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Authors Posts by Sarah Eyster

Sarah Eyster

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Ms. Eyster represents the association at state-level meetings and serves as staff liaison to the Mental Health Committee. She is responsible for member communication of, and the analysis of, Department of Human Services and other key policy decisions.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) had been exploring the idea of moving the dual eligible population (Medicare and Medicaid) into the newly proposed managed long term care structure. On August 20, the decision to retain the carve-out for behavioral health services for this population was announced by DHS. This would have specifically affected many of the seriously mentally ill (SMI) population.

The decision came after a careful review of stakeholder and public comments, detailed analysis, and an understanding of the quality behavioral health HealthChoices program that is in place. DHS will continue to explore ways to further collaborate and integrate physical health with the current behavioral health HealthChoices program as the process moves forward.

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On September 4, 2014, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) passed the first set of regulations advanced by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP). As reported, a small group of RCPA members worked for several months reviewing the regulations line-by-line. RCPA is pleased to report that all of the recommendations from the association were accepted by DDAP and, after a long process, the Drug and Alcohol Facilities and Services and companion Standards for Licensure of Freestanding Treatment Facilities were approved unanimously by IRRC.

It appears that this information has not yet reached some providers. A final copy of each set of new regulations is available online through the above links. Contact Lynn Cooper with any questions.

The National Council released the information described below on July 9. RCPA will be accepting comments to provide to the National Council until August 3.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed extending its overtime pay exemption rules to include employees making up to $50,440 next year, a change that could affect up to 5 million workers. Under the new proposal, the salary threshold for overtime pay would rise to $970 per week ($50,440 per year) in 2016. The current level of $455 per week ($23,660) was established in 2004, and it is below the poverty line for a family of four.

Unlike the current exemption threshold, the newly proposed threshold is linked not to a specific salary amount, but to the 40th percentile of wage earners. Thus, the new salary threshold will automatically update over time. The proposed regulation affects white collar workers (executive, administrative, and professional). More information is available in this fact sheet.

The DOL has posted the proposal online, giving people the opportunity to submit written comments on or before September 4. The White House has stated that the DOL will release a final rule next year after reviewing and considering these comments.