Skip to Content

Session Law

2008

Jump to:

Chapter 321 AN ACT RELATIVE TO CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 6A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 16O the following 4 sections:-
Section 16P. The secretary of health and human services shall facilitate the coordination of services for children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services by convening a monthly meeting of agencies within the executive office of health and human services, the department of early education and care, and the department of elementary and secondary education.
The secretary shall publish a monthly report on the status of children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services. The report shall include, but need not be limited to, the following data for the previous month: (i) the number of children who are MassHealth members who are awaiting psychiatric hospitalization in hospital emergency rooms or at emergency services sites after an exhaustive search has failed to identify an available bed in a psychiatric hospital and the average length of time each such child shall be required to wait before such a bed is identified; the number of such children in psychiatric hospitals awaiting post-hospitalization residential placement or community-based services, including their agency affiliation, if any; the number of such children temporarily placed and awaiting appropriate longer-term placement; (ii) an estimate of the numbers of available psychiatric hospital beds, residential school placements approved under chapter 71B, group homes by agency, and foster home placements, and how long those beds were available; and (iii) the data reported by the department of children and families under section 23 of chapter 18B and the department of mental health under section 24 of chapter 19.
The monthly report shall be submitted to the children’s behavioral health advisory council, the child advocate and the general court by filing it with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, and the senate and house committees on ways and means.
Section 16Q. (a) There shall be a children’s behavioral health advisory council within, but not subject to control of, the executive office of health and human services. The council shall advise the governor, the general court and the secretary of health and human services.
(b) The council shall consist of not fewer than 24 members and shall be comprised of: (i) the following 10 members, who shall serve ex officio: the commissioner of mental health, who shall serve as chair, the commissioner of children and families, the commissioner of youth services, the commissioner of mental retardation, the commissioner of public health, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the commissioner of early education and care, the commissioner of insurance, the director of Medicaid, and the child advocate, or their designees; (ii) additional persons appointed by the secretary of health and human services from the aforementioned agencies and from the executive office of health and human services; and (iii) 1 person from each of the following organizations appointed by the secretary of health and human services from a list of nominees submitted by each organizations:- Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Inc.; Massachusetts Psychological Association, Inc.; Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.; Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, Inc.; Children’s League of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Inc.; Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corporations of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; Massachusetts Hospital Association, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Inc., Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Inc.; and (iv) the following 4 community and provider members appointed by the secretary of health and human services: 2 persons under the age of 22 who are consumers of behavioral health services; a physician, pediatrician or child and adolescent psychiatrist from a community health center; and a professional with expertise in human services workforce development. The members of the children’s behavioral health advisory council shall represent the culturally and linguistically diverse populations served by the executive office and its agencies.
The terms for nongovernmental members shall be 3 years. Upon the expiration of his term, a nongovernmental member shall serve until a successor has been appointed; provided, however, that if a vacancy exists prior to the expiration of a term, another nongovernmental member shall be appointed to complete the unexpired term.
(c) The council shall review: (i) the reports on the status of children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services provided by the secretary of health and human services under section 16P; (ii) the behavioral health indicators reports provided by the department of early education and care under subsection (g) of section 3 of chapter 15D; (iii) the research reports provided by the children’s behavioral health research center under section 23 of chapter 19; and (iv) legislative proposals and statutory and regulatory policies impacting children’s behavioral health services.
(d) The council shall make legislative and regulatory recommendations related to: (i) best and promising practices for behavioral health care of children and their families, including practices that promote wellness and the prevention of behavioral health problems and that support the development of evidence-based interventions with children and their parents; (ii) implementation of interagency children’s behavioral health initiatives with the goal of promoting a comprehensive, coordinated, high-quality, safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, family-centered, culturally-competent and a linguistically and clinically appropriate continuum of behavioral health services for children; (iii) the extent to which children with behavioral health needs are involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems; (iv) licensing standards relevant to the provision of behavioral health services for programs serving children, including those licensed by entities outside of the executive office of health and human services; (v) continuity of care for children and families across payers, including private insurance; and (vi) racial and ethnic disparities in the provision of behavioral health care to children.
(e) The council shall submit an annual report, with legislative and regulatory recommendations, by October 1st to the governor, the secretary of health and human services, the commissioner of early education and care, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the child advocate and the general court, by filing them with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, the joint committee on health care financing and the senate and the house committees on ways and means.
(f) The meetings of the council shall comply with chapter 30A, except that the council, through its by-laws, may provide for executive sessions of the council. No action of the council shall be taken in an executive session.
(g) The members of the council shall not receive a salary or per diem allowance for serving as members of the council, but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties.
Section 16R. There shall be geographically-based interagency review teams to collaborate on complex cases when a child, which shall include a person under the age of 22 who is disabled or has special needs, may qualify for services from multiple state agencies consisting, as determined by the needs of the individual child, of representatives selected from agencies within the executive office of health and human services, the department of early education and care, and the department of elementary and secondary education. If appropriate and if proper consent has been provided, representatives of local education agencies and juvenile probation shall be invited to participate. Such a child may be referred to the team by a state agency, the juvenile court or the child’s parent or guardian. The teams, after hearing from the parents or guardian of the child, relevant agencies and service providers, and reviewing relevant materials, shall determine which services, including case management services, are appropriate for the child and who shall provide those services. If the team is unable to reach a consensus decision, the matter shall be referred to the regional directors of the respective agencies for resolution. The regional directors shall meet within 10 business days of the referral and shall issue their decision within 3 business days thereafter. If the regional directors are unable to resolve the case and the disagreement involves matters solely within the purview of the executive office of health and human services, the team shall notify the secretary of health and human services who shall render a decision within 30 days of the notice.
If the parent or guardian of the child disputes the decision of the team or the secretary, the parent or guardian may file an appeal with the division of administrative law appeals, established under section 4H of chapter 7, which shall conduct an adjudicatory proceeding and order any necessary relief consistent with state or federal law.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to entitle a child to services to which the child would be otherwise ineligible under applicable agency statutes or regulations.
Notwithstanding chapters 66A, 112 and 119 or any other law related to the confidentiality of personal data, the teams, the secretary and the division of administrative law appeals shall have access to and may discuss materials related to the case while the case is under review once the parent or guardian has consented in writing and those having access agree in writing to keep the materials confidential. Once the review is complete, all materials shall be returned to the originating source.
The secretary of health and human services, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and the commissioner of early education and care shall jointly promulgate regulations to effectuate the purposes of this section.
The secretary of health and human services shall publish an annual report by February 15 summarizing the cases reviewed by the teams in the previous year, the length of time spent at each stage and their final resolution. The report shall be provided to the child advocate.
Nothing in this section shall limit the rights of parents or children under chapter 71B, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794 et seq.
Section 16S. The secretary of health and human services shall coordinate the purchase of behavioral health services for children to promote economy and efficiency and improve service delivery, thereby integrating services provided by the executive office of health and human services into a comprehensive, community-based behavioral health delivery system. The secretary shall establish guidelines for the department of children and families, the department of youth services, the department of public health, the department of mental retardation and the office of Medicaid for the delivery of behavioral health services to children, including children subject to proceedings under sections 39E to 39J, inclusive, of chapter 119, pursuant to which the commissioner of mental health shall be consulted in the design and implementation of the commonwealth’s behavioral health services for children; and the secretary shall consult with the commissioner of early education and care and the commissioner of elementary and secondary education to establish similar guidelines for those respective departments.

