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CHA Comments on CMS’ Proposed Managed Care Rule

CHA submitted the attached comment letter responding to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule that would change managed care regulations for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While most of the rule’s proposals are technical adjustments or changes that have little impact on the Medi-Cal managed care program, some could impact the managed care portion of the Hospital Fee Program.

Commentary: Lose star ratings, instead measure what matters to patients

Each fall, the CMS announces the next year’s hospital star-ratings algorithms. Analysts race to criticize or support the changes (mostly criticize), while marketing managers at one- and two-star hospitals go into overdrive to highlight the system’s unfairness. January starts a new season of gamesmanship as hospitals adapt to the new scoring rubric, seeking to polish their performance in the ratings.All of this activity, however, has little to no impact on the health outcomes that actually matter to patients.

An easy, free way to lower health-care costs for millions of Americans

In October, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would expand the ways employers can use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to provide their employees with high-quality, low-cost health coverage. The United States Department of the Treasury estimates that once the new rules go into effect, 800,000 employers will take advantage of HRAs, which could affect coverage for more than 10 million employees.

HRAs are employer-funded accounts used to augment group health plans. Contributions made to HRA accounts are not taxed. Under Obama-era rules, HRAs can be used by employees to pay for qualifying health expenses, as determined by federal regulations and employers, in conjunction with a group health insurance plan.

Providers Report Problems Implementing New State Law for Opioid Prescriptions

As of Jan. 1, controlled substance security prescription forms must include a new, unique serial number in a format approved by the Department of Justice. However, the new requirement does not allow for a transition period during which providers would be allowed to use the previously approved form, and those who do not have access to the new forms have been forced to choose between denying care and risking action against their licenses.

New Law Requires Prescribers to Offer Approved Drugs for Opioid Depression

Prescribers are now required to offer naloxone hydrochloride, or another drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to patients who experience certain conditions related to opioid depression. The Medical Board of California has released frequently asked questions to assist providers in implementing the new requirements, which took effect Jan. 1.

Attendees Encouraged to Participate in Roundtable Discussions

At the 2019 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in both expert-led and peer-led roundtable discussions on a variety of topics. Expert-led roundtables will feature a short presentation by a content expert, followed by a question and answer session. Peer-led roundtables will offer a more informal experience, focusing on networking and idea sharing on a shared interest. Discussion topics include:

Volunteer Conference to Offer Clarity, Guidance on Important Topics

CHA’s upcoming California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference will address a range of topics important to health care professionals and volunteers. One session will share how a volunteer services department is responding to new requirements related to discharge of homeless patients. Attendees will learn about the law’s intricacies and how volunteers can support their hospital’s efforts to provide clothing, shoes and other items required for discharge. 

Palliative Care Pilot Program Participants Required to Use New Web-Based Reporting Tool

In All Facilities Letter 18-57, the California Department of Public Health announces a new web-based data collection tool intended to assist providers that participate in the Palliative Care Pilot Program with annual reporting. Program participants must submit certain information using this tool by Jan. 1 of each program year. 2018 reports were due Jan. 1, 2019, but the online reporting portal will remain open through March 1.

Gov. Newsom Releases State Budget Proposal

Yesterday, Gov. Newsom released his first proposed state budget, totaling $209 billion for 2019-20. CHA was pleased to see health care as a primary focus of the budget. Other clear priorities are early childhood development, housing and paying down debt.