Archive for health equity

 

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 28

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House

  • The White House has announced a series of steps designed to increase the availability of oral treatments for COVID-19.  Those steps include nearly doubling the number of places oral antivirals are available in the coming weeks; launching a new effort to establish federally-supported test-to-treat sites; supporting medical providers with more guidance and tools to understand and prescribe treatments; and communicating to the public that safe, effective treatments are widely available.  Learn more from this White House fact sheet and from the transcript of a briefing the White House held for reporters on this initiative.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki and White House COVID-⁠19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha recently briefed the press on several aspects of the administration’s response to COVID-19.  Find a transcript of that briefing here.
  • The White House has released its “National Drug Control Strategy,” which it says “…proposes bold, targeted, and consequential actions to bend the curve on overdose deaths in the immediate term and reduce drug use and its damaging

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 21

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Proposed FY 2023 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System Regulation

CMS has published its proposed FY 2023 Medicare inpatient prospective payment system regulation outlining how it envisions paying hospitals for the inpatient care they provide to Medicare patients in the coming fiscal year.  Highlights of the proposed regulation include:

  • A proposed 3.2 percent increase in inpatient rates and a 0.7 percent increase in LTCH rates.
  • A $654 million cut in the Medicare DSH uncompensated care pool.
  • A permanent limit of five percent in cuts in individual hospitals’ wage index in any one year.
  • Continued COVID-19-related suspension of some quality measures in the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Program, Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, and Value-Based Purchasing Program.
  • Nearly a dozen requests for stakeholder comment on a variety of issues.

Learn more about the proposed rule in this CMS fact sheet and the proposed rule itselfAnother CMS news release addresses aspects of the proposed rule that seek to advance health equity and maternal health.  Stakeholder comments are due by June 17,

Department

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 14

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 14.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Public Health Emergency Renewed

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days effective April 16.

White House

  • In response to an executive order President Biden issued on his first day in office titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” 90 federal agencies and cabinet departments have released equity action plans that lay out more than 300 concrete strategies and commitments to address systemic barriers in federal policies and programs.  A White House fact sheet describes the Department of Health and Human Services initiatives as follows:

The Department of Health and Human Services is increasing outreach to communities of color to encourage enrollment in free and low-cost health care, and is addressing the maternal mortality crisis that disproportionately impacts Black and Native families, including by working with states to extend postpartum coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

Descriptions of other agencies’ plans touch on health care interests as well, and among the approaches …

Federal Health Policy Update for Friday, April 1

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 1.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Provider Relief Fund

  • After April 5, this program also will stop accepting claims for administering vaccines to uninsured individuals.  See this notice for further information about both deadlines for submitting claims.

Proposed Medicare Payment Regulations for FY 2023

  • CMS has published its proposed inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) prospective payment system and IRF quality reporting program for FY 2023.  The agency proposes a 2.8 percent net increase in Medicare rates; a permanent cap of five percent on year-over-year wage index losses for any reason; an increase from $9491 to $13,038 in the outlier threshold; and changes in the IRF quality reporting program in future years – but not 2023 – that address patient vaccinations and health equity.  CMS also is soliciting comments on incorporating discharge to home health in an IRF transfer policy.  Learn more from this CMS news release and from the proposed rule itself.  Interested parties have until May 31 to submit formal comments.
  • CMS has published its proposed FY 2023 Medicare hospice payment rule, which

Medicaid as a Tool for Addressing Racial Health Inequities

Medicaid can be an important tool for addressing racial health inequities, the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests in a new issue brief.

Among the measures involving Medicaid that might be undertaken to address racial health inequities and addressing social determinants of health, the brief suggests (in words taken directly from the issue brief):

  • One significant action that would help close coverage disparities for people of color is adoption of the ACA Medicaid expansion in the 12 non-expansion states.
  • Other expansions of Medicaid eligibility could also address racial disparities in coverage and access to care.
  • Making it easier for eligible people to enroll in and maintain Medicaid coverage may also help close coverage gaps for people of color.
  • The Biden Administration and states may pursue equity-related initiatives through Section 115 waivers.
  • States can leverage managed care contracts to help address racial disparities and social determinants of health.
  • States can also adopt health plan and provider payment options to incentivize reductions in racial health disparities.
  • Expansions of Medicaid benefits and telehealth may increase access to care for all enrollees, including the disproportionate share of people of color covered by Medicaid.
  • It will be important to help prevent the end of the COVID-19 public