Zika planning should start now – 3 lessons to help states prepare

With Springtime upon us, state officials from many agencies, not just departments of public health, should start planning for this coming summer’s likely spike in Zika infections. To date, 47 women in the U.S. have given birth to babies with neurological defects caused by the Zika virus, according to the latest data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) registry. That’s approximately 6 percent of all pregnant women infected with Zika who have given birth, and the numbers look certain to rise as more and more women infected by Zika last August and September come to the full term of their pregnancies. [More]

Screen Time

A group in Albany, New York is promoting early childhood developmental screenings as a way to boost educational outcomes years down the road.

Without early intervention, very young children who show signs of developmental delays tend to enter kindergarten less ready than their peers. Children who lag in kindergarten readiness tend to be less likely to read on grade-level by the end of third grade, and those who do not read on grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. And high school dropouts face a wide array of negative outcomes, including drastically lower lifetime earnings than people who finish school. [More]

House Committees move forward on ACA repeal

The House took a major step in advancing action on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the filing of the American Health Care Act. The bill, which was filed in the House of Representatives on March 6, 2017, is a compilation of budget reconciliation packages from the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee, in follow-up to the budget resolution adopted in January. [More]

Transitional health plans to continue through 2018

In November of 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced the concept of “grandmothered plans,” coverage in place prior to 2014 that would have been prohibited as of 2014 as a result of changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS issued guidance permitting those plans to be renewed for existing policyholders if permitted by states. Specifically, such plans are not considered to be out of compliance with ACA provisions related to... [More]

Proposed ACA repeal legislation would increase persons without health coverage

On March 13, 2017, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates on the impact of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA). The CBO indicates that AHCA would increase the number of persons without health coverage by 24 million persons in 2026: 52 million persons without coverage in 2026, as compared to 28 million persons in 2026 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]

Five Steps to Ensuring Reasonableness in Cost-Based Reimbursement Programs

As the debate over national health policy continues, many state health administrators are looking for ways to do more with less. A key step towards maximizing the impact of state and federal healthcare dollars is ensuring reasonable spending on existing programs. There are endless factors which impact the cost of healthcare such as geographic location, patient demographics, intensity of services and availability of resources. Consequently, reasonable cost is difficult to pinpoint. [More]

Foster Care Crisis - What’s an Agency to Do? Part 1

Child welfare agencies in jurisdictions across the country face a growing foster care crisis: decreasing numbers of licensed foster homes can’t support the increasing demand for licensed out of home placement, fueled, in part, by the opioid and prescription drug crisis. What is causing this shift in the demand for traditional licensed foster homes? While the recent increase in agency referrals has exacerbated the crisis of too few licensed foster homes, several other factors are at play... [More]

Planning for Zika should start now— and not just at your Department of Public Health

Winter may not be ending until March 20—but it is never too early for state officials from many agencies, not just public health specialists, to start planning for this coming summer’s likely spike in Zika infections. As of this writing, 47 women in the U.S. have given birth to babies with neurological defects caused by the Zika virus, according to the latest data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) registry. That’s approximately 6 percent of all pregnant women infected with Zika who have given birth, and the numbers look certain to rise as more and more women infected by Zika last August and September come to the full term of their pregnancies. [More]

Proposed ACA repeal legislation would impose new restrictions on state Medicaid programs

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives released its initial draft legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The initial draft legislation would impose significant new restrictions on state Medicaid programs. The legislation would impose annual per capita caps on federal financial participation (FFP) in state Medicaid expenditures beginning with the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would impose separate per capita caps for six Medicaid eligibility categories: the aged, blind, disabled, children, Medicaid expansion adults, and non-expansion adults.
For FFY 2020, CMS would... [More]