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CMS Offers States New Medicaid Path for Opioid Treatment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued new guidance to states advising them on how they can use section 1115 Medicaid waivers to improve access to treatment for Medicaid recipients struggling with opioid abuse problems. According to the 14-page guidance letter from CMS to state Medicaid directors, CMS is now offering a more flexible, streamlined approach to accelerate states’ ability to respond to the national opioid crisis while enhancing states’ monitoring and reporting of the impact of any changes imsplemented through these demonstrations.  As the opioid crisis continues to raise alarm and highlight the need for better [&hellip

NAUH Asks House to Renew CHIP and Delay Medicaid DSH Cuts

In a message sent to every member of the House of Representatives, NAUH conveyed its support for key provisions in HR 3922, the Championing Healthy Kids Act. Those provisions include renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a two-year delay in implementation of mandatory cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments to states.  NAUH asked House members to seek a bipartisan agreement to adopt and pay for these important measures. See NAUH’s message to House members here

CMS Announces Drive to Reduce Paperwork

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is launching a new “Meaningful Measures” initiative that will seek to reduce the regulatory burden on health care providers. According to a CMS news release, Meaningful Measures …will involve only assessing those core issues that are most vital to providing high-quality care and improving patient outcomes.  The agency aims to focus on outcome-based measures going forward, as opposed to trying to micromanage processes.. In a speech at the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that this project will include moving the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation [&hellip

New Rules Facilitate Integration of Physical, Behavioral Care

New federal regulations are facilitating better integration of physical and behavioral health services for the Medicaid population. Two developments, in particular, are advancing this integration:  the 2016 Medicare managed care rule and a 2016 rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.  Together, these rules encourage providers to perform comprehensive assessments of their patients, increase flexibility for providers in how they use Medicaid payments, and pave the way for improvements in the use of information technology that foster better integration of physical and behavioral medical care. A new issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund presents in [&hellip

AMA: Health Insurance Concentration in Urban Areas Threatens Competition

Too much market share by insurers in urban areas can inhibit competition, and according to the American Medical Association, there is too little competition among insurers in too many urban markets today. According to a new AMA study, 69 percent of 389 metropolitan statistical area-level markets are “highly concentrated” in 89 percent of MSAs, at least one insurer issues at least 30 percent of commercial health insurance policies in 43 percent of urban MSAs, a single insurer owns at least 50 percent of the market In a statement accompanying release of the report, an AMA spokesperson explained that After years [&hellip

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