Kentucky scores first Medicaid work requirement approval

Kentucky has become the first state in the nation to receive federal approval to impose work requirements as a condition of Medicaid coverage.

In a letter sent to Kentucky state officials on Friday, the Trump administration made clear it would approve similar waivers for other states.

“Your substantial work will help inform future state demonstrations seeking to draw on Kentucky’s novel approaches to Medicaid reform,” Brian Neale, CMS’ Medicaid director, said in the letter to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Bevin originally submitted the waiver request to the CMS in August 2016.

Nine other states—Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin—have also applied for the Section 1115 waivers.

In the coming weeks, adult beneficiaries in Kentucky between 19 to 64 will be required to complete 80 hours per month of community engagement activities, such as employment, education, job skills training, and community service to maintain their Medicaid eligibility.

Former foster-care youth, pregnant women, primary caregivers of a dependent, beneficiaries considered medically frail and full-time students are exempt from the new requirements.

Kentucky will lock beneficiaries out of coverage for noncompliance. A person’s coverage can only be reactivated on the first day of the month after they complete 80 hours of community engagement […]

By |January 16th, 2018|Medicare/Medicaid, Medicare/Medicaid, National News, State News|Comments Off on Kentucky scores first Medicaid work requirement approval

Medicaid Expansion Lessened Hospital Closures: Study

The expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped prevent some hospital closures in those states, according to new research.

The study by researchers at the University of Colorado found that the Medicaid expansion was associated with improved hospital financial performance and substantially lower likelihoods of closure, especially in rural markets and counties that had large numbers of uninsured adults before Medicaid expansion.

“In states that expanded Medicaid, those hospitals performed financially better,” said Gregory Tung, an assistant professor in the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, and one of the study’s authors. “Also, those hospitals in the states that expanded Medicaid were much less likely to close than hospitals in states that did not expand Medicaid.”

The findings also underscored the greater sensitivity of rural hospitals to the adverse financial consequences of not expanding Medicaid, which has been the choice of 18 states.

The authors compared hospital closures in both expansion and non-expansion states in periods spanning 2008–12 and 2014-16. Closures increased by 0.429 per 100 hospitals in non-expansion states, compared with a decrease of 0.33 in expansion states.

“It’s a rare event, but it’s significant,” Tung said, referring to roughly 20 hospital closures that occurred in […]

By |January 14th, 2018|Industry News, Medicare/Medicaid, National News|Comments Off on Medicaid Expansion Lessened Hospital Closures: Study

HHS Nominee Would Support Mandatory Models

Mandatory Medicare payment pilots could return under the leadership of the nominee to direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he said this week.

Alex Azar II testified before the Senate Finance Committee this week about his priorities and policy preferences for federal healthcare programs.

In a stark contrast from his predecessor, Tom Price, MD, Azar said he could support the return of mandatory payment models, which are opposed by many hospital leaders and advocates.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Medicare pilots requiring providers to participate are needed “because too often those who are in the voluntary system are the ones who’ve already been able to bring about efficiencies, so we need to force more into the system.”

Azar responded that “we don’t actually disagree there.”

“I believe we need to be able to test hypotheses,” Azar said. “If we have to test a hypothesis, I want to be a reliable partner, I want to be collaborative in doing this, I want to be transparent and follow appropriate procedures. But if to test a hypothesis around changing our healthcare system, it needs to be mandatory—as opposed to voluntary—to get adequate data, then so be it.”

The comments caught the attention of many working on […]

By |January 13th, 2018|Health Reform, Medicare/Medicaid, National News|Comments Off on HHS Nominee Would Support Mandatory Models

 

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