Cabinet for Health and Family Services-backed bill deletes several commissions and numerous required reports

01/18/2017 02:13 PM

UPDATED: Legislation requested by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services which will adjust membership in one commission, do away with another and delete mandatory reporting requirements for multiple areas is being put before the General Assembly as part of an effort to reduce red tape.

Senate Bill 95, carried by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, would effectively scrap several commissions which are “inactive” and reduce reporting requirements for multiple reports from the cabinet, the Republican physician from Winchester told Pure Politics.

“There are some commissions that are inactive and aren’t used anymore, and there are other commissions that are used to do the same jobs. They’re almost redundant,” Alvarado told Pure Politics on Tuesday. “The Governor has been making this attempt to do this red tape reduction as he talks about — reduce the size of government.”

The bill would change the membership of the Commission for Children with Special Needs and require the commission to appoint an executive director. The bill would also eliminate the Council for Families and Children, the permanent cabinet advisory committee on consumer-oriented information related to health care.

The Council for Families and Children was last amended in state statute in 2005, but according to the cabinet it only exists in statute, so it has never held a meeting.

Alvarado went on to say that Gov. Matt Bevin is also interested in reducing the number of reports that the cabinet is required to produce.

“There’s all kinds of reports the state is required or mandated to prepare. It’s a lot of paper, it’s a lot of man-hours and a lot of work to distribute those at a cost to the taxpayers as well,” Alvarado continued.

The bill, Alvarado said, would still allow for the reports to be accessed upon request, but CHFS will not be required to print and distribute them as they currently are required.

CHFS legislative liaison Eric Clark, who leads the cabinet’s Red Tape Reduction told Pure Politics that there are multiple boards, commissions and reports which have been deemed no longer necessary.

“As part of Governor Bevin’s Red Tape Reduction initiative, CHFS has identified more than 80 statutorily mandated boards, councils and required reports within our cabinet,” Clark said in a statement. “Those boards, councils and reports identified in SB 95 have been determined to be inactive, duplicative and no longer necessary. This piece of legislation is an effort to clean up statutorily mandated burdens on CHFS and allow cabinet personnel to operate more efficiently and effectively.”

Alvarado told Pure Politics the legislation would not sacrifice transparency because the reports would still be available.

“There’s a line between transparency where if you’re going to use a ton of paper, a ton of ink and effort that by a lot of individuals they say, ‘Someone else is looking at this,’ and they’ll throw it away,” he said. “That’s the attempt to reduce costs and just reduce redundancy.”

According to the cabinet, the reports will be available upon request through the appropriate agency, if the legislation passes and is signed into law.

There have been some groups voicing at least hesitation with the idea of making major changes, Alvarado told Pure Politics.

The Kentucky Health Departments Association is one such group which will meet with the cabinet and Alvarado soon to discuss the legislation.

KHDA past president Scott Lockard, the public health director for the Clark County Health Department, told Pure Politics Wednesday that the group asked for an “educational meeting” to discuss the bill.

“We look at this public health services advisory council that is within the cabinet, we actually from the local health departments we have never interfaced with this council,” he said.

Lockard said if the council is going to be a group that is going to take a more active role, that they may be advocating to make sure the membership is reflective of what “public health is doing now” in taking a population health focus and dealing with socioeconomic status.

As far as transparency is concerned, Lockard said KHDA does not have concerns with the way the legislation is written.

The reports which would no longer be required from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services include:

  • Report on students participating in the tuition waiver program
  • Report on fees and costs incurred for conducting certification reviews of assisted-living communities
  • Report on the special needs of the minority elderly population compared to the elderly population at large
  • Quarterly update on the status of the application for a waiver or waiver amendment or request for a plan amendment
  • Report on the Kentucky Independence Plus Through Consumer-Directed Services Program
  • Report on the waiver for individuals with developmental disorders
  • Report on Medicaid fraud and abuse
  • Report on influenza virus, pneumococcal disease, and associated complications in long-term care facilities
  • Report on sewage disposal systems
  • Require all members of the statewide trauma care system to be appointed by the secretary; make the required report on the status of the development and implementation of the statewide trauma system available upon request
  • Report on the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board
  • Report on the statewide stroke database
  • Amend the contents of required program summary on the Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund expenditures
  • Report on the diabetes program
  • Report on elevated blood lead levels
  • Report on Hepatitis C; eliminate the required report on the inspection compliance of blood establishments
  • Report on the Breast Cancer Screening Program
  • Report on information relating to consumer-oriented information
  • Report on charitable health care providers
  • Report on domestic violence services
Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.

TWEETS ABOUT KY POLITICS