AN ACT ENHANCING THE EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF STATE GOVERNMENT BY MODERNIZING THE STATE'S SYSTEM OF HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND BY PROVIDING FLEXIBILITY FOR EXECUTIVE BRANCH REORGANIZATION AND RESTRUCTURING AND TO IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY IN THE COST OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDED BY HOSPITALS AND AMBULATORY SURGICAL FACILITIES; TO TERMINATE SET-OFF DEBT COLLECTION BY CERTAIN STATE AGENCIES PROVIDING HEALTH CARE TO THE PUBLIC; TO MAKE IT UNLAWFUL FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO CHARGE FOR PROCEDURES OR COMPONENTS OF PROCEDURES THAT WERE NOT PROVIDED OR SUPPLIED; TO PROVIDE FOR FAIR HEALTH CARE FACILITY BILLING AND COLLECTIONS PRACTICES; AND TO PROVIDE THAT HOSPITALS RECEIVING MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENTS PARTICIPATE IN THE NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGE NETWORK. Enacted August 21, 2013. Effective August 21, 2013, unless otherwise provided.
Summary date: Aug 22 2013 - View summary
Summary date: Jul 24 2013 - View summary
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition.
Amends the title of the act to reflect changes in the bill content.
Amends GS 126-95 by adding new subsection (c) to define the term eligible officers and employees as used in this section to mean any officer or employee who is authorized the participate in the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) and the State Health Plan (SHP).
Part II. through Part IX.
No changes from previous edition.
Enacts new Article 1B, Transparency in Health Care Costs, in GS Chapter 131E. Provides that the intent of the Article is to improve transparency in health care costs by providing information to the public on the costs ofthe most frequently reported diagnostic related groups (DRG)for hospital inpatient care and the most common surgical procedures and imaging procedures in hospital outpatient settings and ambulatory surgical facilities. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to make available on its website the most current price information it receives from hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities; sets out minimum requirements for that information. Requires each hospital, beginning with the quarter ending June 30, 2014, to provide DHHSfive specified pieces of information about the 100 most frequently reported admissions by DRG for inpatients, including the total amount of Medicare reimbursements. Requires theNC Medical Care Commission (Commission) to adopt rules to ensure implementation of this requirement byMarch 1, 2014, and specifies information to be included in the rules. Requires each hospital and ambulatory surgical facility to provide DHHS informationon the total costs forthe20 mostcommon surgical procedures and the 20 most common imaging procedures along with related codes.Requires theCommission to adopt rules to ensure implementation of this requirement by June 1, 2014,and specifies information to be included in the rules. The information required may be provided to a patient upon request. Requires a hospital or ambulatory surgical facility required to file a Schedule H, federal form 990, to provide the public with access to its financial assistance policy and its annual financial assistance costs. Requires the information to be reported to DHHS annuallyand to be reported on the DHHS website and at the organization's place of business.
Directs the State Health Plan (SHP)for Teachers and State Employees to establish a workgroup to examine the best way to provide teachers and state employees with greater transparency in regards to health services costs under the SHP. Requires the SHP to report its findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Joint Committee on Governmental Operations on or before December 31, 2013, and annually through December 31, 2016.
Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to communicate, not later thanSeptember 1, 2013, the requirements of Section 2 of the act to all hospitals licensed pursuant to Article 5 of GS 131E and Article 2 of GS 122C, as well as to all ambulatory surgical facilities licensed pursuant to Part 4 of Article 6 of GS 131E.
Amends GS 131E-97.3, providing that competitive health care information does not include the information that hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities are required to report under GS 131E-214.6. Effective January 1, 2014.
Amends GS 131E-99,excluding information a hospital or an ambulatory surgical facility is required to report under GS 131E-214.6 from the confidentiality requirements for health care contracts. Effective January 1, 2014.
Enacts new GS 131E-273, Certain charges/payments prohibited, providing that it is unlawful for any provider of health care services to charge or accept payment for a health care procedure that was not actually performed or supplied. Effective December 1, 2013, and applies to health care procedures and services rendered on or after that date. Does not apply to administrative actions or litigation filed before the effective date of this part.
Amends GS 105A-2(9) (regarding debt set off collection)to exclude the following from the definition of a state agency: (1) any school of medicine, clinical program, facility, or practice affiliated with one of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina that provides medical care to the public and (2) the University of North Carolina Health Care System and other persons or entities affiliated with or under the control of the University Health Care System. Effective January 1, 2014, and applies to tax refunds determined by the Department of Revenue on or after that date.
