Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 1335

Public Act No. 05-141

AN ACT CONCERNING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES.

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

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 17b-3 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Commissioner of Social Services shall administer all law under the jurisdiction of the Department of Social Services. The commissioner shall have the power and duty to do the following: (1) Administer, coordinate and direct the operation of the department; (2) adopt and enforce regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, as are necessary to implement the purposes of the department as established by statute; (3) establish rules for the internal operation and administration of the department; (4) establish and develop programs and administer services to achieve the purposes of the department as established by statute; (5) contract for facilities, services and programs to implement the purposes of the department as established by statute; (6) process applications and requests for services promptly; (7) with the approval of the Comptroller and in accordance with procedures as may be specified by the Comptroller, make payments to providers of services for individuals who are eligible for benefits from the department as appropriate; (8) make no duplicate awards for items of assistance once granted, except for replacement of lost or stolen checks on which payment has been stopped; [(8)] (9) promote economic self-sufficiency where appropriate in the department's programs, policies, practices and staff interactions with recipients; [(9)] (10) act as advocate for the need of more comprehensive and coordinated programs for persons served by the department; [10)] (11) plan services and programs for persons served by the department; [(11)] (12) coordinate outreach activities by public and private agencies assisting persons served by the department; [(12)] (13) consult and cooperate with area and private planning agencies; [(13)] (14) advise and inform municipal officials and officials of social service agencies about social service programs and collect and disseminate information pertaining thereto, including information about federal, state, municipal and private assistance programs and services; [(14)] (15) encourage and facilitate effective communication and coordination among federal, state, municipal and private agencies; [(15)] (16) inquire into the utilization of state and federal government resources which offer solutions to problems of the delivery of social services; [(16)] (17) conduct, encourage and maintain research and studies relating to social services development; [(17)] (18) prepare, review and encourage model comprehensive social service programs; [(18)] (19) maintain an inventory of data and information and act as a clearing house and referral agency for information on state and federal programs and services; and [(19)] (20) conduct, encourage and maintain research and studies and advise municipal officials and officials of social service agencies about forms of intergovernmental cooperation and coordination between public and private agencies designed to advance social service programs. The commissioner may require notice of the submission of all applications by municipalities, any agency thereof, and social service agencies, for federal and state financial assistance to carry out social services. The commissioner shall establish state-wide and regional advisory councils.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 17b-105a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(c) The Commissioner of Social Services, pursuant to [7 CFR 273. 9,] 7 USC 2014(e)(6), shall implement the federal option to mandate the use of a standard utility allowance, to be used in place of actual utility costs, for purposes of calculating the excess shelter deduction of applicants for, or recipients of, food stamp program benefits. Pursuant to 7 USC 2014(e)(6)(C)(iii)(III), the commissioner shall not prorate a standard utility allowance based upon the fact that an assisted household shares the utility with an individual who is not a member of the assisted household.

Sec. 3. Subsection (a) of section 10-76d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) (1) In accordance with the regulations and procedures established by the Commissioner of Education and approved by the State Board of Education, each local or regional board of education shall provide the professional services requisite to identification of children requiring special education, identify each such child within its jurisdiction, determine the eligibility of such children for special education pursuant to sections 10-76a to 10-76h, inclusive, prescribe suitable educational programs for eligible children, maintain a record thereof and make such reports as the commissioner may require.

(2) Any local or regional board of education, through the planning and placement team established in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education under this section, may determine a child's Medicaid enrollment status. In determining Medicaid enrollment status, the planning and placement team shall: (A) Inquire of the parents or guardians of each such child whether the child is enrolled in or may be eligible for Medicaid; and (B) if the child may be eligible for Medicaid, request that the parent or guardian of the child apply for Medicaid. For the purpose of determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services based on a representative cost sampling method, the board of education shall make available documentation of the provision and costs of Medicaid eligible special education and related services for any students receiving such services, regardless of an individual student's Medicaid enrollment status, to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the commissioner's authorized agent at such time and in such manner as prescribed. For the purpose of determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services based on an actual cost method, the local or regional board of education shall submit documentation of the costs and utilization of Medicaid eligible special education and related services for all students receiving such services to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the commissioner's authorized agent at such time and in such manner as prescribed. The commissioner or such agent may use information received from local or regional boards of education for the purposes of (i) ascertaining students' Medicaid eligibility status, (ii) submitting Medicaid claims, (iii) complying with state and federal audit requirements and (iv) determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services. No child shall be denied special education and related services in the event the parent or guardian refuses to apply for Medicaid.