SECTION 2. The second paragraph of section 2 of chapter 15D of the General Laws, inserted by section 24 of chapter 215 of the acts of 2008, is hereby further amended by adding the following clause:-
(t) subject to appropriation, provide consultation services and workforce development to meet the behavioral health needs of children in early education and care programs, giving preference to those services designed to prevent expulsions and suspensions.

SECTION 3. Section 3 of said chapter 15D, as appearing in section 32 of said chapter 215, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (g) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
(g) The board shall submit an annual report to the secretary of education, the secretary of administration and finance, and the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, who shall forward the same to the joint committee on education, describing its progress in achieving the goals and implementing the programs authorized in this chapter. The report shall evaluate the progress made toward universal early education and care for preschool-aged children and toward reducing expulsion rates through developmentally appropriate prevention and intervention services.
The department shall include an annual report on behavioral health indicators that includes estimates of the annual rates of preschool suspensions and expulsions, the types and prevalence of behavioral health needs of children served by the department, the racial and ethnic background of the children with identified behavioral health needs, the existing capacity to provide behavioral health services, and an analysis of the best intervention and prevention practices, including strategies to improve the delivery of comprehensive services and to improve collaboration between and among early education and care and human services providers. The report and any recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes shall be submitted by February 15th to the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of administration and finance, the children’s behavioral health advisory council, the child advocate, and the general court by filing it with the house committee on ways and means, the senate committee on ways and means, the joint committee on education, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, the clerk of the house and the clerk of the senate.

