OIG Reports on ACF Programs

The agenda for the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012 was committed to completing the review of American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding distributed across multiple programs and received by numerous state agencies as well as community action agencies (CAA). In FFY 2012, 23 reports were completed and posted for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). [More]

HHS Issues Proposed Rules on Essential Health Benefits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released draft proposed rules on November 20, 2012 outlining the “essential health benefits” that qualified health plans must cover to win certification from health insurance Exchanges for 2014. The rules are based on section 1302 of the Affordable Care Act, which requires that plans offered through Exchanges cover services within 10 EHB categories (emergency, hospitalization, maternity and new-born care, ambulatory, rehabilitative/habilitative, prescription drugs, pediatric services, preventive/wellness and chronic disease management, mental health/substance abuse, and laboratory services). [More]

Congress Begins Talks to Avoid Sequestration

On November 13, 2012 Congress began efforts to come up with an agreement on a deficit reduction budget bill to avoid the sequestration process scheduled to begin on January 2, 2013. If Congress fails, sequestration will automatically begin cutting $109 billion from discretionary programs, including $4.1 billion from the Department of Education (ED); an estimated $1 billion would be cut from special education. [More]

Public Charter Schools See Growing Market Share

In a November 14, 2012 press release, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) unveiled its new report reflecting that, during the 2011-12 school year, a record high of 110 U.S. public school districts enrolled at least 10 percent of their students in public charter schools, with a total enrollment increase of 200,000 students. [More]

NAPH Releases Study on Hospital Uncompensated Care Costs

The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) released a study on October 25 showing the potentially severe impact that not implementing Medicaid expansions may have on safety net hospitals over the period 2014-2019. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) originally mandated that states expand Medicaid eligibility in 2014 to legal residents with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that mandate on June 28, 2012. [More]

CA Department of Finance Awards IV&V for FI$Cal to PCG Technology Consulting

Sacramento, CA, November, 2012 – The California Department of Finance has awarded PCG Technology Consulting a contract to perform Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) services to the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) project. FI$Cal will be one of the largest and most complex ERP implementations ever engaged by a U.S. state or local government. The more than $650 million project is a major effort to modernize and reengineer the financial business operations of the state of California government on an enterprise-wide basis. [More]

CMS Publishes Final Rule on Medicaid Payments for Primary Care

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule in the Federal Register on November 6, 2012 on increases in Medicaid payment rates for primary care in calendar years 2013 and 2014 mandated under section 1202 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The final rule will be effective January 1, 2013. Section 1202 seeks to improve Medicaid recipients’ access to primary care practitioners before and during state Medicaid eligibility expansions in 2014. One hundred percent Medicaid federal financial participation (FFP) will be available in 2013 and 2014 on increases in Medicaid primary care payment rates up to Medicare Part B rates. [More]

CMS Issues Final Rule Increasing Medicare Payments for Primary Care Physicians in 2013

On November 1, CMS issued a comprehensive final rule with comment period for Medicare’s payments for physician fees for 2013. Included in the rule is a new policy to pay a patient’s physician or practitioner to coordinate the patient’s care in the 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing home stay. The Fact Sheet accompanying the rule, issued by CMS, indicates that the new policy is expected to ensure better continuity of care for the discharged patients and help reduce patient readmissions. [More]

CGCS Addresses the Common Core Standards and MTSS

An October 2012 White Paper published by the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) addresses implementing the Common Core State Standards in urban school districts with diverse students and using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to ensure that all students have an evidence-based system of instruction to assist them in achieving success. MTSS uses data-based problem-solving techniques to integrate academic and behavioral instruction and intervention. [More]