Public Policy Weekly Clips: May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016 · Paul Cotton

NCQA gives a rundown of the best national, state and private sector health care articles from the week. Here are our picks for today’s Public Policy Weekly Clips.

Public Policy Clips


CMS proposed MACRA rule supports NCQA-recognized PCMH & PCSP practices.

CMS’ new Medicaid managed care rule requires quality ratings & posting of accreditation status.

CMS is expanding Medicaid coverage to inmates released from prison to halfway houses.

House Ways & Means leaders want detailed data from CMS on Medicare mental health conditions.

Republicans wants to scrap & some Democrats to change CMS’ value-based drug payment pilot.

A broad coalition is calling for much greater transparency on what goes into drug prices.

Health care costs were cited twice as often as any burden on the economy in a new poll.

Prices for common medical services vary up to 3-fold nationwide & even within some states & markets.

The percentage of Democrats who want to expand the ACA rose 15 points to 51% since December.

Anthem & Centene, unlike United Healthcare, plan to grow rather than leave Marketplace plans.

Cigna is giving $2M in grants to nonprofits to provide community health navigation for at-risk patients.

Highmark’s Cancer Collaborative wants to identify & share best cancer care practices.

Nearly two thirds of providers want integrated electronic prior authorization capabilities in EHRs.

ECRI says HIT & workflow disconnects are the top patient safety concerns this year.

The Office of Civil Rights released HIPAA audit protocols to help organizations comply.

CDC says life expectancy disparities have narrowed since 1980, especially for black men.

FDA is considering whether doctors who prescribe opioids should have to take safety training.

Addiction treatment centers are struggling to attract & keep workers due to low pay, stigma & stress.

Pharmacist-led chronic care is similar to usual care but improves blood pressure, sugar & lipid control.

UK’s Royal College of Physicians urged smokers to switch to e-cigarettes that it says are far less harmful.

Andrew Bindman from UCSF will be the next AHRQ director.


California Medicaid is expanding coverage to children regardless of immigration status on May 1. 

Colorado will vote this fall on a tax-financed universal coverage alternative to the ACA.

Florida wants to revise performance measures as it renews its Medicaid long-term care waiver.

Hawaii is moving to bar insurers from denying care to transgendered patients.

Hawaii & Iowa are moving to let psychologists prescribe drugs to expand mental health access.

New York’s DSRP, which includes NCQA PCMH Recognition, is moving to pay-for-performance.

New York insurers agreed to cover costly hepatitis C drugs for virtually all commercial patients.

Pennsylvania added Centene to its 7 previous Medicaid managed care plans.

Pennsylvania is seeking comments on a proposed contract to better align Medicaid plans with D-SNPs.

Rhode Island signed a 3-way contract with Medicare and a plan in its integrated duals demonstration.

Texas HHS Commissioner Chris Traylor is retiring; no replacement has been named yet.

Wisconsin projects $300 million in savings over 6 years from long-term care privatization.


Wages, salaries & benefits are in neutral, but employer health care costs are on the rise by 3.3%.

Consumers are increasingly turning to alternative delivery models such as telemedicine & retail clinics.

Only 4% of employees access telehealth which saves time, money, worry and hassle in the workplace.

A third of U.S. workers participate in employer-based wellness programs.

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