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Full-Text Articles in Health Law and Policy

Hospital Discharge Planning In Medicare: Current Requirements And Proposed Changes, Sally Coberly Feb 2016

Hospital Discharge Planning In Medicare: Current Requirements And Proposed Changes, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

Medicare's specific minimum health and safety standards for hospitals, known as conditions of participation, include requirements for discharge planning for patients who need such services. Discharge planning is intended to ensure smooth transitions from hospital to home or other health care facility. This publication reviews the current discharge planning requirements for hospitals as well as changes included in a proposed rule published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on November 3, 2015. Key proposed changes include an expanded definition of which patients must receive discharge planning services, a requirement that providers responsible for follow-up care receive timely information ...


Medicaid Eligibility And Benefits, Sally Coberly Jan 2016

Medicaid Eligibility And Benefits, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

This publication provides a brief overview of the Medicaid program. It highlights the range of eligibility and benefits requirements and options and it briefly describes the program's financing structure.


Medicaid Financing, Sally Coberly Jan 2016

Medicaid Financing, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

This publication provides an overview of how the Medicaid program is financed. It explains how the federal and state shares of funding are determined, briefly describes disproportionate share hospital payments and how those are affected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and outlines financing mechanisms states have used to maximize federal Medicaid matching funds.


Medicare, Sally Coberly Jan 2016

Medicare, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

This publication provides an overview of the Medicare program including eligibility, covered services, cost-sharing requirements, and program financing.


The Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D), Sally Coberly Jan 2016

The Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D), Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries that began January 1, 2006. This publication provides an overview of the drug benefit.


Medicare Part B Premiums And Social Security Benefits, Sally Coberly Nov 2015

Medicare Part B Premiums And Social Security Benefits, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

This paper describes the annual determination of beneficiaries' premiums for voluntary Medicare Part B coverage and a provision known as "hold harmless." The hold-harmless provision prevents a beneficiary's Social Security payments from being reduced as a result of an increase in the Part B premium. Because there was no cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits for 2016, the hold-harmless provision will be in effect. This paper discusses what happens to premiums in 2016 for beneficiaries who are not held harmless—new beneficiaries, beneficiaries who do not participate in Social Security, those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid ...


Meaningful Use Of Health Information Technology: Proving Its Worth?, Lisa Sprague Nov 2015

Meaningful Use Of Health Information Technology: Proving Its Worth?, Lisa Sprague

National Health Policy Forum

Health policymakers in recent years have looked to the implementation of health information technology (IT)—electronic health records and the like—as a means to improve quality, reduce costs, and achieve better health outcomes across populations. But implementing health IT in a meaningful way must go beyond purchasing medical records software. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) devised a set of measures and incentives for hospitals and eligible medical professionals within Medicare or Medicaid to mark successive stages of effective IT implementation. This issue brief discusses the history of meaningful use, the measures used to evaluate ...


Medicare's Post-Acute Care Payment: An Updated Review Of The Issues And Policy Proposals, Sally Coberly Oct 2015

Medicare's Post-Acute Care Payment: An Updated Review Of The Issues And Policy Proposals, Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

Medicare spending on post-acute care provided by home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals accounted for about 10 percent of total program outlays in 2013. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and others have noted several long-standing problems with the payment systems for post-acute care and have suggested refinements to Medicare's post-acute care payment systems that are intended to encourage the delivery of appropriate care in the right setting for a patient's condition. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 contained several provisions that affect the Medicare program's post-acute care ...


Challenges Of Forecasting Physician Workforce Needs Amid Delivery System Transformation, Rob Cunningham Sep 2015

Challenges Of Forecasting Physician Workforce Needs Amid Delivery System Transformation, Rob Cunningham

National Health Policy Forum

As population growth and the aging of the overall population increase demand for health care, policymakers and analysts grapple with whether sufficient health care providers, particularly physicians, will be available to meet that demand. Some argue there are too few physicians already; others say our current supply-demand problems lie with efficiency. But suppose both are correct? Perhaps the real challenge is to understand how the provision of health care services is changing in response to market forces such as payment changes, patients' expectations, provider distributions, and technology innovations. This issue brief revisits what is known about evolving practice organizations, professional ...


