Archive for March 2021

COVID-19 Update: Wednesday, March 31

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Department of Health The Department of Health announced an initiative to vaccinate targeted industry workers and accelerate the vaccination timetable for people in Phases 1B, 1C, and 2.  All Pennsylvanians will be eligible to schedule vaccination appointments beginning April 19.  The new timetable is as follows: March 31 – workers in four previously targeted industries:  law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers, and food and agriculture workers. April 5 – all residents in Phase 1B will be eligible to start scheduling vaccinations. April 12 – all residents in Phase 1C will be eligible to start scheduling vaccinations. April 19 – all residents … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Friday, March 26

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 26. Governor Wolf According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gov. Tom Wolf indicated Thursday the state might move straight to opening eligibility to all adults by May 1, as President Joe Biden directed, and skip over phases 1B and 1C, which include different tiers of essential workers. Asked when the state would move to 1B, the governor said Biden’s plan “sort of throws out the whole 1A, 1B, 1C thing.” Department of Health Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam signed an amended order stating that “certain vaccine providers” must work with local Area Agencies on Aging and Medical Assistance managed care organizations to … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Wednesday, March 24

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24. Department of Health The Department of Health announced that beginning Tuesday, March 23, a week-long free drive-through COVID-19 testing site will open for the general public in Luzerne County.  Go here for information about the location and hours. Department of Health – by the numbers The daily number of new COVID-19 cases has risen over the past ten days.  Today’s total was the highest since February 5 and the figures in the preceding days were also higher than in the recent past. Despite the rising number of new COVID-19 cases the daily death totals are not rising. For the week from … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Change Atop PA’s Department of Human Services

Teresa Miller is out and Meg Snead will be in as Pennsylvania’s new Secretary of the Department of Human Services. In separate news releases the Wolf administration announced that Miller, who has led DHS since 2015, “will be moving on to a new opportunity outside Pennsylvania” and leave her job at the end of April and that she will be replaced by Meg Snead, who currently serves as the governor’s Secretary of Policy and Planning. Snead’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the state Senate. The Secretary of the Department of Human Services is important to SNAP members and Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals because the state’s Medicaid program is administered by that department’s Office of Medical Assistance Programs. Learn more about … Read More

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

COVID Drives Major Increase in PA Medicaid Enrollment

Medicaid enrollment in Pennsylvania has risen nearly 14 percent in the past year as rising unemployment resulting from COVID-19 drives people to turn to the state for health insurance. As a result, Pennsylvania has added nearly 400,000 people to its Medicaid rolls in the past year.  Today, 3.2 million Pennsylvanians are enrolled in the state’s program, although among them are approximately 250,000 who would have been dropped from the program except for a federal requirement that the state not drop people from the program in exchange for a major increase in federal aid for the state’s program. As a result of the increase, the state’s Department of Human Services, which runs its Medicaid program, has asked the legislature for nearly … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania Medicaid coronavirus, Pennsylvania Medicaid COVID-19

MACPAC Issues Recommendations to Congress

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has submitted its annual report to Congress on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The report includes recommendations for: improving Medicaid’s responsiveness during economic downturns addressing concerns about high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality; reexamining Medicaid’s estate recovery policies integrating care for people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare improving hospital payment policy for the nation’s safety-net hospitals MACPAC is a non-partisan legislative branch agency that “provides policy and data analysis and makes recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on a wide array of issues affecting Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”  Its mandate … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

COVID-19 Update: Monday, March 22

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 22. Department of Health The Department of Health has amended the state’s universal face coverings order to align with updated federal CDC guidelines.  The amended order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2021 and will remain in effect until further notice.  The new state order addresses activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, as low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others.  For further information, see the following resources: the Department of Health announcement of the new policy the amended Department of Health order the updated CDC guidelines The … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Wolf Administration Launches Regional Accountable Health Councils

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has announced the formation of five Regional Accountable Health Councils, part of Governor Wolf’s Whole-Person Health Reform plan. According to a DHS news release, the RAHCs will “…lead efforts to address social determinants of health, reduce health disparities, and promote equity and value in health care” as part of “…a partnership between the Wolf Administration, Medicaid managed care organizations, hospitals and health systems, and community-based health and social service providers and organizations.” The news release explains that The RAHCs will provide opportunities for strategic health planning across the health care system and better collaboration between health care providers and social service organizations with the goal to develop strategies and partnerships addressing health needs and … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized

House to Consider Extending Medicare Sequester Delay

The moratorium on the two percent sequestration of Medicare payments could be extended under a bill the U.S. House of Representatives may consider this week. If adopted, the bill would extend the sequester delay for nine months, providing financial relief that many health care providers seek as they continue to deal with the financial challenges posed by COVID-19. The sequester delay was implemented early in the pandemic as a means of providing additional Medicare revenue to hospitals and other health care providers at a time when many people were delaying seeking medical attention out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Without action by Congress, the current delay of the Medicare sequester will expire at the end of March. SNAP has urged … Read More

Posted in Medicare, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, March 16

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal government as of 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16. Pennsylvania Update Governor Wolf Governor Wolf announced that he is easing some of the state’s restrictions on businesses that were imposed to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.  Effective April 4, limits on participation will partially be eased for restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment facilities (casinos, theaters, malls, personal service facilities), indoor facilities, and mass gatherings.  Mask and social distancing requirements will still apply.  Learn more from this Wolf administration news release. Governor Wolf and members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced a bipartisan effort to complete COVID phase 1A vaccinations first, set up mass vaccination clinics with regionally … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19
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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania