ED Clarifies Parents’ Right to View SLDS Data


On October 22, 2014, POLITICO Pro reported that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) clarified that, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a parent has the right to view his/her child’s education records maintained in a state longitudinal data system (SLDS). ED addressed the issue in a July 28 letter to the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) in response to NDE’s inquiry about a parent’s request to view student data maintained in NDE’s SLDS. [More]

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U.S. Court of Appeals Finds Written Authorization Form Required by FL Medical Negligence Law Does Not Violate HIPAA


On October 10, 2014, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals vacated a decision of a lower federal court and held that a Florida statute requiring a plaintiff to execute a written authorization form for release of protected health information prior to filing a negligence claim in Florida state court does not violate HIPAA. (GLEN MURPHY v. DULAY, No. 13-14637). [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


UCLA Publishes Study on Hospital Service Utilization in Demonstration Program


The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research published a landmark study on October 17, 2014 entitled, “Increased Service Use Following Medicaid Expansion Is Mostly Temporary: Evidence from California’s Low-Income Health Program.” UCLA analyzed hospital emergency room (ER) use, hospital inpatient admissions, and other hospital outpatient department (OPD) service utilization for individuals who were enrolled in 2011-2013 in the Low-Income Health Program (LIHP) under California’s innovative “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid demonstration waiver. UCLA sorted 182,443 LIHP enrollees in eight counties into four distinct groups based on expected “pent-up demand” in each group (the 69,095 in the highest group had the least access to county funded indigent care before enrolling in LIHP), controlled for other differences such as demographic variables using regression models, and tracked service utilization from the July 1 – September 30, 2011 quarter through the April 1 – June 30, 2013 quarter. [More]


HHS Report Updates ACA Impact on Medicaid Enrollments


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released on October 17, 2014 a report showing that 26 jurisdictions (25 states and the District of Columbia) which implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by August 2014 saw on average a 22.09 percent increase in Medicaid/CHIP enrollments for August 2014, as compared to their average monthly enrollments in a July – September 2013 baseline period. [More]


California Exchange Offers Insights on 2014 Open Enrollment Period


Covered California, the nation’s largest state-based health insurance Exchange, released a comprehensive report on October 14, 2014 entitled, “Covered California Open Enrollment 2013 – 2014: Lessons Learned.” The report shows that many 2014 enrollees needed education about health insurance terminology, enrollment, and coverage through qualified health plans (QHPs); many persons contacting the Exchange in 2014 viewed cost as an enrollment barrier even after advance premium tax credits (APTCs) and cost-sharing reductions (CSRs); training, outreach and enrollment efforts were indispensable to address specific interests and needs of diverse communities; and the volume of consumer interactions on-line, on the phone, by mail and in person challenged many systems and service channels, including insurance agents, enrollment counselors, service center representatives, and county eligibility workers. [More]


New Study Examines Preschool Cost Effectiveness


An October 15, 2014 Policy Analysis by the Washington, D.C,-based Cato Institute questions the cost-effectiveness of government-sponsored preschool programs. According to the Analysis, preschool programs could cost state and federal taxpayers $50 billion per year; however the most rigorous program evaluations “find that the academic benefits of preschool programs are quite modest, and these gains fade after children enter elementary school.” This finding applies to Head Start, Early Head Start, and designated high-quality preschool programs. [More]


CMS Releases Pioneer ACO Performance Data


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data on October 8, 2014 showing the quality of care and financial performance of accountable care organizations (ACOs) over the first two years of its Medicare Pioneer ACO program. For year two, the program achieved $96 million in net aggregate Medicare savings along with substantial improvements in 28 out of 33 quality of care metrics across four major quality of care domains. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Allowing Providers to Challenge Medicaid Reimbursement Rates


On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Medicaid providers a private right of action to challenge a state’s reimbursement rates. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that when a federal law and a state law deal with the same subject matter, the federal law will prevail. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


OCR Provides Guidance on Educational Resource Equity


In an October 1, 2014 Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided guidance to states, school districts, and schools to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources. According to an ED press statement, the guidance is intended to provide state and local school officials with information on educational resource requirements, how OCR investigates resource disparities, and what the officials can do to meet their obligations under federal law. [More]

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OK Federal District Court Judge Issues Adverse Decision in ACA Tax Credit Controversy


On September 30, 2014, Judge Ronald White of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled that language in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rendered invalid an IRS regulation that authorizes tax credits in federal exchanges as well as state exchanges. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services