The Star Rating System And Medicare Advantage Plans, Lisa Sprague May 2015

The Star Rating System And Medicare Advantage Plans, Lisa Sprague

National Health Policy Forum

With nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries opting to enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans instead of fee-for-service Medicare, it’s safe to say the MA program is quite popular. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers a Star Ratings program for MA plans, which offers measures of quality and service among the plans that are used not only to help beneficiaries choose plans but also to award additional payments to plans that meet high standards. These additional payments, in turn, are used by plans to provide additional benefits to beneficiaries or to reduce cost sharing—added features that are likely to factor into beneficiaries’ choice of MA plans. The Star Ratings program is also meant to drive improvements in the quality of plans, and this secondary effort seems to have been successful. Despite this success, issues with the Star Ratings system remain, including: how performance metrics are developed, chosen, and maintained; how differences among beneficiary populations (particularly with regard to the dually eligible and those receiving low-income subsidies) should be recognized; and the extent to which health plans can control the variables on which they are being measured. Because the Star Ratings approach has been extended to providers of health care as well—hospitals, nursing homes, and dialysis facilities—these issues are worth exploring as CMS fine-tunes ...


Annual Report 2014, Forum Staff Apr 2015

Annual Report 2014, Forum Staff

National Health Policy Forum

This annual report describes the activities of the Forum during the 2014 calendar year, and provides a snapshot of our audience and resources.


The Public Health Service, Jennifer Jenson Feb 2015

The Public Health Service, Jennifer Jenson

National Health Policy Forum

This document provides an overview of the Public Health Service (PHS) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including a brief history and discussion of the agencies and offices that constitute the PHS today. Information on the mission, key programs, and budgets of PHS agencies and offices is also included.


Health Policy Essentials: Common Health Care Acronyms, National Health Policy Forum Feb 2015

Health Policy Essentials: Common Health Care Acronyms, National Health Policy Forum

National Health Policy Forum

No abstract provided.


Relative Value Units (Rvus), Sally Coberly Jan 2015

Relative Value Units (Rvus), Sally Coberly

National Health Policy Forum

This publication reviews Medicare's relative value units (RVUs), which are assigned to each physician service to represent the resources required to provide the service relative to all other physician services. Three types of resources are included: physician work, that is, the physician time and effort; practice expenses, such as clinical staff and equipment; and professional liability insurance. Each service's RVUs are multiplied by a common dollar conversion factor to determine the Medicare payment.


Consumer Assessment Of Healthcare Providers And Systems (Cahps) Surveys: Assessing Patient Experience, Lisa Sprague Dec 2014

Consumer Assessment Of Healthcare Providers And Systems (Cahps) Surveys: Assessing Patient Experience, Lisa Sprague

National Health Policy Forum

This publication provides an overview of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) family of surveys, which are widely used by both public and private health plans and providers to assess the patient's experience of health care. Included is information on survey contents, how surveys are tailored to different users, and how the resulting information is collected, reported, and used to help consumers make choices and providers carry out quality improvement, as well as its role in pay-for-performance reimbursement.


Health Care In The Motor City: Thriving Or Surviving?, Sally Coberly, William J. Scanlon Apr 2014

Health Care In The Motor City: Thriving Or Surviving?, Sally Coberly, William J. Scanlon

National Health Policy Forum

This site visit explored the forces shaping the delivery of health care in Detroit. Health care providers in Detroit face the twin challenges of controlling costs and serving a bifurcated metropolitan area that includes large numbers of uninsured, low-income, and vulnerable residents as well as more prosperous residents of a reviving inner core and the surrounding suburbs and counties. The program looked at the underlying economic, social, and physical conditions that make improving the health of the city's residents extremely challenging. Efforts to contain costs through payment innovations such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Physician ...


Annual Report 2013, Forum Staff Apr 2014

Annual Report 2013, Forum Staff

National Health Policy Forum

This annual report describes the activities of the Forum during the 2013 calendar year, and provides a snapshot of our participants and resources.


