Virgina Governor Signs Mental Health Reform Legislation into Law


On April 28, 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed SB260 providing for mental health reform. The General Assembly apparently reacted collectively to the unfortunate stabbing of Senator R. Creigh Deeds by a son, afflicted with mental illness, who subsequently committed suicide. The son was supposed to receive institutional care, but no bed was deemed to be available under state requirements. The same General Assembly remains deadlocked over the issue of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


White House Releases a Report on Big Data and Privacy


A White House report released on May 1, 2014 presents the findings of a review of big data and privacy initiated by President Obama in January. According to the report, the concept of big data reflects the growing technological ability to capture, aggregate, and process an ever-greater volume, velocity, and variety of data – “a technological phenomenon.” [More]


Google Stops Data-Mining Students’ Email


In an April 30, 2014 blog post, Google announced that it has stopped scanning students’ email messages to extract data for marketing purposes, a practice called “data mining.” Google offers free Gmail accounts to students as part of its Apps for Education cloud computing services provided to schools. According to court documents filed by Google in response to a California lawsuit, Gmail automatically scans the content of email messages sent to and from Gmail users’ accounts for several purposes including “serving advertisements that are targeted to the content of the Gmail users’ emails.” [More]

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SAMHSA Releases “Now is the Time” Healthy Transitions (HT) Grant


Federal grants are important funding opportunities for states/tribes/and territories to secure funding to develop innovative ways to achieve outcomes for the identified target group. SAMHSA has released the grant opportunity “Now is the Time” Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with, or at Risk for, Serious Mental Health Conditions”. The purpose of the funding is to improve access to treatment and support services for youth and young adults ages 16-25 that either have, or are at risk of developing a serious mental health condition. These individuals are at high risk of developing mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders, and are at high risk for suicide. [More]

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Commonwealth Fund Releases Case Studies on Regional Health Improvement


The Commonwealth Fund has released an April 17, 2014 report entitled, “Opportunities for Regional Health Improvement: Three Case Studies of Local Health Care System Performance.” The Fund has used 43 performance indicators measuring access to care, prevention and treatment, efficient service utilization, and population health outcomes, which it has applied to 306 geographic regions in the United States. The April 17 report examines three regions that ranked in the top quartile on the Fund’s scorecard despite local socioeconomic challenges: western New York, west central Michigan, and southern Arizona. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


ED Starts the 2014 i3 Scale-Up and Validation Competitions


On April 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the start of the 2014 grant competition for the Investing in Innovation (i3) Scale-up and Validation categories; the Development category was announced in March. The purpose of the i3 competition is to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare students for college and careers. School districts and nonprofit organizations in partnership with districts or school are eligible to compete for the i3 grants. [More]

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InBloom Will Cease Its Data Warehousing


In an April 21, 2014 statement on its website, inBloom announced its decision to “wind down the organization over the next few months.” The decision comes less than one month after the New York State legislature mandated that the state education agency end its contractual relationship with inBloom, making New York the last of nine education agencies to withdraw from inBloom’s data warehousing initiative (also called cloud computing). [More]

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NH Medicaid Enhancement Tax Found Unconstitutional


On April 10, 2014, Hillsborough North County Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones found unconstitutional New Hampshire’s Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET). The tax was instituted in 1991 to permit New Hampshire to gain additional federal Medicaid revenue by taxing New Hampshire hospitals in accordance with federal Medicaid reimbursement enhancement regulations. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


Report Finds Flaws in Juvenile Justice Systems’ Education Programs


A report, called Just Learning, released on April 17, 2014 by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation concludes that juvenile justice systems provide substandard education services for incarcerated students. The report, drawing primarily upon the most recent data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, found that on any given day in 2010, approximately 70,000 students were detained in the custody of juvenile justice systems; their ages ranged from 10 to 21. [More]


CMS Issues Guidance on Medicaid DSH Auditing and Reporting Requirements


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance on auditing and reporting requirements for Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, which are intended to bring transparency to the use of DSH funds. The guidance, issued on April 4, 2014, is entitled, “Additional Information of the DSH Reporting and Audit Requirements-Part 2.” In the December 19, 2008 Federal Register, CMS issued a final rule establishing new requirements to implement a provision of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. That final rule included a transition period related to audit findings for Medicaid state plan rate years (SPRYs) 2005 through 2010. CMS has stated that this new additional guidance “is designed to ensure proper implementation, consistent practice, and protection for states and hospitals as we approach the end of the regulatory transition period”. [More]