HHS estimates 22 percent increase in 2017 ACA premiums

On October 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), issued a report estimating that premiums for health plans offered through health insurance Exchanges will be about 22 percent higher on average for 2017 than they were for 2016. That estimate is based on ASPE’s comparison of 2017 to 2016 premiums for 38 states using the HealthCare.gov (Federal Exchange) website in both years, as well as state-reported premium data made available to ASPE by four states and the District of Columbia, representing 60 percent of consumers enrolled in State-based Exchanges (SBEs). [More]

Foster Care and Medicaid

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), youth who were in foster care and receiving Medicaid on their 18th birthday are categorically eligible for Medicaid until their 26th birthday, regardless of their income. The provision in the law aligned with the extended coverage of young adults whose parents have private health insurance. On October 18, 2016, Columbia University’s School of Public Health released a policy brief reporting that an estimated 180,000 young people who have aged out of foster care are eligible for extended health care coverage. [More]

California health care provider to pay more than $2 million to settle HIPAA violation

Recent media reports have stated that St. Joseph Health in Irvine California has agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle allegations that its 14 hospitals and other health care operations left personally identifiable records of 31,800 people exposed on a newly-installed computer server. As reported, this marks the 12th Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation settlement this year, a record number. [More]

PCG facilitates public meetings with Chilliwack school district

PCG’s Education Consulting team led public meetings with members of the Chilliwack school district in British Columbia to discuss a potential change to the district’s grade configuration. According to an October 26th article in the Chilliwack Progress, this week’s meetings were an opportunity for members of the community to voice concerns, ask questions and learn more about the reconfiguration in general, as well as its potential impact on students. [More]

CMS finalizes rules on new Medicare payment methodologies for clinicians

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules to implement a new Quality Payment Program which includes the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs). The new program is authorized under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). That landmark bipartisan legislation: repealed Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, replaced three prior Medicare incentive programs, consolidated Medicare quality reporting requirements beginning in 2017, and authorized new pay-for-performance adjustments beginning in 2019 for eligible clinicians paid under the Medicare Part B physician fee schedule. [More]

Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act goes to the President

To address national concerns and issues related to the education, health and safety of Native children, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. Congress recently passed the Act, eight years after the Fostering Connections legislation was passed in 2008 to allow Native American tribes to develop and operate their own child welfare systems. [More]

CMS overhauls long term care standards

On October 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule in the Federal Register on Medicare/Medicaid standards that are applicable to long term care (LTC) facilities. The amendment is the most comprehensive upgrade of those standards since 1991. The new standards address issues examined at the White House Conference on Aging in July 2015 for a proposed rule which elicited nearly 10,000 public comments at the time. [More]

HHS proposes new rules on Medicaid fraud control units

On September 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), jointly proposed new rules governing state Medicaid fraud control units (MFCUs). The proposed rules would require that MFCUs and state Medicaid agencies establish, review, and periodically update memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on coordination between these state agencies. [More]

Bracing for Zika

Doctors in Puerto Rico, and across the United States, are preparing for the births of the first babies with known exposure to the Zika virus in their first trimester, according to a New York Times article published on September 26, 2016. The article, “Doctors Brace for Zika Babies,” highlights efforts to help the Pediatric community prepare for Zika; including the establishment of a network of pediatric health care providers and a recent meeting of pediatric experts and subspecialists held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. [More]

PCG gears up for the 2017 SXSWedu Conference

After a positive and inspiring experience at the 2016 SXSWedu conference, we are gearing up for 2017. The 2017 SXSWedu conference takes place in Austin from March 6-9, 2017. PCG's own Tony Brown has joined the Advisory Board for a second year in a row. The 2016 conference drew more than 7,500 participants with over 38 countries represented. Recognized as a convergence of innovators and creative thinkers, SXSWedu brings the industry leaders and up-and-comers in education together to foster learning and collaboration in an energetic environment. The conference boasts a diverse mix of registrants and attendees including K-12 and higher education professionals, business leaders, policy makers, and non-profit directors. [More]