Work at the General Assembly slowed down this week as snow covered Raleigh and the surrounding areas, resulting in most legislative committees delaying their meetings for the week, with the exception of Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, which held their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The legislature will be in town next week as the special session continues. HB 189: Short Term Response to Emerging Contaminants, which was passed by the House last week, is unlikely to move in the Senate during this special session. Instead, legislators are expected to focus on judicial reform. They will not be required to take up congressional redistricting as the US Supreme Court delayed last week’s order from a lower court while the case is appealed.

Health & Human Services Oversight Committee Discusses Mental Health, Opioids & More

On Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services Committee met to hear a number of presentations including comments from Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, an update on the expansion of two of the state’s three regional psychiatric hospitals and a presentation from one of the state’s seven LME/ MCOs on what they are doing to address the opioid crisis.

Tell Me More

First, Sec. Cohen briefed the committee on the selection and orientation of the members selected to replace the former board of Cardinal Innovations, the largest LME/ MCO in the state, which was taken over by DHHS in December. Sec. Cohen noted that the Department expects to release a corrective action plan in the comings weeks.

DHHS Deputy Secretary for Health Services Mark Benton then updated the committee on the construction of Cherry and Broughton Hospitals. Cherry Hospital initially had capacity for 197 patients, 97 beds have been added, 46 of which have been opened. To open the remaining 51 beds, 158 clinical positions must be filled. The new campus at Broughton Hospital will expand capacity from 297 beds to 382 beds. To open, the campus will require additional positions, which have not been funded, and equipment.

Lastly, CEO of Vaya Health Brian Ingraham presented to the committee on the LME/ MCOs efforts to address the opioid crisis, including expanding medication addicted treatment programs, purchasing NARCAN overdose kits and engaging the community in outreach and prevention programs.

A Look Ahead to Next Week

Many committees that were scheduled this week were cancelled or rescheduled due to inclement weather. The following committees will meet next week:

Monday, January 22, 2018

1:00 PM Joint Select Committee on Judicial Reform & Redistricting

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

10:00 AM Child Fatality Task Force, Perinatal Health Committee

Thursday, January 25, 2018

9:00 AM Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee

10:00 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice & Public Safety, Subcommittee on ABC Permitting & Enforcement

1:00 PM House Select Committee on Administrative Procedure Laws

1:00 PM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice & Public Safety