Amends GS 131E-91 to apply to fair billing and collections practices for hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities. Includes provisions that require bills to be legible, easily understandable, and to includeclear explanations when the use of medical codes and terms is unavoidable. Also identifies reasonable collection practices which hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities must use. Prohibits the use of wage garnishment, a lien on a patient's primary residence, or a forced sale as a means of collecting an unpaid bill.
Repeals Article 2A of GS Chapter 131E, Garnishment for Debts Owed Public Hospitals.
Enacts new GS 131E-147.1 (Fair billing and collections practices for ambulatory surgical facilities) providing that all ambulatory surgical facilities licensed under Part 4 of Article 6 of GS Chapter131E will be subject to the fair billing and collections practices as set out in GS 131E-91.
Amends GS 58-3-245, changing section name to Provider directories; cost tools for insured (was, Provider directories) and requires that health benefit plans that utilize a provider network must ensure that a patient is provided accurate and current information about each provider's network status through both the telephone system and any electronic or online system.Adds new GS 58-3-245(d), establishing that health care providers must provide patients or prospective patients, upon request, with information regarding that provider's network status with a particular health benefit plan.
Effective October 1, 2013, and applies to hospital and ambulatory surgical facility billings and collections practices occurring on or after that date.
Enacts new GS 90-413.3A, Required participation in NC HIE for some providers, requiring any hospital, as defined in GS 131E-76(c) and that has an electronic health record system, to connect to the NC HIE and submit individual patient demographic and clinical data on services paid for with Medicaid funds. Also includes three specific findings by the General Assembly which provides the basis for requiring the connection to the NC HIE. Effective January 1, 2014.
Unless otherwise indicated, act is effective when it becomes law.
Summary date: Jun 25 2013 - View summary
Senate committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes. Amends GS 126-2 to provide that five (was, six) members of the State Personnel Commission constitute a quorum. Also deletes the proposed requirement that the Governor consider nominations submitted by the State Employees Association of North Carolina for the Commission member who was a veteran of the US Armed Forces.
Amends GS 126-1.1 by deleting the proposed changes to the definition of career state employee to now mean a state employee or employee of a local entity covered by GS Chapter 126 who is in a permanent position and has been continuously employed by that entity in a position subject to the State Personnel Act for the immediate 24 preceding months.
Amends GS 126-5(d)(1) by deleting the provision that allowed the Governor to designate up to 1% of the total number of full time positions in the Department of Public Safety, with a cap of 100, as exempt managerial positions and allowing the Governor to increase by five the number of exempt policy making positions at the Department, not to exceed 105 total exempt policy making positions.
Amends GS 126-34.01, concerning state employee grievances, to prohibit a proposed agency final decision from being issued or made final until it is approved by the Office of State Personnel. Requires the agency grievance procedure and Office of State Personnel review to be completed within 90 days from the filing of the grievance.
Amends GS 126-34.02 to allow an applicant for state employment, a state employee, or former state employee to file a contested case in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) under GS Chapter 150B, Article 3, once a final agency decision has been issued (was, may file a grievance with the State Personnel Commission). Requires the contested case to be filed within 30 days of receiving the final agency decision. Requires that the OAH hear and issue a final decision within 180 days from the commencement of the case. Allows OAH to (1) reinstate any employee to the position the employee was removed from; (2) order the employment, promotion, transfer, or salary adjustment of any individual to whom it has been wrongfully denied; or (3) direct other suitable action to correct the abuse. Provides that an aggrieved party in a contested case is entitled to judicial review of a final decision through appeal to the Court of Appeals. Requires the appeal to be taken within 30 days of receiving the written notice of final decision. Makes conforming changes. Allows an employee to appeal an involuntary nondisciplinary separation due to an employee's unavailability as if it were a disciplinary action, but provides that the agency has only the burden to prove that the employee was unavailable. Adds that the remedies provided in this statute in a whistleblower appeal are the same as those in GS 126-87. Requires OAH to report on a semi-annual basis to the Office of State Personnel and the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee on the number of cases filed under this statute and the number of days between the filing and closing of each case. Makes conforming changes to GS 126-34.2. Deletes GS 126-36.1 (appeal to OAH by applicant for employment).
Amends GS 126-34.3 to provide that a decision by OAH on assessing or refusing to assess reasonable witness fees or attorneys' fees is subject to judicial review. Allows the reviewing court to reverse or modify the decision if it is unreasonable or the award is inadequate. Provides that an employee who obtains a reversal or modification of the OAH's decision in an appeal is entitled to recover court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees for representation on the appeal.
