CMS outlines emerging state strategies to combat opioid abuse


On February 2, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a bulletin highlighting state-based strategies to combat the epidemic of opioid-related drug abuse, overdoses, addiction, avoidable hospitalizations, and deaths. Out of 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2013, 37 percent were associated with prescribed opioid analgesics, such as methadone and oxycodone. Such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2011. CMS cites innovative strategies and exemplary practices that are beginning to achieve results in states such as California, New York, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Vermont. [More]

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ACLU Promotes Legislation on Data Privacy


According to a February 10, 2016 Education Week article, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Tenth Amendment Center have joined forces to encourage states to adopt ACLU’s model legislation to protect the privacy of students’ digital data. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia introduced privacy bills based on the model in January; over the past two years, 32 states have enacted data privacy laws of varying strength. [More]


CMS proposes changes to Medicare ACO rules


On February 3, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed regulations in the Federal Register on Medicare payments to accountable care organizations (ACOs) under the Medicare “shared savings” program (MSSP), which currently includes 434 ACOs, serving 7.7 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. Under the MSSP, Medicare Part A and Part B fiscal intermediaries and carriers pay ACOs on a traditional, fee-for-service basis. An ACO may qualify for a “shared savings” bonus if the ACO achieves CMS-specified Medicare savings targets while meeting CMS-specified quality of care performance metrics. [More]


Child care expansion and quality improvements bill discussed


Last week, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) presented a new child care bill, Child Care Access to Resources for Early Learning Act (Child C.A.R.E. Act), which, if the legislation becomes law, would provide significant investment into child care subsidies improving the quality, the supply, and the workforce. Specifically, the proposed legislation would provide $25 billion in mandatory funding (funding that does not require an annual appropriation) over ten years; result in an additional one million children receiving child care subsidies (doubling coverage) over the next 10 years; and enhance the child care workforce as well as improve the quality of that care. [More]

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Workforce expert: Healthcare jobs will change but the field remains 'hands on'


RALEIGH, N.C. — Healthcare workers are hardly immune from the threat of a jobless future as being explored in this week's Emerging Issues Forum "Future Work" conference. But as one of the speakers explains opportunities will remain available for humans in healthcare. Ahead of the Institute for Emerging Issues event, WRAL TechWire sought analysis about how technology continues to disrupt the healthcare industry and what workers today and tomorrow can do to better prepare themselves for future jobs. Reg Javier is associate manager of Boston-based Public Consulting Group. He will be speaking on Tuesday. "Automated records have made file clerk jobs all but disappear," Javier explained. "All across the professional continuum, healthcare now requires tech competency. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


Supreme Court rules mandatory life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional


Last week, advocates for youth involved with state juvenile justice systems celebrated when the United States Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for people to serve mandatory life sentences in prison for crimes of murder committed as children. The high court made retroactive a 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. Justice Anthony Kennedy stressed that “the decision to impose life without parole should never be invoked.” Youth should be able to contemplate the possibility of a life on the outside again. The issue was brought forth by the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services


TC wins Louisiana Medicaid modernization IV&V


PCG Technology Consulting (TC) was recently notified by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Bureau of Health Services Financing (BHSF) of its intent to award PCG a contract to provide Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) services. [More]


USDE to create ESSA regulation committee


In a February 3, 2016 regulatory document, the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) announced its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to help develop regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The committee will consist of representatives of major stakeholders, including teachers, education leaders, parents, and representatives of students with disabilities, English learners, and other historically underserved students. [More]

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CMS finalizes new Medicaid drug reimbursement rules


On February 1, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final regulations in the Federal Register on Medicaid upper payment limits (UPLs) for covered outpatient drugs, as well as rebates that drug manufacturers must provide to states. State Medicaid agencies must take into account “average manufacturers’ prices” (AMPs) and other factors in calculating state Medicaid payments for covered outpatient drugs and dispensing fees to pharmacies that purchase medications, usually from wholesalers. Based on data in reports generated by state Medicaid agencies, drug manufacturers must calculate rebates to states under methods specified in the rule. [More]


States risk penalties for failing to meet data reporting requirements


PCG has an opportunity to counsel state Health and Human Services departments on how to reduce the financial risks of failing to meet extensive reporting requirements of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). Following the establishment of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) at section 477 of the Social Security Act (SSA), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) established requirements for allowing states to issue for the benefit of qualified youth a Chafee Foster Care Independent Living grant. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services