National Spending For Long-Term Services And Supports (Ltss), 2012, Carol O'Shaughnessy Mar 2014

National Spending For Long-Term Services And Supports (Ltss), 2012, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

Long-term services and supports (LTSS) for the elderly and younger populations with disabilities are a significant component of national health care spending. In 2012, spending for these services was $219.9 billion (9.3 percent of all U.S. personal health care spending), almost two-thirds of which was paid by the federal-state Medicaid program. This publication presents data on LTSS spending by major public and private sources.


Telehealth: Into The Mainstream?, Lisa Sprague Mar 2014

Telehealth: Into The Mainstream?, Lisa Sprague

National Health Policy Forum

Teleheath, and its subset telemedicine, extend across a range of technologies allowing patients to seek diagnosis, treatment, and other services from clinicians by electronic means. Telephone, videoconferencing, iPads, and apps are all employed. In its most established form, hospitals and medical centers use telehealth to reach patients in underserved rural areas. Proponents of telehealth suggest it can relieve medical workforce shortages; save patients time, money, and travel; reduce unnecessary hospital visits; improve the management of chronic conditions; and improve continuing medical education. But telehealth also faces ongoing challenges. States require physicians to be licensed in each state where they treat ...


Money Follows The Person (Mfp) Rebalancing Demonstration: A Work In Progress, Carol O'Shaughnessy Feb 2014

Money Follows The Person (Mfp) Rebalancing Demonstration: A Work In Progress, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

In recent years, federal and state policy efforts have expanded opportunities for people to live in home- and community-based settings rather than in nursing homes and other institutions. As part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Congress enacted the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing (MFP) program, a Medicaid demonstration to help people who need long-term services and supports (LTSS) transition from nursing homes and other institutions to their own homes or other community settings. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 extended the program through September 30, 2016. Now in its eighth year of operation, MFP grants ...


Medicaid Home- And Community-Based Services Programs Enacted By The Aca: Expanding Opportunities One Step At A Time, Carol O'Shaughnessy Nov 2013

Medicaid Home- And Community-Based Services Programs Enacted By The Aca: Expanding Opportunities One Step At A Time, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) enacted the most significant opportunities for optional state expansion of Medicaid-financed home- and community-based services (HCBS) since 1981, when Congress enacted the section 1915(c) waiver program. Three of the ACA provisions, the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), the Community First Choice (CFC) state plan option, and the health home state plan option, offer states enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds as long as they meet federal requirements. The ACA also expanded two HCBS programs established under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) by extending the Money Follows the Person (MFP ...


Medicaid Home- And Community-Based Services Programs Enacted By The Aca: Expanding Opportunities One Step At A Time, Carol O'Shaughnessy Nov 2013

Medicaid Home- And Community-Based Services Programs Enacted By The Aca: Expanding Opportunities One Step At A Time, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) enacted the most significant opportunities for optional state expansion of Medicaid-financed home- and community-based services (HCBS) since 1981, when Congress enacted the section 1915(c) waiver program. Three of the ACA provisions, the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), the Community First Choice (CFC) state plan option, and the health home state plan option, offer states enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds as long as they meet federal requirements. The ACA also expanded two HCBS programs established under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) by extending the Money Follows the Person (MFP ...


Seeking Value In Medicare: Performance Measurement For Clinical Professionals, Lisa Sprague Oct 2013

Seeking Value In Medicare: Performance Measurement For Clinical Professionals, Lisa Sprague

National Health Policy Forum

The Medicare program, despite its reputation of being a bill payer with little regard to the worth of the services it buys, has begun to put in place a range of programs aimed at assessing quality and value, with more to come. Attention to resource use and cost is nascent. The issues are complex, and it is no surprise that there is a level of contention between providers and regulators, even though both profess commitment to improved quality. This paper summarizes the quality and value programs that apply to physicians and other clinical professionals, as well as programs designed to ...


