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Old North State Report

May 24, 2019

Old North State Report – May 24, 2019

Senate Budget

NC Senate leaders are close to releasing their version of a state budget for the 2019-21 fiscal biennium.  According to a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, senators will hold a press conference next Tuesday, May 28th, during which key highlights of the Senate’s proposal to HB966 will be provided.  Following the press conference, appropriations subcommittee meetings will be held for the review of specific area budgets.  A meeting of the full Senate Appropriations Committee is expected for Wednesday, May 29th, with floor debate and vote tentatively planned for next Thursday and Friday, May 30th-31st.  HB966, “2019 Appropriations Act,” (a.k.a. budget bill) passed the House earlier this month. 

NC HealthConnex

A bill that would extend the deadlines by which certain providers are required to “connect to and participate in” NC’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) network known as NC HealthConnex passed with a favorable report out of the Senate Health Care Committee this week, but not in its original form.  HB70, “Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers,” is intended to provide oversight to providers of Medicaid services who use an electronic health record system regarding the submission of demographic and clinical data.  Specifically, the bill addresses timeframes and deadlines as to when providers must begin submitting such data.  As the bill worked its way through the House, where it passed 110-0, sponsors explained that certain providers simply weren’t yet able to use the HealthConnex system and an extension would be needed for additional training and/or transition to an electronic health record system.  At issue, the ever-expanding list of “certain providers” added and/or subtracted from the legislation.  In presenting his PCS (proposed committee substitute) to the bill during the Senate Health Care meeting, Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said the House version of the legislation was “too broad,” and he felt, as did his Senate colleagues, that the list of providers granted extensions needed to be narrowed.  The “go live” date for NC HealthConnex is June 1st, so stakeholders will need to decide if they’re satisfied with the Senate version of HB70 should it clear Senate Rules and pass the full body.  If they are not happy with the Senate substitute, the House can vote not to concur, and the bill will go to conference.  This is a bill to watch.

Memorial Day Holiday

As is normally the case when a holiday makes for an extended weekend, it doesn’t take long for a place of business to turn into a ghost town, and the General Assembly is no exception.  With the exhaustion of Crossover behind us, yet the reality of passing a budget still ahead, the three-day holiday break is arriving none too soon.  But, as we look forward to a few days at the beach or in the mountains with our families and friends, let’s also take a minute to remember the men and women who have lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military.  Our freedom is due to their sacrifice, and for that reason, we honor them this Memorial Day.