The General Assembly continues to stay busy, even when we are not in session. There are a number of studies, task forces and interim committees that work in between our regular sessions. This week, I wanted to share some information with you about some of the work going on in the interim concerning issues of interest to some of our older residents. I hope you will find it helpful.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Justice has been directed to form the Task Force on Fraud Against Older Adults. The law (SB 449) requires the task force to examine issues including:
· Identifying, clarifying, and strengthening laws to provide older adults a broader system of protection against fraud and abuse.
· Establishing a statewide system to enable reporting on incidents of fraud and mistreatment of older adults.
· Identifying opportunities for partnership among the Banking Commission, the financial management industry, and law enforcement agencies to prevent fraud against older adults.
· Granting the Attorney General authority to initiate prosecutions for fraud against older adults.
A final report from the Task Force to the North Carolina Study Commission on Aging is due by Oct. 1.
The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services will appoint a subcommittee to examine the state’s delivery of mental health services. The subcommittee must consider:
· The state’s progress in delivering mental health services in integrated settings.
· The state’s capacity to meet growing mental health needs.
· The process for determining catchment areas for psychiatric hospitals including managed care organization groupings and alternatives that would increase efficiency and equity.
· The impact of implementing the 1915(b)/(c) waiver and other mental health reforms on guardianship roles, responsibilities, relationships, and recommended legislation to transfer State Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services guardianship responsibilities to county departments of social services.
The subcommittee will report its findings to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services by Jan. 15.
The staff of the General Assembly has been asked to study the feasibility of creating a separate Department of Medicaid. A joint recommendation will be made to the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly no later than Feb. 5, and will include a review of the administration of other state Medicaid programs; an analysis of benefits and disadvantages to creating a Department of Medicaid; any adverse impact a Department of Medicaid may have on the administration of other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services; and an identification of various Medicaid organizational structures, including any associated costs and savings.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Transitions to Community Living will examine the state’s system of community housing and community supports for people with severe mental illness, severe and persistent mental illness, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The commission will be composed of 32 members. The commission must appoint a subcommittee on housing and a subcommittee on adult care homes, each composed of 15 members. Reporting requirements include an interim report by Oct. 1, and a final plan to the General Assembly no later than Feb. 1, 2013.
Southern Business & Development, a leading publication covering and promoting economic development in the American South, announced that North Carolina has been named the “2012 State of the Year.” North Carolina is being honored as State of the Year based on its performance in 2011. North Carolina also received this accolade in 2005 and 2006. Southern Business & Development ranks states based on each project announced with a minimum of 200 jobs and/or $30 million investment. In 2011, North Carolina was successful in landing 89 projects that met or exceeded the publication’s threshold, more than any other state. In addition to the state’s top ranking, Charlotte was named the 2012 Major Market of the Year and Greensboro-High Point garnered the top spot in the Mid-Market category.
Rep. Larry Brown, a former mayor of Kernersville for eight years, died Thursday. Brown was elected to the House of Representatives in 2005 and was finishing out his final term after losing a primary election. He was a real estate company owner and retired postmaster. He represented parts of Forsyth and Davidson counties.
As always, thank you for your interest in state government and please let me know if I can assist you in any way.