Foster Care Crisis - What’s an Agency to Do? Part 1

Child welfare agencies in jurisdictions across the country face a growing foster care crisis: decreasing numbers of licensed foster homes can’t support the increasing demand for licensed out of home placement, fueled, in part, by the opioid and prescription drug crisis. What is causing this shift in the demand for traditional licensed foster homes? While the recent increase in agency referrals has exacerbated the crisis of too few licensed foster homes, several other factors are at play... [More]

Planning for Zika should start now— and not just at your Department of Public Health

Winter may not be ending until March 20—but it is never too early for state officials from many agencies, not just public health specialists, to start planning for this coming summer’s likely spike in Zika infections. As of this writing, 47 women in the U.S. have given birth to babies with neurological defects caused by the Zika virus, according to the latest data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) registry. That’s approximately 6 percent of all pregnant women infected with Zika who have given birth, and the numbers look certain to rise as more and more women infected by Zika last August and September come to the full term of their pregnancies. [More]

Proposed ACA repeal legislation would impose new restrictions on state Medicaid programs

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives released its initial draft legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The initial draft legislation would impose significant new restrictions on state Medicaid programs. The legislation would impose annual per capita caps on federal financial participation (FFP) in state Medicaid expenditures beginning with the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would impose separate per capita caps for six Medicaid eligibility categories: the aged, blind, disabled, children, Medicaid expansion adults, and non-expansion adults.
For FFY 2020, CMS would... [More]

GAO-17-129: HHS Has Taken Steps to Support States' Oversight of Psychotropic Medications, but Additional Assistance Could Further Collaboration

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) completed another report (GAO-17-129) exploring how states are addressing the huge percent of children prescribed psychotropic medications while in foster care. Surveys conducted between 2008 and 2011 by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) found that 18 percent of foster care children were taking a psychotropic medication. ACF further defined the group and discovered that children in group homes or residential treatment facilities were taking psychotropic medications at a significantly higher rate (48 percent) than children living in nonrelative foster homes or formal kinship care (14 percent). [More]

CMS proposes rules to stabilize health insurance markets

On February 15, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued draft proposed regulations intended to stabilize the individual and small group health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules would shorten the open enrollment period for 2018, amend standards on special enrollment periods, increase pre-enrollment verification of eligibility on the HealthCare.gov website, allow health insurance issuers to apply consumers’ payments to past unpaid debts for coverage, increase allowable variations in the actuarial value (AV) calculations, offer more flexibility in substantiating provider network adequacy, and facilitate insurers’ compliance with essential community provider (ECP) standards. [More]

A Great and Historic Partnership

An historic coalition has recently formed, one that has the potential to impact the child welfare community for decades. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance) have partnered to host a joint summit from April 30-May 3 to “advance solutions within and across sectors to improve outcomes for individuals, families and communities.” In these uncertain and changing times, the need to explore new methods of obtaining resources and gaining funding support has never been more critical. Only with strong, dynamic and insightful leadership can changes of the nature needed in child welfare occur. This coalition is such an example. [More]

Transportation innovations for New Yorkers with disabilities would knock down barriers to communities and jobs, says new study

A statewide, coordinated system for transportation of individuals with disabilities could significantly improve their connections with jobs, community activities and overall quality of life, while delivering more efficient use of government and service-provider resources. That is the key finding from a newly released report developed for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) by Public Consulting Group, Inc., (PCG) a leading provider of management-consulting services to public-sector education, health, and human services clients, and subcontractor Nelson\Nygaard. [More]

GAO releases report on CMS oversight of Medicaid expenditures

On February 6, 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the Medicaid program entitled, “Program Oversight Hampered by Data Challenges, Underscoring the Need for Continued Improvement.” Six members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives asked GAO to examine Medicaid data challenges based on estimates that there were about $36.3 billion in improper Medicaid payments in Federal fiscal year 2016. [More]

Where is “Prevention” in the ACA Replacement Debate?

The main goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to extend insurance coverage to millions of Americans left out of the health insurance markets, such as low-income parents ineligible for Medicaid or individuals unable to access employer-sponsored coverage. Rightfully, the terms of the ACA “Replacement” debate have been framed around alternative ways for meeting this goal, with most replacement plans distinguished and measured by the various mechanisms they propose to substitute for the insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion measures used by the ACA to improve Americans’ access to health care. [More]