HHS Proposes New Rules on Medicare Nursing Facility Quality and Reimbursement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed rules in the Federal Register on April 20, 2015 to update its Medicare skilled nursing facility prospective payment system (SNF PPS) and quality reporting program (SNF QRP). The proposed rules would offer, on average, a 1.4 percent increase in SNF PPS rates for Federal fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016), a $500 million aggregate increase in Medicare payments as compared to FFY 2015. [More]

HHS Releases Funding Opportunity Announcement for Navigator Grants

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on April 15, 2015 related to grants to support health insurance eligibility and enrollment “navigators” in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces/Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]

Senate Committee Passes NCLB Overhaul

On April 16, 2015, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) unanimously passed a bipartisan proposal to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). According to a Huffington Post article, Democrat and Republican committee members praised the 22 -0 vote as a “triumph of bipartisanship.” The proposal, called Every Child Achieves, would continue NCLB’s emphasis on testing, but give states flexibility in how schools are held accountable. [More]

Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking of 2015 Passes the Senate

On April 22, the Senate passed S. Bill 178 that further supports last year’s legislation, P.L. 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act after being introduced in the Senate in January. Since the beginning of the 114th Congress began in January, six bills and numerous amendments have been introduced to further penalties, requirements, and guidance on addressing this growing national issue. [More]

ACF Requests Comments on Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced in February through the Federal Register that comments would be accepted on revisions to Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data information collected. AFCARS is the only data set that can provide comprehensive national information on a case-level basis from state child welfare agencies and tribal Title IV-E agencies. [More]

PCG Education Selected to Provide Content for Learning Accelerator’s Open Educational Resource

The Learning Accelerator, a nonprofit supporting the implementation of high-quality blended learning across the United States, announced $2 million in funding to help create free, comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) supporting K–12 mathematics and English language arts that are aligned with state learning standards. On behalf of the K-12 OER Collaborative, The Learning Accelerator also announced ten content developers that will create rapid prototype units of the educational content for review in summer 2015. [More]

Social Services Block Grant Vulnerable to Elimination

As Congress reconvenes, two budget resolutions being negotiated are intended to make drastic cuts to mandatory and entitlement program. In both the 112th and 113th Congress, legislation was introduced that would eliminate Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and the concern from advocates across the county is that SSBG will once again be at risk. Signatures of more than 65 organizations have been sent to Congress in support of keeping SSBG as is. Currently, SSBG provides $1.7 billion of mandatory funding to states and territories in support of a wide array of social services. [More]

US Senate Completes Congressional Approval of Medicare Physicans’ Fee Legislation

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval to a bill which changes the manner in which physicians are paid under Medicare. The bill eliminates the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which year after year threatened to slash physician fees by significant amounts, unless Congress prevented the impact by continuous short term fixes. [More]

HHS Proposes New Rules for Eligibility IT Systems

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed rules in the Federal Register on April 16, 2015 which would authorize 90 percent Medicaid federal financial participation (FFP) for the design, development, installation or enhancement of Medicaid eligibility and enrollment (E&E) systems; and 75 percent Medicaid FFP for the maintenance and operation (M&O) of such systems. The proposed rules would also update requirements for federal prior approval of State Medicaid agencies’ Advance Planning Documents (APDs) for system enhancements, contract solicitation, and contract execution. [More]

1332 Waivers Will Allow State-Specific Variation to Health Care Reform Efforts

State Innovation Waivers authorized under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act will allow state-specific variations to health insurance marketplace rules. This PCG report, prepared for the Policy Innovations Committee of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board, examines the role that so called ‘1332 Waivers’ could play in shaping future Arkansas health care reforms. [More]