Archive for Medicaid

 

Low-Income Patients More Likely to End Up in Low-Quality SNFs

Dually eligible individuals are more likely than others to find themselves in low-rated skilled nursing facilities, recent research has found.

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, more than 50 percent of dually eligible individuals – those covered by both Medicare and Medicaid – who are admitted to skilled nursing facilities are served by facilities that have low (one or two stars) ratings under Medicare’s five-star quality rating system for nursing homes.  Overall, the dually eligible are 9.7 percentage points more likely than patients not on Medicaid to be served by lower-rated facilities.

The education of those individuals and their distance from higher-quality facilities are the two leading reasons.  According to the study, lower-quality skilled nursing facilities are more likely to be located in or near low-income communities.  Health status and race also are contributing factors.

Learn more in the Journal of Applied Gerontology article “Medicaid and Nursing Home Choice:  Why Do Duals End Up in Low-Quality Facilities?” and from the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News report “More than 50% of dual-eligibles end up in low-rated SNFs, study finds.”

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MACPAC Recommends Changes in Medicaid Shortfall Definition

Hospitals’ calculation of their Medicaid shortfall would change under a recommendation that MACPAC voted to make to Congress.  That change, in turn, could affect hospitals’ future Medicaid disproportionate share payments.

Last week the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission voted overwhelmingly to change how hospitals calculate their Medicaid shortfall:  the difference between what they spend caring for their Medicaid patients and what Medicaid pays them for that care.  Under MACPAC’s proposal, hospitals would need to deduct from their shortfall total all third-party payments they receive for the care they provide to their Medicaid patients.

If this proposal were to be adopted, it has the potential of changing Medicaid DSH allocations among the states and change the distribution of Medicaid DSH funds within individual states, although the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would have little impact on either measure.

Complicating the MACPAC recommendation is last year’s federal court ruling that third-party payments could not be deducted from hospitals’ Medicaid shortfall totals because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services lacks the authority to implement such a policy.  Making such a change therefore would require action by Congress.

Learn more about the MACPAC recommendation and its potential implications for hospitals …

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.

The Commission wrapped up its work on the June 2019 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP at the April meeting, with sessions reviewing four of the report’s five draft chapters on Thursday morning, and votes on potential recommendations later in the afternoon.

First on Thursday’s agenda was a draft June chapter on Medicaid prescription drug policy, which contained draft recommendations to provide states with a grace period to determine Medicaid drug coverage and raise the cap on rebates. The Commission then revisited hospital payment policy, with a draft chapter and recommendation on how to treat third-party payment in the definition of Medicaid shortfall when determining disproportionate share hospital payments. Next, commissioners considered two recommendations proposed as part of a June chapter on improving the effectiveness of Medicaid program integrity. The final morning session addressed the Commission’s proposed recommendation on therapeutic foster care.

The Commission returned from lunch for two presentations discussing preliminary findings of forthcoming congressionally mandated reports. The first afternoon session presented initial findings from a MACPAC review of state Medicaid utilization

Medicaid Expansion Helping FQHCs

Federally qualified health centers have benefited from Medicaid expansion, a new survey has found.

According to a new Commonwealth Fund report, a survey comparing FQHCs in states that expanded their Medicaid programs to FQHCs in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs found that FQHCs in expansion states are:

  • more financially stable
  • more likely to provide behavioral health services, including medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, counseling, and coordination of care with social service providers
  • more likely to engage in value-based care

Because of Medicaid expansion, FQHCs now are paid for services they previously provided at no charge to low-income, uninsured patients.

Learn more about the differences, why they occur, and their implications for patients and communities in the Commonwealth Fund report “The Role of Medicaid Expansion in Care Delivery at Community Health Centers.”

ACA Repeal Would Drive Up Uninsured, Uncompensated Care

At the same time that the Trump administration announced that it has asked a federal court to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, the Urban Institute has published a report detailing the potential impact of the health care reform law’s repeal.

According to the Urban Institute report, repealing the entire Affordable Care Act would add almost 20 million Americans to the ranks of the uninsured.  Medicaid and CHIP enrollment would fall by 15.4 million people and millions of others would lose the tax credits they used to purchase insurance.  Some would purchase insurance with limited benefits and individual plan premiums would rise while others would go uninsured.

In addition, repeal of the Affordable Care Act would lead to an 82 percent increase in hospital uncompensated care, to more than $50 billion.  About half of the states would see the amount of uncompensated care provided by their hospitals double, the Urban Institute estimates.

Learn more from the Healthcare Dive article “Killing ACA would lead to huge spikes in uncompensated care” and from the Urban Institute report State-by-State Estimates of the Coverage and Funding Consequences of Full Repeal of the ACA.

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