The Georgia General Assembly concluded the legislative business on March 24. DBHDD’s bill (SB 271) passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor Deal’s review and signature. This bill makes changes to specific administrative procedures in designated emergency receiving facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Senator Dean Burke and Representative Buddy Harden were crucial in ensuring the bill’s passage through the General Assembly.
The General Assembly also passed the annual budget which included DBHDD’s recommendations. Below are some of the highlights of the budget:
- $8,895,654 for salary adjustments for direct care staff to reduce turnover and improve recruitment.
- $11,900,000 to reflect a provider rate increase for the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- $1,223,897 for 100 additional slots for the New Options Waiver (NOW).
- $5,700,000 for one Behavioral Health Crisis Center to address emergency crisis needs for individuals with mental illnesses.
- $5,065,000 in bonds for a 40-bed forensic unit at Georgia Regional Hospital: Atlanta.
Two other bills of interest include HB 768, which would establish the ABLE Program Corporation and ABLE Trust Fund. The bill would also authorize the ABLE board to establish a program for tax-exempt savings for people with disabilities.
HB 900 would give pharmacists the ability to delegate the retrieval and review of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program information to technicians “for the purposes of determining misuse, abuse, or underutilization of prescribed medication.”