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Posted: September 16, 2013

Welcome Back!

The NH Legislature has returned to Concord after a quiet July & August. Over the next several weeks, various subcommittees on legislation from the 2013 Legislative Session are conducing meetings. In addition, various new and old study committees are examining many issues.

Health and Human Services Oversite Committee

On September 13, 2013 the Health and Human Services Oversight Committee conducted its September meeting. Please see attached for the official meeting notes from the group’s August meeting as well as the Agenda for the September meeting.

Mathew Ertas of BDS reviewed with the committee the Quarterly Placements for the DD and ABD waitlists. There are currently 96 individuals on the DD waitlist. There are 5 people on the ABD waitlist. BDS said that DHHS has “released 75% of the funding for the first year of the biennium.” This is approximately $10 out of the $13 million appropriated by the State budget. The ABD waitlist has also received 75% of its state budget funding. Please see attached.

Please see attached for an update on NH Hospital by Robert MacLeod, CEO.

In addition, BBH’s Erik Riera updated the committee on Franklin Regional Hospital’s 10-bed acute psychiatric care unit. This unit will open on October 1st. The unit will accept involuntary admissions.

There is also an update attached from BBH on mental health initiatives for 2014-2015 in the form a grid. Many are the Mental Health System’s “10 year plan” goals.

Commissioner Toumpas updated the committee on department caseloads which continue to remain stable and in some instances slightly decrease. It was noted the state budget assumed flat caseloads for the state. The commissioner’s office estimates that the department has a shortfall of about $35 million in General Fund dollars. This is all inclusive and takes into account back of the budget cuts, a delay in Medicaid managed care and other items.

There was brief update on the staffing challenges the Commissioner says DHHS faces. Toumpas said that 470 positions have been abolished in DHHS, the vacancy rate also remains high.

The commissioner reported a few noteworthy items relative to Medicaid managed care:

The department and CMS recently conducted a readiness review of all 3 MCO’s. The result of this was that the MCO’s presented “no issues” to the State or Federal government as to why they should not be allowed to proceed with Step 1. The enrollment for Step 1 began on September 11th. Medicaid recipients who participate in the electronic “NH Easy” were the first to enroll. The commissioner said 370 people have now enrolled in MMC. The call center remain open.

The Commissioner also repeated the department’s position that so called step 2 must begin December 2014. According to the Commissioner, any delay in step 2 could delay “savings.” How this savings would be achieved continues to be unknown.

Two representatives from the Bureau of Licensing & Certification within DHHS presented the attached information, which is the 2012 final report of Adverse Event Reporting for Hospitals and Surgical Centers. DHHS reported that the Surgical Centers are now submitting reports on Adverse Events to the state. In the past, the Centers did not report to the state on this issue. DHHS believes this change is a result of a meeting of stakeholders recently organized by the department.

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Key CSNI 2013 Bills Re-Referred to Committee or Retained in Committee

  1. HB 462-FN, relative to an independent review process under the medical assistance program.
  2. HB 461-FN, relative to long-term care services.
  3. HB 597-FN, relative to mandatory drug testing for certain health care workers.
  4. HB 657-FN, requiring state agencies to submit efficiency expenditure requests as part of the biennial budget process.
  5. HB 658 –FN relative to registration for medical technicians.
  6. SB 186, relative to training of certain board officers of nonprofit corporations.
  7. SB 193-FN, relative to dental therapists and access to oral health care
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