SECTION 4. Section 4 of said chapter 15D, as most recently amended by section 34 of said chapter 215, is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:—
The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services and the commissioner of early education and care under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 5. Section 5 of said chapter 15D, as amended by section 35 of said chapter 215, is hereby further amended by adding the following clause:—
(17) training to identify and address infant toddler and early childhood behavioral health needs.

SECTION 6. Section 1 of chapter 18A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:—
The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 7. Section 7 of chapter 18B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:—
(m) The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking any action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 8. Said chapter 18B is hereby further amended by adding the following section:—
Section 23. If the department has care and custody of a child receiving inpatient psychiatric services, the department shall contact the child’s parents or guardians, as appropriate, and a member of the child’s treatment team within 3 business days of the hospitalization, shall maintain weekly contact with them until the child is discharged, and shall immediately begin discharge planning, with the priority of returning the child to his home or to a community placement. Not later than 5 business days after being notified that continued hospitalization is no longer clinically appropriate, the department shall determine the appropriate type of placement for the child and shall immediately initiate the placement referrals. The department shall document its activities in assisting with discharge placement, including identification of available resources for home-based, community or alternative residential placements, and the barriers, if any, to discharge to the most clinically-appropriate setting. If the initial placement shall not be deemed to be the most clinically-appropriate, the department shall continue to seek an appropriate placement. Not longer than 30 days after being notified that continued hospitalization is no longer clinically appropriate, the department shall refer the child to the interagency review team established pursuant to section 16R of chapter 6A. The department shall submit a monthly report to the secretary of health and human services detailing the activities undertaken pursuant to this section, including the length of time required to place each such child in a clinically appropriate post-discharge setting.

SECTION 9. Chapter 19 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 3 sections:—
Section 22. The commissioner of mental health shall be consulted on the design and implementation of the commonwealth’s behavioral health services for children, under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.
Section 23. There shall be, within the department of mental health, a children’s behavioral health research center, the primary mission of which shall be to ensure that the workforce of clinicians and direct care staff providing children’s behavioral health services are highly skilled and well trained, the services provided to children in the commonwealth are cost-effective and evidence-based, and that the commonwealth continues to develop and evaluate new models of service delivery. Subject to appropriation, the center shall conduct activities as the commissioner may direct in furtherance of its primary mission, which may include: (i) collecting quarterly data from state agencies, the juvenile court, the commissioner of probation, service providers and insurance providers relative to children’s behavioral health services; (ii) researching the best practices for the identification and treatment of children’s behavioral health needs; (iii) evaluating the demand for and the availability, cost and quality of, children’s behavioral health services provided by the commonwealth; (iv) publishing annual progress reports, including the estimated costs and benefits of implementing new programs or practices, the status of racial and ethnic disparities, and the capacity of the behavioral health system to meet clinically appropriate inpatient, residential and community-based service demands; and (v) providing information on a regular basis to the children’s behavioral health advisory council, established by section 16Q of chapter 6A.
The center shall publish an annual report including: (i) narrative and statistical information about service demand, delivery and cost, and identified service gaps during the prior year; (ii) the effectiveness of the services delivered during the prior year; and (iii) review of research analyzed or conducted during the prior year. The center shall submit the annual report by February 1st to the governor, the children’s behavioral health advisory council, the child advocate and the general court, by filing it with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, the joint committee on health care financing and the senate and the house committees on ways and means.
Section 24. If the department is notified that a child who is eligible for department services is receiving inpatient psychiatric services, the department shall contact the child’s parents or guardians and a member of the child’s treatment team within 3 business days of being so notified, shall maintain weekly contact with them until the child is discharged, and shall, with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, immediately begin discharge planning, with the priority of returning the child to his home or to a community placement. Not later than 5 business days after being notified that continued hospitalization is no longer clinically appropriate, the department shall determine the appropriate type of placement for the child and, with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, shall immediately initiate the placement referrals. The department shall document its activities in assisting with discharge placement, including identification of available resources for home-based, community or alternative residential placements, and the barriers, if any, to discharge to the most clinically-appropriate setting. If the initial placement shall not be deemed to be the most clinically appropriate, the department shall continue to seek an appropriate placement. Not longer than 30 days after being notified that continued hospitalization is no longer clinically appropriate, the department shall refer the child to the interagency team established pursuant to section 16R of chapter 6A. The department shall submit a monthly report to the secretary of health and human services detailing the activities undertaken pursuant to this section, including the length of time required to place each such child in a clinically-appropriate, post-discharge setting.

