CMS has paid out about $1.3 billion to settle Medicare appeals claims


On June 11, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the agency has settled Medicare appeals claims with more than 1900 hospitals. CMS paid out approximately $1.3 billion pursuant to a settlement policy announced in August 2014 to help reduce a backlog of patient status claim denials pending in the appeals process. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS approves three additional state-based Exchanges


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the Governors of Arkansas, Delaware, and Pennsylvania on June 15, 2015 that HHS has conditionally approved the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges (Exchanges) by those states. The conditional approvals for Delaware and Pennsylvania are for state-based individual and small business Exchanges in 2016. The conditional approval for Arkansas is for a state-based small business Exchange in 2016 and an individual Exchange in 2017. [More]


Florida legislature reaches agreement on hospital funding for one year


Florida legislators agreed to end a conflict about funding for hospitals for one year by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals. The Low Income Pool program (LIP) funded by a section 1115 project was scheduled to end June 30, but the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did agree to continue the program at a reduced funding level from $2.2 billion to $1 billion for one year and $600 million thereafter. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


NAEP Tests Will Assess Noncognitive Factors


A June 9, 2015 Education Week article reported that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will include assessment of noncognitive factors in its annual student tests beginning in 2017. The NAEP will use a background survey to collect data on noncognitive factors in five core areas: grit, desire for learning, school climate, technology use, and socioeconomic status. [More]


CMS Finalizes New Medicare ACO Rules


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules in the June 9, 2015 Federal Register on accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) under section 3022 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare providers and suppliers that participate in a qualifying ACO under the MSSP receive traditional Medicare Part A and Part B fee-for-service payments but the ACO has an opportunity to earn “shared savings” bonus payments if it achieves MSSP savings targets and quality benchmarks. [More]


White House Releases Report on Benefits of Medicaid Expansion


The White House has released a report entitled, “Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid.” The report estimates that if the 22 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid chose to do so, some 4,299,000 persons in those states would gain coverage; 1,021,000 more persons would report a usual source of care; 491,000 more persons would receive all needed care; hundreds of thousands more persons would receive recommended preventive screenings (626,400 more persons would receive cholesterol screenings, 163,400 more women would receive mammograms, etc.); [More]


U.S. Supreme Court rejects Maine’s attempt to end Medicaid coverage for young adults


On Monday, June 8, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rejecting a plan by Mary Mayhew, Maine’s top health official, to cease Medicaid coverage for 6000 19- and 20-year-olds. [More]


Policy and Practice article examines turnover and training in the human services field


Boston, MA, June, 2015 – PCG Human Services employment and public assistance program expert Brian Howells co-authored an article regarding the 21st Century needs of the human services workforce in the April, 2015 edition of Policy and Practice Magazine, a publication of the American Public Human Services Association. The article examines the issues of turnover and training in the human services field. Read the article here. [More]


PCG Education Corrects Fordham Report on EngageNY ELA Curriculum


BOSTON, MA, June, 2015 – In its recent favorable review of the EngageNY English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for grades 6-12, entitled “Uncommonly Engaging? A Review of the EngageNY English Language Arts Common Core Curriculum,” the Fordham Institute incorrectly stated that, "… students read only excerpts of great books rather than full novels, biographies, and so on." Later in the report, the authors repeat this incorrect notion, stating, “Unfortunately, the New York curriculum focuses exclusively on excerpts, leaving little time for the teaching of novels.” [More]


ED Report Found Disparities in Teacher Distribution


A June 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) found that student teachers enrolled in programs providing alternative routes to teacher certification are disproportionately assigned to teach students with greater needs. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires public school teachers to be highly qualified with full state certification or licensure. [More]

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