CMS Finalizes CO-OP Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released final rules on December 13 on the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) provisions under section 1322 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1322 authorizes up to $3.8 billion in federal loans to foster the creation of consumer-governed private non-profit health insurance issuers that will offer qualified health plan coverage through health insurance exchanges by January 2014. [More]

Texas Wins Approval of Healthcare Transformation Waivers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the "Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement" demonstration proposal on December 12. CMS approved Medicaid waivers under section 1115 of the Social Security Act for the period December 12, 2011 through September 30, 2016. Prior section 1915(b) and 1915(c) waivers have been consolidated under the global section 1115 budget neutrality limit. [More]

ACF Program Instruction Requires State Plan Revisions, Addresses Title IV-E Adoption Assistance

On December 9, 2011, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released Program Instructions (ACYF-CB-PI-11-09) on changes to the Title IV-E state plan as part of Public Law 112-34. The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 amends case plan and case review system requirements and the Adoption Assistance Program reinvestment requirements and requires Title IV-E state plan changes. States were provided with a state plan pre-print that must be completed by January 31, 2012, but the changes have an effective date back to October 1, 2011. [More]

TANF Pending Reauthorization in H.R. Bill 3630

On December 13, 2011 the House included Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization in the bill at the forefront of Congress related to 2 percent reduction in employee contributions to Social Security (known as the payroll tax cut) through 2012. The bill (H.R. 3630) has many components for extending or reauthorizing expiring programs. It passed the House but it is expected that the Senate will be less receptive. [More]

CMS Issues Final Rules on Provider Performance Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released final rules on December 7 concerning CMS release of standardized extracts of Medicare Part A, B, and D claims data. The final rules are effective January 6, 2012. The rules implement section 10332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring CMS to release such data extracts to qualified organizations to support measurement and analysis of provider performance. Qualified organizations must demonstrate the capability to combine the Medicare extracts with Medicaid and other claims data and to generate statistically valid reports using recognized performance measures such as those endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF). [More]

ED Announces Final FERPA Regulations

In a December 1, 2011 press release, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the finalization of its regulations to protect student and family privacy rights while providing state and local education agencies the flexibility to share student data consistent with governmental objectives to improve education outcomes for students. [More]

Making a Difference in Student Achievement Using the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts: What School and District Leaders Need to Know

Forty-five states, several US territories, and the District of Columbia have adopted the new Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CCSS-ELA). The standards are widely touted as providing a clear, rigorous pathway that will prepare students to be college and career ready. States, districts, and schools are poised to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. CCSS-ELA are complex, with implications for instruction and assessment in not only English language arts, but also history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. [More]

OIG Provides Congress with Semiannual Report

In its semiannual report to Congress, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported on the audits completed and issued for the Title IV-E Adoption Assistance program in the states of Tennessee and Georgia and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The reports are part of a series of reviews completed by the OIG on the incorrect claims for the Title IV-E federal share of adoption assistance payments. In the 2012 OIG Work Plan, published recently, additional Title IV-E audits of Title IV-E Adoption Assistance are planned. [More]

Senate Committee Announces Hearing on Child Abuse

Senator Bob Casey (D- PA) introduced legislation entitled, “Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act of 2011,” addressing the necessity for ensuring that child abuse is reported when it occurs. One aspect of the legislation would require that every adult be a mandatory reporter when witnessing any type of child abuse. This proposed legislation, as well as other pending legislation planned by members of Congress, is in response to recent allegations that surfaced at Pennsylvania State University and Syracuse University. In addition to Sen. Casey’s legislation, he requested a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Children and Families. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee, supported Sen. Casey in his request for a hearing and scheduled it for Tuesday, December 13, 2011. [More]