Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill

The U.S. Senate passed health care reform legislation by a 60-39 vote on December 24. Many amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were added shortly before passage to spur innovation and reform in the health care delivery system. Beyond the health insurance provisions debated over much of the last year, the Senate legislation now contains provisions authorizing: [More]

Senate Healthcare Bill Faces Several Hurdles

A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) report issued on December 11 warned "that costs will keep going up" under the Senate healthcare bill and that proposed Medicare savings "could lead to cuts in services". The report did say that the bill "would provide coverage to 93 percent of US residents, reducing the number of uninsured people by about 33 million". [More]

USDE Publishes Its Final Rule for School Improvement Grants

On December 10, 2009, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published in the Federal Register its final rule for awarding School Improvement Grants (SIG). Despite numerous requests for modifications, the final rule does not reflect significant changes from the requirements initially proposed by USDE in August 2009. [More]

Pressures Mounting for State Child Welfare Agencies

With the unemployment rates the highest in the last 26 years, the impact on child welfare agencies has been dramatic. The number of abuse and neglect complaints has increased by 35 percent in most metropolitan areas and the number of removals has also soared for many states. Child advocates have voiced concern in states where the child fatality rate for cases of abuse and neglect have doubled or tripled over previous years. [More]

Legislative, Regulatory and Program Updates

On November 18, 2009 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent notice to Congress that CMS is withdrawing its proposed rule on rehabilitative services (CMS Rule 2261‐P). Among other things, the proposed rule was intended to redefine rehabilitative services to exclude Medicaid reimbursement for the direct and administrative costs of rehabilitative services that are intrinsic elements of education programs. [More]