Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

Sponsored Legislation

S.105 An Act relative to fair pay for comparable work

This bill would address disparities between the rate of pay for human service workers employed directly by the state and those employed by agencies with which the state contracts. The bill would require the state, over the course of five years, to increase its rate of reimbursement for human services providers in order to reduce and ultimately eliminate the pay disparity.

S.106 An Act to resolve barriers to timeline access to behavioral health care for children with complex needs

This bill would make several reforms to the geographically-based interagency review teams established in MGL c. 6A, section 16R, that currently collaborate on complex care cases involving a child under the age of 22 who is disabled or has special needs and may qualify for services from multiple state agencies. The reforms include:

  • Requiring an interagency review team to complete its review within 14 days of a child being referred to the team;
  • Directing the interagency review team to issue its decision, in writing, to the parent or guardian of the child within 7 days of the team’s decision;
  • Allowing the parent or guardian of the child to dispute the decision by requesting a case referral to the complex case resolution panel; and
  • Requiring a case to be referred to the complex case resolution panel if the interagency review team is unable to reach a consensus decision within 14 days of a child being referred to the team.

This bill would also establish the complex case resolution panel in MGL c. 18C, section 14A, for the purpose of facilitating agreements between state agencies and local educational agencies to provide acute and long-term residential behavioral health services for children with complex needs. Specifically, the panel would review and resolve matters referred to it by: (1) a geographically-based interagency review teams under MGL c. 6A, section 16R; or (2) a parent or legal guardian, or a legal advocate or behavioral health provider authorized to act on behalf of a parent or guardian, seeking to access services for a child with complex behavioral health needs by resolving any administrative, financial or clinical barriers to such services that arise from disputes between state agencies, MassHealth or local educational agencies.

S.107 An Act relative to child ED boarding

This bill would make five substantial and wide-ranging reforms aimed at decreasing the number of children and adolescents awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services across the Commonwealth:

  1. The bill would direct the secretary of health and human services to create an online portal to facilitate the coordination of services for children and adolescents awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services.

  2. This bill would establish the complex case resolution panel in MGL c. 18C, section 14A, for the purpose of reviewing and resolving matters referred to the panel by a parent or legal guardian, or a legal advocate or behavioral health provider authorized to act on behalf of a parent or guardian, seeking to access services for a child with complex behavioral health needs after that child has waited in a hospital emergency department or a medical bed or at home for 5 days or more to be placed in an appropriate therapeutic setting after being assessed to need acute psychiatric treatment and having been determined by a licensed health care provider to be medically stable without need for urgent medical assessment or hospitalization for a physical health condition.

  3. To increase the Commonwealth’s ability to provide children behavioral health services, this bill would create an exemption from the department of public health’s determination of need process for a health care facility that plans to develop certain acute psychiatric services, including inpatient, community-based acute treatment, intensive community-based treatment, a continuing care unit and partial hospitalization program.

  4. This bill would require all acute-care hospitals to arrange for a qualified behavioral health clinician to evaluate and stabilize a person admitted to a hospital emergency department or satellite emergency with a behavioral health presentation during all emergency department operating hours. The hospital and the clinician would then be required to refer such person for appropriate treatment or inpatient admission.

  5. Finally, the bill would codify and place additional notification requirements on the so-called expedited psychiatric inpatient admissions protocol, developed by the executive office of health and human services, department of mental health (DMH), department of public health, division of medical assistance and division of insurance.