(3) Beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, the Commissioner of Social Services shall make grant payments to local or regional boards of education in amounts representing fifty per cent of the federal portion of Medicaid claims processed for Medicaid eligible special education and related services provided to Medicaid eligible students in the school district. Such grant payments shall be made on at least a quarterly basis and may represent estimates of amounts due to local or regional boards of education. Any grant payments made on an estimated basis, including payments made by the Department of Education for the fiscal years prior to the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, shall be subsequently reconciled to grant amounts due based upon filed and accepted Medicaid claims and Medicaid rates. If, upon review, it is determined that a grant payment or portion of a grant payment was made for ineligible or disallowed Medicaid claims, the local or regional board of education shall reimburse the Department of Social Services for any grant payment amount received based upon ineligible or disallowed Medicaid claims.

(4) Pursuant to federal law, the Commissioner of Social Services, as the state's Medicaid agent, shall determine rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection. The Commissioner of Social Services may request and the Commissioner of Education and towns and regional school districts shall provide information as may be necessary to set such rates.

(5) Based on school district special education and related services expenditures, the state's Medicaid agent shall report and certify to the federal Medicaid authority the state match required by federal law to obtain Medicaid reimbursement of eligible special education and related services costs.

(6) Payments received pursuant to this section shall be paid to the local or regional board of education which has incurred such costs in addition to the funds appropriated by the town to such board for the current fiscal year.

(7) The planning and placement team shall, in accordance with the provisions of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400, et seq. , as amended from time to time, develop and update annually a statement of transition service needs for each child requiring special education.

(8) Each local and regional board of education shall notify the parent or guardian of a child who requires or who may require special education, a pupil if such pupil is an emancipated minor or eighteen years of age or older who requires or who may require special education or a surrogate parent appointed pursuant to section 10-94g, in writing, at least five school days before such board proposes to, or refuses to, initiate or change the child's or pupil's identification, evaluation or educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child or pupil. Such parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent shall be given at least five school days' prior notice of any planning and placement team meeting conducted for such child or pupil and shall have the right to be present at and participate in and to have advisors of such person's own choosing and at such person's own expense to be present at and to participate in all portions of such meeting at which an educational program for such child or pupil is developed, reviewed or revised. Immediately upon the formal identification of any child as a child requiring special education and at each planning and placement team meeting for such child, the responsible local or regional board of education shall inform the parent or guardian of such child or surrogate parent or, in the case of a pupil who is an emancipated minor or eighteen years of age or older, the pupil of the laws relating to special education and the rights of such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil under such laws and the regulations adopted by the State Board of Education relating to special education. If such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil does not attend a planning and placement team meeting, the responsible local or regional board of education shall mail such information to such person. Each board shall have in effect at the beginning of each school year an educational program for each child who has been identified as eligible for special education.

(9) For purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, when recommended by the planning and placement team and specified on the individualized education program, a service eligible for reimbursement under the Medicaid program shall be deemed to be authorized by a practitioner of the healing arts under 42 CFR 440.130, provided such service is recommended by an appropriately licensed or certified individual and is within the individual's scope of practice. Diagnostic and evaluation services eligible for reimbursement under the Medicaid program, recommended by the planning and placement team and specified on the individualized education program shall also be deemed to be authorized by a practitioner of the healing arts under 42 CFR 440.130 provided such services are recommended by an appropriately licensed or certified individual and are within the individual's scope of practice.

[(9)] (10) The Commissioner of Social Services shall implement the policies and procedures necessary for the purposes of this subsection while in the process of adopting such policies and procedures in regulation form, 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 until the time final regulations are effective.

Approved June 24, 2005