CMS expands funding for health information technology


On February 29, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a bulletin expanding the availability of 90 percent Federal financial participation (FFP) on state Medicaid administrative expenditures to promote the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). With this funding increase, CMS seeks to address the need for improved patient care coordination and care transitions across a wide range of services (e.g., acute, chronic, behavioral health, long term care, etc.), using system-wide health information exchange (HIE) technology solutions. [More]


CMS expands funding for services provided to Native Americans


On February 26, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a bulletin expanding the availability of 100 percent Federal financial participation (FFP) on state Medicaid expenditures for services received through Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities. The CMS bulletin states that 100 percent FFP will be available for IHS facility services as well as services authorized under written care coordination agreements between IHS facilities and non-IHS providers enrolled in Medicaid. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


Student Voice and Mentoring - Brenda Manuel, Director of Involvement, Development, and Empowerment, Los Angeles Unified School District


Interview with Dr. Brenda Manuel: Director, Student Empowerment, Los Angeles Unified School District. Dr. Brenda Manuel is Director of Student Involvement Development and Empowerment (SIDE) Unit of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Dr. Manuel has held a range of positions in LAUSD. For over ten years, Dr. Manuel served as the assistant principal of three secondary schools. For the next four years, as the Elementary Literacy Coordinator, she assisted teachers and schools to improve reading instruction by using data and to address the needs of students who are learning English. During five years as a principal at 112th Street Elementary School, she raised standardized test scores, built collaborative school teams, and served as a role model for students and teachers. While at that campus, she also encouraged relationships with community organizations and local businesses, to provide additional services and resources to students, their families, and school personnel. [More]


Identifying Root Causes of Learning Challenges to Inform Intervention - Denise Tillery, Ed.D, Sr. Director Intervention Services K-12 Student Support Services, Wake County (NC) Public Schools


Denise Tillery is Senior Director of Intervention Services K-12, Wake County Public Schools, North Carolina. K-12 School Intervention Best Practices and Innovation Use a holistic analytical approach to locate challenged groups and identify root causes We need to engage in authentic problem solving to identify and address the root causes of why a child is not learning successfully. Many districts ride the academic laurels of their overall population. But they should instead combine data analytics with qualitative research to identify groups that need help, determine their exact problems, and devise solutions to address those needs. [More]


Congress addresses impact of methamphetamine and opioid abuse on child welfare systems


Congress took action this week to highlight the significant impact parental abuse of methamphetamines and opioids is having on children across the country. On February 23, 2016, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing, “Examining the Opioid Epidemic,” with presenters from the child welfare community, health care community, and law enforcement. In his introduction, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) referred to the issue of opioid use as one of requiring a three-prong approach – more prevention, better treatment and tougher enforcement – for successful eradication. [More]


USDE proposes regulations on disproportionality


On February 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) proposed regulations to address the overrepresentation of minorities in special education. Historically, states have been allowed to develop their own standards for determining “significant disproportionality” in the placement of minority students in special education. According to an Education Week article, a 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office found that only about 2 percent of U.S. school districts were identified as having overrepresentation of minorities in special education, allowing many districts to avoid penalties under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). [More]


Current state of CMS quality rating programs


For Marketplace plans, quality is coming to the forefront as Quality Rating System (QRS) and Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS) requirements are rolled out for Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) starting in 2017. In short, pending the approval of proposed regulations, the following changes are coming for 2017: • CMS will be publicly displaying QHP quality rating information on; • QHP issuers will be allowed to include 2016 QRS and QHP Enrollee Survey results in marketing materials; • QHP issuers must adhere to guidelines, including the QRS Technical Guidance and User Guide for the 2017 Coverage Year, established by Federal Department of Health and Human Services in consultation with health care quality experts and stakeholders. [More]


Boosting STEM participation, Reducing Absenteeism - Susan Dawson, President, E3 Alliance (Austin, TX)


Building Readiness - From Cradle to Career By Susan Dawson Susan Dawson is President of E3 Alliance, an Austin Texas-based non-profit organization that uses objective data and community collaboration to align education systems so all students succeed and lead Central Texas to economic prosperity. She contributed this blog entry to Public Consulting Group. About E3 Alliance E3 Alliance uses objective data to identify bright spots of success, and scales them to change entire systems. We work across sectors – collaborating with industry, community-based organizations, higher education, and school districts. We’re committed to helping more students be “future ready” -- to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and complete a post-secondary credential to prepare them for career and life. We work across the cradle to career continuum – from early childhood to middle schools to college persistence and success -- eliminating gaps and raising outcomes for all students. [More]


President Obama proposes program for socioeconomic diversity in schools


The President’s 2017 proposed budget includes a $120 million competitive grant program to help school districts achieve socioeconomic diversity. The initiative, called “Stronger Together,” would provide funds for five-year projects to help schools devise and implement plans to increase placing rich and poor students in the same classrooms. [More]


Raising High School Graduation Rates - Edmund Oropez, Chief Officer for Teaching and Learning, Austin Independent School District


In aggregate, a school might appear to be hitting its performance benchmarks, but we all need to look at data more closely to acknowledge performance gaps. For example, although several years ago, the Austin Independent School District had a respectable overall graduation rate, analyzing our data revealed that the male graduation rates for African Americans and Hispanics were below average. [More]