Three big wins this legislative session

04.13.18

During the 2018 Maryland legislative session, advocates like you rallied, testified and contacted lawmakers in support of our legislative priorities. Thanks to all that work, we’re celebrating the passage of three important bills…

1. Medicaid adult dental coverage pilot program

Dental care is essential to a healthy, stable life. Just ask Armstead Hetherington: “Dental care gave me my confidence back, and when you get your confidence back, you can move forward,” he said. Maryland is one of a few states in the country where Medicaid doesn't cover any adult dental care. This new pilot program takes a step towards changing all that.

The new legislation will...

  • Require the Maryland Department of Health to apply for a federal waiver to implement a pilot program that would provide limited dental coverage to adults on Medicaid
  • Require the department get input from interested stakeholders—like Health Care for the Homeless!—in building out the program

2. Voluntary certification for community health workers

Community Health Workers are the glue that keeps our care teams together, and they’re often the ones rolling their sleeves up and getting out in the community to help keep clients on their path toward stability. Certification will provide greater job clarity and offer more resources and training for our 9 Community Health Workers at Health Care for the Homeless.

The new legislation will...

  • Establish a State Community Health Worker Advisory Committee to advise on community health worker certification and training
  • Prevent a criminal background check requirement for community health workers
  • Require community health worker training programs to apply for accreditation
  • Make sure that community health workers aren’t required to get certification

3. Ending Youth Homelessness Act of 2018

Youth homelessness has been increasing in recent years, and we’ve been expanding our capacity to address it. Last year, more kids than ever came through our doors. But there are many more young adults experiencing homelessness who need help. Fortunately, this bill increases resources to collectively address youth homelessness statewide.

The new legislation will...

  • Fund community-based organizations providing housing and supportive services for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness
  • Create a network of youth housing and supportive service providers
  • Increase services for youth of color and LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately experience youth homelessness
  • Prompt Youth REACH Maryland to identify the causes of youth homelessness and the needs of homeless youth

A big thank you to everyone who advocated alongside us and helped get these bills passed!

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