House Representatives Delay Introduction of Student Privacy Bill

A March 23, 2015 Education Week online article reports that U.S. House Representatives have delayed the introduction of a proposed bill designed to protect K-12 students’ privacy. The bi-partisan bill, called the “Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act,” was developed in consultation with the White House; however, critics view the bill as falling “well short” of a strong national policy for the protection of student information. [More]

HHS Proposes New Rules on Incentive Payments for Electronic Health Records

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), issued proposed rules on March 20, 2015 on “stage 3” criteria that eligible professionals, general hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet in 2018 to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems. “Stage 3” will be the final, highest stage in these incentive payment programs, and it will be the only stage for which incentive payments will be available for 2018-2021. [More]

ED Announces Promising High School Graduation Outcomes

In a March 16, 2015 press release, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that a new data report shows increased high school graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students from 2011 to 2013, outpacing the overall growth of all U.S. students. In addition, the gap narrowed between the graduation rates for white students and African American and Hispanic students. [More]

HHS Launches New ACO Model

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced on March 10, 2015 that accountable care organizations (ACOs) soon will have an opportunity to participate in Medicare under the “Next Generation ACO” model, another important step under section 3021 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) toward paying for services based on value to patients rather than volume of services. [More]

New ACA Enrollment Figures Announced in Mar HHS Report and CBO Announces Lower ACA Cost Estimates

In a report released on March 10, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), almost 11.7 million consumers nationwide selected or were automatically enrolled in health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace as of February 22, 2015.

According to the report, 8.84 million (76%) of the enrollees were in states using the platform, while 2.85 million (24%) were in the 14 states (including DC) using their own marketplace platforms.

Office of Inspector General Audit Reveals Children in Foster Care Lack Required Health Screenings

On March 2, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit indicating that a significant number of foster children do not receive required health screenings. The audit included a sample of 100 children from each of the four large states (California, Illinois, New York, and Texas) selected for a period between July 1, 2011 and June 20, 2012. The review also considered how the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) ensures that children in foster care receive required screenings. [More]

ED Releases New Guidance to Protect Students’ Privacy in Using Electronic Educational

On February 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new guidance to help school districts and schools protect student privacy in using educational websites and electronic applications. The guidance focuses on the use of a vendor’s Terms of Service (TOS) agreement that allows the software user to click “I agree” (called a “Click-Wrap” agreement) in order to access the vendor’s software for the first time; the user’s actual signature on a service agreement or contract is not required. [More]

HHS Report Updates ACA Impact on Medicaid/CHIP Enrollments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released on February 23, 2015 a report showing that 27 jurisdictions (26 states and the District of Columbia) which implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by December 2014 saw on average a 27.01 percent increase in Medicaid/CHIP enrollments for December 2014, as compared to their average monthly enrollments in a July – September 2013 baseline period. [More]

HHS Releases New Data on Exchange Enrollments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data on February 18, 2015 showing that 11.4 million persons selected or re-enrolled in qualified health plans offered through federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) or state-based Exchanges (SBEs) during the November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015 open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]