SECTION 10. Section 2 of chapter 19B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:—
The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 11. Section 1A of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:—
The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the commissioner and the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 12. Section 2 of chapter 111 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the third paragraph the following paragraph:—
The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16S of chapter 6A.

SECTION 13. Section 1 of chapter 176O of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Ambulatory review” the following definition:—
“Behavioral health manager”, a company, organized under the laws of the commonwealth or organized under the laws of another state and qualified to do business in the commonwealth, that has entered into a contractual arrangement with a carrier to provide or arrange for the provision of behavioral health services to voluntarily enrolled members of the carrier.

SECTION 14. Subsection (a) of section 7 of said chapter 176O, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following clause:—
(7) a statement: (i) that an insured has the right to request referral assistance from a carrier if the insured or the insured’s primary care physician has difficulty identifying medically necessary services within the carrier’s network; (ii) that the carrier, upon request by the insured, shall identify and confirm the availability of these services directly; and (iii) that the carrier, if necessary, shall obtain out-of-network services if they are unavailable within the network.

SECTION 15. Said chapter 176O is hereby further amended by adding the following 3 sections:—
Section 18. A carrier for whom a behavioral health manager is administering behavioral health services shall be responsible for the behavioral health manager’s failure to comply with the requirements of this chapter in the same manner as if the carrier failed to comply.
Section 19. A carrier for whom a behavioral health manager is administering behavioral health services shall state on its new enrollment cards issued in the normal course of business, within one year, the name and telephone number of the behavioral health manager.
Section 20. (a) A behavioral health manager shall provide the following information to at least 1 adult insured in each household covered by their services:
(1) a notice to the insured regarding emergency mental health services that states:
(i) that the insured may obtain emergency mental health services, including the option of calling the local pre-hospital emergency medical service system by dialing the 911 emergency telephone number or its local equivalent, if the insured has an emergency mental health condition that would be judged by a prudent layperson to require pre-hospital emergency services;
(ii) that no insured shall be discouraged from using the local pre-hospital emergency medical service system, the 911 emergency telephone number or its local equivalent;
(iii) that no insured shall be denied coverage for medical and transportation expenses incurred as a result of such emergency mental health condition; and
(iv) if the behavioral health manager requires an insured to contact either the behavioral health manager, carrier or the primary care physician of the insured within 48 hours of receiving emergency services, notification already given to the behavioral health manager, carrier or primary care physician by the attending emergency physician shall satisfy that requirement;
(2) a summary of the process by which clinical guidelines and utilization review criteria are developed for behavioral health services; and
(3) a statement that the office of patient protection, established by section 217 of chapter 111, is available to assist consumers, a description of the grievance and review processes available to consumers under chapter 176O, and relevant contact information to access the office and these processes.
(b) The information required by subsection (a) may be contained in the carrier’s evidence of coverage and need not be provided in a separate document. Every disclosure described in this section shall contain the effective date, date of issue and, if applicable, expiration date.
(c) A behavioral health manager shall submit material changes to the information required by subsection (a) to the bureau of managed care, established by section 2 of chapter 176O, at least 30 days before their effective dates and to at least 1 adult insured in every household residing in the commonwealth at least biennially.
(d) A behavioral health manager that provides specified services through a workers' compensation preferred provider arrangement that meets the requirements of 211 CMR 112.00 and 452 CMR 6.00 shall be considered to comply with this section.

SECTION 16. Section 77 of chapter 177 of the acts of 2001 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 17. Notwithstanding subsection (b) of section 16Q of chapter 6A of the General Laws, the initial terms of the 14 nongovernmental members appointed under clauses (iii) and (iv) of said subsection (b) of said chapter 6A on the children’s behavioral health advisory council, established by said section 16Q of said chapter 6A, shall be designated by the secretary of health and human services as follows: 5 members for terms of 1 year, 5 members for terms of 2 years, and 4 members for terms of 3 years.

SECTION 18. (a) The office of Medicaid shall convene a working group on the early identification of children’s developmental, mental health and substance abuse problems in pediatric primary care settings. The working group shall include representatives from the pediatric, mental health, and substance abuse communities, and patient and child advocacy organizations. It shall review the office of Medicaid’s current regulations on the early and periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment program, and make recommendations about the periodicity of screenings, the screening tools used, the training and education of those conducting the screenings and treatment protocols. The recommendations shall be submitted by July 31, 2009 to the general court by filing them with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse and the senate and house committees on ways and means.
(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, by October 31, 2009, the office of Medicaid and the division of health care finance and policy shall develop 1 or more reimbursement rates for use by primary care providers conducting developmental, mental health and substance abuse screenings. The rates shall be reasonably calculated to cover the cost of screening tools and the time to screen, score and interpret the results. Screenings shall be reimbursed separately from the standard office visit case rate for children enrolled in MassHealth. The office of Medicaid shall require a managed care organization providing these screenings to children enrolled in MassHealth to reimburse separately for these screening services.

SECTION 19. (a) There shall be a task force on behavioral health and public schools, within the department of early education and care, to build a framework to promote collaborative services and supportive school environments for children, to develop and pilot an assessment tool based on the framework to measure schools’ capacity to address children’s behavioral health needs, to make recommendations for using the tool to carry out a statewide assessment of schools’ capacity, and to make recommendations for improving the capacity of schools to implement the framework.
(b) The task force, consisting of 10 members who shall serve ex officio and 16 members appointed by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall include the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, who shall serve as chairperson, the commissioner of early education and care, the commissioner of mental health, the commissioner of mental retardation, the commissioner of public health, the commissioner of children and families, the commissioner of transitional assistance, the director of Medicaid the commissioner of youth services, and the child advocate, or their designees; 2 parents of children with behavioral health needs; 1 adult who had behavioral health needs as a child; 4 community-based behavioral health providers, 1 of whom works with schools, 1 of whom works with parents of children with behavioral health needs, 1 of whom has expertise in the behavioral health effects of trauma, and 1 of whom is implementing the remedial plan related to Rosie D. v. Romney, 410 F.Supp.2d 18 (CA No. 01-30199-MAP); 1 advocate who represents parents or children in the areas of behavioral health, trauma, and education; 2 school principals; 2 teachers; 2 school psychologists; and 2 school-based student support persons selected from schools participating in the commonwealth’s Safe and Supportive Learning Environments grant program established by subsection (b) of section 1N of chapter 69 of the General Laws, the Schools Initiative of the executive office of health and human services, the federal grant program to integrate schools and mental health systems established by 20 U.S.C. § 7269, or similar programs.
(c) The task force shall: (i) build a framework that promotes collaboration between schools and behavioral health services and promotes supportive school environments where children with behavioral health needs can form relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behaviors, and achieve academic and nonacademic school success and reduces truancy and the numbers of children dropping out of school; (ii) develop a tool based on the framework to assess the capacity of schools to collaborate with behavioral health services and provide supportive school environments that can improve outcome measures such as rates of suspensions, expulsions and other punitive responses, hospitalizations, absenteeism, tardiness, truancy and drop-out rates, time spent on learning and other measures of school success; (iii) pilot the assessment tool in at least 10 schools; (iv) make recommendations for using the tool to carry out a statewide assessment; and (v) make recommendations for improving the capacity of schools to implement the framework.
(d) The framework shall address:
(i) leadership by school administrators to create structures within schools that promote collaboration between schools and behavioral health providers within the scope of confidentiality laws;
(ii) professional development for school personnel and behavioral health service providers that: clarifies roles and promotes collaboration within the scope of confidentiality laws; increases cultural competency; increases school personnel’s knowledge of behavioral health symptoms, the impact of these symptoms on behavior and learning, and the availability of community resources; enhances school personnel’s skills to help children form meaningful relationships, regulate their emotions, behave appropriately and succeed academically, and to work with parents who may have behavioral health needs; increases providers’ skills to identify school problems and to provide consultation, classroom observation and support to school personnel, children and their families; and increases school personnel’s and providers’ knowledge of the impact of trauma on learning, relationships, physical well being and behavior, and of school-wide and individual approaches that help traumatized children succeed in school;
(iii) access to clinically, linguistically and culturally-appropriate behavioral health services, including prevention, early intervention, crisis intervention, screening, and treatment, especially for children transitioning to school from other placements, hospitalization, or homelessness, and children requiring behavioral health services pursuant to special education individual education plans;
(iv) effective academic and non-academic activities that build upon students’ strengths, promote success in school, maximize time spent in the classroom and minimize suspensions, expulsions, and other removals for students with behavioral health challenges;
(v) policies and protocols for referrals to behavioral health services that minimize time out of class, safe and supportive transitions to school, consultation and support for school staff, confidential communication, appropriate reporting of child abuse and neglect under section 51A of chapter 119 of the General Laws, and discipline that focuses on reducing suspensions and expulsions and that balances accountability with an understanding of the child’s behavioral health needs and trauma; and
(vi) policies and protocols for a truancy prevention program certification by the department which may include mechanisms to provide technical assistance to school districts and to encourage each school district to adopt and implement a truancy prevention program which meets the certification criteria.
(e) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall convene the task force on or before December 31, 2008.
(f) The task force shall submit an interim report to the governor, the child advocate and to the general court by filing the report with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committed on children, families and persons with disabilities, and the joint committee on education, on or before December 31, 2009. The interim report shall: (i) describe the framework; (ii) explain the assessment tool and the results of its pilot use; and (iii) propose methods of using the tool to assess statewide capacity of schools to promote collaborative services and supportive school environments.
(g) The task force shall submit a final report to the governor, the child advocate, and to the general court by filing the report with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, and the joint committee on education on or before June 30, 2011. The final report shall: (i) detail the findings of the statewide assessment; and (ii) recommend a plan for statewide utilization of the framework.

