Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We want to hear from you!

How were you affected as a social worker in North Carolina by this year's legislative session- what was cut from your budget, what legislation affected your practice, what will you be doing differently now?

Let us know by emailing Kay Paksoy at kay@naswnc.org!

Gov. Perdue vetos abortion bill

Gov. Perdue has vetoed her 11th bill this legislative session. Yesterday, Perdue vetoed the very controversial abortion bill- HB 854 A Woman's Right to Know Act. NASW-NC was opposed to this legislation because of the state's interference with doctor-patient relationships imposed in this bill. This bill also stated that patients would have to under go "counseling" that is, in fact, not actual therapeutic counseling. We support Governor Perdue's veto of this bill.

For more information about the veto, click here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gov. Perdue signs Corporal Punishment Bill into law

Yesterday, Gov. Perdue signed Senate Bill 498: Modify Law Re: Corporal Punishment into law. This bill is long supported by NASW-NC. As many as 17 counties still administer corporal punishment as discipline. Under this measure, parents can state in writing that they want to exempt their children from this practice and schools can not use corporal punishment on those children.

NASW-NC is opposed to the use of corporal punishment in schools. We commend the Governor for her signature on this bill!

Gov. Perdue signs gun bill into law

In the heat of legislators introducing legislation, we saw a lot of gun bills being introduced- including 3 called the Castle Doctrine. From the beginning, NASW-NC was opposed to these bills because of the already dangerous task of social workers making home visits and providing therapy in the homes of clients. These bills would give residents, motorists and workers more protection if shooting someone they perceived to be a threat.

Towards the end of session, all the gun bills were rolled into one- Amend Various Gun Laws.

Though we oppose of the Governor signing this bill into law, we are still proud of how the Governor is handling other legislation being presented to her.

For more information about the Governor's signature, click here.

Gov. Perdue vetos Photo ID bill

Yesterday, Governor Perdue vetoed the very controversial voter ID bill. This bill would have particularly impacted persons of color and the elderly. The Senate has enough votes to override the veto but the House fell 5 votes short.

We are in support of the Governor's veto of this legislation.

For more information about the bill, click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Man planned crime to go to jail for health care

The following story is a sad one out of NC. However, it's not uncommon to our state or our nation. This is why we do the work we do as social workers- to try and reach out to help those in need. It's a hard job, under tight circumstances and we often take a lot of heat for the work we do. Keep pressing forward in helping our communities!

For a link to the article:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Equality NC announces Interim Executive Director- MSW

We are very excited to share the announcement of Equality NC's new Interim Executive Director, Alex Miller. Alex is a 2007 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill's School of Social Work. We are excited Alex is on board with Equality and look forward to working with him.

To see Equality NC's press release, click here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Medicaid Fraud Document

NASW-NC is a member of the Professional Association Council; representing licensed professionals in NC. This year, we worked to develop a Medicaid Fraud document to assist providers. The documents contains examples of fraud and who to contact if you suspect this is happening.

To see the document, click here.

This post has been updated- let us know if the link to the document does not work. It is located on NASW-NC's home page. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

Friday, June 10, 2011

What's been happening on Jones Street?

The past two weeks have been extremely busy at the legislative building. Last Saturday morning, the House approved the final budget after the Senate, sending the $19.7billion budget to the Governor's desk. The Governor has until Tuesday at midnight to sign the budget bill into law, veto or leave it on her desk. If she vetoes the bill, the House can override her veto because of the 5 democrats that sided with the Republicans on the budget bill. Because of this, the Governor can leave it on her desk and not sign it or veto it and legislators can maintain the budget they've worked through.

This past week, legislators have been scrambling to meet crossover. Any bills that have not passed at least one chamber, have died. Thursday was the deadline for legislators to get their bills passed and this was then rescheduled for no later than Sunday, June 12th. There are a few exceptions to crossover of bills that have been assigned to particular committees.

