U.S. Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act in KING v. BURWELL by 6 to 3 vote

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court by a 6 to 3 vote upheld the federal government’s interpretation (i.e., the regulation of the Internal Revenue Service) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the subsidies awarded under provisions of the ACA could be provided regardless of whether the states granting the subsidies had a state health benefits exchange or a federal exchange operating therein. [More]

Child’s statements to teachers about abuse are allowable as evidence

A June 18, 2015 Associated Press article reported that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a child’s statements to teachers about possible abuse can be used as evidence in court, even if the child does not testify. A man convicted of beating a 3-year old child appealed the conviction, arguing that his constitutional right to cross-examine his accuser was violated; the child accuser was deemed incompetent to testify. [More]

HHS approves three additional state-based Exchanges

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified the Governors of Arkansas, Delaware, and Pennsylvania on June 15, 2015 that HHS has conditionally approved the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges (Exchanges) by those states. The conditional approvals for Delaware and Pennsylvania are for state-based individual and small business Exchanges in 2016. The conditional approval for Arkansas is for a state-based small business Exchange in 2016 and an individual Exchange in 2017. [More]

Florida legislature reaches agreement on hospital funding for one year

Florida legislators agreed to end a conflict about funding for hospitals for one year by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals. The Low Income Pool program (LIP) funded by a section 1115 project was scheduled to end June 30, but the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did agree to continue the program at a reduced funding level from $2.2 billion to $1 billion for one year and $600 million thereafter.

NAEP Tests Will Assess Noncognitive Factors

A June 9, 2015 Education Week article reported that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will include assessment of noncognitive factors in its annual student tests beginning in 2017. The NAEP will use a background survey to collect data on noncognitive factors in five core areas: grit, desire for learning, school climate, technology use, and socioeconomic status. [More]

CMS Finalizes New Medicare ACO Rules

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules in the June 9, 2015 Federal Register on accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) under section 3022 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare providers and suppliers that participate in a qualifying ACO under the MSSP receive traditional Medicare Part A and Part B fee-for-service payments but the ACO has an opportunity to earn “shared savings” bonus payments if it achieves MSSP savings targets and quality benchmarks. [More]

White House Releases Report on Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

The White House has released a report entitled, “Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid.” The report estimates that if the 22 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid chose to do so, some 4,299,000 persons in those states would gain coverage; 1,021,000 more persons would report a usual source of care; 491,000 more persons would receive all needed care; hundreds of thousands more persons would receive recommended preventive screenings (626,400 more persons would receive cholesterol screenings, 163,400 more women would receive mammograms, etc.); [More]

Policy and Practice article examines turnover and training in the human services field

Boston, MA, June, 2015 – PCG Human Services employment and public assistance program expert Brian Howells co-authored an article regarding the 21st Century needs of the human services workforce in the April, 2015 edition of Policy and Practice Magazine, a publication of the American Public Human Services Association. The article examines the issues of turnover and training in the human services field. Read the article here. [More]