Bill Summary for S 665 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Apr 8 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 665 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 6, 2021
AN ACT TO PROTECT NORTH CAROLINA CITIZENS FROM THE UNLICENSED OPERATION OF MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES OR PROGRAMS PROVIDING SERVICES REQUIRING A LICENSE UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF CHAPTER 122C OF THE GENERAL STATUTES.
Intro. by Batch, Chaudhuri, Crawford.

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Bill summary

Includes a whereas clause. 

Retitles Article 2, GS Chapter 122C, as "Licensure Facilities for Individuals With Health Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Disorders" (was Licensure of Facilities for Mentally Ill, the Developmentally Disabled, and Substance Abusers). Makes conforming changes throughout the Article.

Makes clarifying and technical changes to GS 122C-21, which states the Article's purpose.

Enacts GS 122C-28.1 to require the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct follow-up visits following the issuance of a cease and desist order to facilities providing services without a required license under Article 2, Licensure of Facilities for the Mentally Ill, the Developmentally Disabled, and Substance Abusers. Directs that the follow-up visits are to ensure (1) services requiring licensure are no longer available or conducted at the site; (2) an application for, or receipt of, required licensure has been submitted or obtained; (3) receipt of certification by a nationally recognized agency that allows the facility to be deemed licensed; or (4) the facility or program is no longer in operation. Requires DHHS to collect information on the total number of fines collected under GS 122C-28.

Amends GS 122C-23(e1), which prohibits the DHHS Secretary from enrolling new providers for Medicaid Home or Community Based services or other Medicaid services or issue a license for a new facility or a new service to any applicant meeting four specified criteria. Now makes the prohibition applicable to enrollment of new providers in the NC Medicaid or NC Health Choice programs, revalidation as an enrolled provider in the Medicaid or NC Healthy Choice programs, or issuance of a license for a new facility or a new service which meets the four existing criteria. 

Adds to the powers of the DHHS Secretary under GS 122C-27 the authority to issue orders directing facilities not licensed under Article 2 that are providing services requiring a license to cease and desist from engaging in any act or practice in violation of the Article's provisions. Makes technical changes. 

Makes the above provisions apply to cease and desist letters sent by DHHS on or after the date the act becomes law, as applicable. 

Amends GS 122C-28, making it a Class H felony, punishable by a fine of $1,000 per day, to operate a facility without a license (was a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $50 for the first offense, or up to $500 for subsequent offenses). Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021. 

Makes the following changes effective January 1, 2022.

Revises the individuals and entities excluded from Article 2 licensure requirements under GS 122C-22. Qualifies the exemption for physicians and psychologists engaged in private office practice by requiring that the individuals do not receive reimbursement under the Medicare program or the NC Medicaid or NC Health Choice programs. Makes a technical modification to the exemption for licensed general hospitals to require that they operate special units for patients with a mental health disorder diagnosis, one or more developmental disabilities, or a substance abuse disorder (was special units for the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or substance abusers). Clarifies that the Commission on Public Health is authorized to adopt rules establishing a procedure whereby facilities that would otherwise require licensure under the Article (was licensable facilities) that are certified by a nationally recognized agency can be deemed licensed under the Article. Directs the DHHS Secretary to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure that any facility deemed licensed maintain the required certification. 

Directs the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (Division) to establish a database or expand upon an existing database that makes publicly available the status of any ongoing investigations of reported operation of a program or facility in violation of Article 2, including information on any penalties imposed and collected. Details database requirements.

Directs the Division to coordinate with the Department of Insurance to establish a toll-free number or website for individuals, providers, or insurers to use in verifying the operational and licensure status of a facility providing mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorder services. 

Directs the Division to collaborate with community organizations for a public information campaign about the appropriate types of care for individuals with mental health disorders that includes information on the importance of receiving care from a licensed facility or program with medical personnel licensed by the Medical Board. 

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