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SNAP Asks HHS for More Coronavirus Grants

Private safety-net hospitals should be among high-volume Medicaid providers that receive priority consideration in the distribution of additional grants from the CARES Act, SNAP has written in a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. With CMS already conceding that high-volume Medicaid providers may be shortchanged in the initial distribution of funds from the $100 billion designated for hospitals and health care providers in the CARES Act, SNAP asked Ms. Verma to “…acknowledge the special needs of these hospitals and the roles they play in their communities by ensuring that they will receive much-needed assistance in the second round of grants as well.” See SNAP’s letter here.

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

SNAP to PA Delegation: Help Us Fight Coronavirus

Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals need help fighting COVID-19, the Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania declared in a letter to members of the state’s congressional delegation. In addition to the resources sought by hospitals everywhere – equipment, supplies, funding for expanded capacity to accommodate patients suffering from COVID-19 – SNAP emphasized three specific types of assistance in its letter to the delegation: Help with cash flow.  As requested by the federal government and others, SNAP hospitals have limited or suspended elective surgery so they can focus their resources on COVID-19 patients.  This will create a cash-flow problem for them:  while they will be doing everything they can to care for their patients and will be expending considerable resources doing so, their revenue will … Read More

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

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met for two days last week in Washington, D.C. The following is MACPAC’s own summary of the sessions. The February 2020 MACPAC meeting opened with a continuation of MACPAC’s examination of Medicaid’s role in maternal health, when Medicaid officials from Michigan, New Jersey, and North Carolina joined the Commission to discuss how their states are addressing maternal morbidity and mortality.* The Commission plans to include a chapter on maternal health in its June 2020 report to Congress. Commissioners later turned their attention to policy options for improving enrollment in the Medicare Savings Program. The Commission later took a deep dive into value-based payment in Medicaid managed care. This three-part session began with findings … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Fitch: Medicaid Block Grants, MFAR Threaten States, Providers

Medicaid block grants and the proposed Medicaid fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR) pose new financial threats to providers and states, according to Fitch Ratings, the financial rating company. MFAR poses the greater threat, Fitch believes, noting in a new analysis that it could …reduce total Medicaid spending nationally by $37 billion and $44 billion annually…and by $23 billion to $30 billion for hospitals alone.  States, and to some extent providers, would respond to MFAR’s implementation with measures to mitigate the negative fiscal implications. Block grants, through what has been named the Healthy Adult Opportunity program, also pose a threat, with Fitch explaining that Capping federal Medicaid contributions, even for a subset of beneficiaries, poses risks to state budgets and those entities … Read More

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

340B Déjà Vu: CMS Seeks to Collect Data From Hospitals

For the second time in four months, the federal government has announced its intention to collect data from hospitals and other providers on what they pay for the prescription drugs they purchase through the section 340B prescription drug discount program. Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a notice announcing its intention to collect this data.  Previously, health care interests sued CMS when it attempted in 2018 to reduce payments to providers for drugs purchased through the 340B program and the court ruled against CMS, maintaining that the agency did not have enough data on hospitals’ acquisition costs for the drugs to justify the proposed payment reduction.  The newly announced data collection effort seeks to rectify that … Read More

Posted in 340b, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Wolf Administration Proposes New Human Services Initiatives for FY 2021

New human services efforts to support vulnerable populations are a major part of Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed $36.06 billion FY 2021 budget for Pennsylvania. The proposed budget, presented to the state legislature earlier this week, includes the following new initiatives: creating pathways to success in the workforce for low-income Pennsylvanians increasing the minimum wage to $15 increasing Department of Human Services staffing to support licensing and oversight supporting adults in long-term-care facilities legal services for vulnerable populations direct care worker comprehensive training commitment to performance-based metrics, accountability, and transparency in services and licensing supporting vulnerable populations through home- and community-based services and reducing waiting lists prevention services to support at-risk families improving food security while supporting agriculture Go here to … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania Medicaid laws and regulations, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania Medical Assistance, Pennsylvania proposed FY 2021 budget, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Pennsylvania state budget issues, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

Supreme Court Lifts Public Charge Rule Ban

The U.S. can now reject visa and green card applicants based on their financial prospects after a new Supreme Court ruling this week. This ruling has potential long-term implications for health care providers. Last August a new Department of Homeland Security regulation took effect that authorized the federal government to reject immigrants’ applications for visas and green cards if their financial situation and employment prospects suggested that they might become a “public charge” and dependent on government safety-net programs like Medicaid and food stamps.  A number of groups sued to prevent the rule’s implementation and federal courts imposed an injunction against its enforcement but now the Supreme Court has lifted the last of these injunctions. The Supreme Court’s ruling, however, … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met for two days last week in Washington, D.C. The following is MACPAC’s own summary of the sessions. The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission kicked off its December meeting with highlights from its forthcoming issue of MACStats: Medicaid and CHIP Data Book, due out December 18, 2019. MACStats brings together statistics on Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment and spending, federal matching rates, eligibility levels, and access to care measures, which come from multiple sources. Later the Commission discussed a proposed rule that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued in November, which—among other changes—would increase federal oversight of Medicaid supplemental payments. The final morning session … Read More

Posted in DSH hospitals, Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Prescription Drug Bill Would Kill Two Years of Medicaid DSH Cuts

Two years of Medicaid DSH cuts would be eliminated under a new prescription drug bill released last week by the Senate Finance Committee. The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act includes a provision that would eliminate two years of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in the allocation of federal money to the states for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH).  Those cuts have been delayed several times by Congress but were scheduled to begin in October of 2019 and run through federal FY 2025, only to be delayed again twice by continuing resolutions adopted by Congress to fund the federal government in the absence of enacted appropriations bills. Under this proposal, the first two years of Medicaid DSH cuts would be … Read More

Posted in DSH hospitals, Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

High-Deductible Plans Driving Rise in Hospital Bad Debt

Hospital bad debt rose in 2018 after several years of decline, and according to Moody’s, high-deductible health insurance is one of the major drivers of that increase. According to the bond rating agency, non-profit hospitals are seeing growing amounts of bad debt as they struggle, often unsuccessfully, to collect from patients whose high deductibles leave them on the hook for meaningful amounts of care. Kaiser Health News reports that 28 percent of covered workers, nearly half of them working for companies with fewer than 200 employees, now have health plan deductibles of at least $2000.  That proportion of individuals with such high deductibles has nearly quadrupled in the last decade. Bad debt can be an especially challenging problem for Pennsylvania … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals
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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania