TANF reauthorization happening?

 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has not had a full reauthorization since 2005 and chances of it happening this year are unlikely prior to the September 30 expiration. The TANF program has been supported through continuing resolutions by Congress since agreement on changes to requirements, programmatic guidance and fiscal issues have been a source of contention for Congressional members. [More]

 

Congress addresses child welfare Issues

 

This week has been a busy for the Senate Finance Committee as two important issues have been addressed. On August 4, Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) held a finance hearing on foster care group homes. The hearing examined alternatives that can reduce the reliance of a child welfare agency’s use of group care for foster children and an in-home program “Homeworks” that supports children remaining in their own homes. [More]

 

CMS Issues final Medicare facilities payment rules for FY2016

 

On July 31, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted final Medicare payment rules for hospitals and psychiatric, rehabilitation, and hospice care facilities for federal fiscal year 2016. The 2100 page final rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 17, 2015. [More]

 

Celebrations Held for 50th anniversary for Medicare and Medicaid

 

On Thursday, July 30, 2015, a number of celebrations were held in Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) facilities and elsewhere to mark the 50th anniversary for the Medicare and Medicaid programs. [More]

 

HHS finalizes new rules on Medicare payments to nursing facilities

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules in the Federal Register on August 4, 2015 to update its Medicare skilled nursing facility prospective payment system (SNF PPS) and quality reporting program (SNF QRP). The new rules are effective October 1, 2015. [More]

 

California ACA Exchange announces limited negotiated rate increase for 2016 plans

 

On July 28, 2015, several national and many local media outlets reported coverage of an announcement by California officials that the state’s health insurance exchange negotiated a 4 percent average rate increase for its 2016 Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. [More]

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HHS outlines multi-pronged strategy to help individuals with substance use disorders

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter to state Medicaid directors on July 27, 2015 encouraging states to pursue demonstration waivers to improve services for individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). These may include waivers of the longstanding “institution for mental diseases” (IMD) exclusion and other federal Medicaid rules. [More]

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Children and families legislative updates

 

Since the beginning of the 114th Congress, many bills have been drafted, a few have been introduced on either the House or Senate floor, and to date, no legislation has been actually passed. The legislation listed below reflect several themes of growing concern but none that have reached the level of attention for a hearing to be held. Continuous monitoring of these bills will be reported. [More]

 

HHS Proposes New Medicare/Medicaid Standards for Long Term Care Facilities

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 16, 2015 which would update Medicare/Medicaid certification requirements for long term care facilities (LTCFs). The proposed rule offers the most comprehensive update in these requirements since 1991. [More]

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HHS Proposes Updates in Medicare Part B Payments

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 15, 2015 which would update Medicare Part B payment policies, including the Medicare physician fee schedule, for calendar year 2016. The proposed rule also outlines initial steps toward implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which replaced Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, enacted in 1997, with a ground-breaking Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), to be launched in 2019. [More]