In a report to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), HMA consultants Sarah Barth, Sharon Lewis and former research assistant Taylor Simmons, provided insight and review of Medicaid services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (ID/DD).
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for greater health information technology interoperability, “digital” measures of healthcare quality and performance, and advanced value-based care systems has grown. In January 2021, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) publicly released its vision for healthcare quality measurement to the Biden-Harris Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) transition team. The paper, “The Future of Healthcare Quality,” focuses on four core areas, with three of them being specific to the evolution of a digital quality ecosystem:
This week’s In Focus highlights a recent HMA publication examining the drivers and barriers to Medicare Advantage plan adoption of newly available supplemental benefits intended to address unmet health and social needs. Unlike Traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, which provide coverage for 40 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries, may offer enrollees supplemental benefits which are not covered by the Medicare program. Until recently, the Medicare program has required that supplemental benefits be limited to those that are medical in nature. However, in recent years, Congress and CMS —through four different legislative and regulatory authorities — granted new flexibilities for Medicare Advantage plans to offer non-medical benefits that address social needs. Medicare Advantage plans may also now tailor supplemental benefits and make them available only to certain subpopulations based on chronic disease or health status.
HMA Managing Principal Anne Winter joined the “Our American States” podcast, produced by the National Conference of State Legislatures, to discuss emerging gene therapies and the high costs associated with them. The episode, The Fiscal Challenge of Emerging Gene Therapies, originally aired Jan. 11, 2021.
This week, our In Focus section reviews the finalized coverage expansions for Medicare telehealth services in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule. Telehealth advocates will be pleased to see meaningful expansions; however, the response of advocates will also be tempered by the impending return of the geographic and site of service limitations that will follow at the conclusion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). During the PHE, millions of patients and providers increased their use of telehealth services to expand access to care. Given this shift in the delivery of care, telehealth advocates had been hopeful CMS would make extensive permanent coverage expansions in the Medicare program. In light of this, CMS’s new regulation will come as a reminder to many that the key to long term expansions of Medicare telehealth coverage lies in the hands of the U.S. Congress.
Focused on addressing inequities and building more sustainable and vital futures for low-income families in Washington, D.C., and the state of Maryland, colleagues from Health Management Associates (HMA) authored two case studies under the auspices of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security.
In this week’s In Focus section, Health Management Associates (HMA) Managing Director MMS Matt Powers, Senior Consultant Kaitlyn Feiock, and Regional Vice President Kathleen Nolan look at the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). On November 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments for California v. Texas, challenging the constitutionality and severability of the ACA. This challenge became possible after the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which zeroed out the individual mandate penalty for not purchasing health insurance. While most experts agree that an entire invalidation of the ACA is the least likely outcome based on the oral arguments, some uncertainty remains and more than $100 billion federal funds are at risk. The ACA standardized insurance rules offset premium costs for many individual market consumers and provided authority and funding for Medicaid Expansions in the overwhelming majority of states. The ACA also included other provisions that may be at risk but are not the subject of this note, such as the creation of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office, as well as demonstration authority that has led to the creation of numerous coverage models. As states, Congress, and the federal executive branch face the possibility that the ACA may not survive in its present form, what mitigation strategies are available at the state and federal levels to stabilize uncertainties and protect against abrupt coverage changes?
Health Management Associates has made the decision to cancel its October 2020 conference on Trends in Publicly Sponsored Healthcare, given continuing developments concerning COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of attendees, speakers, and staff. Full refunds will be made to registered attendees and sponsors.
Be sure to register soon for HMA’s conference on What’s Next for Medicaid, Medicare, and Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: How Payers, Providers, and States Are Navigating a Future of Opportunity and Uncertainty, October 26-27, at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. The Early Bird registration rate of $1595 per person expires on July 29. After that, the rate is $1795.
A new report has been released outlining Inland Empire Health Plan’s (IEHP) efforts to establish 50 care teams to support the delivery of core Health Homes Program services for IEHP’s most vulnerable members with complex health conditions.
HMA contributed to the new report and has supported implementation of IEHP’s Health Homes Program since 2018, providing consultation in the development and implementation of a clinical model of care, the design and deployment of a population health management tool, the creation and delivery of a multi-modal training program, and the provision of practice coaching to over 50 care teams.