Blog

Virginia JLARC Issues Report on Medicaid Spending Management

This week, our In Focus section comes to us from HMA Principal Barbara Markham Smith, JD, of our Washington, DC office. On December 12, 2016, Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), the audit arm of the General Assembly, issued findings from its two-year review of the Department of Medical Assistance Service’s (DMAS’s) management of the Medicaid program. In a review of DMAS’s performance that largely foreshadows Medicaid reforms to be implemented in 2017-2018, JLARC notes that inflation-adjusted Medicaid spending in Virginia, per enrollee, remained essentially flat from FY2011 to FY2015. Program spending increases came from growing enrollment due to expanded outreach activities and the addition of new waiver slots for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The growth in total spending (as opposed to per capita spending), amounted to average annual cost increases of 8.9 percent over the past 10 years. Services for individuals with disabilities accounted for the lion’s share of cost increases, according to a budget report released earlier this year. Medicaid spending accounted for 22 percent of Virginia’s general fund budget in FY2016. 

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Oklahoma Releases Soonerhealth+ RFP

This week, we reviewed the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s (OHCA’s) request for proposals (RFP) for a new statewide Medicaid managed care program for individuals who are aged and individuals with disabilities (ABD). The program, called SoonerHealth+, will provide managed acute care, behavioral health, and managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) to roughly 155,000 members, to be phased in over two years beginning in April 2018. Based on state fiscal year 2014 data, SoonerHealth+ spending per year could exceed $2.5 billion when fully implemented. Proposals are due on February 28, 2017.

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Revisiting Congressman Tom Price’s ACA Repeal Legislation

This week, we revisited 2015 legislation introduced by Georgia Congressman Tom Price, who was announced this week as President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Representative Price’s 2015 bill, H.R. 2300, known as the “Empowering Patients First Act,” included a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as all health care provisions in the related Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act passed in 2010. A version of the Empowering Patients First Act has been introduced in Congress every year since 2009. Below, we review Representative Price’s proposed replacement plans around insurance coverage, and provide brief summaries of some of the other provisions in the legislation.

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Revisiting Republican Governors’ 2011 Medicaid Reform Proposals

This week, we revisited a 2011 report from the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee Health Care Task Force. The report, titled “A New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovative and Accountable Future,” was prepared with input from governors, secretaries of health and human services, Medicaid directors, and other senior policy staff in the 31 states (including two territories) with Republican governors at the time. Across these 31 states, 20 of the governors in office at the time of the report are still in office. Only three of the 31 states (Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) now have Democratic governors in office, although Alaska’s new governor is an Independent who expanded Medicaid this year. The report provides more than 30 recommended solutions across seven broad principles that would “increase Medicaid’s efficiency and effectiveness as a part of the overall health care delivery system regardless of whether or not [the Affordable Care Act (ACA)] is repealed.”

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Quarterly Medicaid Managed Care Enrollment Update – Q3 2016

This week, we reviewed recent Medicaid enrollment trends in capitated, risk-based managed care in 24 states.[1] Many state Medicaid agencies elect to 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. Nearly all 24 states have released monthly Medicaid managed care enrollment data through the third quarter (Q3) of 2016. This report reflects the most recent data posted.

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Arizona Issues Request for Proposals for Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS)

This week, we reviewed the request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) on November 1, 2016, to reprocure Medicaid managed care contracts for the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) program. ALTCS is one of the oldest Medicaid managed long term services and supports (MLTSS) programs in the country, providing integrated acute care, LTSS, and behavioral health services to individuals who are elderly, individuals with physical disabilities, and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, this RFP only covers the roughly 26,500 individuals who are elderly or individuals with a physical disability (E/PD); this RFP does not include individuals with I/DD, who are covered through a state-run model.

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HMA Telehealth Series: Telepsychiatry and the Psychiatric Workforce Shortage

This week, HMA principal Lori Raney, MD, provides an overview of telepsychiatry, a type of telemedicine where general psychiatric services are provided via videoconferencing, and how it can play a role in addressing the nationwide psychiatric workforce shortage. Dr. Raney highlights the opportunities for telepsychiatry in the market today, as well as identifies several of the obstacles to telepsychiatry implementation.

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Washington 1115 Demonstration Waiver Approved by CMS

This week, we reviewed the agreement-in-principle between the State of Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on a new section 1115 demonstration waiver, which will further the state’s Healthier Washington initiative across three major dimensions. The agreement will provide up to $1.5 billion in federal funding for delivery system reform incentives, expanded options for long-term services and supports, and supportive housing and employment. HCA and CMS hope to finalize the special terms and conditions of the waiver in the coming months.

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Vermont Publicizes Draft All-Payer Model Waiver

This week, we reviewed the draft waiver agreement between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Governor of Vermont, the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), and the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) to form an all-payer accountable care organization (ACO) model in Vermont. The agreement, if approved by all parties, would implement ACO assignment targets, outcomes and quality milestones, and would require Vermont to keep all-payer and Medicare-specific total cost of care growth per beneficiary below annual growth rate thresholds. The all-payer model (APM) encourages alignment across Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers, moving toward next generation ACO models with all-inclusive population-based payments. Vermont and CMS have reached preliminary agreement on the draft waiver, with state and federal officials conducting further review at this time.

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