The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee requested bill drafts related to three of its interim studies after hearing additional study-related information at videoconference meetings in May.

Meanwhile, members decided to wrap a fourth study -- involving prenatal drug use -- by recommending that the 2021-22 interim committee review the results of work currently being done on the issue by a public-private partnership.

The action came after the committee met on May 11 and May 13 and:

  • heard reports from the Department of Public Health and Human Services and from providers about the needs of older Montanans and some of the services being provided to help them remain in their homes and protect them from abuse, neglect, and exploitation;
  • learned about the steps DPHHS is taking to change child welfare services as it plans for implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act;
  • heard about the work of the Kinship Navigator Program to support relatives and others providing foster care; and
  • learned about the multi-pronged approach the Fort Peck Tribes are taking to improve the health of tribal members.

For its HJR 48/49 study of child protective services, the committee decided to review a bill draft in June that would require a shelter care hearing to be held within 72 hours of a child's removal from the home to determine if continued removal is in the child's best interest.

For its HJR 50 study of senior and long-term care services, the committee asked for bill drafts:

  • requiring DPHHS to notify a Big Sky Waiver participant 30 days before a planned denial or revocation of services or equipment so the participant and DPHHS can review the need for the item before it's denied;
  • requiring that certain changes affecting the availability of waiver services be made through the administrative rulemaking process rather than through policies adopted without a public comment process;
  • allowing all medical expenses incurred by waiver participants to be counted toward Medicaid eligibility under the Medically Needy program; and
  • clarifying that DPHHS must consider whether proposed waiver services as a whole, rather than individually, will keep a person out of institutional care.

Members also asked for a bill draft to incorporate limited provisions of a 2017 uniform law on guardianship into Montana law. The committee has been reviewing the uniform law at the request of the 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee will take public comment on all the bill drafts at its June 29 meeting before deciding whether to introduce any of them as committee bills in the 2021 legislative session.


The Legislative News.