SECTION 20. The MassHealth behavioral health contractor, in collaboration with the department of mental health and the department of elementary and secondary education, shall develop a proposal for the provision of behavioral health consultative services to schools.
The proposal, to the extent possible, shall incorporate existing models for effectively providing such services. Consultative services available under this proposal shall include emergency triage, prevention, early intervention and classroom-based approaches to behavioral health care, and shall provide effective behavioral health identification and treatment strategies for teachers, school staff and parents. The proposal shall be submitted to the secretary of health and human services by December 1, 2009.

SECTION 21. (a) There shall be an office of compliance coordination, within the executive office of health and human services, to provide administrative oversight, monitoring and implementation of the remedial plans and court orders related to Rosie D. v. Romney, 410 F.Supp.2d 18 (CA No. 01-30199-MAP) and the commonwealth’s provision of early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment services for Medicaid-eligible children with serious emotional disturbances.
(b) There shall be a compliance coordinator in charge of the office, who shall be appointed by and report directly to the secretary of health and human services. The compliance coordinator shall: (i) facilitate compliance by MassHealth; (ii) serve as the primary liaison for any court-appointed monitor, special master or agent, and provide the court appointee with access to documentation in the possession of executive office, its agencies or their contractors needed to monitor compliance with the remedial plan or court orders; and (iii) promote consistency, where appropriate, with other state programs serving persons with similar service needs.
(c) The compliance coordinator shall issue semiannual compliance reports describing the commonwealth’s compliance with the remedial plan and court orders and identifying any obstacles to compliance. The reports shall be submitted to the general court by filing with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse and the joint committee on health care financing.

SECTION 22. Section 18 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 23. Section 19 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 24. Section 20 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 25. Section 21 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 26. Section 22 shall take effect on November 1, 2009.

SECTION 27. Section 23 shall take effect on July 1, 2011.

SECTION 28. Section 24 shall take effect on December 2, 2009.

SECTION 29. Section 25 shall take effect on December 31, 2011.

Approved August 20, 2008.


Error