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Archive for August 2020

COVID-19 Update: Friday, August 28

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 2:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28. Governor Wolf Governor Wolf announced that the state is awarding $10 million in grants to 23 recipients to support the rapid advancement of vaccines, treatments, and therapies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Find a list of grant recipients here. Governor Wolf announced that the state will distribute more than $117 million in CARES Act funding to child care providers across Pennsylvania. Department of Health – by the numbers The number of new COVID-19 cases has remained generally steady for the past two weeks, although today’s figure is the highest in nearly two weeks. COVID-19 death totals continue to fluctuate from … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

CMS Provides Guidance on Medicaid DSH Calculations

State Medicaid program accounting for hospital uncompensated care when calculating hospital-specific Medicaid disproportionate share limits is the subject of new guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In the guidance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explains that because of several court rulings, states can decide for themselves whether to offset third-party payer payments from costs in their Medicaid DSH calculations for periods prior to June 2, 2017 but that beginning with that date,  CMS will enforce its own interpretation of the policy. In new guidance, CMS presents two methodologies for accounting for its mid-year policy change and reminds stakeholders about its new methodology for calculations after June 2, 2017. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services and its … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, August 25

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25. Governor Wolf Governor Wolf has presented his fall legislative agenda.  Among his proposals, he called for $225 million for hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million for a personal protective equipment reimbursement program for small businesses; and $250 million for child care for families with school-age children in need of care because of blended or remote in-person instruction models.  Learn more about these and other aspects of the governor’s proposal here. Senate and House Republican leaders responded to the governor’s accusation that they have ignored the public health crisis and thwarted Democratic legislators’ efforts to fight for progress to protect families … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Friday, August 21

The following is the latest information from the state and federal governments as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 21. Pennsylvania Update Department of Health  Earlier this week, the Department of Health announced a pilot program for a new COVID-19 exposure mobile app.  In an effort to support the commonwealth’s contact tracing efforts, COVID Alert PA will be available for smartphone downloads beginning in September.  The department is partnering with a number of institutions to develop the mobile app, which will alert users when they have come in close contact with a COVID-19-positive person. Department of Health – by the numbers The number of new COVID-19 cases has remained relatively steady for the past three weeks. The department continues to … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, August 18

The following is the latest coronavirus information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18. Wolf Administration The Wolf Administration has awarded $50 million in hazard pay grants for front-line workers in life-sustaining industries.  The program, funded through CARES Act money appropriated to the Department of Community and Economic Development, was announced in mid-July in an effort to keep front-line workers working across the commonwealth.  Click here to read the full press release and here to view a list of grant recipients.  Department of Health  The Secretary of the Department of Health has ordered all skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes, assisted living residences, and private intermediate care facilities to develop, implement, and adhere to policies … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Friday, August 14

The following is the latest coronavirus information from the state and federal governments as of 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 14. Pennsylvania Update Wolf Administration The Wolf administration’s COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity, created in April and led by Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, has presented its report to the governor.  The report includes recommendations on health disparities addressing housing, criminal justice, food insecurity, health disparity, education and economic opportunities.  Learn more from “Pennsylvania COVID-19 Response Task Force: Health Disparity:  Policy Recommendation Report.” Department of Health The Department of Health has published its July report summarizing its inspections of nursing homes.  The department’s surveyors conducted 330 nursing home inspections, 295 of them resulting from complaints; 227 of those complaints were … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, August 11

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11. Pennsylvania Update Wolf Administration In a message to families in anticipation of a new school year, the Wolf administration stressed the importance of children receiving their required childhood vaccinations but reminded Pennsylvanians that the Department of Health has temporarily suspended its requirements for children’s immunizations for two months after the beginning of the school year or the beginning of enrollment in an early childhood education program.  See the Wolf administration’s news release on this subject here and Department of Health notice about the temporary policy suspension here. Department of Health The Department of Health addressed a provider question about … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Friday, August 7

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 7. Pennsylvania Update News Conference Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Levine held a joint news conference on Thursday, August 6.  Among the issues they highlighted: Pennsylvania now has 445 testing sites. The state’s testing capacity, about 8000 tests a day in April, is now more than 22,000 tests a day. The state is now testing about four percent of its population a month.  It would like to exceed five percent. The positivity rate on those tests is less than five percent.  More than five percent is considered a problem. One of the biggest challenges is the turnaround time for test … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Loan Repayment Looms for Hospitals

Unless Congress intervenes, hospitals will soon begin repaying massive federal loans they received to help them cope with the COVID-19 public health emergency. The loans, authorized by the federal CARES Act, were made through the Accelerated and Advance Loan Program, and in all, Medicare made nearly $100 billion in such loans to providers.  Under the legislation, Medicare was to begin recouping the loans 120 days after hospitals received them, with recoupment coming by Medicare ceasing to pay hospitals’ Medicare claims until the full amount of the loan was repaid. Now the loans are coming due but hospitals are saying they are not ready to forego all of their Medicare revenue. While some hospital groups have asked for 100 percent forgiveness … Read More

Posted in Medicare

PA Health Law Project Newsletter

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has published its August 2020 newsletter Health Law News. Included in this month’s edition are articles about: The Department of Human Services’ selection of new managed care plans to serve Pennsylvania Medicaid’s Community HealthChoices program. The end of ensured continuity of long-term services and supports for participants in the Community HealthChoices program in northeastern Pennsylvania. The availability of navigators to help connect people to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Read about these subjects and more in the Pennsylvania Health Law Project’s August 2020 newsletter.

Posted in HealthChoices, long-term care, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania Medical Assistance
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