GAO releases report on efforts to keep children in family-based care


On November 9, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an in-depth report addressing the use of congregate care for children in the foster care system. Defined differently in most states, congregate care, in its simplest form (when referring to the foster care system), is care that is not family-based (e.g. group homes, residential treatment facilities, etc.). [More]


California wins preliminary approval of Medi-Cal 2020


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a letter to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on October 31, 2015 outlining agreement, in principle, regarding California’s new, five-year Medicaid delivery system reform demonstration waiver proposal, entitled “Medi-Cal 2020.” [More]


NCTQ report finds changes in state teacher evaluation policies


In a November 4, 2015 press release, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) announced the release of its report on the status of teacher and principal evaluation policies in every state, including the District of Columbia. According to the press release, the report reflects a surge in state policies that require teacher evaluations to be partly based on student achievement and growth. [More]

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HHS finalizes rules on Medicaid payment reviews


On November 2, 2015, 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 Medicaid payment reviews. The finalized rules require states perform data analyses to determine whether Medicaid payment rates will sufficiently enlist enough providers to ensure that health care is available to Medicaid recipients in the state. [More]


New budget legislation contains provider Medicare cuts


Congress passed new budget legislation, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314), which the President signed into law on Monday, November 2, 2015 before the November 3rd debt ceiling deadline. The legislation raises the federal debt limit through March 2017 and contains or maintains certain Medicare cuts for providers. [More]


HHS AFCARS data reveals changes in foster care


Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2014 Adoptions and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data which revealed significant shifts in the foster care report. Following the more than decade-long trend of decreasing numbers of children in the system (in 1999, there were 567,000 children in the system compared to 397,000 in 2012, down approximately 30 percent), the 2013 and 2014 data both revealed increasing numbers. [More]


CGCS report finds excessive and redundant student testing


In an October 28, 2015 article, Education Week announced that a study conducted by the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) revealed excessive and redundant student testing at large urban school districts. CGCS examined student testing at 66 of its 68 large urban school district members and found that an average of more than four days of instructional time (which equates to about 2.34 percent of school time during the year) were devoted to mandatory testing for 8th graders during the 2014-15 school year. [More]

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Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana sue HHS and IRS claiming provider insurance fees imposed by the ACA are unconstitutional


On October 22, 2015, the states of Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division, against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging that a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which imposes a health insurance fee on all providers, including, by extension, managed care organizations, is unconstitutional. (Case 7:15-cv-00151-0 Document 1 filed 10/22/15). [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


HHS estimates 7.5 percent increase in 2016 Exchange premiums


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a report on October 26, 2015 estimating that the cost of premiums for qualified health plans offered through health insurance Exchanges will be about 7.5 percent higher on average for 2016, compared to 2015 premiums. The HHS projections take into account premium rate filings for 37 states that will be using the website for the annual open enrollment period to be launched on November 1, 2015 for coverage beginning January 1, 2016. [More]


CMS awards grants to healthcare networks to help transform clinical practice


On September 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded grants totaling $685 million to 39 national and regional collaborative healthcare transformation networks and supporting organizations as part of the agency’s Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI). According to CMS, the awards are intended to provide more than 140,000 clinicians “with tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and spend dollars more wisely.” [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services