This week, our In Focus section comes from HMA Principals Ellen Breslin (MA) and Sharon Lewis (OR). In direct response to COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has encouraged states to maximize Medicaid flexibilities to protect people during the pandemic emergency. This includes state flexibilities for people receiving home and community-based services. States may temporarily amend their Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) 1915(c) waivers through an expedited process by submitting an Appendix K request. As of March 31, 2020, CMS had approved Appendix K submissions for thirteen states with effective periods ranging from four months to one year. The thirteen states are: Alaska, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
This week, our In Focus section provides an overview of new requirements and opportunities for states and Medicare Advantage (MA) Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) to increase Medicare and Medicaid coordination in plan year 2021. Specifically, states and health plans will need to partner for compliance with calendar year (CY) 2021 Medicare Advantage Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) data sharing requirements for D-SNPs that are not designated as a fully integrated D-SNP (FIDE SNP) or a highly integrated D-SNP (HIDE SNP). CY 2021 State Medicaid Agency Contracts (SMACs) with these D-SNPs must document the notification process for sharing hospital and skilled nursing facility (SNF) admissions for at least one group of high-risk enrollees.
With a focus on value-based payment (VBP) models and helping primary care practices prepare for a value-driven future, HMA experts Suzanne Daub, Caroline Rosenzweig and Meggan Christmas Schilkie will publish their article in the American Psychological Association journal Families, Systems & Health.
This week, our In Focus comes from HMA Vice President Kathleen Nolan and Managing Principal Jon Blum. On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 virus. This declaration provides Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new abilities to waive Medicare and Medicaid regulatory requirements to help health care providers, health plans and other stakeholders respond to immediate needs of their patients and communities. In the past, HHS and CMS have solicited requests for relief needs from states, local providers and trade associations, among other stakeholders. Health care providers, health plans and others should continue to monitor policy announcements from HHS and CMS and work with their states and trade associations to identify potential areas of need for requested regulatory relief.
This week, our In Focus section examines Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment changes resulting from the 2020 Annual Election Period (AEP). The AEP takes runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, and provides an opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to sign up for, change, or disenroll from an MA plan for the upcoming year. The majority of enrollment changes occur during this period, but depending on beneficiary circumstances, additional opportunities may exist throughout the year to change coverage. Initial findings from the enrollment data suggest:
This week, our In Focus section comes from HMA Principal Eric Hammelman and Senior Consultant Narda Ipakchi. Today, Medicare beneficiaries with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) are only eligible to enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans if they select a MA Special Needs Plan (SNP) that specifically serves individuals with ESRD or develop ESRD while already enrolled in a MA plan. In 2018, approximately 121,000 MA enrollees (0.6 percent of the MA population) had diagnoses of ESRD, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the total Medicare ESRD population. The 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed in 2016, included a provision that alters the eligibility and enrollment options for Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD. Starting in 2021, Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD will be able to enroll in any MA plan in their area. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates MA enrollment of individuals with ESRD will nearly double to 242,000 in 2024, or approximately 41 percent of the total Medicare ESRD population.
This week, our In Focus section reviews recent Medicaid enrollment trends in capitated, risk-based managed care in 29 states. Many state Medicaid agencies post monthly enrollment figures by health plan for their Medicaid managed care population to their websites. This data allows for the timeliest analysis of enrollment trends across states and managed care organizations. All 29 states highlighted in this review have released monthly Medicaid managed care enrollment data into the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019. This report reflects the most recent data posted. HMA has made the following observations related to the enrollment data shown on Table 1 (below):
In the nationwide effort to combat opioid use disorder (OUD), Health Management Associates (HMA) is expanding its successful Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) initiative to jails in Pennsylvania counties. The multi-tiered technical assistance approach, developed by HMA and implemented in the California correctional system, works to combat opioid overdoses by expanding access to treatment for OUD in jails and prisons.
This week, our In Focus section examines President Trump’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The budget includes a number of legislative and administrative proposals related to Medicare that are estimated to reduce net Medicare spending by $872 billion over the next ten years. It is important to note that the legislative proposals included in the President’s budget are non-binding and serve as recommendations to Congress where they may or may not be advanced. Under a Democratic-majority House of Representatives, many of the legislative proposals outlined in the FY 2021 budget are unlikely to advance. Administrative proposals are more likely to move forward, as the administration can implement these policies through its regulatory channels.
Health Management Associates (HMA) announced today that Douglas (Doug) L. Elwell, who most recently served as Medicaid director for the State of Illinois in the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, has joined the firm as chief operating officer (COO).