Amends GS 126-35, prohibiting the discharge, suspension, or demotion of a career state employee for disciplinary reasons, except for just cause, to give the employee 15 days from the date the statement is delivered to appeal to the head of the agency through the agency grievance procedure for a final agency decision. Provides that if the employee is not satisfied with the final agency decision or is unable, within a reasonable period of time to obtain a final agency decision, the employee may appeal to OAH. Deletes the provision prohibiting a reduction in pay or position which is not imposed for disciplinary reasons from being considered a disciplinary action; the provision treating an involuntary separation the same as a disciplinary action; and the provision placing the burden of showing a career state employee was discharged, suspended, or demoted for just cause on the department or agency employer.
Instead of amending GS 126-7.2, deletes the entire statute (concerning the time limit for appeals of applicants and noncareer state employees).
Makes conforming changes to GS 126-14.1 and GS 7A-29.
Specifies that Part VI (employee grievances) of the act applies to grievances filed on or after the date that the part becomes law.
Deletes proposed changes to GS 126-26 (changing term regulations to policies).
Amends GS 126-86 to allow any state employee injured by a violation of GS 126-85 who is not subject to Article 8, Employee Appeals of Grievances and Disciplinary Action, (was, any state employee) to maintain an action in superior court against the person or agency who committed the violation within one year after the occurrence of the violation.
Deletes Section 8.1, with specified reorganization actions that the Governor may take in order to provide for the most effective and efficient delivery of services and performance of functions by the executive branch. Makes clarifying changes to Section 8.2. Provides that severance and any other payments made under the implementation of the RTR program will not exceed funds appropriated for that purpose. Deletes Section 8.3, which allows selections for reductions in force based upon skills and qualifications for the positions if RTR is deployed and not enough employees volunteer. Makes Part 8 effective when it becomes law and sets it to expire June 30, 2014 (was, effective when the part becomes law and expired December 31, 2014). Requires the Office of State Personnel and the Office of State Budget and management to report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on January 31, 2014; April 30, 2014; and September 1, 2014.
Summary date: May 14 2013 - View summary
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition:
New Section 4.5 amends GS 126-5(d)(5) to authorize designation of exempt positions that are created, transferred, or located in a reorganized department by October 1st (was July 1st) of the year in which the Governor takes the oath of office.
New Section 4.6 revises the effective date of Part 4 of the bill to June 30, 2013, and makes the repeal of GS 126-5(e) and (f) applicable to state employees hired on or after that date.
Amends the new GS 126-7.1(f1) to change the circumstances under which a reduction in force employee's acceptance or rejection of an offer of state employment terminates the 12-month priority for rehiring to when the offer of state employment is for a position equal to or higher (was, lower) than the position previously held or the previous salary earned.
Amends the new GS 126-34.02(a) by adding that a decision of the State Personnel Commission is subject to review by the Office of Administrative Hearings, and that the reviewing administrative law judge may affirm, reverse, modify, or remand the decision upon a finding that the decision was not supported by any competent evidence or was an abuse of discretion.
Amends the new GS 126-34.02(b)(5) to include failure to give priority consideration for promotion or rehiring as required under GS 126-7.1 (reduction in force).
Amends GS 126-25(b) to require an agency to remove or amend material in an employee's file if the agency determines that material is inaccurate or misleading, but does not permit an employee to appeal the contents of a performance appraisal or written disciplinary action through the grievance procedure established under this subsection.
Summary date: May 9 2013 - View summary
House committee substitute makes the following changes. Deletes the provisions of the 1st edition and provides for the following.
Organizational and Administrative Changes.
Amends GS 126-3 to move the Office of State Personnel (OSP) to the Office of the Governor (was, in the Department of Administration). Amends GS 126-3(a)(8) to add to the OSP's duties developing standards to measure compliance with procedures and standards for performance management, development, and evaluation. Amends GS 126-4 to provide that the State Personnel Commission may not provide for more than 12 (was, 11) paid holidays per year, with three paid holidays given at Christmas (was, 11 days, with 12 given in years where Christmas falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday).
State Personnel Commission Changes.
Amends GS 126-2 to amend the appointment of members of the State Personnel Commission. Specifies that each member is to be appointed to a four-year term. Specifies dates on which the terms of members serving as of January 1, 2013, will expire.
Probationary and Career State Employees.
Amends GS 126-1.1 to provide that for the purposes of GS Chapter 126, probationary state employee means one who is in a probationary appointment and is exempt from the provisions of the State Personnel Act only because the employee has not been continuously employed by the state for the required time period. Provides that for the purposes of GS Chapter 126, a career state employee is a state or local entity employee covered by the chapter who (1) is in a permanent position and permanent appointment (was, permanent position and appointment) and (2) has been continuously employed by the state or local entity in a position subject to the State Personnel Act for the immediate 12 (was, 24) preceding months. Repeals GS 126-15.1 (Probationary State employee defined).
