Archive for MACPAC

 

MACPAC Makes DSH, UPL Recommendations

Changes could come in Medicaid DSH and UPL payments if new MACPAC recommendations are adopted.

Last week the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission released its annual report to Congress, with most of the report focusing on its analysis and recommendations for policy updates involving Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH) and Medicaid upper payment limit payments (UPL payments).

With Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in Medicaid DSH payments scheduled to start in FY 2020 – this coming October – MACPAC recommended that these cuts be reduced and phased in over a longer period of time “…to give states and hospitals more time to respond to the cuts…”

MACPAC also recommended that Congress and the administration revise the current methodology for distributing Medicaid DSH money to the states to “…provide a stronger link between the distribution of those allotments and measures of hospital uncompensated care…”

The commission also addressed UPL payments, expressing concern about “…the discrepancy between reporting by states to show that they are complying with the UPL and the spending data they report to claim federal matching funds” and recommending “…instituting better data and process controls to ensure that state reporting on compliance with UPL lines up …

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met for two days last week in Washington, D.C.

The following is MACPAC’s own summary of the sessions.

MACPAC looked ahead to its June 2019 report to Congress on the initial day of the March 2019 Commission meeting. In the morning, sessions focused on potential recommendations to create a grace period for states to determine coverage policies for outpatient prescription drugs and removing or raising the rebate cap; a uniform definition of therapeutic foster care; and treatment of third-party payment when determining hospitals’ Medicaid shortfall for disproportionate share hospital payments.

In the afternoon, the Commission turned its attention to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, with a new analysis on Puerto Rico’s Medicaid enrollment, spending, available financing, and implications for the future. The Commission also considered potential June recommendations focusing on improving performance and return on investment for state program integrity activities.

Several other important topics were also on the March agenda, including a session on Medicaid coverage of recovery support services for beneficiaries with substance use disorders (SUDs) in the afternoon. On the meeting’s second day, the Commission reviewed a draft letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human

Protections Overlooked as Medicaid Reforms are Implemented

In its eagerness to help states introduce changes in their Medicaid programs and reduce administrative burdens, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is ignoring regulatory requirements designed to understand and measure the impact of those changes on beneficiaries.

According to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times, many states seeking to implement Medicaid work requirements have not projected how many of their beneficiaries would be affected by those requirements nor have they projected how many beneficiaries who are removed from the Medicaid rolls will gain employment after losing their Medicaid benefits.  Both projections are required under Medicaid regulations adopted in 2012, which call for states to assess the anticipated impact of proposed policy changes when seeking federal permission to implement such changes.

Similarly, many states have not proposed commissioning independent assessments to determine the impact of the Medicaid changes they have implemented with CMS’s approval – another requirement under 2012 regulations.

When pressed to explain its failure to enforce these regulations, according to the Times, CMS said only that regulations “…do not require that states provide precise numerical estimates of coverage impacts…” and that it is developing strategies for states to evaluate the impact of new work …

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met for two days last week in Washington, D.C.

The following is MACPAC’s own summary of the sessions.

Hospital payment was a key focus of MACPAC’s January meeting with the Commission voting on Thursday to approve two sets of recommendations, the first addressing the structure of disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotment reductions and the second directed to improving compliance with upper payment limit requirements. Both sets of recommendations are slated for inclusion in MACPAC’s March 2019 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP.

Later that morning, the Commission discussed a study on performance and return on investment for state program integrity strategies. This session was originally scheduled for the December meeting. Following a break for lunch, the Commission was briefed on a new report by Mathematica Policy Research, under contract to MACPAC, regarding beneficiary enrollment in the Financial Alignment Initiative, which is testing new approaches to integrating care for people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Later, staff presented an analysis of the factors affecting physician decisions to accept new Medicaid patients.

Friday’s sessions opened with a panel of experts discussing how utilization management policies are applied to medication-assisted treatment

Docs Still Less Likely to Treat Medicaid Patients

Medicaid patients continue to be last in line when it comes to finding doctors willing to serve them.

At least that’s the conclusion drawn in a new analysis prepared by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

According to a presentation delivered at a MACPAC meeting last week:

  • Doctors are less likely to accept new Medicaid patients (70.8 percent) than they are patients insured by Medicare (85.3 percent) or private insurers (90 percent), with a much greater differential in acceptance rates among specialists and psychiatrists.
  • Pediatricians, general surgeons, and ob/gyns have a higher acceptance rate of Medicaid patients than physicians as a whole.
  • Physicians in states with high managed care penetration rates are less likely (66.7 percent) to accept Medicaid patients than physicians in states with low managed care penetration (78.5 percent).
  • There is no meaningful differential in acceptance rates among physicians in Medicaid expansion states and states that did not expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Physician acceptance rates have not changed since adoption of the Affordable Care Act in either Medicaid expansion nor non-Medicaid expansion states.
  • The higher the ratio of Medicaid-to-Medicare physician payments in an individual state, the more likely that physicians in