HHS Proposes New Mental Health Parity Rules

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed rules on April 7, 2015 on mental health/substance abuse treatment coverage requirements applicable to Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), Medicaid alternative benefit plans (ABPs), and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

School Officials Convicted of Cheating on State Tests

 

On April 1, 2015, 11 former Atlanta Public Schools (APS) officials were convicted of racketeering and other charges stemming from allegations of widespread cheating on state tests by giving answers to students and/or changing students’ incorrect answers. One official was acquitted of all charges. Ten of the convicted officials were immediately jailed pending sentencing on April 8; the remaining convicted official was released on bail pending sentencing, due to her pregnancy and the immediacy of her delivery date. [More]

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Categories:Education

 

HHS Initiates Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network

 

On March 25, 2015, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the creation of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, a collaborative public, private initiative emphasizing quality of care and alternative payment models. According to a fact sheet published on that date at CMS.gov, “More than 400 Medicare ACOs participating in the Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model have generated a combined $417 million in savings for Medicare.” Under the new Network project, the goals are to move 30 percent of Medicare payments into alternative payment models by the end of 2016 and 50 percent into alternative payment models by the end of 2018. [More]

 

House Passes Medicare Payment Reform and CHIP Reauthorization Legislation

 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 392-37 on March 26, 2015 to pass the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.” This bipartisan legislation would repeal the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) Medicare fee-for-service payment formula and replace it with a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for physicians and other medical professionals recognized under Medicare Part B. The legislation would also offer new Medicare payment incentives: to provide care management for persons with chronic conditions; to reauthorize Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) programs for special needs populations; and to increase Medicare Part B and Part D premiums for certain beneficiaries with high incomes. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Now Available: The Achieving Better Life Expectancy (ABLE) Act Fact Sheet

 

The Achieving Better Life Expectancy (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014. What happens next? Read our new fact sheet to learn more about what states are doing. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services | Public Partnerships

 

House Representatives Delay Introduction of Student Privacy Bill

 

A March 23, 2015 Education Week online article reports that U.S. House Representatives have delayed the introduction of a proposed bill designed to protect K-12 students’ privacy. The bi-partisan bill, called the “Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act,” was developed in consultation with the White House; however, critics view the bill as falling “well short” of a strong national policy for the protection of student information. [More]

 

HHS Proposes New Rules on Incentive Payments for Electronic Health Records

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), issued proposed rules on March 20, 2015 on “stage 3” criteria that eligible professionals, general hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet in 2018 to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems. “Stage 3” will be the final, highest stage in these incentive payment programs, and it will be the only stage for which incentive payments will be available for 2018-2021. [More]

 

ED Announces Promising High School Graduation Outcomes

 

In a March 16, 2015 press release, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that a new data report shows increased high school graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students from 2011 to 2013, outpacing the overall growth of all U.S. students. In addition, the gap narrowed between the graduation rates for white students and African American and Hispanic students. [More]

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Categories:Education

 

HHS Launches New ACO Model

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced on March 10, 2015 that accountable care organizations (ACOs) soon will have an opportunity to participate in Medicare under the “Next Generation ACO” model, another important step under section 3021 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) toward paying for services based on value to patients rather than volume of services. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

New ACA Enrollment Figures Announced in Mar HHS Report and CBO Announces Lower ACA Cost Estimates

 

In a report released on March 10, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), almost 11.7 million consumers nationwide selected or were automatically enrolled in health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace as of February 22, 2015. According to the report, 8.84 million (76%) of the enrollees were in states using the HealthCare.gov platform, while 2.85 million (24%) were in the 14 states (including DC) using their own marketplace platforms. [More]