Cancer is a major health problem everywhere. The Baltimore area is no exception! For many cancer patients, financial ruin is a major side-effect – a non-medical side-effect. Patients often lose their jobs, become bankrupt and sometimes even homeless. It is a side of cancer and serious disability that is often overlooked.
Through the efforts of Cindy Carter, President of the Cancer Support Foundation, state legislators were educated about this other side-effect and the need to make changes. Carter spent hours and hours throughout the summer and fall of 2012 meeting with and educating individual legislators.
As a result of her efforts HB955 was drafted and passed through the 2013 legislature with the intent of looking at how and why cancer patients can lose everything while getting treatment and surviving their illness. The bill passed the legislature in its first presentation (an unusual occurrence).
The bill specifically identifies individuals and agencies who are to gather together to analyze current policies and procedures within the Disability Insurance Programs and the Department of Social Services, especially as they relate to cancer patients and others with disabilities. They will be looking at issues relating to ‘Temporary Disability Insurance Programs’ and the process for assisting individuals with disabilities at local Departments of Social Services.
Each year the Maryland General Assembly passes hundreds of legislative bills. The Governor signs the bills into law. On July 1, many of those bills and laws go into effect.
Again, this year is no different, except that House Bill 955 (HB955) is focused on making major changes within the cancer and disabled community.
The Task Force is to consist of two members of the Senate of Maryland, appointed by the President of the Senate; two members of the House of Delegates, appointed by the Speaker of the House; the Commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration, or designee; the Secretary of Human Resources, or designee; the Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, or designee and the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene or designee.
The governor will appoint one representative from the Workers’ Compensation Commission; the Cancer Support Foundation; and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He will also appoint two representatives of Maryland labor organizations and two members of the business community; two members of the insurance industry, and one member of the temporary disability insurance industry; along with one member of the public; one representative of a disability advocacy organization; two representatives of local departments of social services; and at least two representatives of cancer treatment centers in the State who perform patient navigation services.
Anyone who would like to make comments to this committee or knows someone who will be impacted by this legislation may want to contact the Office of the Governor State of Maryland) 410.974.3901 • 1.800.811.8336