Exempt Position Modifications.
Amends GS 126-5 to allow the Governor to designate 1,500 (was, 1,000) positions as exempt from the State Personnel Act. Adds the Office of Information Technology Services, the Office of State Budget and Management, and OSP to those departments and offices from which the exempt positions are designated. Makes conforming changes to GS 147-33.77(a). Repeals GS 126-5(e) (allowing exempt employee to be transferred, demoted, or separated from his or her position by the department head authorized to designate the exempt position, with exceptions) and (f) (allowing a department head to use existing budgeted positions within his department to carry out the provisions of subsection (e)).
Reduction in Force.
Amends GS 126-7.1 to provide that if a state employee who has been separated due to reduction in force or who has been given notice of imminent separation because of such reduction accepts or rejects an offer of a state employee position equal to or lower in salary grade position, then the acceptance or denial satisfies and terminates the one-time 12-month priority consideration provided for in the statute.
Applies to reductions in force implemented on or after the date that the act becomes law.
Amends Article 8, Employee Appeals of Grievances and Disciplinary Action, of GS Chapter 126. Enacts new GS 126-34.01 and GS 126-34.02 as follows. Requires any state employee that has an employment grievance to first discuss it with his or her supervisor (unless the problem is with the supervisor), then the employee must follow the procedure that has been established by the employee's agency and approved by the State Personnel Commission (Commission). Allows applicants for state employment, state employees, and former state employees to file a grievance with the Commission if the individual has followed the agency grievance procedure. States the duties of the Office of State Personnel in administering the grievance hearing process.Requies a decision be recommended to the Commission within 60 days of the hearing. If the recommended decision is rejected, the Commission must issue its own decision within 90 days. The Commission's decision is subject to review of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), which must make a decision within 60 days. If no order is entered by OAH, the Commission's decision is final and subject to judicial review. The OAH decision is also subjected to judicial review. Specifies issues that may be grieved to the Commission after completing the agency grievance procedure, concerning discrimination or harassment, retaliation, just cause for dismissal, demotion, suspensions, veteran's preference, failure to post a position, and whistleblower. Provides that any issue for which appeal to the Commission has not been specifically authorized is not grounds for a grievance to the Commission or any other state forum. Places the burden of showing an employee was discharged, demoted, or suspended for just cause on the employer; with all other appeals, the burden of proof rests on the employee. Provides that a Commission decision is advisory for covered local government employees. Allows awarding attorneys' fees to an employee where reinstatement or back pay is ordered or when an employee prevails in a whistleblower grievance. Makes conforming changes to GS 126-7.2.
Amends GS 126-34.2 by deleting existing provisions and allowing the Commission to adopt alternative dispute resolution procedures for matters constituting and not constituting grounds for a grievance.
Enacts new GS 126-34.3 to allow a reviewing court to reverse or modify the Commission's decision if the decision is unreasonable or the award of witness or attorneys' fees is inadequate.
Deletes provisions in GS 126-34 (grievance appeal for career state employees), GS 126-34.1 (grounds for contested case under the State Personnel Act), GS 126-36 (appeal of unlawful state employment practice), GS 126-36.2 (appeal to OAH by career state employee denied notice of vacancy or priority consideration), GS 126-37 (ALJ's final decision), GS 126-38 (time limit for appeals), GS 126-39 (scope of the article), and GS 126-41 (attorney and witness fees).
Other Modernizing and Conforming Changes.
Amends GS 126-16 to extend the statute's provisions to state institutions as well as agencies and departments and local political subdivisions. Requires that equal opportunity for employment and compensation also be given without regard to disability or genetic information and removes references to creed.
Amends GS 126-60.1 to require all state agencies, departments, institutions, and UNC to enroll new supervisors or managers in the Equal Employment Opportunity training within one year of appointment.
Amends GS 126-19 to require Equal Employment Opportunity plans be submitted annually. Deletes the required Commission report to the General Assembly on the status of the Equal Employment Opportunity plans and programs. Requires the State Personnel Director to provide (was, maintain current) services related to Equal Employment Opportunity, including training and evaluation. Requires the services to be provided by qualified personnel and deletes further personnel requirements.
Amends GS 126-25 to remove the provision allowing appeal of an objection to materials in employee's file because it is inaccurate or misleading to the State Personnel Commission (SPC) and deletes provisions related to destroying the material. Makes language gender neutral. Amends GS 126-26 to refer to rules and policies instead of rules and regulations.
