Challenges Of Living With A Disability

Findings from a recent Health Care in America survey show that in addition to the challenge of affording the health care and social supports they need, Americans with disabilities also contend with roadblocks when seeking care. Changes both large and small can help make our health care system more responsive.

Survey results can be obtained at http://features.commonwealthfund.org/health-care-in-america?_ga=2.19437432.1955350527.1549291293-991394867.1549291293.

Investing In Student Mental Health

A new brief from the American Council on Education finds investing time and resources in student mental health makes good academic and economic sense for colleges, universities, and society at large. The paper uses empirical evidence from college student populations and examples from college presidents to examine how higher education leadership can advocate for and invest in student mental health.  

The brief can be obtained at https://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Investing-in-Student-Mental-Health.pdf.

Insider Recap on DoED Neg Reg Session on State Authorization

Please find a link to a helpful recap of the discussions surrounding State Authorization in the Department of Education’s recent federal negotiated rulemaking session. The author, Russ Poulin, is a Senior Director at WCET who has been closely following State Authorization issues for years and served as a member of this rulemaking panel.  

The panel recommended the continuation of the current state reciprocity agreement (SARA) structure and Poulin provides helpful insights into these negotiations.

Register for IPEC's Health Communications & Technology Webinar

Join the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) for this week’s free webinar on best practices and innovative technologies for interprofessional education (IPE). The 2017 and 2018 United States Public Health Service–IPEC Award honorable mention recipients for the category of health communications and technology will be on hand to discuss the key takeaways from their IPE projects.

For additional information and to register for this webinar, click here.

State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) Report Released by SHEEO

The State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) Report examines the trends, context, and consequences of state higher education funding decisions. For 16 years, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has produced this annual report to broaden understanding and enable analysis of state-level and national funding and enrollment trends over time.

Read more in this week’s ASAHP Update.

Innovations To Meet The Needs Of High-Need, High-Cost Populations

One way to improve care for high-need, high-cost patients and make the health system more effective is to identify promising care delivery and payment innovations from accountable care models around the world. A publication from the Commonwealth Fund explores best practices from a global innovation database to improve health outcomes and reduce the total cost of care for high-need, high-cost populations in the U.S. 

It can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2019/adapting-promising-innovations-meet-needs-high-need-high-cost-populations.

Senate HELP Hearing on Strengthening Higher Education Accountability

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strengthening Accountability to Protect Students and Taxpayers” in which Members and witnesses discussed current and potential innovations to holding higher education institutions accountable for ensuring their students are receiving high-quality degrees relevant to today’s workforce needs.

Republicans supported the idea that loan repayment rates would be a better measure of student achievement than the cohort default rate. They emphasized the flexibility granted to accreditors to work with more at-risk institutions, yet some regulations hold them back from fully supporting these institutions. Ranking Member Murray was concerned about the varied state authorizations for distance learning, but that they all should focus on quality assurance. In terms of accreditation, she believes that if there is program level accountability, there should additionally be a catch all institutional backstop.

There were also discussions on ensuring CTE and certificate programs have similar accountability measures as robust as the measures for 4-year institutions.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Medical Malpractice Liability Laws, Health Care Spending, And The Federal Budget

A new paper from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)reviews the recent literature on the effect of changes in traditional liability laws on health care spending and presents new analyses of how such changes affect Medicare, Medicaid, and other spending. The CBO is incorporating those assessments into its updated modeling of the budgetary effects of changes in traditional liability laws. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2019-04/55104-Medical%20Malpractice_WP.pdf.

Dept of Ed Policies & Priorities Hearing before the House Ed & Labor Committee

The House Education & Labor Committee held a hearing on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education” in which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos discussed the Department’s priorities.

CTE, apprenticeships, and Pell grants for short-term programs received bipartisan and Administration support. Democrats questioned why Education Freedom Scholarships are a 100% tax credit and how they are not actually contributions. Republicans disagreed stating that the scholarships are a voluntary contribution that can be used to create new school programs or even transportation to CTE programs. Democrats also disagreed with the $60 million proposed for charter schools instead of increasing funds for public schools.

The high cost of attending 4-year institutions and the large amount of student debt concerned both parties. Sec. DeVos discussed the NextGen plan, which includes helping high school students learn more about program costs and earning potential through the College Scorecard and the Administration’s support for various pathways. Republicans emphasized Congress’ responsibility in creating PSLF and how the Department is only responsible to carry out what Congress outlined. The Department is looking to phase out PSLF, which greatly concerned Democrats.

