Archive for Medicaid regulations

 

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, May 12

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

Provider Relief Fund

HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released $450 million in American Rescue Plan grants to rural health care providers.  Go here to find the updated database of rural grant recipients.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure have written to the nation’s governors about some of the challenges states will face when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, including the redetermination of eligibility for current participants in Medicaid, CHIP, and Basic Health Programs and the need to address the flexibilities states have adopted to facilitate the delivery of care under the unusual conditions the pandemic has posed.  In addition to reminding governors of the president’s pledge to give them “…at least 60-days’ notice before any expiration or termination of the PHE,” the letter also includes links to tools that HHS and CMS have developed to help states with the work ahead.  Go here to see the letter from the HHS officials to governors.
  • HHS has announced

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 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 …

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.

During the April 2022 Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission meeting, the Commission voted to approve a package of recommendations to:

  • create a new approach for monitoring access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries;
  • improve vaccine access for adult Medicaid beneficiaries;
  • improve the oversight and transparency of directed payments in Medicaid managed care; and
  • encourage the adoption of health information technology (IT) in behavioral health.

The recommendations will appear in MACPAC’s June report to Congress.

The meeting began with a review of recommendations and a draft chapter for the June report to Congress on a new approach for monitoring access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Staff presented a draft chapter with a package of five recommendations for a new access monitoring system. The chapter discusses the challenges and limitations of the current monitoring approach, the goals and key elements for a new system, and the rationale and implications for Commission recommendations that call on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a robust and ongoing access monitoring system.

Next, the Commission

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