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New Client

DeBrunner & Associates is pleased to welcome our newest client:  AristaCare Health Services, a provider of post-acute rehabilitation, memory care, and long-term-care services based in Cranford, New Jersey.


Number of Uninsured Children Rises

For the first time since 2008, the number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased in 2017, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

While the total increase in the number of uninsured children is small – just 276,000 – 2017 marked the first time in nearly a decade that the number of uninsured children has risen.  For the year, 3.9 million were uninsured, up from 3.6 million in 2016.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act and extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have contributed to declines in the number of uninsured children.

In 2017, however, the number of uninsured children rose even as the overall uninsured rate in the U.S. remained the same:  8.8 percent.  States with the biggest increases in the number of uninsured children were South Dakota, Utah, and Texas.  More than 20 percent of all uninsured children in the U.S. live in Texas.

Learn more about the increase in the number of uninsured children and why these numbers have risen in the report Nation’s Progress on Children’s Health Coverage Reverses Course, which can be found here, on the web site of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.…

The Changing of the Congressional Health Care Guard

Last week’s elections will bring to office in January a new majority party in the House and changes in the Senate as well.

Changes in leadership are coming in all of the House committees with jurisdiction over health care matters:  Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Appropriations, and Oversight and Government Reform.  New leadership may be coming to the Senate Finance Committee as well.

Kaiser Health News has published a look at the relevant committees, their likely new leaders, and the priorities of those new leaders.  Find that report here.…

North Carolina Proposal Could be Precedent-Setting

Under a new proposal by North Carolina’s state treasurer, health care for state employees could be reimbursed based on a percentage of Medicare rates.

North Carolina’s State Health Plan insures more than 700,000 state employees and public school teachers, and under the proposal, doctors, hospitals, and other providers that participate in the plan would agree to accept an as-yet unstated percentage of Medicare rates.  The state treasurer estimates that this approach would save the State Health Plan $300 million a year and save plan participants another $60 million a year.

According to North Carolina Health News, the state’s hospitals are skeptical about the proposed approach.

“This is, you know, an approach to just reduce rates, versus an approach to improve people’s health, improve the health of communities,” said Steve Lawler, president of the North Carolina Healthcare Association, which represents hospitals. “So it’s a simplistic approach to a complex problem that doesn’t really get at the heart of the issue.”

The state treasurer responded by noting that

…while his proposal cuts payments to some providers, others — including mental health providers, independent primary care physicians and critical access hospitals — would see increases.

The association of physicians in the state …

Ways and Means Releases Red Tape Report

The House Ways and Means Committee has released a report detailing its efforts to date to reduce red tape in the delivery of health care and to present steps it might take in the future to continue with that process.

In the first stage of its red tape project, Ways and Means solicited stakeholder input and heard from nearly 300 stakeholder groups.  Next, it hosted roundtable discussions with various groups to review the issues they raised.  Now, following publication of its report, the committee plans to work in consultation with the administration to advance legislation to address some of the challenges that have been brought to its attention.

Among the most frequently mentioned challenges brought to Ways and Means’ attention were:

  • The need for improved flexibility to provide telehealth services
  • Challenges associated with the Stark law
  • Documentation and reporting burdens

Learn more about the committee’s work and the issues brought to its attention in its report “Medicare Red Tape Relief,” which can be found here.