There was disagreement on the Department’s negotiated rulemaking process with Ranking Member Virginia Foxx defending the Department and Rep. Pramila Jayapal noting the lack of student advocates and state attorney generals on the panel. Democrats asked about the Department’s plan for schools with crumbling infrastructure, and Sec. DeVos believes that is a state and local issue.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Legislative Activity On Medicaid

A report from the Commonwealth Fund discusses how the 2018 election of Democratic governors and passage of ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid in conservative states laid the groundwork for serious debates about Medicaid expansion in some states. Also considered are still-unresolved questions surrounding pending federal and state efforts to expand, or restrict, a program created to provide health coverage to low incomes beneficiaries. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2019/up-close-legislative-activity-medicaid-heating-up-across-country.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Podcast

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the latest episode of a podcast, CMS: Beyond the Policy, featuring highlights from the 2019 CMS Quality Conference.  An annual event attracting over 3,000 participants, this year’s meeting had a strong focus on reducing clinician burden so they can focus on patients, promoting health care choice and driving value-based care.   

The podcast can be obtained at https://www.cms.gov/podcast/episode-2-2019-cms-quality-conference.

Senate Appropriations HHS FY 20 Budget Hearing

The Senate Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee Hearing on “FY 2020 Budget Request for the Health and Human Services Department” in which HHS Secretary Azar testified on behalf of the Department’s budget request.

Both parties supported the fight against opioid addiction, and Sec. Azar expressed his willingness to work with Congress to develop legislation, such as including Jessie’s Law in the SUPPORT Act. With increasing rates of e-cigarette usage among youth, Sec. Azar committed to address tobacco use by potentially adding more regulation but called upon manufacturers to better control the sale of their products. A majority of the hearing focused on how HHS is handling unaccompanied minors at the border, health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and Title X family planning funds.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Innovations To Meet The Needs Of High-Need, High-Cost Populations

One way to improve care for high-need, high-cost patients and make the health system more effective is to identify promising care delivery and payment innovations from accountable care models around the world. A publication from the Commonwealth Fund explores best practices from a global innovation database to improve health outcomes and reduce the total cost of care for high-need, high-cost populations in the U.S.

It can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2019/adapting-promising-innovations-meet-needs-high-need-high-cost-populations.

Addressing Campus Sexual Assault And Ensuring Student Safety And Rights

Related to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor And Pensions (HELP) Committee conducted a hearing on April 2, 2019 on Addressing Campus Sexual Assault And Ensuring Student Safety And Rights.  

A video of the event and copies of testimony by witnesses can be obtained at https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/reauthorizing-hea-addressing-campus-sexual-assault-and-ensuring-student-safety-and-rights.

House Department of Labor FY 20 Budget Hearing

The House Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Hearing on “Department of Labor Budget Request for FY 2020” in which Labor Secretary Acosta testified on behalf of the Department’s budget request.

Both Republicans and Democrats supported the expansion of registered apprenticeships; Republicans additionally supported the Administration’s industry recognized apprenticeship program (IRAP) that would include intermediaries to help industries expand and scale their apprenticeship programs.

Democrats repeatedly asked Secretary Acosta how he could cut funding for workforce development and Job Corps when he says both are priorities for the Department. Sec. Acosta discussed how tough decisions had to be made, but that Governors are coming up with innovative ideas to make Job Corps centers more effective through partnerships with community colleges or the National Guard.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

House Education & Labor Committee Hearing on Higher Education Accountability

The House Education and Labor Committee, Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Hearing on “Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers” to discuss the current roles and necessary reforms to the accountability triad: the federal government, states, and accreditors.

Both Republicans and Democrats believed that student success should be a metric measured by accreditors to determine a college or university’s success. Republicans further encouraged the use of performance-based funding, which pushes for student completion and alignment to college mission, and also for colleges to share more in the risk of financing a student’s education through innovative practices. Democrats believed that performance-based funding could lead to inequities, where colleges may not admit underrepresented, more at- risk individuals.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Integrating Health Care And Social Services For Patients With Serious Illness

As a way of better understanding and facilitating discussions about challenges and opportunities related to integrating health care and social services for patients with serious illness, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a full-day public workshop on July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A new publication summarizes presentations and discussions from the workshop. 

It can be obtained at https://www.nap.edu/read/25350/chapter/1.