The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to give individuals who will lose eligibility for certain mental health services more time to transition to other, less intensive services.
Those who receive care under what’s called section 17 had petitioned lawmakers to review a rule change by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services that could shift up to 8,000 people to different services.
“One of the things the department has continued to tell us is that people who lose their section 17 eligibility will be able to find services in other places,” says Democratic state Rep. Drew Gattine, the co-chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “And we heard from people out in the community that they were very concerned that was not true.”
Gattine says those affected will now have at least four months to transition.
“And then subsequent 90 day transitional periods for individuals struggling to find the services they need if they’re going to lose their section 17 eligibility,” he says.
Gattine says the committee also directed DHHS to allow those who currently receive rental assistance due to their section 17 eligibility to continue to receive support if their status changes.