MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress, the administration, and the states on Medicaid and CHIP issues, met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week.

The following is MACPAC’s own summary of its two days of meetings.

The April 2018 meeting began with session on social determinants of health. Panelists Jocelyn Guyer of Manatt Health Solutions, Arlene Ash of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Kevin Moore of UnitedHealthcare Community & State discussed state approaches to financing social interventions through Medicaid. In its second morning session, the Commission reviewed a draft chapter of the June 2018 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP on the adequacy of the care delivery system for substance use disorders (SUDs) with a special focus on opioid use disorders.

In the afternoon, the Commission discussed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) March 2018 proposed rule changing the process by which states verify that Medicaid fee-for-service provider payment is sufficient to ensure access to care and agreed to submit comments to the agency. The first day of the meeting concluded with a review of the draft June chapter describing the status of managed long-term services

ACA Has Increased Primary Care Utilization

A new study found that the increase in the number of insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased utilization of primary health care services.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, primary care utilization rose 3.8 percent, mammograms 1.5 percent, HIV tests 2.1 percent, and flu shots 1.9 percent over a three-year period.  The study suggests that preventive care increased between 17 and 50 percent.

The study attributes all of the gains to improved access to private insurance and none to Medicaid expansion.

These results are based on self-reported information gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Learn more about these and other study findings in the National Bureau of Economic Resarch report  “Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Behaviors after Three Years” or see this summary on the Healthcare Dive web site.…

MedPAC Mulls Uniform Outcome Measures to Complement Unified Post-Acute Payments

In support of its proposal that Medicare adopt a unified payment system for post-acute-care services, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is exploring how to develop uniform outcome measures to support such a new payment system.

Under the MedPAC vision, articulated at its early April public meeting, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, long-term-care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities would see their outcomes quantified based on their performance on a series of quality measures.

Meanwhile, there has been little congressional interest in the unified post-acute payment proposal so far.  While some aspects of such a proposal could be implemented administratively, the comprehensive system would require legislation.

Learn more about the Medicare uniform outcomes measures proposal, the unified post-acute care payment proposal, how they interact, and the prospects for both from this article in Provider magazine.…

MedPAC to Congress: Cut Payments to Freestanding Emergency Facilities

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has urged Congress to reduce Medicare payments to freestanding emergency departments 30 percent.

The recommendation, approved by MedPAC earlier this month and to be included in its June report to Congress, notes that such facilities have a lower cost structure because they typically lack some of the equipment, personnel, and standby capabilities of hospital ERs.  In making its recommendation, MedPAC also noted that freestanding ERs typically treat patients whose conditions are not as severe as hospital ERs and tend to be located in areas that already have adequate access to hospital ERs.

While MedPAC’s recommendations are not binding on either Congress or the administration, its views are highly respected and often find their way into future Medicare policy development efforts.

Learn more about the MedPAC recommendation on Medicare payments to freestanding ERs and the reasons behind it in this Kaiser Health News report.

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MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met last week in Washington, D.C. to address a number of Medicare reimbursement-related issues.

Among the subjects on MedPAC’s agenda were:

  • using payments to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services
  • uniform outcome measures for post-acute care
  • applying MedPAC’s principles for measuring quality: hospital quality incentives
  • Medicare coverage policy and use of low-value care
  • long-term issues confronting Medicare accountable care organizations
  • managed care plans for dual-eligible beneficiaries

While MedPAC’s policy and payment recommendations are not binding on Congress or the administration, its views are respected and influential and often become the basis for new public policy.

Go here to see the policy briefs and presentations offered to help guide MedPAC commissioners’ discussions about these and other issues.…