In addition to the biennial budget, there are a number of bills currently in the New Hampshire legislature that CSNI is following:

HB692: Relative to dental care for Medicaid recipients

This bill requires DHHS to develop and implement a Medicaid program to provide dental benefits to adults. States have considerable discretion in defining Medicaid adult dental benefits because dental services are optional, not mandatory, under federal Medicaid law. NH only offers “emergency dental” benefits to people on Medicaid at the present time. This bill has passed the House at this time with an amendment. It has been sent to the Senate where we can expect more work to be done on it.

SB86: Establishing a commission to study programs for serving individuals with certain developmental and mental health disabilities

This legislation seeks to bring together key stakeholders to study services and make recommendations for how best to assist individuals served in our
developmental services system who also have a psychiatric diagnoses and/or high-risk behaviors (including criminal behaviors). This bill has passed the Senate and has been sent over to the House.   

SB308: Relative to the health hare workforce and making an appropriation therefor

There has been a coalition formed related to the health care workforce crisis in the state of NH. Many families and agencies are having a hard time hiring staff because of the low reimbursement rates that they receive from the state. There has not been a rate increase for the developmental disability system in over a decade. SB 308 is a piece of legislation that has been formed by this coalition. There are two things that CSNI supports in the bill. First, a Medicaid rate increase that equals the amount of 5% in fiscal year 2020 and 7% in fiscal year 2021. Second, the bill also requires that by January 1, 2020 the Department of Safety must offer employers and electronic background check process. This bill has passed the Executive Departments and Administration and the Finance committees. It is due to be on the Senate floor in late March for a full vote.

HB712 and SB1: Relative to a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Some individuals in the state of NH do not have access to paid time off when a family member or loved one is sick, has a baby, or other medical emergencies. Paid Family Medical Leave could give an employee the opportunity to keep their job and get paid a certain percent of their income during the approved time period. CSNI understands the importance of this for individuals with disabilities and their families. One thing that is not clear is how this will be administered and the implications it could have on an employer. CSNI is monitoring these bills. HB712 has passed the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services committee and was sent to the House Finance committee which has had some Division I work sessions on it. SB1 has passed out of the Senate and ought to pass by the full House. It may now go to the House Finance Committee.

If you wish to find out more about these legislative issues, contact MDS Legislative Liaison Marylouise Alther, at 603-313-8693.