HOUSE BILL 969
O1, C5, M5 1lr1992
HB 938/20 – ECM CF 1lr1802
By: Delegate Carey
Introduced and read first time: February 2, 2021
Assigned to: Economic Matters
A BILL ENTITLED
1 AN ACT concerning
2 Home Energy Assistance – Critical Medical Needs Program – Power to the
3 People Pilot Program
4 FOR the purpose of requiring the Office of Home Energy Programs, in coordination with
5 the United Way of Central Maryland and the Fuel Fund of Maryland, to establish
6 the Power to the People Pilot Program on or before a certain date; stating the purpose
7 of the Pilot Program; requiring the Pilot Program to provide training for certain
8 individuals to serve as navigators under the Critical Medical Needs Program;
9 requiring the United Way of Central Maryland to develop a certain screening intake
10 process; requiring certain intake specialists to perform certain duties; requiring the
11 Fuel Fund of Maryland to provide certain services; requiring the Governor to include
12 a certain amount in the annual State budget for the Pilot Program; requiring that
13 certain funds be used in a certain manner; altering a certain definition; defining a
14 certain term; providing for the termination of this Act; and generally relating to the
15 Power to the People Pilot Program.
16 BY repealing and reenacting, with amendments,
17 Article – Human Services
18 Section 5–5A–08
19 Annotated Code of Maryland
20 (2019 Replacement Volume and 2020 Supplement)
21 SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND,
22 That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:
23 Article – Human Services
25 (a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
EXPLANATION: CAPITALS INDICATE MATTER ADDED TO EXISTING LAW.
[Brackets] indicate matter deleted from existing law.
2 HOUSE BILL 969
1 (2) “CMN Program” means the Critical Medical Needs Program
2 established under this section.
3 (3) “Critical medically vulnerable individual” means an individual who:
4 (i) has a severe health condition that will be aggravated due to the
5 termination or noncontinuation of electric or gas service or needs the use of life–support
6 equipment as documented and certified in accordance with regulations on a certification of
7 serious illness or life support form submitted to the appropriate electric or gas company;
8 (ii) has or will have their electric or gas service terminated for
9 nonpayment; and
10 (iii) is unable to complete the energy assistance applications under
11 available energy assistance programs, including energy efficiency programs offered by the
12 Department of Housing and Community Development.
13 (4) “Navigator” means a representative from a medical facility or from a
14 public or private assistance agency or organization who:
15 (i) 1. is in personal contact with a critical medically vulnerable
16 individual; and
17 [(ii)] 2. assists the critical medically vulnerable individual in the
18 energy assistance application process; OR
HAS COMPLETED TRAINING THROUGH THE PILOT
20 PROGRAM ESTABLISHED UNDER SUBSECTION (F) OF THIS SECTION.
“PILOT PROGRAM” MEANS THE POWER TO THE PEOPLE PILOT
22 PROGRAM ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS SECTION.
23 (b) (1) There is a CMN Program in the Office.
24 (2) The Office shall implement and administer the CMN Program.
25 (3) In administering the CMN Program, the Office shall partner with the
26 Office of People’s Counsel, the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland, the Cancer Support
27 Foundation, electric and gas companies, nonprofit organizations, other State agencies, the
28 health care community, and any other organization that the Office determines appropriate.
29 (4) The purpose of the CMN Program is to reduce the barriers to the energy
30 assistance application process for critical medically vulnerable individuals and their
31 households in obtaining State and federal financial assistance for their electric, gas, or
32 other energy source bills so that their electric, gas, or other energy source service continues
33 or is restored.
HOUSE BILL 969 3
1 (c) (1) The CMN Program shall facilitate assistance to critical medically
2 vulnerable individuals and their households in obtaining State and federal financial
3 assistance for their electric, gas, or other source energy bills through navigators.
4 (2) The Office shall determine qualifications and establish training
5 requirements for navigators.
6 (3) The Office shall train navigators or facilitate the training of navigators
7 by others.