Health Workforce Needs: Projections Complicated By Practice And Technology Changes, Rob Cunningham Oct 2013

Health Workforce Needs: Projections Complicated By Practice And Technology Changes, Rob Cunningham

National Health Policy Forum

As population growth and the aging of the overall population increase demand for health care, policymakers and analysts posit whether sufficient health care providers will be able to meet that demand. Some argue there are too few providers already; others say our current supply-demand problems lie with efficiency. But suppose both are correct? Perhaps the real challenge is to understand how physician practices are changing in response to market forces such as payment changes, provider distributions, and technology innovations. This issue brief reviews what is known about evolving practice organizations, professional mixes, information technology support, and the implications of these ...


The Commission On Long-Term Care: Background Behind The Mission, Carol O'Shaughnessy Oct 2013

The Commission On Long-Term Care: Background Behind The Mission, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA, P.L. 112-240) created a Commission on Long-Term Care charged with developing a plan for financing of long-term services and supports (LTSS) and issuing a report in September 2013. Significant research and advocacy have been devoted to LTSS financing issues and perceived inadequacies of the delivery system over the past several decades, but the most recent comprehensive review of financing options was in 1990 by the Pepper Commission. This publication presents brief background behind the mission of the Commission, including a time line of selected federal and national activities on LTSS financing ...


Medicare Advantage Update: Benefits, Enrollment, And Payments After The Aca, Kathryn Linehan Jul 2013

Medicare Advantage Update: Benefits, Enrollment, And Payments After The Aca, Kathryn Linehan

National Health Policy Forum

In 2012, the Medicare program paid private health plans $136 billion to cover about 13 million beneficiaries who received Part A and B benefits through the Medicare Advantage (MA) program rather than traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare. Private plans have been a part of the program since the 1970s. Debate about the policy goals—Should they cost less per beneficiary than FFS Medicare? Should they be available to all beneficiaries? Should they be able to offer additional benefits?—has long accompanied Medicare's private plan option. This debate is reflected in the history of Medicare payment policy, and policy decisions over ...


Cms's Proposed Rule Implementing The Aca-Mandated Medicaid Dsh Reductions, Kathryn Linehan Jun 2013

Cms's Proposed Rule Implementing The Aca-Mandated Medicaid Dsh Reductions, Kathryn Linehan

National Health Policy Forum

State Medicaid programs make Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments to hospitals to help offset costs of uncompensated care for Medicaid and uninsured patients. Unlike most Medicaid spending, annual DSH allotments for each state are capped. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), DSH payments will decrease starting in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and continuing through FY 2020. This paper describes the proposed rule for reducing these federal allotments, which was released on May 15, 2013, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Comments on the proposed rule are due July 12, 2013.

2014 UPDATE ...


Annual Report 2012, Forum Staff Apr 2013

Annual Report 2012, Forum Staff

National Health Policy Forum

This annual report describes the activities of the Forum during the 2012 calendar year, and provides a snapshot of our resources.


The "Coopetition" Model: Caring For San Diego's Low-Income Population, Lisa Sprague, Jessamyn Taylor Feb 2013

The "Coopetition" Model: Caring For San Diego's Low-Income Population, Lisa Sprague, Jessamyn Taylor

National Health Policy Forum

This site visit explored aspects of health care delivery for Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured in a California county marked by a diverse population, dominant managed care, and stakeholder dedication to solving problems in a spirit of "coopetition." The program looked at the impact of California's Bridge to Reform (the state's Medicaid section 1115 waiver) on federally qualified health centers and the people they serve. Eligibility and enrollment expansions in the Low Income Health Program and Medi-Cal, health information technology adoption and its use to improve care delivery and health, and patient-centered medical homes and care coordination were ...


Assisted Living: Facilities, Financing, And Oversight, Carol O'Shaughnessy Jan 2013

Assisted Living: Facilities, Financing, And Oversight, Carol O'Shaughnessy

National Health Policy Forum

This publication briefly describes assisted living facilities that provide long-term services and supports to people with functional or cognitive impairments who do not need the level of skilled nursing care offered in nursing homes but cannot live independently. It also describes selected resident characteristics, reviews cost and financing arrangements, and reviews state responsibilities for regulation and oversight of assisted living facilities.