The legislative session is in its final weeks, with budget debates wrapping up and Conference Committees on the horizon.
The latest iteration of the budget, the Senate Appropriations Committee's version of HB 1001, maintains appropriations for Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) line items at the same levels the House passed six weeks ago, with the exception being a $123,000 cut for the First Steps program. The Senate First Steps figure matches the amount in Governor Pence's proposed budget.
Another key difference between the Senate Budget Amendment and House passed budget is that the Senate version does not include an appropriation for either the Arc's Hospitality Training Program or priorities identified by the Statewide Adult Guardianship Taskforce. However, t he Senate version does restore funding for the individual development account (IDA) program which provides matched savings accounts for low-to moderate-income individuals to save money and build financial assets for homeownership, post-secondary education, or small business start-up. The $30-billion biennial budget will be eligible for floor amendments in the Senate on Monday.
SB 500, Sen. Pat Miller's (R-Indianapolis) bill on setting size for converted group homes, passed the House Public Health committee by a vote of 12-0. It was not amended on second reading and will be eligible for final House action on Monday. INARF CEO Kim Opsahl testified at the Public Health Committee, expressing cautious support for group home conversion and urging "thoughtful effort to understand the unique aspects of conversion" and its impact on consumers, families, and providers.
SB 551, Sen. Miller's bill dealing with multiple aspects of the Affordable Care Act's implementation in Indiana, has been referred to the House Ways and Means committee after it passed from the House Public Health committee on Monday by an 8-5 vote. The bill is expected to be on the Ways and Means Committe schedule on April 9, the last day for House committees to meet this session.
SB 551 includes a provision directing the Office of Medicaid Policy & Planning (OMPP) to prepare a report for the Health Finance Commission dealing with multiple aspects of a risk-based managed care, a managed fee-for-service, or a home and community based services management program option for Medicaid recipients within the ABD program. The section directs the analysis to consider cost savings, the impact on efficient and high quality care, the provider network and rate setting process, and the impact on enrollees during the transition. The report is due Dec. 15, 2013.
Ms. Opsahl, spoke for both INARF and The Arc of Indiana after the committee chair urged groups with like interests to combine testimony, expressing support for the "review and report" approach versus direct implementation of managed care for the ABD population. The section directing implementation that appeared in the House-passed budget has been removed from the Senate budget.
SB 551 is now the only bill in play dealing with Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. The last remaining House bill, HB 1319, was heard, but not voted on in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Both Senator Miller and OMPP director Pat Casanova spoke against some of the ACA implementation language that the Committee amended into the bill.
HB 1011, Rep. Jerry Torr's (R-Carmel) metropolitan mass transit bill was gutted in the Tax and Fiscal Policy committee on Tuesday. The new iteration of the bill creates a Central Indiana Transit Study Committee to continue reviewing the multi-county regional transportation proposal. It also prohibits the establishment of a regional transportation authority using currently-authorized inter-local cooperation agreements.
With a few short weeks left in the 2013 legislative session, INARF remains engaged in the legislative process and will keep you informed as the issues impacting our membership move forward.