CMS Issues Notice of Medicare 2011 Prospective Payments for Skilled Nursing Facilities

On July 16, CMS issued a Notice (CMS-1338-NC) of the Medicare 2011 Prospective Payment Rates for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs). The Notice is published in the Federal Register for July 22, 2010 and will be effective on October 1, 2010. The Prospective Payment System (PPS) for SNFs has been formulated by a succession of federal laws, the latest being section 10325 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The SNF PPS rate is a per diem rate covering all costs (routine, ancillary, and capital-related). The net FY 2011 rate will be an increase of 1.7 percent. The Notice sets forth the SNF Market Basket Index and calculated wage indices for various parts of the country. [More]

Affordable Care Act Initial Funding for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Grants

US DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced July 21 the award of $88 million in grants, provided under the Affordable Care Act, to support evidence-based home visiting programs focused on improving the wellbeing of families with young children. Through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, nurses, social workers, or other professionals meet with at-risk families in their homes, evaluate the families’ circumstances, and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child’s health, development, and ability to learn. [More]

CMS Issues Guidance on Translation Assistance

CMS released a letter to State Medicaid/CHIP directors on July 1 offering guidance on a provision of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) authorizing enhanced Medicaid and CHIP administrative funding for a wide range of translation and interpretation activities to help with enrollment, retention, and service delivery for children in families for whom English is not their primary language. [More]

Federal Agencies Issue Rules on Patients' Rights

Interim final rules were published on June 28 implementing various consumer protections under the health insurance reform provisions of the federal health care reform law. The Departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury jointly issued the new “patient’s bill of rights” rules, which are effective for most plans beginning on or after September 23, 2010. [More]

HHS and States Implement High Risk Pools

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on July 1 that a national Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is open to applicants in 21 states where HHS is running the program. Coverage will begin in these states on August 1 for qualifying individuals who submit applications by July 15. [More]