Amends GS 126-6.2 to add to the reporting requirement reporting on any other human resources functions or actions as may be required in order for the Office of State Personnel to evaluate efficiency, productivity, and compliance with policies . Deletes required reporting on the modification of position descriptions resulting in changes in position qualifications. Requires the Commission to report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations on the costs associated with the defense or settlement of lawsuits, and upon request, on the results of any other reports regarding human resources actions or functions (was, also on the use of position qualification equivalencies). Deletes the requirement that the Commission report on the outcomes concerning hirings, promotions, disciplinary actions, and compensation based on demographics.
Repeals the following: GS 126-14.4 (remedies) and GS 126-79 (report on the status of the Work Options Program).
Amends GS 126-8.3 to add state agencies and departments to those that must report on the voluntary shared leave program and requires that the report now be made to the OSP. Deletes the Commission reporting requirement.
Repeals GS 126-7(b) (requiring the Commission to conduct annual compensation surveys) and enacts new GS 126-7.3 requiring the Commission to conduct annual compensation surveys. The survey results must be presented to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees no later than two weeks after the convening of the legislature in odd-numbered years and May 1 of even-numbered years.
Reorganization Through Reduction Program.
Allows the Governor to: (1) restructure and reorganize in the executive branch in a manner defined by the number of positions, employee skills, and employee qualifications; (2) direct that reorganization must be led by the units being reorganized; and (3) direct that organizations collaborate in planning and executing reorganization and restructuring across executive branch agencies and departments. Allows OSP, in conjunction with OSBM, to develop the Reorganization Through Reduction (RTR) Program, which is to be one option available for reorganization and restructuring. Specifies requirements of the SPC policy. Provides that if not enough employees volunteer for RTR, then selections for reduction in force from the current incumbent employees are authorized based on skills and qualifications for the positions needed. Employees separated from employment in a reduction in force conducted as part of the RTR are to be paid severance in accordance with the approved policy.
This part expires December 31, 2014.
Renaming/State Human Resources Commission and Office of State Human Resources.
Renames GS Chapter 126, the State Personnel Act, as the North Carolina Human Resources Act. Renames the: (1) State Personnel Commission as the North Carolina Human Resources Commission, (2) the Office of State Personnel as the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, and (3) the State Personnel Director as the Director of the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources.
Requires the Revisor of Statutes to replace references to the State Personnel Act, State Personnel Commission, State Personnel Director, or the Office of State Personnel with the updated terms. Specifies a list of statutes that are affected.
Provides that actions or proceedings pending on the effective date of the act brought by or against the State Human Resources Commission, the Director of the Office of State Human Resources, or the Office of State Human Resources are not affected by the act and provides for the necessary party substitutions. Allows business and other matters to be conducted and completed by the new entities in the same manner and under the same terms and conditions and with the same effect as if under the former entities.
Update the act's title.
Summary date: Apr 11 2013 - View summary
Identical to S 18, filed 1/30/13.
Amends GS 74F-3 by forbidding any person from possessing any locksmith tools, as defined by GS 74F-4(6), unless the person is licensed as a locksmith under GS Chapter 74F or exempted from the provisions of GS Chapter 74F. Requires licensure for persons providing locksmith services in buildings containing confidential records. Makes the first violation a Class 1 misdemeanor, and any subsequent violation a Class I felony (currently, all violations considered Class 3 misdemeanor).
Rewrites GS 74F-4 to include the term "safes" in the definition of Locksmith servicesand further expands the definition to include any method of bypassing a locking mechanism of any kind, whether in a commercial, residential, or automotive setting, for compensation. Amends GS 74F-6 by expanding the power of the NC Locksmith Licensing Board (Board) by allowing the Board to obtain certain records of a person or company offering locksmith services, including employees, contractors, and subcontractors. Increases various fees under GS 74F-9. Adds a provision to GS 74F-10(b) allowing the Board, in its discretion, to adjust renewal and reinstatement fees if an applicant whose license has expired can show good cause for such license expiration. Rewrites GS 74F-12(b) to require that all advertisements for locksmith services include a valid license number issued by the Board. Rewrites GS 74F-15 by adding a new subsection that grants the Board power to assess the costs of disciplinary action, including attorneys' fees, against an applicant or licensee found to be in violation of GS Chapter 74F or rules adopted by the Board. Amends GS 74F-16 by rewriting, adding, or clarifying various entities exempted from GS Chapter 74F. Makes other technical and conforming changes.