8 (d) In accordance with the requirements set forth in the Code of Maryland
9 Regulations, the Office shall work with electric and gas companies to implement, for critical
10 medically vulnerable individuals:
11 (1) a medical hold on electric or gas service or an expedited process to grant
12 the extension of electric or gas service for those who will have their electric or gas services
13 terminated; and
14 (2) an expedited process for the restoration of electric or gas service for
15 those who have had their electric or gas service terminated.
16 (e) The Office shall establish a tracking system of the status of critical medically
17 vulnerable individuals who participate in the CMN Program.
18 (F)(1) ON OR BEFORE JULY 1, 2022, THE OFFICE, IN COORDINATION
19 WITH THE UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND THE FUEL FUND OF
20 MARYLAND, SHALL ESTABLISH THE POWER TO THE PEOPLE PILOT PROGRAM.
21 (2) THE PURPOSE OF THE PILOT PROGRAM IS TO EXPAND ACCESS TO
22 THE CMN PROGRAM.
23 (3) THE PILOT PROGRAM SHALL PROVIDE TRAINING FOR 2–1–1
24 MARYLAND UNITED WAY HELPLINE INTAKE SPECIALISTS AND CASE MANAGERS TO
25 SERVE AS NAVIGATORS.
THE UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL MARYLAND SHALL ESTABLISH A
27 SCREENING INTAKE PROCESS TO IDENTIFY CALLERS TO THE 2–1–1 MARYLAND
28 UNITED WAY HELPLINE WHO MAY BE CRITICAL MEDICALLY VULNERABLE
30 (5) 2–1–1 MARYLAND UNITED WAY HELPLINE INTAKE SPECIALISTS
CONDUCT BASIC SCREENING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE
33 CALLER IS A CRITICAL MEDICALLY VULNERABLE INDIVIDUAL;
4 HOUSE BILL 969
ASSIST CRITICAL MEDICALLY VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS
2 AND THEIR HOUSEHOLDS WITH:
THE COLLECTION OF MATERIALS AND INFORMATION
4 REQUIRED TO COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE; AND
5 2. THE COMPLETION AND SUBMISSION OF
6 APPLICATIONS FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE; AND
7 (III) REFER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE UNABLE TO PAY THEIR
8 UTILITY BILLS TO THE FUEL FUND OF MARYLAND FOR ADDITIONAL CASH
9 ASSISTANCE AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES.
10 (6) THE FUEL FUND OF MARYLAND SHALL:
COORDINATE WITH THE OFFICE AND THE UNITED WAY OF
12 CENTRAL MARYLAND TO ASSIST CRITICAL MEDICALLY VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS
13 WITH PAYING ANY REMAINING BALANCE OWED ON THEIR ELECTRIC, GAS, OR OTHER
14 ENERGY SOURCE BILLS; AND
PROVIDE ADDITIONAL CASH ASSISTANCE AND COMMUNITY
16 RESOURCES TO CRITICAL MEDICALLY VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS.
17 (7) (I)
FOR FISCAL YEARS 2023 AND 2024, THE GOVERNOR SHALL
18 INCLUDE IN THE ANNUAL BUDGET BILL AN APPROPRIATION OF $80,000 TO THE
19 OFFICE FOR THE PILOT PROGRAM.
THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH (I) OF
21 THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL BE USED TO HIRE:
ONE FULL–TIME INTAKE SPECIALIST FOR THE 2–1–1
23 MARYLAND UNITED WAY HELPLINE;
ONE FULL–TIME CASE MANAGER FOR THE 2–1–1
25 MARYLAND UNITED WAY HELPLINE; AND
26 3. ONE PART–TIME PROJECT COORDINATOR AT THE
27 FUEL FUND OF MARYLAND.
28 [(f)] (G) The Department shall adopt regulations to implement this section.
29 SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect July
30 1, 2021. It shall remain effective for a period of 4 years and, at the end of June 30, 2025,
31 this Act, with no further action required by the General Assembly, shall be abrogated and
HOUSE BILL 969 5
1 of no further force and effect.