Archive for November 2017

The Battle Over 340B

Hospitals and other health care providers say it is an essential tool in ensuring access to care, and to prescription drugs, for their low-income patients. Pharmaceutical companies say it has expanded beyond its original purpose and is being used by hospitals to pad their profits. Members of Congress are divided:  some are supportive and some are skeptical. The section 340B program that requires drug companies to provide discounts to selected hospitals and other providers that serve large numbers of low-income patients has been the subject of controversy in recent years.  During that time, the administration has generally sided with hospitals and maintained the program. That support was tempered recently when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a 28 … Read More

Posted in Medicare, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

New PA Website With Resources for Seniors and the Disabled

Pennsylvania has launched a new website called Pennsylvania Link to Community Care to help seniors and people with disabilities find resources to help them address the challenges they face in their lives. The site, a collaboration between the state’s Human Services and Aging departments, lists services in 12 categories:  advocacy, behavioral health, employment, finance, health care, housing, in-home services, legal, meals, protection from abuse, support groups, and transportation.  It also provides information to and links about programs, organizations, and services. To learn more, see this state news release about the new site or go here to see the Pennsylvania Link to Community Care site itself.

Posted in Uncategorized

Diabetes Admissions Up in PA

Hospital admissions for diabetes rose 13 percent in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2016.  While admissions among older Pennsylvanians declined, the rate for younger people under the age of 45 increased 38 percent over that period of time. Diabetes admissions in Pennsylvania resulted in $205 million in payments to hospitals in 2016, but according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, about 86 percent of 2016 adult admissions could have been prevented with more timely and appropriate care and disease management. Learn more about the prevalence of diabetes admissions in Pennsylvania in the new PHC4 research brief “Pennsylvania Hospital Admissions for Diabetes,” which can be found here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pennsylvania Health Law Project Newsletter

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has published its latest Health Law News. Included in the November edition are articles about: a proposal to impose a work requirement on Pennsylvania Medicaid recipients the CHIP program leadership changes in health care-related state agencies the rollout of the Community HealthChoices program of managed long-term services and supports HealthChoices managed care contracts changes in several state waiver programs Find these stories here in the latest edition of Health Law News.

Posted in HealthChoices, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy

Bill Seeks to Block 340B Cut

Legislation introduced in Congress would block the attempt by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to slash $1.6 billion in annual payments to hospitals for prescription drugs for outpatients prescribed through the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program. Earlier this month CMS finalized its plan to reduce controversial 340B payments and shift $1.6 billion in savings into Medicare provider payments.  If adopted, the bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) would prevent the reduction of 340B payments, which are made to hospitals that care for especially large proportions of low-income patients. The 340B program is an essential source of resources for private Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals and many stand to lose hundreds of thousands … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

CMS Guidance on MCO Payments is Good News for PA Hospitals

New guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the use of directing additional Medicaid resources to hospitals through Medicaid managed care organizations is good news for Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals. Such payments have been routed through the state’s Medicaid managed care plans for several years, but as the state and hospital industry continue negotiating renewal of the state’s hospital tax – its “Quality Care Assessment” – it was not entirely clear whether the federal government would permit continued use of this mechanism. An early November bulletin from CMS, however, clarifies that this approach is still permissible, which is good news for Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals and SNAP members hoping to benefit from the state’s hospital assessment. Go here to … Read More

Posted in HealthChoices, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

CMS Shares Vision for Medicaid

Medicaid is about to undergo major changes, CMS administrator Seema Verma outlined in a news release yesterday and in a speech to state Medicaid directors. According to the news release, those changes include: re-establishing a state-federal partnership that Verma believes has become too much federal and not enough state giving states greater freedom to innovate offering new guidelines for how states can align their individual programs with federal Medicaid objectives new guidance on section 1115 waivers longer section 1115 waivers with simpler review processes CMS willingness to consider proposals to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries Medicaid and CHIP “scorecards” that track and publish state and federal Medicaid and CHIP outcomes Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals serve more Medicaid patients than the … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

PA Delays New Long-Term Care Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services will delay for six months the introduction of its Community HealthChoices program in southeastern Pennsylvania. The program’s implementation in the five-county Philadelphia area, scheduled to begin on July 1, 2018, has been pushed back to January 1, 2019. Preparations are currently under way to launch Community HealthChoices in 14 southwestern Pennsylvania counties on January 1, 2018. Community HealthChoices is a new state program of managed long-term services and supports for Pennsylvanians over the age of 55 who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Learn more about the program’s delay in southeastern Pennsylvania in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Uncategorized
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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania