Archive for health equity

 

FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY UPDATE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 12-16

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of September 12-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

No Surprises Act

  • The Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration have issued a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder comment on how to implement the No Surprises Act’s requirement that health care providers and payers give explanations of benefits and good-faith estimates of costs for services and items that are scheduled at least three days in advance to individuals who have health insurance.  Previous regulations have focused on the delivery of this information to uninsured and self-pay patients and those obtaining services from out-of-network providers, but providers and payers asked regulators to delay implementation of the law’s requirements for the provision of such information to insured patients so they could address the technical infrastructure needed to transfer data effectively and in a timely manner between and among providers and payers.  Learn more this Federal Register notice.  Comments in response to the RFI are due

Federal Health Policy Update for the Week of September 5-12

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of September 5-12.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

The White House

  • The White House has published a fact sheet on the administration’s plan to get Americans an updated COVID-19 shot and to manage COVID-19 this fall.  The major components of the plan are providing access to free, updated vaccines; ensuring easy access to testing and treatment; encouraging safe practices; and preparing for potential surges and new variants.  Find that fact sheet here.
  • The White House’s COVID-19 response team and other public officials have briefed the press on the federal government’s latest efforts in its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find a transcript of that briefing here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has issued a request for information “…seeking public input on accessing healthcare and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”  The request for information also seeks feedback to inform CMS’s assessment of the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the

CMS Seeks Comment on Efficiency, Administrative Burdens, and Health Equity

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a request for information “…seeking public input on accessing healthcare and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”

According to a CMS news release,

The Make Your Voice Heard: Promoting Efficiency and Equity Within CMS Programs RFI furthers CMS’ commitment to engaging and learning from partners, communities, and individuals across the health system to inform how we can better support the populations we serve.

The agency also explains that

CMS is seeking to better understand individual and community-level burdens, health-related social needs, and opportunities for improvement that can reduce disparities and promote efficiency and innovation across our programs. CMS is requesting information related to strategies that successfully address drivers of health inequities, including opportunities to address social determinants of health and challenges underserved communities face in accessing comprehensive, quality care. For example, challenges accessing care may include understanding coverage options, receiving culturally and linguistically appropriate care, accessing oral health services, and accessing comprehensive and timely healthcare services and medication.

Through this RFI, CMS also seeks to better understand the factors impacting provider wellness

Federal Health Policy Update for Tuesday, July 12

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House

  • The White House has issued an executive order on protecting access to reproductive health care services. Find that executive order here.
    • In support of that executive order, CMS has published guidance titled “Reinforcement of EMTALA Obligations specific to Patients who are Pregnant or are Experiencing Pregnancy Loss.” Find that guidance here and the agency’s expanded explanation of that guidance in this memo to state survey agencies.  The guidance does not establish new policies.
    • In addition, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has written to hospital and health care leaders reinforcing their obligations under EMTALA for addressing the emergency needs of patients who are pregnant or experiencing pregnancy loss. The letter explains that providers’ “…legal duty to provide stabilizing medical treatment to a patient who presents to the emergency department and is found to have an emergency medical condition preempts any directly conflicting state law or mandate that might otherwise prohibit such treatment.”  Find the complete HHS letter here.
    • Secretary Becerra also has outlined HHS’s current

Using Medicaid Money to Pay the Rent?

Some people think the time has come for Medicaid to help pay for housing for the homeless in the name of health and health equity.

“In the last decade Medicaid has inched toward acknowledging the interconnectedness of housing and health,” the New York Times reports, adding that “It has encouraged more state Medicaid programs to cover housing-related costs like furniture or security deposits – basically everything except paying the rent.”

In addition, most conversations about social determinants of health identify housing insecurity as a major obstacle to good health and health equity.  The Bush and Obama administrations invested in creating supportive housing beds for the homeless, leading to a decline of one-third in chronic homelessness, but in recent years such spending has not increased even as chronic homelessness has risen more than 40 percent.

Now, local officials find themselves increasingly looking to Medicaid to help address homelessness, and they have two apparent success stories to point to as proof that such an approach can work:  Philadelphia and Arizona, which have found ways to support housing for the homeless while remaining within federal guidelines for how Medicaid money can be spent.

Learn more about this new interest in using Medicaid money …