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).
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This week, our In Focus section reviews a new model – Geographic Direct Contracting – introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center. The model will test whether a geographic-based approach to care delivery and value-based care can improve health and reduce costs for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program across an entire region. This model represents one of the most transformational models released by the Innovation Center. During the 6-year Geographic Direct Contracting model performance period the traditional Medicare program will be replaced by the Direct Contracting program in the 10 selected regions.
Jennifer Podulka penned a blog post for The Commonwealth Fund in conjunction with The SCAN Foundation, highlighting the legislative and regulatory changes made to Medicare in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was part of the HMA team who authored an Issue Brief and policy tracker earlier this year.
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.
The experts at Health Management Associates (HMA) have released Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefit Flexibilities: An Early Assessment of Adoption and Policy Opportunities for Expanded Access. The white paper examines the factors contributing to a Medicare Advantage plan’s decision to offer or not offer newly available supplemental benefits and opportunities and challenges with adoption and implementation. Newly available supplemental benefits are intended to address unmet health and social needs.
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 focuses on five critical policy and program trends to provide integrated care to dual-eligible individuals for Medicare and Medicaid. Both federal and state governments continue to look for ways to improve coordination and integration for this population. We anticipate the emphasis on innovative approaches to whole person, person-centered care, care management and coordination, care transitions, and regulatory oversight to persist. 2020 has been an active year of policymaking by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and states. HMA distilled the themes and their strategic implications in this article. We continue to assist clients in tracking new policies and industry trends, developing innovative plans and strategies, and delivering high quality care and services to this population.
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.
This week, our In Focus section reviews the statewide North Carolina request for applications (RFA) for Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disability (BH IDD) Tailored Plans released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on November 13, 2020. BH IDD Tailored Plans are part of the statewide effort to transition to Medicaid managed care and are one of the four types of integrated Medicaid managed care plans the state will contract with to serve Medicaid and NC Health Choice beneficiaries. The other three are Standard Plans, the Statewide Specialized Foster Care Plan, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Option.