Thursday, March 15, 2018

Update: End of Legislative Session

The Arc of Indiana
Legislative Memo
March 15, 2018
The Indiana General Assembly adjourned Sine Die just a little after midnight this morning. The chaotic ending to the short session was a bit of a surprise given that the republicans have a super majority in both house and it was republican key bills that died due the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
Everyone is waking up this morning angry and pointing blaming fingers. Key issues that died were gun control, school safety, autonomous vehicles, tax issues and the very contentious Ball State takeover of the Muncie Community school system. Aside from a few issues in the tax bill, democrats are not too disappointed that that the chaos played out as it did. In a very interesting move, the Governor put forth an Executive Order extending the legislative session by an hour which is not allowable by law. Now the conversation turns to a potential special session to take care of the outstanding items.
For those of us interested in the legislative process and having been around the while, this was a first, an interesting first.
The good news....the education bills of interest to The Arc of Indiana got taken care of just minutes before the chaos broke out.
Here is a summary of actions for the week.

HB 1017 - Newborn Screening. This bill adds spinal muscular atrophy and severe combined immunodeficiency to the list of disorders in the newborn screening requirements. 
This bill has been signed by the Governor.
HB 1220 - FSSA Matters. This bill adds representatives of organizations that represent people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to the commission on rehabilitation services and the Medicaid advisory committee. Removes language requiring the secretary of FSSA to commence rulemaking process for changes to the pharmacy dispensing fee and requires OMPP to adjust the dispensing fee following the survey of pharmacy providers. Removes the HIP $25 copayment requirement for subsequent use of an emergency room for nonemergency services. Makes numerous other provisions. 
This bill is awaiting the Governor's signature.
HB 1257 - State Use Program. This bill changes references of "person with a severe disability" to "individual with a disability" in the public purchasing laws and the laws concerning the committee for the purchase of products and services of individuals with a disability. Defines "individual with a disability." Amends the definition of a qualified agency. Provides that a government body's purchasing agent must determine if a product or service is within 10% of the fair market price. Makes other provisions. 
This bill has been signed by the Governor.
HB 1039 - 529 Plans. Provides the following for purposes of the state income tax credit for contributions to a college choice 529 education savings plan: (1) the term "qualified higher education expenses" has the meaning set forth in the internal revenue code as in effect on January 1, 2017; (2) a taxpayer is not entitled to the credit for monthly that is credited to an account and that will be sued to pay for expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school or that will be transferred to an ABLE Account.; (3) for purposes of determining the recapture of the credit, a withdrawal or distribution that is used to pay for expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school or that is a rollover distribution or transfer of assets or to an ABLE Account is a non qualified withdrawal. Urges the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on fiscal policy certain study topics related to 529 Plans. Requires the Indiana education savings authority to report to the interim study committee on fiscal policy concerning the investment of assets under the education savings programs it administers, including information concerning the ways in which the investment of those assets benefits Indiana. With the new federal tax bill going into effect, there was a provision allowing for dollars in 529 plans to be rolled over to ABLE accounts. This is great news. In Indiana though we provide a tax credit for 529 contributions but do not yet allow for tax credits for ABLE account contributions thus leading to the language in the bill. The tax credit issue for ABLE accounts will be a part of the discussion this summer in summer study committee. 
The issues in this bill were a part of the bills that died in the last few minutes of the session.
HB 1317-Health Matters. Prohibits certain action by a state employee plan, health insurer, and health maintenance organization concerning pharmacy disclosure of pricing information and the amount payable upon receiving a prescription drug. Provides that the definition of "community and home care services" includes services, not covered under Medicaid, necessary to prevent individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities from being institutionalized and to help such individuals to transition out of health care facilities or group homes. Requires FSSA to study service provider and systems point of entry reimbursement rates for recipients of early intervention services. Requires FSSA to study reimbursement rates and the methodology for case management services for recipients of certain Medicaid waivers. Makes numerous other provisions. 

This bill is on its way to the Governor to await his signature.
HB 1420 - Various Education Matters. This bill corrects a drafting error in the bill regarding commission members voting privileges as well as addresses the nominating process of parent representatives on the Commission. The bill addresses other issues not related to seclusion and restraint as well. 

This bill is on its way to the Governor's desk to await his signature.
HB 1421 - School Discipline. Provides that the Department of Education's model evidence based plan for improving student behavior and discipline must (1) reduce out-of-school suspension and disproportionality in discipline and expulsion; and (2) limit referrals to law enforcement or arrests on school property to cases in which referral to law enforcement or arrest is necessary to protect the health and safety of other students or school employees. Makes numerous other provisions. 

This bill is on its way to the Governor's desk to await his signature.
HB 1426 - Education Matters. Requires the state board of education to establish one Indiana diploma (currently we have 4) for individuals who successfully complete high school graduation requirements. Provides that each Indiana diploma must include one of the following designations: (1) general designation; (2) core 40 designation; (3) Core 40 with academic honors designation; (4) Core 40 with technical honors designation. Requires in adopting the Core 40 curriculum models that the state board shall consider math course requirements other than Algebra II. Provides that a student may receive a waiver from the postsecondary readiness competency requirements that are part of the graduation pathway requirements if a student meets certain conditions. Provides that a statewide assessment must use a scale score that will ensure the statewide assessment scores are comparable to scale scores as part of the ISTEP program. Makes numerous other provisions. The bill was amended on second reading to require the State Board of Education to develop an alternate diploma. A 1% cap was put on the number of students who could earn that alternate diploma. ESSA provided language for the alternate diploma to be discussed and it will allow those students with the most significant of disabilities to have access to a high school diploma. 

