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Medicaid patients continue to be last in line when it comes to finding doctors willing to serve them. At least that’s the conclusion drawn in a new analysis prepared by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. According to a presentation delivered at a MACPAC meeting last week: Doctors are less likely to accept new Medicaid patients (70.8 percent) than they are patients insured by Medicare (85.3 percent) or private insurers (90 percent), with a much greater differential in acceptance rates among specialists and psychiatrists. Pediatricians, general surgeons, and ob/gyns have a higher acceptance rate of Medicaid patients than physicians as a whole. Physicians in states with high managed care penetration rates are less likely (66.7 percent) to accept … Read More
The Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania has submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in response to CMS’s proposed changes in federal Medicaid managed care regulations. SNAP’s letter addressed three aspects of the proposed regulation: payment rate ranges, directed Medicaid payments, and Medicaid pass-through payments. The overall theme underlying SNAP’s comments was that the proposed changes represent positive steps but could be taken further to provide additional flexibility for Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program to take stronger steps to ensure the ability of Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals to serve their communities. SNAP expressed support for CMS’s restoration of the use of actuarial rate ranges in setting Medicaid managed care rates but urged CMS to make those rate ranges even broader … Read More
In 2019 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services intends to create a new office to address regulatory reform. CMS administrator Seema Verma recently announced her intention to create this office, but other than saying its priority would be to reduce regulatory burden, offered no details. See a brief notice about the new office here.
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
Seven of the largest health insurers serving Pennsylvanians have agreed to end pre-authorization requirements for patients needing medication-assisted treatmen for opioid addictions. As explained in a news release issued by the governor’s office, These guidelines apply to individual, small group, and large group fully insured plans. Self-funded plans, where employers provide health care coverage administered by a third party, are regulated by the federal government and are not included in this agreement. In addition, The guidelines implement thresholds for prior authorization for long- and short-acting opioids, morphine milligram equivalents (MME) and exceptions for active cancer, sickle cell crisis, and palliative care/hospice patients. Generally, commercial insurers are requiring prior authorization for all long-acting opioid prescriptions and short-acting opioid prescriptions after seven … Read More
A bill proposed in the Pennsylvania state legislature would require private insurers to cover telemedicine services under selected circumstances. Senate Bill 780, currently under consideration by the House Professional Licensure Committee, was the subject of a recent committee hearing during which hospital officials from across the state spoke in support of fostering greater use of telemedicine in the delivery of health care services. Learn more about the bill and why hospital executives traveled to Harrisburg to express their support for it in this article in the publication Lehigh Valley Business or go here to see the bill itself.
People are using hospital emergency departments less frequently for low-acuity medical problems, turning instead to retail clinics and urgent care. According to a new study of a limited patient population published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Visits to the ED for the treatment of low-acuity conditions decreased by 36% (from 89 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 57 visits per 1000 members in 2015), whereas use of non-ED venues increased by 140% (from 54 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 131 visits per 1000 members in 2015). There was an increase in visits to all non-ED venues: urgent care centers (119% increase, from 47 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 103 visits per 1000 members in 2015), retail … Read More
In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Labor, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has outlined how it plans to implement at the state level the recent federal regulation governing association health plans. In the letter, state Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman notes ambiguities in the federal regulation and describes how the state Insurance Department intends to address those ambiguities and other aspects of the federal regulation that she believes are unclear. See the Insurance Department’s news release on this issue here and read Commissioner Altman’s letter here.