Legislation

https://malegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/EAM1

Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery

H2399 – An Act providing equitable access to behavioral health services for MassHealth consumers

Requires the Secretary of EOHHS to ensure all MassHealth recipients have comparable access to behavioral health services as to other medical services.

H2400 – An Act relative to addiction training

Creates an Addiction Residency Training grant under the Department of Public Health (DPH) to fund an addiction residency program for two physician trainees who would be eligible for a loan forgiveness program if they practice in underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

 H2179 – An Act relative to telemedicine

Requires insurers to provide comparable reimbursement rates for behavioral health services provided through telemedicine and in-person care.

H2217 – An Act relative to accountable care organizations

Requires MassHealth ACOs to issue an annual public report on baseline pre-ACO expenditures, ACO spending, Community Partner involvement, and other issues.

H2180 – An Act relative to patient choice to promote prescription safety

Amends partial fill provisions, established in Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2016, to be consistent with federal law by allowing patients to fill the rest of a partially filled prescription. Requires health insurance carriers to create an adjustable pay scale for partially filled prescriptions and requires pharmacists to proactively inform all prescribers of a partial fill.

H2181 – An Act relative to substance use disorder diversion and treatment

Creates a standardized court diversion process for those struggling with substance use disorder, mandates 30 days of health insurance coverage for a broad spectrum of inpatient treatment, expands Good Samaritan protections to encourage emergency care, and expands the Drug Stewardship program (established in Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2016) to provide for a collection kiosk at every chain pharmacy location.

H2402 – An Act to expand access to medication-assisted treatment providers

Requires DPH and the MA Board of Registration in Medicine to provide training on naltrexone, an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.

H2182 – An Act to ensure access to recovery coaches

Mandates health insurance coverage for services rendered by certified Recovery Coaches.

H2404 – An Act to improve access to behavioral health services

Removes pre-authorization requirements for MassHealth patients seeking inpatient psychiatric care (not required for other inpatient medical care) and requires EOHHS to create a streamlined process allowing inpatient admission from the community, rather than solely from emergency rooms. Requires the Secretary of EOHHS and the Chief Justice of the trial courts to map existing behavioral health services across Massachusetts, identifying resources and gaps in care.

Criminal Justice

H328 – An Act Decriminalizing Non-Violent and Verbal Student Misconduct (Malia/Vega)
Curbs student arrests for common student misbehavior in schools and includes an MOU concerning School Resource Officers. Students with emotional/behavioral issues as well as students of color are arrested for this minor misbehavior in disproportionate numbers.

STATUS: INCLUDED IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PACKAGE – CHAPTER 69 OF THE ACTS OF 2018, Section 160. 

H2401 – An Act to establish the Center of Excellence in Community Policing and Behavioral Health

Creates a statewide resource center to track best practices in effective police response to people in a behavioral health crisis. The Center would provide training and technical assistance to police departments based on best practices.

H2323 – An Act relative to specialty courts

Directs the trial courts to create a universal referral system to specialty courts, which must include a standardized referral form. The goal of this bill is to help ensure equal access to these programs, particularly for people of color.

H3084 – An Act promoting community prosperity by further reforming criminal offender record information

Changes definition of CORI to exclude cases dismissed before arraignment and certain juvenile youthful offender adjudications that now appear on CORI reports; reduces 5 and 10 year waiting periods for sealing records to 3 and 7 years, which is consistent with recidivism studies and will get people back to work and in housing; permits a person whose CORI record has been sealed to say “I have no record” when applying for housing and occupational licenses after records are sealed, not just when applying for jobs as is currently the case; changes the law regarding convictions that can never be sealed to exclude the crime of resisting arrest; requires the Probation Department to establish a system for easy correction of CORI database errors; and requires prisons and Houses of Correction to provide information upon admission to the facility to help prisoners avoid the accumulation of massive child support debt which can impede their successful re-entry.

STATUS: INCLUDED IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PACKAGE – CHAPTER 69 OF THE ACTS OF 2018

Children’s Health

H2216 – An Act improving the Children’s Medical Security Program and simplifying the administrative process

Allows EOHHS to set appropriate treatment caps for the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) in regulations and to run the program directly, creating greater flexibility and more comprehensive coverage for children. The CMSP provides uninsured children with basic medical and dental coverage. Under current law, CMSP has stringent caps on services, which may prevent children from getting needed care.

H2049 – An Act providing transportation to Recovery High Schools

Requires school districts to fund transportation to Recovery High Schools, as school districts must already do in the case of certain disabilities requiring out of district placements.

H2468 – An Act relative to the health care of minors

Eases barriers that presently make it difficult for homeless youth to consent to emergency medical services.

H2403 – An Act to protect children’s mental health services

Establishes a Children’s Mental Health Ombudsman to advocate on behalf of children with mental health disorders and investigate and act on complaints regarding the child’s care. Also empowers the Child Advocate to make a temporary cost-share arrangement when a child requires an out-of-district educational placement.

H2382 – An Act to prevent adolescent substance use

Establishes an Adolescent Substance Use Prevention and Early Intervention Trust Fund, funded through   a portion of the recreational marijuana sales tax, to help pay for new evidence-based substance use prevention programming for youth.

Other Health Care

H2467 – An Act providing access to patient protection services for all Massachusetts residents

Allows every resident of MA to have denied insurance claims externally reviewed by the Office of Patient Protection, regardless of the health insurance carrier, once all internal review processes are exhausted.

H2322 – An Act relative to emergency and disaster planning for health care providers

Creates protections from liability for health care providers who provide care in good faith during a local disaster or emergency situation.

H2469 – An Act to enhance access to prescription information and overdose reporting for care coordination

Allows MassPat (MA’s Prescription Monitoring Program) to share data with providers’ Health Information Exchange Platforms, extends opioid data reporting requirements to 2021, and requires a study on treatment history of those with opioid overdoses.

Seniors

H2892 – An Act relative to LGBT awareness training for aging services providers

Requires the Department of Elder Affairs to develop a curriculum and training program on the prevention and elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identify and expression, and on improving access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and caregivers.

STATUS: INCLUDED IN FY19 HOUSE BUDGET, H4400 as amended! 

Education

H2860 – An Act clarifying parental rights in the administration of standardized tests

Gives parents the right to opt their children out of MCAS and district determined measures, requires districts to provide activities to students who opt-out during testing periods, and prevents DESE from punishing schools who fall below 95% test participation.

H2861 – An Act requiring school districts, with the assistance of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to disclose required information about required assignments

Requires school districts to provide parents with annual notice of mandatory standardized tests, including administration site and test length, graduation requirements, alternatives to testing, and results release date.

H2862 – An Act creating assignment levels in the Department of Early Education and Care

Aligns early childhood educator-to-pupil ratios with national standards.

Employment

H3153 – An Act regulating the use of credit reports by employers

Bars employers from considering an employee’s or job applicant’s credit history in making hiring and promotional decisions

H3296 – An Act to further redefine teacher for retirement purposes

Expands the definition of teacher by adding nurses to the list of clinical and support staff who work in school buildings at least half-time and are considered teachers for retirement eligibility.

H3154 – An Act ensuring an adequate living wage

Requires state employees or businesses who have contracts with the state to be paid a wage of $13.89 hour as of 1/1/2016, $14.39 as of 1/1/17, $14.89 as of 1/1/18, $15 as of 1/1/19, then as of 1/1/20 rising each year thereafter the $15 inflated to reflect increase in consumer price index between the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of the year in question.

Housing

H3337 – An Act relative to the relief of mortgage debt

Brings state tax law in line with federal tax law by providing relief to the 1,000s of MA homeowners who lose their home to a foreclosure (over 5,000 in 2016 alone) and incur a tax charge as if the foreclosure of their mortgage had provided them with a windfall profit by cutting their debt.

Economic Development

H3338 – An Act to promote urban agriculture and horticulture

Allows cities and towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants to grant partial tax exemptions on land actively used for farming.

Civic Engagement

H2093 – An Act relative to same day voter registration

Allows eligible individuals to register to vote on the day of an election provided that the individual has complied with required identification and residency requirements.