This bill is on its way to the Governor's desk to await his signature.
SB 217 - Dyslexia. Requires the following: (1) a school multidisciplinary team must include information about dyslexia in a student's educational evaluation if the multidisciplinary team determines that the student is eligible to receive special education and related services and has or has characteristics of dyslexia. (2) Information about dyslexia must be (a) discussed by the student's case conference committee if information about dyslexia is included in the student's educational evaluation; and (b) included in the student's IEP if the case conference committee determines that the information should be included. Requires school corporations to screen each student in kindergarten, first and second grade and certain other students. Makes numerous other provisions.

This bill is awaiting the Governor's signature.
SB 240 - Emotional Support Animals. Defines "emotional support animal". Specified who may use an emotional support animal, who may prescribe an emotional support animal, and when an individual may be prescribed an emotional support animal. Provides that an individual with a disability that is not readily apparent who submits a request for an emotional support animal that falsely suggests the individual has a disability that entitles the individual to the use of an emotional support animal in a dwelling commits a class A infraction. 

This bill is awaiting the Governor's signature.  
We will update our complete bill list next week and remove all dead bills. But for now, for a complete listing of all the bills The Arc of Indiana is monitoring please visit: The Arc of Indiana Bill Monitoring List

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

BDDS Waiver public notice and comment webinar

Waiver public notice and comment webinar
To encourage stakeholder engagement in public notice and comment, the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services has released a brief, informational webinar on public comment as part of the waiver amendment process.
The purpose of the webinar is to walk stakeholders through how they can submit public comment and how to find changes within a Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid Waiver amendment. Both the Community Integration and Habilitation waiver and Family Supports waiver are scheduled to be posted for public comment on March 21, 2018.
To view the webinar, please click here.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

LookUp Indiana: Mental Health Resources

Indiana University's Indiana School Mental Health Initiative (ISHMI) has partnered with The Lutheran Foundation to provide online resources to support schools and community partners as they address students' social, emotional, behavioral and mental health needs.

The Lutheran Foundation’s statewide website, LookUp Indiana provides information along with a resource directory of mental health provider agencies searchable by name, city, or zip code. The Indiana School Mental Health initiative has worked with the foundation to design one aspect of the website that focuses on school-age issues. The LookUp Indiana website offers educational information in the form of videos, articles, resources, and talking points.

“The best place to proactively address the social, emotional and mental health of our children and youth is through our schools," said Christy Gauss, School Mental Health Facilitator with the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative. "We also now know through educational neuroscience research that our students' social and emotional development is essential to promoting their cognitive and academic development.”

Visit the LookUp Indiana website at If you have any questions about the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative contact Dr. Cathy Pratt, Director, ISMHI or (812) 855-6508.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Comment Period:First Steps

Notice of Public Hearing and Comment Period: Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Part C Early Intervention Program For Infants And Toddlers With Disabilities
The State of Indiana is accepting public comment on drafts of the 2018 Part C State Application and First Steps Policy Manual. The state application and policy manual are on file with the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services at 402 W. Washington St., Room W453, Indianapolis, IN 46204 and online by clicking here

Copies of the application and policy manual can be obtained on location at the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services and are also available for review at First Steps System Point of Entry (SPOE) offices throughout the state. A listing of SPOE locations is available by clicking here
Interested persons and organizations may comment on the proposed state application and policy manual by submitting comments in writing to the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services by mail or email. Written comments must be received on or before May 4, 2018. Written comments should include the name, title, and address of the commentator; the specific part of the proposed state application or policy manual on which comments are being made; and the specific actions recommended to the state. Written comments can be sent to the First Steps Early Intervention Program, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services at 402 W. Washington St., Room W453, Indianapolis, IN 46204, Attn: FS application or emailed with subject: FS application to
Public hearings will also be held at the following times and locations:
  • Friday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST, at the Honeywell Center, 275 W. Market St., Wabash, IN 46992
  • MondayApril 16, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST, at the Bedford Public Library, 1323 K. St., Bedford, IN 47421
  • TuesdayApril 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. EST, at the Pike Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, 6525 Zionsville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46268
 Please contact Meghan Smith at if any accommodations are needed.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Action Alert: Money Follows the Person

The Money Follows the Person (MFP)program is a Medicaid program that has helped more than 75 thousand people with disabilities and seniors move from nursing homes and other institutions to the community.  The MFP program has expired, and we need your advocacy to get the House and Senate to pass the EMPOWER Care Act to continue it before the programs are broken down at the state level. All programs will be out of money THIS YEAR. 

Participate in our social media day  (Thursday, March 8) to #FundMFP.  -- Facebook event 

Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in the community!

Background materials on MFP, the EMPOWER Care Act, and our call-in day are all available at the links above (and from: Please spread the word widely to your grassroots and join in our #FundMFP advocacy

By passing the EMPOWER Care Act and funding the Money Follows the Person program, Congress can help more people with disabilities transition out of institutions and nursing homes and into the homes and communities of their choice. Join us, and share widely! 


CCD Grassroots Team

Using Health Insurance for Emergency Care

In an emergency, you should get care from the closest hospital that can help you. That hospital will treat you regardless of whether you have insurance. Your insurance company can't charge you more for getting emergency room services at an out-of-network hospital.

I’m having an emergency. Should I go straight to the hospital or do I need to call my insurer first?

In a true emergency, go straight to the hospital. Insurers can’t require you to get prior approval before getting emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network.

What does it mean that insurance companies can’t charge me more?

Insurance plans can’t make you pay more in copayments or coinsurance if you get emergency care from an out-of-network hospital. They also can’t require you to get prior approval before getting emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network.

Will I have to pay anything?

This depends on the plan that you chose and the hospital you go to. This care may be subject to a deductible, for example, or a hospital may have particular rules in place.