2017 California Legislation: What Passed & What Didn’t

In September, several bills with possible implications for school health programs under consideration by the California Legislature were either suspended or passed and signed into law by the Governor.  Two bills with direct implications for the SMAA and LEA Billing programs, AB 834 and AB 481, both failed to pass out of committee.

Read on for a brief summary of what passed, what didn’t, and why the bill might be of interest to stakeholders of California’s school health programs.

Passed Bills

SB-138: School meal programs: free and reduced-price meals: universal meal service.

This bill will require, on or before September 1, 2018, a school district or county superintendent of schools that has a very high poverty school in its jurisdiction to apply to operate a federal universal meal service and to begin providing breakfast and lunch free of charge through the universal meal service to all pupils at the very high poverty school upon state approval to operate that service. The bill will also require CDE to share participation data from the Medi-Cal program with LEAs to verify income and certify children whose families meet income criteria for the school meal program.

AB 1074: Health care coverage: pervasive developmental disorder or autism.

This bill makes several changes to the requirements on health care service plans regarding the provision of behavioral health treatment (BHT) for pervasive developmental disorder or autism. While this bill is specific to health care service plans, the bill may open the door for contractual partnerships between health plans and school districts that employ qualified autism service providers and provide BHT to their students. At this time, school districts are still unable to bill for BHT through the LEA Billing program.


Failed Bills

AB 834: School-based health programs

AB 834 would have established an Office of School-Based Health Programs within the California Department of Education (CDE) to administer health-related programs within CDE and “advise on issues related to the delivery of school-based Medi-Cal services.” The bill would have also authorized a new workgroup for the purpose of assisting in these efforts that would include representatives of LEAs and other entities involved in the delivery of school-health services.

AB 481: Medi-Cal administrative claiming

AB 481 would have prohibited LEC and LGA from requiring LEAs to contract and pay for SMAA program services that fall outside the scope of oversight and monitoring, while still allowing LEC and LGA to act as vendors for services that fall outside that realm. The bill would also have required DHCS to develop a new appeal process for LEAs within the SMAA program and establish an advisory committee that will represent the interests of LEAs, as well as LECs and LGAs.