New budget legislation contains provider Medicare cuts


Congress passed new budget legislation, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314), which the President signed into law on Monday, November 2, 2015 before the November 3rd debt ceiling deadline. The legislation raises the federal debt limit through March 2017 and contains or maintains certain Medicare cuts for providers. [More]


HHS AFCARS data reveals changes in foster care


Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2014 Adoptions and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data which revealed significant shifts in the foster care report. Following the more than decade-long trend of decreasing numbers of children in the system (in 1999, there were 567,000 children in the system compared to 397,000 in 2012, down approximately 30 percent), the 2013 and 2014 data both revealed increasing numbers. [More]


CGCS report finds excessive and redundant student testing


In an October 28, 2015 article, Education Week announced that a study conducted by the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) revealed excessive and redundant student testing at large urban school districts. CGCS examined student testing at 66 of its 68 large urban school district members and found that an average of more than four days of instructional time (which equates to about 2.34 percent of school time during the year) were devoted to mandatory testing for 8th graders during the 2014-15 school year. [More]

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Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana sue HHS and IRS claiming provider insurance fees imposed by the ACA are unconstitutional


On October 22, 2015, the states of Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division, against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging that a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which imposes a health insurance fee on all providers, including, by extension, managed care organizations, is unconstitutional. (Case 7:15-cv-00151-0 Document 1 filed 10/22/15). [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS estimates 7.5 percent increase in 2016 Exchange premiums


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a report on October 26, 2015 estimating that the cost of premiums for qualified health plans offered through health insurance Exchanges will be about 7.5 percent higher on average for 2016, compared to 2015 premiums. The HHS projections take into account premium rate filings for 37 states that will be using the website for the annual open enrollment period to be launched on November 1, 2015 for coverage beginning January 1, 2016. [More]


CMS awards grants to healthcare networks to help transform clinical practice


On September 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded grants totaling $685 million to 39 national and regional collaborative healthcare transformation networks and supporting organizations as part of the agency’s Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI). According to CMS, the awards are intended to provide more than 140,000 clinicians “with tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and spend dollars more wisely.” [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


Education Week reviews student data sharing and privacy


The October 19 issue of Education Week featured a comprehensive review detailing the sharing of student data. According to the report, dozens of K-12 school systems around the country have begun linking student education records with data maintained by other governmental agencies. The data sharing includes students’ mental health status, child welfare placements, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. [More]

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Review of Federal legislation introduced in the 114th Congress


Since the 114th Congress took their place in January 2015, several pieces of legislation have been introduced to address such areas as: child sex trafficking, education stability for foster children, greater flexibility using Title IV-B and Title IV-B, older foster youth, and therapeutic foster care services. [More]


TC wins MITA information architecture work in California


PCG Technology Consulting (TC) was awarded a new contract to provide an information/data architecture team to assist the California Department of Health Care Services (CA DHCS) in their efforts to advance the California State Medicaid Enterprise towards higher levels of Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA) maturity. [More]


Legislation introduced to support Medicaid coverage to aging out youth


The “Health Insurance Former Foster Youth Act of 2015” was introduced on October 5 by Congressional Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA) and Jim McDermott (D-WA), who are co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. The legislation will address a loophole in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) regarding the portability of a youth’s Medicaid coverage. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services