Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
By Kay Castillo, NASW-NC Director of Advocacy, Policy and Legislation
Legislators are back in session! Legislators were off to a quick start on Wednesday, May 14th, the first day of the short session. Included in the first day was an attempt to make changes to the Affordable Care Act in NC by delaying any mandates on insurance companies by two years. This would have made the Autism Reimbursement Bill from long session void. In a third attempt to meet, the committee did not have a quorum to vote the bill out and thus the autism bill was saved.
The Governor’s budget was also released last week. We have a proposed shortfall of $445Million and a $70Million Medicaid shortfall. This means legislators are looking to make cuts to close this shortfall.
Below are highlights from the Governor’s budget:
– A raise for all state employees.
– $123 Million less for the Department of Health and Human Services
– UNC System cut by about $50 Million
– $3 Million allocated for 30 positions created in DSS to enhance oversight of County Operations in Child Welfare (pg 87)
– $5 Million increase in Foster Care Assistance Payments to support the 9% increase in children in foster care from March 2013 to March 2014 (pg 88)
– Allots $1M for Medicaid Reform (pg 90)
– Prior Authorization for Mental Health Medication for Medicaid recipients starting Jan. 2015 (pg 91). Take action on this issue!
– Reinstates pay for Master’s degrees in public education if courses for degree began before July 1, 2013 (pg 34)
What’s next in the budget process? The Senate will propose a budget and we expect that to come out in 2-3 weeks. Following the Senate, the House will put out a budget. Appropriation chairs will then combine the three budgets and hopefully have one in place by the state’s July 1st budget deadline.
Introduced Bills Relevant to Social Work:
What to look forward to this week?
These legislative updates are provided by the National Association of Social Workers. North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC). NASW membership support advocacy efforts on behalf of social workers and their clients at the state and national level. Become a member of your professional association today by joining online at www.socialworkers.org.