SENATE, No. 2878




DATED: †JANUARY 30, 2017


††††† The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2878.

††††† This bill would require the Department of Health (DOH) to permit any licensed health care facility, which is engaged in the provision of primary health care services and the provision of behavioral health care services for mild or moderate behavioral health conditions, to use the same shared clinical space for the purposes of providing primary health care and behavioral health care.† The bill would specify that no such health care facility may be required or authorized to construct or use duplicative clinical spaces, such as duplicative waiting rooms, entrances or exits, hallways, bathrooms, or any other duplicative clinical areas in the physical plant, which are designed or intended to separate behavioral health care patients from primary health care patients, or which may otherwise be stigmatizing to any patient, or which may facilitate or result in the discriminatory treatment of any patient on the basis of their medical or disability status.† However, nothing in the billís provisions would prohibit a health care facility from establishing and utilizing separate clinical areas as may be necessary to prevent and control infection, to maintain sanitation, to protect public safety, to prevent the unlawful diversion of controlled dangerous substances, or to maintain the confidentiality of medical or behavioral health records in compliance with federal requirements.† Similarly, the sharing of clinical space under the bill would not be authorized or required in cases where a patient is receiving treatment for a severe (as opposed to a mild or moderate) mental illness, emotional disorder, or drug or alcohol use disorder.†

††††† Any licensed health care facility seeking to provide primary health care services and behavioral health care services in a shared clinical space, pursuant to the billís provisions, would be required to continue to comply with DOH licensing requirements and regulations, and would further be required to be licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as a mental health or substance use disorder treatment provider, and comply with all of the regulatory requirements applicable to mental health or substance use disorder treatment facilities, as appropriate.† The facility would be required to forward to the DOH, a copy of any DHS license that is obtained thereby.†

††††† When applying for an initial DHS license, pursuant to the billís requirements, a health care facility would be required to include the following information in the license application:

††††† (1)† a copy of any Medicaid ďChange in Scope of ServiceĒ reporting forms that have been prepared in association with the facilityís provision of behavioral health care services;

††††† (2)† a written statement attesting that the applicant is the exact same legal entity that holds the health care facility license issued by the DOH; and

††††† (3)† a written statement indicating whether the license applicant is or is not planning to make any changes to the physical plant to accommodate the provision of behavioral health care services, and, if any plant changes are planned, a copy of the letter received from the DOH approving and authorizing the changes, or indicating that DOH approval is not required.†

††††† If a licensed health care facility, as of the billís effective date, has already obtained a DHS license, which authorizes the facility to provide behavioral health care services, the facility will be required to submit the above-described information on the date that it is next required to file a license renewal application with the DHS.

††††† The DOH and DHS would each be required, in consultation with each other, to adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the billís provisions.

††††† This bill is intended to better facilitate the integration of primary health care services and behavioral health care services in the State, and reduce any potential stigma associated with the receipt of behavioral health care for mild to moderate conditions.† It would codify and make permanent the provisions of a global waiver, which was executed by the DOH on October 16, 2015, in consultation with DHS, and which authorizes all DOH-licensed health care facilities to use shared clinical space for the purposes of providing both primary and behavioral health care.†