CMS Releases Bundled Payment and Value-Based Purchasing Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule on July 26 implementing a single Medicare bundled payment for a wide range of dialysis services. Effective January 1, 2011, Medicare will pay $229.63 per treatment (including dialysis-related treatment, supplies, drugs, and lab tests), with adjustments based on a geographic wage index, case- mix variations, co-morbidities, new patients, pediatric patients, low volume, training programs for home/self-dialysis, and certain high-cost outliers. [More]

CMS Seeks Applications from States for $2.25 Billion in Money Follows the Person Grants

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a competitive grant solicitation on July 26 for Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Grant funding under the federal health care reform law. The new law extends the earlier MFP demonstration program through 2016, authorizing an additional $2.25 billion in grant awards to State Medicaid agencies for 2012-2016 at 75-90 percent FFP. [More]

HHS Offers Strategic Plan for 2010-2015

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted a comprehensive plan outlining broad HHS goals, objectives, and implementation strategies for the period 2010-2015. HHS objectives on transforming health care focus on extending affordable care to the uninsured, improving health care quality and safety, promoting adoption and meaningful use of health information technology, and improving the accessibility and quality of supportive services for older adults and individuals with disabilities. [More]

Senate to Debate Extension of FMAP Before the Summer Recess

As of Thursday, July 29, information was released that indicates the Senate plans to pick up legislation on Monday that will extend the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) through 2011. State advocates and many national organizations have been powerfully lobbying the Senate for an extension of Medicaid and Title IV-E Foster Care, Guardianship and Adoption Assistance FMAP reimbursements. [More]

Finalists Are Selected for the Second Round in the RTT Competition

On July 27, 2010, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that, out of 36 applicants, 18 states and the District of Columbia were selected as finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top (RTT) competition. The 18 states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. [More]

Administration Announces New Rules for Consumers to Appeal Health Claim Denials

On July 23, 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services issued in the Federal Register for that date (Volume 75, No. 141, page 43330) Interim Final Rules for group health plans and health insurance issuers relative to internal claims and appeals and external review processes to implement requirements contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148). [More]

Wisconsin Releases HITECH Plan

Wisconsin’s health information exchange (HIE) planning board released on July 19 its plan for developing and implementing an electronic health information network. The Wisconsin Relay for Electronic Data (WIRED) for Health Board’s health information technology strategic and operational plan represents the intensive, dedicated, collaborative efforts of many public and private stakeholders throughout the state. [More]

New Mexico Health Care Reform Task Force Outlines Recommendations

New Mexico released a strategic plan on July 19, entitled “Implementing Federal Health Care Reform – A Road Map for New Mexico.” The plan fulfills Governor Bill Richardson’s Executive Order, on April 20, 2010, which established a Health Care Reform Leadership Team that includes eight members of the Governor’s Cabinet. The plan provides a matrix outlining each of the major provisions of the federal health care reform law that New Mexico must address through full implementation in 2014. [More]