So what have we been seeing this week?
Legislators debated HB 854, Abortion- Women's Right to Know Act that requires 24 hours waiting period, mandatory 72-4 hours before the procedure ultrasound and receiving printed material and other information that is termed counseling in the bill.
HB 351 Restore Confidence in Government, this is the photo ID to vote bill that was on the Republican platform during elections. Voters would have to show one of 8 acceptable forms of ID to vote. The State Board of Elections can issue a voter ID to those without an ID. The bill also includes that if you do not have ID, you can vote a provisional ballot and show ID later.
HB 650, Amend Various Gun Laws, at the beginning of session, several gun bills were filed. All were placed in this new bill including the Castle Doctrine bill that we have gone after. This bill also reduces the level of crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.
HB 659, Capital Procedure/Severe Mental Disability, those with severe mental disability to be exempt from the death penalty when prosecuted.
HB 799, Licensure by Endorsement/Military/Spouses, we have been working on this bill with our licensure board. The bill allows for a temporary license to practice if an active military spouse. This is to aid in the time it takes to obtain licensure when moving frequently in the military. Licensure boards are given discretion when issuing these licenses to look at training and background of those applying.
SB 597, Behavioral Health Services for Military/Funds, we have been active with this bill as it is to ensure that the behavioral health needs of military members and their families are met.

While there are many other bills we are following and tracking, these are a few updates. Please let us know if there are others you are watching and concerned about!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Defunding the Solution- NC Drug Courts

Defunding the solution

06.04.11 - 10:19 am

It costs, at minimum, $23,575 to house an inmate in one of North Carolina's minimum-security prisons for one year. If that offender is diverted to drug treatment court, the combined costs of close probation supervision, court visits and regular drug testing are $1,256 per year.

But the General Assembly's attempt at a state budget eliminates funding for drug treatment courts.

If you didn't hear courthouse staff and county governments howling in outrage and consternation, you weren't listening hard enough.

"They're just looking for ways to put their budget together without raising revenue," said Rep. Paul Luebke. He cited cuts to another program, sentencing services, that saves $7 for every $1 in funding, and noted, "you're cutting short term but ensuring higher costs later."

If this is a naked effort to push costs off the state's balance sheet and onto smaller governments, it might be working. Mecklenburg County's Board of Commissioners has tentatively agreed to spend $623,000 to fund the drug treatment courts that the state plans to abandon.


Because, in addition to the $22,319 saved on each drug offender who goes to treatment instead of to jail, programs like Durham's abuse, neglect and dependency court help parents get healthy enough to care for their kids.

That benefits communities. Last year, 51 parents of 93 children completed one of the 11 family-oriented drug treatment courts in North Carolina and regained custody of their children.

A 1996 study from San Diego State Univeristy found that when parents are able to visit their children in foster homes, they are up to 10 times more likely to be reunified with their kids. That's not something parents can do from prison.

There are clear implications for taxpayers.

The state offers foster care support checks that range from $475 for young children to $634 per teenager. Those payments to foster families don't include the administrative costs for oversight, social workers, or scholarships for children who age out of the foster care system.

And that's just the money. While foster care is preferable to a dangerous home, a 2001 study for the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that children in foster care "score 15 to 20 percentile points below non-foster youth on achievement tests [and] only 59 percent of foster youth enrolled in 11th grade complete high school by the end of grade 12."

In government, there is always a fear of unintended consequences that result in great damage or great expense.

But in the state's push to eliminate drug courts, the inevitable consequences are infuriating.

No wonder Mecklenburg is considering paying for its own drug courts. It may come to that same question in Durham.

The fact that state government is mismanaging income and sales taxes, forcing counties to fill gaps with property taxes, should not be an excuse to avoid discussing how to save these programs.

© heraldsun.com 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

HHS Announces Proposed Changes to HIPAA Privacy Rule

A Notice of Proposed Rule making concerning the accounting of disclosures requirement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act Privacy Rule, is available for public comment. The proposed rule would give people the right to get a report on who has electronically accessed their protected health information.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is proposing changes to Privacy Rule, pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. HITECH is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"This proposed rule represents an important step in our continued efforts to promote accountability across the health care system, ensuring that providers properly safeguard private health information," said OCR Director Georgina Verdugo. "We need to protect peoples' rights so that they know how their health information has been used or disclosed."

People would obtain this information by requesting an access report, which would document the particular persons who electronically accessed and viewed their protected health information. Although covered entities are currently required by the HIPAA Security Rule to track access to electronic protected health information, they are not required to share this information with people.

People may now read the proposed rule here. Search for Proposed Rule through August 1, 2011.

People who believe a covered entity has violated their (or someone else's) health information privacy rights or committed another violation of the HIPAA Privacy or Security Rule, may file a complaint with OCR at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html. Additional information about OCR's enforcement activities can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr.