SNAPShots

HomeSNAPShots

Archive for November 2018

Number of Uninsured Children Rises

For the first time since 2008, the number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased in 2017, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. While the total increase in the number of uninsured children is small – just 276,000 – 2017 marked the first time in nearly a decade that the number of uninsured children has risen.  For the year, 3.9 million were uninsured, up from 3.6 million in 2016. Passage of the Affordable Care Act and extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have contributed to declines in the number of uninsured children. In 2017, however, the number of uninsured children rose even as the overall uninsured rate in the U.S. remained the … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Medicare Advantage to Address Social Determinants of Health

Beginning next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will authorize Medicare Advantage plans to pay for some health-related but non-medical benefits for their members – benefits that will help address social determinants of health that affect the health status of many Medicare beneficiaries. As explained by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a recent event in Salt Lake City, These interventions can keep seniors out of the hospital, which we are increasingly realizing is not just a cost saver but actually an important way to protect their health, too.  If seniors do end up going to the hospital, making sure they can get out as soon as possible with the appropriate rehab services is crucial to … Read More

Posted in Medicare, social determinants of health, Uncategorized

Medicaid to Help Pay for Food, Heat, Rent?

Maybe. At least that is what Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar hinted during a recent symposium held in Salt Lake City. During the event, Azar said that HHS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation seeks …solutions for the whole person, including addressing housing, nutrition, and other social needs. Azar hinted at future CMMI action, saying that What if we gave organizations more flexibility so they could pay a beneficiary’s rent if they were in unstable housing, or make sure that a diabetic had access to, and could afford, nutritious food? If that sounds like an exciting idea … I want you to stay tuned to what CMMI is up to. CMMI currently operates one major program that … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

HHS Gives States New Options for Medicaid-Covered Behavioral Health Treatment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has informed state Medicaid programs that it is giving them new opportunities to pay for hospitalization to care for recipients with behavioral health problems. For years Medicaid has greatly limited the ability of state Medicaid programs to pay for inpatient care for many behavioral health problems – a limit commonly known as the IMD (institution of mental disease) exclusion.  Earlier this year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services eased this long-time limit, announcing that it would make it easier for states to secure waivers from it.  CMS has announced in a formal guidance letter to state Medicaid directors that it is extending this policy, according to a CMS news release, which … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

Medicaid Birthing Model Improves Outcomes

A federal program to improve birth outcomes among Medicaid-covered women has produced positive results:  lower rates of pre-term births, fewer low birthweight babies, fewer C-sections, lower delivery costs, and lower first-year health care spending. The “Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns” program was a four-year initiative established by the Affordable Care Act and developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to employ patient education, nutrition, exercise, preparation for childbirth, breast-feeding, and family planning rather than strictly medical interventions and was delivered through three evidence-based prenatal care models:  Birth Centers, Group Prenatal Care, and Maternity Care Homes. The program, operated in 219 separate sites in 32 states (with one in Pennsylvania), served … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Federal Medicaid issues

CMS Proposes New Medicaid Managed Care Regulation

Just two years after a major overhaul of Medicaid managed care regulations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is again proposing changes in how the federal government regulates the delivery of managed care services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Under the newly proposed regulation, states would: be free to implement more changes in their managed care programs without seeking federal permission; have slightly more flexibility in how supplemental payments are made to hospitals through managed care plans and implement some such changes without federal approval; be permitted to redefine what constitutes an adequate provider network for managed care plans; and not be required to publicize beneficiary grievance and appeals processes as prominently as they currently do. Overall, the proposed regulation appears … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

PA Among States Looking at PBMs

Pennsylvania is one of a number of states looking the operations and profits of pharmacy benefits managers employed by managed care plans that serve the state’s Medicaid population. One state has already passed a law governing PBMs and others are doing the same as states zero in on how PBMs make their money when serving a Medicaid population whose care is paid for with public money. One specific target is PBM’s “spread”:  the suggestion that in addition to the fees they are paid by managed care organizations, PBMs charge managed care plans more than they pay pharmacies that dispense prescriptions and keep the difference for themselves as profit.  Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, its auditor general, and the state Senate … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid
P:(717)234-6970; F:(717)234-6971
2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania