Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 6275

Public Act No. 05-118

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ACCEPTANCE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES BY THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SERVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17b-242 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):

(a) The Department of Social Services shall determine the rates to be paid to home health care agencies and homemaker-home health aide agencies by the state or any town in the state for persons aided or cared for by the state or any such town. For the period from February 1, 1991, to January 31, 1992, inclusive, payment for each service to the state shall be based upon the rate for such service as determined by the Office of Health Care Access, except that for those providers whose Medicaid rates for the year ending January 31, 1991, exceed the median rate, no increase shall be allowed. For those providers whose rates for the year ending January 31, 1991, are below the median rate, increases shall not exceed the lower of the prior rate increased by the most recent annual increase in the consumer price index for urban consumers or the median rate. In no case shall any such rate exceed the eightieth percentile of rates in effect January 31, 1991, nor shall any rate exceed the charge to the general public for similar services. Rates effective February 1, 1992, shall be based upon rates as determined by the Office of Health Care Access, except that increases shall not exceed the prior year's rate increased by the most recent annual increase in the consumer price index for urban consumers and rates effective February 1, 1992, shall remain in effect through June 30, 1993. Rates effective July 1, 1993, shall be based upon rates as determined by the Office of Health Care Access except if the Medicaid rates for any service for the period ending June 30, 1993, exceed the median rate for such service, the increase effective July 1, 1993, shall not exceed one per cent. If the Medicaid rate for any service for the period ending June 30, 1993, is below the median rate, the increase effective July 1, 1993, shall not exceed the lower of the prior rate increased by one and one-half times the most recent annual increase in the consumer price index for urban consumers or the median rate plus one per cent. The Commissioner of Social Services shall establish a fee schedule for home health services to be effective on and after July 1, 1994. The commissioner may annually increase any fee in the fee schedule based on an increase in the cost of services. The commissioner shall increase the fee schedule for home health services provided under the Connecticut home-care program for the elderly established under section 17b-342, effective July 1, 2000, by two per cent over the fee schedule for home health services for the previous year. The commissioner may increase any fee payable to a home health care agency or homemaker-home health aide agency upon the application of such an agency evidencing extraordinary costs related to (1) serving persons with AIDS; (2) high-risk maternal and child health care; (3) escort services; or (4) extended hour services. In no case shall any rate or fee exceed the charge to the general public for similar services. A home health care agency or homemaker-home health aide agency which, due to any material change in circumstances, is aggrieved by a rate determined pursuant to this subsection may, within ten days of receipt of written notice of such rate from the Commissioner of Social Services, request in writing a hearing on all items of aggrievement. The commissioner shall, upon the receipt of all documentation necessary to evaluate the request, determine whether there has been such a change in circumstances and shall conduct a hearing if appropriate. The Commissioner of Social Services shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this subsection. The commissioner may implement policies and procedures to carry out the provisions of this subsection while in the process of adopting regulations, provided notice of intent to adopt the regulations is published in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days of implementing the policies and procedures. Such policies and procedures shall be valid for not longer than nine months.

(b) The Department of Social Services shall monitor the rates charged by home health care agencies and homemaker-home health aide agencies. Such agencies shall file annual cost reports and service charge information with the department.

(c) The home health services fee schedule shall include a fee for the administration of medication, which shall apply when the purpose of a nurse's visit is limited to the administration of medication. Administration of medication may include, but is not limited to, blood pressure checks, glucometer readings, pulse rate checks and similar indicators of health status. The fee for medication administration shall include administration of medications while the nurse is present, the pre-pouring of additional doses that the client will self-administer at a later time and the teaching of self-administration. The department shall not pay for medication administration in addition to any other nursing service at the same visit. The department may establish prior authorization requirements for this service. Before implementing such change, the Commissioner of Social Services shall consult with the chairpersons of the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health and human services.

(d) The home health services fee schedule established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall include rates for psychiatric nurse visits.

(e) The Department of Social Services, when processing or auditing claims for reimbursement submitted by home health care agencies and homemaker-home health aide agencies shall, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 15, accept electronic records and records bearing the electronic signature of an individual duly authorized by any such agency to submit records to the department.

(f) The Department of Social Services, when auditing claims submitted by home health care agencies and home-maker home health aide agencies, shall consider any signature from a licensed physician or licensed practitioner of a health care profession that may be required on a plan of care for home health services, to have been provided in timely fashion if the document bearing such signature was provided to such agency prior to the time when such agency seeks reimbursement from the department for services provided.

Sec. 2. Subsection (e) of section 1-283 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):

(e) Except as otherwise provided in section 17b-242, as amended by this act, and subsection (f) of section 1-277, sections 1-266 to 1-286, inclusive, do not require a governmental agency in this state to use or permit the use of electronic records or electronic signatures.

Approved June 24, 2005