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Archive for April 2018

New 340B Bill Proposed

A new bill introduced in the House seeks to bring greater transparency to the controversial 340B prescription drug discount program. Under H.R.5598, proposed by Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), hospitals would be required to report the outpatient care they provide to low-income patients in both their main hospital and at pediatric care sites.  Hospitals already separately report the inpatient care they provide to such patients. According to Representative Carter, I introduced this legislation today because I believe the 340B program is very important, but it needs to be improved.  340B is an outpatient program and currently hospitals do not have to report low-income utilization in outpatient settings. This legislation adds an additional layer of transparency to allow us to better … Read More

Posted in Medicare

Short-Term Plans May Short-Change Purchasers

The short-term health insurance plans that the administration proposes making more available to consumers as an alternative to comprehensive health insurance that meets Affordable Care Act coverage requirements may leave consumers with greater out-of-pocket costs and less coverage for some critical services. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of available short-term, limited duration plans in 10 markets across the country, those plans: often do not cover mental health and substance abuse services and outpatient prescription drugs may turn down individuals or charge them higher premiums based on age, gender, or health status, including pre-existing conditions require greater cost-sharing by their purchasers do not cover maternity services at all Such plans are not required to comply with the Affordable Care … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress, the administration, and the states on Medicaid and CHIP issues, met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week. The following is MACPAC’s own summary of its two days of meetings. The April 2018 meeting began with session on social determinants of health. Panelists Jocelyn Guyer of Manatt Health Solutions, Arlene Ash of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Kevin Moore of UnitedHealthcare Community & State discussed state approaches to financing social interventions through Medicaid. In its second morning session, the Commission reviewed a draft chapter of the June 2018 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP on the adequacy of the care delivery system … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

A new study found that the increase in the number of insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased utilization of primary health care services. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, primary care utilization rose 3.8 percent, mammograms 1.5 percent, HIV tests 2.1 percent, and flu shots 1.9 percent over a three-year period.  The study suggests that preventive care increased between 17 and 50 percent. The study attributes all of the gains to improved access to private insurance and none to Medicaid expansion. These results are based on self-reported information gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Learn more about these and … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act

Medicaid is Toughest Insurer for Providers

Medicaid is the hardest insurer for providers when it comes to billing. Or so reports a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to this analysis, Medicaid claims take longer to file, are more likely to be rejected, more likely to be challenged, and take longer to be paid than Medicare and private insurance claims.  While the biggest problem is Medicaid fee-for-service claims, even Medicaid managed care claims pose more problems than Medicare and private insurance claims. This can pose a special challenge to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals because they care for so many more Medicaid patients than the typical hospital. Learn more about the challenges providers face when working with Medicaid in the Health Affairs report “The Complexity … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Eat! You’ll Feel Better

And maybe need to spend less on health care. That is the lesson learned from a program in Massachusetts that provided home delivery of food to dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients who were struggling with their meals. In a limited experiment, selected individuals received home delivery of food:  some received general meal deliveries while others received food tailored to their individual medical conditions.  The purpose:  address a major social determinant of health in this difficult-to-serve population. The result, according to a report published in the journal Health Affairs, was that Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient admissions and lower medical spending. Participation in the nontailored food program was not associated with fewer inpatient admissions but was … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Safety-Net Hospitals Improve More on Readmissions But Still More Likely to be Penalized

Hospitals that serve large numbers of minority patients are reducing their Medicare readmissions rates more than other hospitals but are still more likely to be penalized under Medicare readmissions reduction program. This is one of the findings in a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to the study, hospitals that serve larger numbers of minority patients – typically, safety-net hospitals – are more likely to be penalized for readmissions than other hospitals because even though they are reducing their readmissions rates faster than other hospitals, their performance is compared, unfavorably, to hospitals that had fewer Medicare readmissions prior to the launch of the readmissions reduction program. This situation may change beginning in FY 2019 when a new … Read More

Posted in Medicare

Pennsylvania Health Law Project Newsletter

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has just published the March 2018 edition of its monthly newsletter. Included in this edition are articles about: new procedures that will make it easier for Medicaid recipients to be treated for opioid abuse the continued implementation of the Community HealthChoices program of managed long-term services and supports for nursing home-eligible seniors, including its introduction in southeastern Pennsylvania beginning next year the work of special needs units in the HealthChoices managed care plans the confirmation of Teresa Miller as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Find these stories and others here, in the latest edition of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project’s newsletter.  

Posted in HealthChoices, Pennsylvania Medicaid laws and regulations, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy
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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania