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Archive for June 2019

DHS Secretary Says No to Medicaid Work Requirements

Pennsylvania will not seek federal permission to create a Medicaid work requirement, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller told a joint hearing of the State Senate Republican Policy Committee and Health and Human Services Committee this week. Miller conveyed what a news release described as …the Wolf Administration’s firm opposition to work requirements for Medicaid recipients and the administration’s work to expand access to education and training programs and services to support employment for people served by DHS’ programs. In her testimony, Miller explained that Our goal is always to set policy and implement programs that empower Pennsylvanians to live fulfilling lives, support themselves and their families, contribute to our local economies, and build stronger communities.  This is not … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Change Coming to PA’s Medicaid Transportation Program

Pennsylvania’s Medicaid transportation program will soon be undergoing major change. By law, states must provide free non-emergency medical transportation for their Medicaid recipients.  The Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Transportation Program has fulfilled that mandate for the past 35 years, with county governments shouldering primary responsibility for providing or arranging for the transportation for their Medicaid-covered residents. Under a plan adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which administers the state’s Medicaid program, that would change, with the state currently reviewing proposals from private vendors that would serve as brokers and assume this responsibility for large sections of the state:  the eastern, central, and western parts of Pennsylvania. Changing the program in this manner would enable Pennsylvania to change the classification … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania Medical Assistance

Opioid Prescriptions Down in PA

Pennsylvania doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for opioids, according to a new analysis by the American Medical Association. According to the AMA, prescriptions for opioids declined 40 percent in the state between 2013 and 2018 – one of the largest declines in the country. In a news release, the Pennsylvania Medical Society attributed the decline in part to physician education and in part to the state’s prescription drug monitoring programs. Learn more from the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal article “Pa. physicians writing fewer opioid prescriptions” and from a news release from the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Posted in Uncategorized

PA May Take Over Insurance Exchange

Pennsylvania may soon assume responsibility for providing a health insurance exchange for its residents. When the Affordable Care Act was adopted in 2010, states were given the option of establishing their own marketplaces for health insurance offered under the reform law or having their citizens use a federal exchange established for the same purpose.  Pennsylvania chose to have its residents use the federal exchange, but now, a law changing that is making its way through the state legislature. House Bill 3, with more than 80 sponsors from both parties, would direct the state to establish its own health insurance exchange and establish a Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Fund to pay for it. After years of ceding this responsibility to the … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act

Legislature to Examine Mental Health Provider Shortage

Pennsylvania’s apparent shortage of mental health providers will be the subject of study by the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission, a bipartisan arm of the state’s General Assembly. The resolution to conduct the study was approved unanimously by the state House, and according to a news release from state representative Jeanne McNeill, who sponsored the resolution, The study will work to identify factors behind the state shortages, make projections on the number of mental health care providers in Pennsylvania in the future, make recommendations on how to solve the disparity in the number of mental health care providers in rural counties compared to urban and suburban counties and any other solutions needed to stop and reverse the mental health care … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

Administration Ramps Up Scrutiny of Immigrants’ Use of Public Benefits

Immigrants’ sponsors could be more likely to be held financially responsible for the cost of public benefits those immigrants receive under a new memorandum issued by the White House. The requirement itself is not new; the purpose of the memorandum is to encourage federal agencies to enforce existing laws that state that, according to the memorandum, …when an alien applies for certain means-tested public benefits, the financial resources of the alien’s sponsor must be counted as part of the alien’s financial resources in determining both eligibility for the benefits and the amount of benefits that may be awarded.  Financial sponsors who pledge to financially support the sponsored alien in the event the alien applies for or receives public benefits will … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Medicaid Expansion Helps Pregnant Women and Their Babies

An intuitive assumption now has evidence to support it:  Medicaid expansion has improved the health of pregnant women and their babies. According to a new study from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families, …states that expand Medicaid improve the health of women of childbearing age:  increasing access to preventive care, reducing adverse health outcomes before, during and after pregnancies, and reducing maternal mortality rates. Better health for women of childbearing age also means better health for their infants.  States that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw a 50 percent greater reduction in infant mortality than non-expansion states. The report notes that the number of uninsured women of childbearing age in Pennsylvania fell … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals
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