MLA's Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

June 1, 2012 Federal Health Care Update

CCIIO Releases Reinsurance Bulletin

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) on Thursday released a bulletin regarding the temporary reinsurance program included as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA directs States to establish or to enter into a contract with one or more non-profit reinsurance entities to carry out a transitional reinsurance program. The final exchange rule clarifies that states, regardless of whether they establish an exchange, may choose to establish a transitional reinsurance program or to have the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) establish the program on their behalf. HHS will operate the reinsurance program in all non-electing states. The bulletin can be found here.

Ways and Means Passes Medical Device Repeal

The House Committee on Ways and Means this week approved legislation that would repeal the tax on medical devices included as part of the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans have yet to announce an offset for the bill, which is estimated to cost $29 billion.  To date, similar legislation has not been approved in the Senate. Additional information can be found here.

CMS Announces Antipsychotic Medication Initiative

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week announced an initiative aimed at reducing use of antipsychotic drugs among nursing home residents by 15 percent by the end of 2012. To take steps toward this goal, CMS and its industry and advocacy partners intend to implement enhanced training, increased transparency and alternatives to antipsychotic medication. Findings will be used to target and implement approaches to improve the overall management of residents with dementia, including reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs in this population.

HHS Announces Aging and Disability Resource Funding

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week announced $25 million in funding to support Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) across the country. The ADRC program seeks to strengthen and expand states’ abilities to help seniors and people with disabilities access home and community-based long-term care services and supports. The initiative is a partnership of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Through the program, the VHA will make an additional $27 million available over 3 years in ADRC-funded states through VA Medical Centers. Additional information on the funding opportunity can be found here and here.

From the States

For a recap of this week’s exchange action, please see this week’s State of the States: Health Insurance Exchange here.

California.  Officials in the state have proposed a three-month delay for the launch of their dual eligible demonstration program, moving the expected start date from March to June of 2013. In addition, CMS has indicated that it does not support “lock in” for demonstration participants, instead favoring passive enrollment with an opt-out provision.  Additional information can be found here.

New Hampshire.  The Granite Healthcare Network, a network of hospitals, and Cigna have announced this week a new accountable care organization (ACO) structure.  The ACO will be made up of 900 health care professionals and  responsible for 23,000 Cigna customers. Additional information about the effort can be found here.

Calendar: Looking Ahead

Monday, June 4

Tuesday, June 5

Wednesday, June 6

Friday, June 8