 9th, 2010
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The Raleigh Report

The Raleigh Report

From the Office of Representative Phil Haire July 8, 2010

The General Assembly is moving closer to adjourning this year’s legislative session. There are still a number of important bills to consider before session comes to a close, but it is anticipated that the General Assembly will adjourn in the next several days. This week the House of Representatives worked to forward legislation on ethics, ban video gambling, extend economic incentives to business, and expand DNA testing in the criminal justice system.

 The following is additional information about the budget that Gov. Perdue signed into law last week. This information highlights items included in the budgets for Health and Human Services, the Judicial Branch, General Government, and Transportation. Figures in parentheses represent decreases in funding. Some of these are reductions in services, while others represent savings expected from more efficient operations.

Health and Human Services

_ Provides funding for small rural hospitals for assistance with operations and infrastructure maintenance – $1 million.

_ Provides state funds to continue to serve people in the AIDS Drug Assistance program who are enrolled as of July 1, 2010. These funds will allow eligible individuals who are on the waiting list as of July 1 to be enrolled. To the degree that funds are available, additional people will be enrolled in the program – $14.2 million.

_ Provides savings in overall Medicaid expenditures through the expanded efforts of the Community Care Network of North Carolina (CCNC). DHHS contracts with CCNC to manage use of Medicaid services. Savings will be generated by expanding CCNC’s care management programs in hospital discharge, mental health; palliative care, and pharmacy. The improved Informatics system will enhance data integration, analytics, and reporting, increasing performance and cost savings – ($45 million).

_ Generates savings by adding mental health drugs to the Preferred Drug List (PDL), which were previously not part of the PDL savings, and also requires prior authorization but only for off-label prescribing of mental health drugs – ($10 million).

_ Reforms the In-Home Personal Care Services program to provide care to those individuals at greatest risk of needing institutional care. Reform transitions eligible recipients into new program for adults needing extensive assistance with two or more activities of daily living – ($50.7 million).

_ Eliminates Medicaid reimbursement of ‘never events’ in hospital inpatient settings. ‘Never events’ are certain types of medical issues that develop or are acquired while a person is in a hospital, but should have been prevented. The policy change brings Medicaid in line with Medicare reimbursement – ($5 million).

_ Generates savings through new Program Integrity initiatives, including Medicaid SWAT teams for on-site investigations, strengthening Medicaid fraud laws, innovative technology to detect fraud and abuse, and prepayment reviews for questionable providers – ($40 million).

_ Generates savings by doubling the Medicaid Investigative Unit staff at the AGO to expand the prosecution of Medicaid fraud and abuse. Additional staff will ensure increased prosecution and additional Medicaid funds recovered from fraudulent providers – ($1 million).

_ Streamlines functions within the Child Support Section and reduces operating funds to coincide with the elimination of 16 state Child Support Enforcement offices – $1.3 million (20 filled positions, 13 vacant).

_Mental Health

_ Provides funding for community services administered by Local Management Entities, fully restoring cuts made last fiscal year – $40 million.

_ Increases funds available to purchase local hospital bed capacity for crisis response within communities, bringing total funding to $29 million – $9 million.

_ Increases funds available for training direct care staff and front line leaders in patient care – $534, 795.

_ Reduces state funds for the Whitaker School; the program will become a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility in which services are Medicaid reimbursable – ($1.9 million).

Judicial

_ Reduces the Administrative Office of the Courts central administration budget – $1.1 million.

_ Provides funds to expand the Medicaid Fraud Criminal Investigation Team. The expanded unit will consist of sworn investigators, attorneys, program assistants, financial investigators, and administrative support personnel. This investigative unit is responsible for obtaining convictions of community service providers that commit fraud, recovering restitution and civil penalties for the benefit of the Medicaid Program and the Civil Forfeiture Fund, and deterring fraud – $600,000.

_ Reduces the appropriation for medical services for inmates based on capping fees paid as a percentage of billed charges. This reduction applies to inpatient and outpatient hospital services as well as professional services – ($20.5 million).

_ Consolidates administrative functions between Brown Creek Correctional Center and Piedmont Correctional Institution and eliminates four duplicative positions – ($149,038).

_ Establishes an operating reserve and creates 554 positions to staff the Central Prison Hospital and Mental Health Facility – $5.3 million.

_ Establishes an operating reserve and creates 227 positions to staff the hospital and mental health facility at NC Correctional Institution for Women – $3.7 million.

_ Provides funds for community work crews at prisons throughout the state. These crews provide labor services for local governmental entities – $1.6 million (43 positions)

General Government

_ Appropriates funding as part of the Good Government package for four positions and operating expenses to ensure the State Ethics Commission has resources for design, implementation, training, and technological support for an online/electronic personal and financial disclosure system (Statement of Economic Interest, or SEI), and to meet the gift ban requirement – $492,702.

_ Provides funding for the Good Government package, including an attorney and software development – $421,000.

_ Reduces General Assembly operating budget – $2.2 million.

_ Provides funding for the Resolution Initiative II, which is estimated to collect an additional $110 million in revenue for FY 2010-11. The department has flexibility to apply these funds towards positions and/or operating expenses – $846,909.

_Appropriates funding to sustain historical grants to military installations in order to provide community service and quality-of-life programs for military members and their families – $500,000.

Transportation

_ Eliminates 30 vacant positions – $1.9 million.

_ Provides funds to the Rail Division for grants to short line railroad companies for rehabilitation projects that strengthen North Carolina’s short line rail infrastructure – $2 million.

_ Adjusts funding in FY 2010-11 for the secondary road improvement program based on revised projections for motor fuels tax revenue – $3.8 million.

_ Provides funds to the Highway Patrol for matching funds for the Public Safety Interoperability Communications grant from the US Department of Commerce. The grant will assist in the further development of the Voice Interoperability Project for Emergency Responders (VIPER) network – $4.7 million.

_ Increases appropriation for the Intrastate System for FY 2010-11 consistent with new revenue estimates – $5 million.

_ Increases appropriation for the Urban Loops for FY 2010-11 consistent with new revenue estimates – $2 million.

Rep. Haire and Legislative Assistant, Sara Jane Lennard, Intern, Paige Roberson may be reached at 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 639, LOB Raleigh, NC 27603, 919/715-3005, philliph@ncleg.net

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