President's Council Offers Health Systems Engineering Recommendations


The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology submitted a compelling report to President Obama on May 29, 2014 entitled, "Better Health Care and Lower Costs: Accelerating Improvement Through Systems Engineering." The report acknowledges demonstration programs and payment reforms in the Affordable Care Act but calls for an accelerated transition to payment models that create appropriate incentives to drive increases in the value of patient care, rather than volume of services. [More]


CMMI Begins Round Two for SIM Grants


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on May 22, 2014 for grant awards under round two of the State Innovation Models (SIM) program. The FOA outlines opportunities for states to obtain model design awards for January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015 as well as model testing awards for January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2018. CMMI expects that it will approve up to 15 model design awards, limited to $3 million per state, and up to 12 model testing awards, ranging from $20 million to $100 million per state. [More]


CMS Broadens Medicare Payment Policies for Certain Skilled Care Treatments


In accordance with a 2013 Settlement Agreement in the case of Jimmo v. Sebelius, (see Fact Sheet here), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued revised portions of the relevant program manuals used by Medicare contractors. [More]

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories:Health and Human Services


NCES Releases the Condition of Education 2014 Report


On May 28, 2014, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the Condition of Education 2014 report. This annual report provides policymakers with information about the progress of U.S. education using 42 indicators on specified topics and trends including population characteristics, which addresses the implications of the level of education attainment, and participation in education, which addresses access to educational opportunities. Other indicators involve the assessment of various aspects of k-12 and postsecondary education. [More]

Tags: , , , , , ,



HHS Addresses Medicare DME Program Integrity


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), proposed rules in the May 28, 2014 Federal Register which would require prior authorization of certain durable medical equipment (DME), prosthetics, orthotics, and medical supplies that CMS considers frequently subject to unnecessary utilization. [More]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories:Health and Human Services


School Desegregation Remains Elusive 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education


On May 17, 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine historically used to institutionalize the segregation of black and white citizens in many aspects of American society, including education. The landmark decision stated, among other things, that the opportunity for a public school education “is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” Later, in 1955, Chief Justice Earl Warren ordered that “states and school districts must admit students to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed.” However, 60 years after the Brown decision, the segregation of and discrimination against students of color in public schools across the country remain serious concerns, as discussed in a May 13, 2014 special series of Education Week articles commemorating the decision’s 60th anniversary. [More]


HHS Updates Exchange and Insurance Market Standards for 2015 and Beyond


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), issued draft final rules on May 16, 2014 to update and clarify a wide range of health insurance rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The final rules take into account public comments submitted by April 21, 2014 on proposed rules published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2014. The final rules address standards for health insurance issuers, including but not limited to issuers offering qualified health plans (QHPs) through Exchanges and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP); requirements on health care quality, medical loss ratios (MLRs), and rebates to consumers from issuers that do not meet MLRs; and requirements under the ACA reinsurance, risk corridor, and risk adjustment programs. [More]


HHS Proposes More Flexibility in Electronic Health Records Rules


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued draft proposed rules on May 20, 2014 to offer greater flexibility under requirements governing Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to promote the meaningful use of electronic health records. [More]


HHS Finalizes 2015 Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Requirements


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released draft final rules on May 19, 2014 on the Medicare Advantage (Part C) and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefits (Part D) programs for 2015. The final rules require as a condition of payment beginning June 1, 2015 that prescribers either enroll in Medicare or attest in an affidavit that they have voluntarily opted out. [More]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories:Health and Human Services


Children’s Bureau Announces Changes to Delivery of Training and Technical Assistance to State and Tribes


In late April 2014, Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner JooYeun Chang announced a major shift in how the Bureau would be providing training and technical assistance (TA) to states and tribes. In describing the changes to occur, Commissioner Chang indicated that the nature and scope of TA requests have evolved in recent years to include Child and Family Service Reviews and Program Improvement Plans, the expansion of work with tribes, and increased responsibilities of courts. Historically, training and TA were provided by a network of organizations that were awarded worked via competitive bids. [More]

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories:Health and Human Services