ACF Releases Information Memorandum on Use of TANF for Homelessness

On February 20, the Office of Family Assistance released a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - ACF-Information Memorandum (IM)-2013-01 (Use of TANF Funds to Serve Homeless Families and Families At Risk of Experiencing Homelessness) to clarify for state TANF agencies how both the federal portion and the state Maintenance of Effort (MOE) might be used to support families experiencing homelessness. The IM addresses the significant problem that exists throughout the country for families and their plight to maintain adequate housing. [More]

City of Tulsa Awards IT Review Contract to PCG Technology Consulting

SACRAMENTO, CA, February 15, 2013 – The City of Tulsa’s Information Technology (IT) Department recently awarded a contract to PCG Technology Consulting (PCG TC) to conduct a department-wide IT review. The project aims to improve quality and efficiency of Tulsa IT services by developing revised approaches to service delivery, organization and staffing, technologies used, and governance. The team will also undertake a benchmarking and peer review in a number of other cities and will review Tulsa’s IT services to determine candidates for outsourcing. [More]

CMS Posts Guidance on Medicaid Expansion FFP Rates

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted additional guidance on the types of increased Federal Medicaid percentages (FMAPs) that will be available to states that expand their Medicaid programs pursuant to the ACA. The guidance was issued in the format, “Questions and Answers: Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, February 2013”. [More]

CMS Implements Bundled Payments Initiative

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on January 31, 2013 over 500 provider organizations that will be participating in its nationwide Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, under which Medicare payments will be made for episodes of care through innovative payment models designed to incentivize improved coordination among providers and practitioners, reductions in service duplication, reductions in hospital readmissions, and better quality of care. The initiative is authorized under section 3021 of the Affordable Care Act. It will test four different models involving various service bundles, payment methods, and episodes of care (i.e., acute care hospital stays, acute care hospital stays plus post-acute care, and post-acute care separately) over a three year period. Many of the awardees elected a complete range of 48 medical conditions (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, coronary bypass surgery, congestive heart failure, stroke, pneumonia, renal failure, hip replacements, etc.) for which they will be seeking Medicare payments based on episodes of care. Thirty-two of the successful applicants will be ready to switch over to the new Medicare payment models as early as April 2013. Payment models include opportunities for shared savings, gradual introduction of financial risk, and quality reporting requirements. CMS will assess over the next three years which of the payment models tested under the initiative are most effective in improving care and reducing Medicare expenditures. Additional opportunities to participate in the nationwide initiative may be announced in coming weeks. Eighteen distinguished awardees already selected in Massachusetts include Baystate Medical Center, Lahey, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center of Boston, and Tufts Medical Center. [More]

OSERS Publishes Its Final Rule on Parental Consent to Bill Medicaid

On February 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) published in the Federal Register its final rule to amend the frequency requirement for obtaining parental consent to bill Medicaid (FR Vol. 78, No.31, pages 10525-10538). Under the regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a local education agency (LEA) must, with limited exceptions, obtain parental consent prior to disclosing personally identifiable information maintained in a student’s education records, including information necessary for the LEA to bill Medicaid for services provided to the student. [More]