The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Committee in January heard presentations related to two of its studies and received an update from the Department of Public Health and Human Services about the current demographics of the Medicaid expansion population.

DPHHS also discussed the the status of its waiver application to allow community engagement requirements and premium changes for the expansion population. That waiver was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the end of August, and the changes were scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. However, CMS has not acted on the waiver yet, so the agency doesn't expect to implement the requirements for several months. 

For its House Joint Resolution 50 study of the Senior and Long-Term Care Division, the committee heard from providers and participants in the Big Sky Waiver and other long-term care programs about barriers to accessing and providing services to the elderly and to physically disabled people, including recent policy changes by the state and workforce issues faced by providers.

For the HJR 48/49 study of the child protective services system, members:

  • heard from parents involved in the child protective services system about ways parents could be better supported in efforts to obtain treatment and be reunified with their children; and
  • learned about the significant changes the Family First Prevention Services Act aims to make in the child welfare system by allowing federal funding to be used for in-home prevention services for families and by tightening requirements for foster care facilities serving more than six children.

The committee agreed to set aside time at its March meeting to brainstorm ideas for the senior and long-term care study, with assistance from the Legislative Fiscal Division in reviewing trends in financing for those services in recent years. 

Members also agreed to shorten their planned two-day meeting in March so they can hold a two-day meeting in May and travel to state facilities operated by DPHHS, including the Intensive Behavior Center at the former Montana Developmental Center campus in Boulder, the Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs, and the hospital's forensic facility at Galen.

The Legislative News.