MACo advocates actively for policies that continue to confront the opioid crisis and to support county social services programs. The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s advocacy in the area of health and human services in the 2018 General Assembly.
Local Health Departments
MACo supported a bill that would establish a renewed commitment to aiding counties seeking to expand or establish behavioral health crisis services. This grant program affords local authorities the opportunity to build upon progress made both at the local and state levels to provide comprehensive behavioral crisis services that can meet their community needs on demand. The bill passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo vigorously supported a bill that aimed to ensure that Core Funding for Local Health Departments (LHD) appropriately accounts for the growing costs of medical care these departments provide and sufficiently meets the needs of delivering vital public health services. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it past the first hearing in either the House or Senate. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo pushed for a bill that expands insurance coverage and patients’ access to care from local health departments (LHD). Senate Bill 858/House Bill 1132 requires insurance carriers to offer insurance contracts to LHDs for the delivery of covered treatment services including behavioral health care services. The bill passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
Prescription Drugs and the Opioid Epidemic
MACo supported a bill that would have assisted in efforts to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by closing an important loophole in the existing immunity provisions for EMS providers administering treatment to an individual experiencing or believed to be experiencing an overdose, regardless of changes in FDA medication or dosage guidelines. The bill did not make it past the first hearing in the House or the Senate as internal EMS policy changes rendered the bill no longer necessary. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo supported a bill that would have authorized paramedics to dispense life-saving kits of naloxone to individuals at risk for overdosing or in a position to help someone assumed to be overdosing. Unfortunately, the bill received an unfavorable report from the House Health and Government Operations Committee and will not become law. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 88 would have strengthened the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by requiring that the PDMP review data to identify and deter prescription drug abuse and diversion as the state continues to struggle with an opioid crisis. MACo supported the effort behind this bill. Unfortunately, the bill was referred to conference committee on the last day of session and failed to pass before the legislative deadline. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo supported Senate Bill 309 and House Bill 359 as they empowered law enforcement and first responders to report important overdose data that would help efforts to accurately track and effectively tackle the opioid crisis. As overdose data and information sharing are key components to solving this crisis, counties believe the information must be reported through secure platforms to the extent that it is practicable to do so. Unfortunately, the bill was referred to conference committee on the last day of session and failed to pass before the legislative deadline. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
Public Safety and Emergency Medical Services
MACo supported an effort to establish an advisory council and fund to support local public health offices in their violence prevention efforts. The dedicated, structured, and collective effort that House Bill 432 and Senate Bill 545 provides is key to finding solutions to the violence that is unfortunately plaguing some county neighborhoods. The bill passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo supported Senate Bill 682 which creates a path forward for emergency medical service (EMS) providers to be reimbursed for providing efficient and cost-effective delivery of health care services to their communities. The bill returned passed through the House and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information
MACo opposed a bill that would have effectively carved out a portion of Local Management Board (LMB) funding for one specified program, consequently reducing their resources for all other programs and undermining their community-based decision-making authority. The bill was given an unfavorable report by the House Appropriations Committeee and was withdrawn. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
MACo supported Senate Bill 912 and House Bill 1685. Counties have a vested public health interest in reducing health disparities and improving the well-being of women and children, and SB 912 would act as a new state commitment to counties assisting vulnerable families through grant funding aimed at helping counties and municipalities provide care coordination, intervention, and services to low-income pregnant and postpartum women and children from birth to 3 years old. The bill passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage
For more on health and human services legislation tracked by MACo in the 2018 legislative session, click here.