Washington – (The Seattle Times, 12/28/19) Washington State University offers a higher education program – WSU ROAR – for young adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. In this program of study, students ages 18-29 can audit university courses, work in internships and live independently on campus. They can also take specialized courses focused on life skills such as staying healthy and managing a budget. ROAR costs about $26,000 per year and is the first college program in Washington that offers on-campus living for students with I/DD. It was modeled after a similar program at the University of Tennessee. Founder Don McMahon said the on-campus living option was an important component of the project and sets WSU apart from other similar high ed programs in the state.
Medicaid, Medicaid expansion, Managed LTSS
Kentucky – (States Top Leading News, 12/30/19) Amid lasting public concern, Gov. Andy Beshear has cancelled the state’s Medicaid managed care contracts awarded by the previous administration. Citing the need for a fair and transparent process, Beshear’s administration will issue a new RFP by January 10th with a goal of selecting providers in the spring. Additionally, the Beshear administration has notified CMS that it will be ending the state’s 1115 demonstration waiver know as “Kentucky HEALTH” which incorporates work requirements as an element of eligibility; has signed an executive order to protect the state’s Medicaid expansion programs; has ended Kentucky’s litigation in federal court regarding work requirements and has asked the court to dismiss Kentucky from the lawsuit.
Michigan – (Michigan Radio NPR, 12/29/19) Two studies conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation found that the state’s Medicaid expansion has “substantially improved access to primary care and preventative services”. The studies are based on a 2016 survey of more that 4,000 people enrolled in “Healthy Michigan” (the state’s Medicaid expansion program) for more than one year and found that people reporting that they went without needed care was cut in half from the previous year. Dr. Susan Dorr Goold, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and author of one of the studies, said the report also showed a “substantial drop” in reliance on emergency rooms and urgent care centers. The study also found that 90% of enrollees had seen a primary care provider since enrolling and that nearly 95% of them said they discussed wellness and prevention as part of the visit.
Utah – (Public News Service, 12/30/19) Utah has received CMS approval of its Medicaid expansion plan which will add approximately 60,000 people to the program and will include work-reporting requirements. Coverage will be available to individuals earning less than $17,000 per year and for families earning up to $35,000. Stacy Stanford, an analyst with the Utah Health Policy Project says the feds rejected the state’s initial “partial expansion” forcing the state to submit its contingency plan. This revised plan with work requirements could disqualify upwards of 7,500 people according to the Utah Health Policy Project. Additionally, according to Stanford, the state has already lost approximately $5.5 billion dollars in federal matching funds due to the delay.
NATIONAL – (Health Data Management, 12/26/19) A bill with bipartisan congressional sponsorship seeks to use a coordinated approach among federal agencies to address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) for Medicaid recipients. The bill, S.2986, by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) seeks to integrate data from several federal agencies to improve care for Medicaid recipients and would establish an interagency council that would make recommendations on how best to coordinate funding and administration of federal programs. The council would also be charged with providing “targeted technical assistance to states developing models focused on case management of individuals receiving services administered by state or local health and social services agencies, including by identifying potential statutory or regulatory pathways for implementation of the models and assisting in identifying potential sources of funding to implement the models.” The bill asks for $20 million to fund the program for five years and would award up to twenty-five “Social Determinants Accelerator Grants” to state and local governments or tribal health and human service agencies.
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