2014 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health and Human Services

This post summarizes the status of health and human services bills that MACo either considered or took a position on.

Authority for County Health Departments to Retain Collections: SB 104 authorizes county health departments to retain fee collections beyond the end of a fiscal year. Additionally, the bill authorizes the county health departments to waive the charges for services provided under their jurisdiction if to do so would be in the best interest of public health. Following sharp reductions in State funding, county health departments are increasingly dependent on revenue generated from fee-for-service collections to support their operational costs. MACo joined with its affiliate, the Maryland Association of County Health Officers (MACHO), in support of this bill.

Final Status: SB 104 passed the General Assembly and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

County Health Officers: HB 874 alters the process by which a county health officer is hired, and provides that various elements of a health officer dismissal decision remain confidential. MACo raised concerns at the bill’s initial hearing regarding problematic changes to the current hiring and removal process. However, as amended by the House and through an agreement between MACo and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the bill now requires the local governing body to consult with DHMH when determining a process to fill a vacancy in the position of a health officer. It no longer requires a one-size-fits-all process, which was prominent among MACo’s original concerns. Based on these amendments, MACo changed its position on HB 874 from OPPOSE to SUPPORT with AMENDMENTS.

Final Status: HB 874 passed the General Assembly and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

 Local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Teams: HB 1282 authorizes counties to establish a local drug overdose fatality review teams. The purpose of the teams would be to prevent overdose deaths through inter-agency coordination and cooperation in investigating and understanding the cause of the deaths, and by developing recommendations and advising DHMH on changes to law, policy or practice to prevent drug overdose deaths.  MACo did not take a position on HB 1282.

Final Status: HB 1282 passed the General Assembly and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

For further information about the bills in this section or other health and human services bills, please contact Natasha Mehu at 410.269.0043 or nmehu@mdcounties.org.