Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Report to Congress

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Report to Congress

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission released its March report to Congress. It details the fee-for-service payment recommendations for 2020 approved by the commission in January, including recommendations for hospital services and post-acute care. The report also includes MedPAC’s recommendation to replace the four existing inpatient quality programs with one single program, the Hospital Value Incentive Program.  

The report can be obtained at http://medpac.gov/docs/default-source/reports/mar19_medpac_entirereport_sec.pdf?sfvrsn=0.

Applications Open for HRSA 2019 Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP) funding

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the 2019 Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP). OWEP works to enhance community-based experiential training for student behavioral health professionals focusing on Opioid Use Disorder and other Substance Abuse Disorders. Application deadline is May 7, 2019.

Click here for more info.

Health Care Analysis Tool For Health Care Spending And Use Of Services

A new health care analysis tool from the Health Care Cost Institute shows that medical spending across the U.S. has increased even though individuals used fewer health care services. An examination of data between 2012 and 2016 across 112 metro areas found that spending increased nearly 13 percent, while the use of services was down by 17 percent.  

The tool can be obtained at https://www.healthcostinstitute.org/research/hmi/hmi-interactive?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=103c773fcd-MR_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-103c773fcd-149940042.

Education & Labor Committee Hearing on the Cost of College

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach”. Discussions centered around barriers to postsecondary education for all students, but particularly low-income and students of color. There was bipartisan agreement that students need to learn financial literacy, so they can understand that taking out the maximum loan amount is not always necessary and also understand the process for repayment. There was also bipartisan support to expand awareness and increase resources for technical education and community colleges along with expanding Pell to short-term programs. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness faced disagreement with Republicans questioning the negative incentives to borrow more while Democrats believe eliminating PSLF will reduce the diversity of the industries eligible for PSLF.

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Affordability Of 2019 ACA Premiums For Members Of Middle Income Group

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after several years of rising ACA plan premiums, their prices are falling in many parts of the U.S. for 2019. Despite this trend, premiums for even the cheapest exchange plans remain out of reach for many middle class individuals who are not eligible for ACA subsidies, particularly those who are older or live in high-premium areas.  

More information can be obtained at https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/how-affordable-are-2019-aca-premiums-for-middle-income-people/.

IPEC Spring Institute and April Webinar

The Early-bird registration deadline ends Friday, March 15, for the Spring 2019 Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) Institute in Washington, DC. Taking place May 22-24, 2019, the Spring Institute will be a unique gathering of health professions faculty, collaborative partners, expert presenters and staff facilitators. The next IPEC webinar, “Enabling IPE Through Health Communications & Health Technology”, takes place on Thursday, April 18, from 2-3pm ET and will feature the 2017 and 2018 USPHS IPEC honorable mention winners in the category of health communications and technology.

Links below:

Senate HELP Hearing on Simplifying FAFSA

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification”. There was bipartisan support for reducing the number of FAFSA questions, sharing data between the IRS and FSA, expanding Pell to short-term programs, and introducing CTE and community colleges to middle and high school students. Concern was expressed for first generation students and students of color who get selected for verification and may end up not going to college because they just stop the process, while the questions flagged for verification could be answered with data sharing between the IRS and FSA.

Read ASAHP’s Full Memo here.

Hill Briefing on HRSA Workforce Development

The Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) will be holding a briefing titled “HRSA Workforce Development: Shaping the Health Care Workforce for Underserved Communities” on Thursday, March 14, from 9-10am in the Rayburn 2043 House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The briefing is intended to serve as an overview of Title VII and Title VIII programs for new congressional staff. Speakers include:

  • Dr. Janice Berry Edwards: Associate Professor, Howard University School of Social Work

  • Dr. Kevin Lohenry: Clinical Professor of Family Medicine (Clinician Educator), Director of USC Primary Care Physician Assistant Program, Vice Chair for Educational Affairs, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine

  • Dr. Julie Sochalski: Associate Professor of Nursing, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Please RSVP to Brett Roude (broude@aamc.org) if you would like to attend. Breakfast quiche will be served.  

CMS Improving Nursing Home Compare

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced updates coming next month to Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Quality Rating System to strengthen this tool for consumers to compare quality between nursing homes. The April 2019 updates to Nursing Home Compare are part of a broad range of updates that have been under development for the last several years.  

Information about Nursing Home Compare can be obtained at  https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html.

ASAHP Joins Joint Letter to Congress on HEA Reauthorization

ASAHP joined other members of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) in a letter to Congress which recommends that reauthorization of the Higher Education Act adhere to several key principles . ASAHP also joined FASHP in a letter urging Congress to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Joint HEA Reauthorization Letter

Joint PSLF Letter

The Challenge Of Affording Prescription Medication Costs

The results of a new Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll show that eight in 10 U.S. adults say prescription drug costs are “unreasonable,” one in four respondents say their prescription medicines are difficult to afford, and three in 10 adults reported not taking their medicines as prescribed due to the cost. 

Poll results can be obtained at https://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kff-health-tracking-poll-february-2019-prescription-drugs/.

Medicaid Eligibility And Work Requirements

Arkansas provides an example of how beneficiaries who fail to submit monthly paperwork to prove they were working can be disenrolled from Medicaid coverage. A commentary from the Commonwealth Fund describes how short gaps in coverage can disrupt health care and cause economic distress. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2019/medicaid-work-requirements-increase-coverage-gaps.

Watch Sen. Patty Murray Speak on Her Vision for HEA Today

Senator Patty Murray, the Ranking Member of the HELP Committee, who is charged with rewriting the Higher Education Act in partnership with HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will be speaking at 2:30 today at the Center for American Progress about her principles for HEA reauthorization. Murray is also a recipient of ASAHP’s Distinguished Service and Achievement Award.

Click here to view ASAHP’s summary of her remarks. 

OLC, UPCEA & WCET Release Policy Briefs on Digital Learning

As discussions on contemporary learners continue at the Department of Education, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) released four policy briefs on digital learning. The educational landscape has changed from full-time college-aged students to more part-time learners with jobs and families. The briefs can be found below.

Physician Burnout Declines

For the first time since 2011, the physician burnout rate has dropped below 50% among doctors in the U.S., according to a new triennial study conducted by researchers from the AMA, the Mayo Clinic, and Stanford University School of Medicine. Although the decrease is welcome news, more work is needed to achieve meaningful change.  

An article in Mayo Clinical Proceedings can be obtained at https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30938-8/fulltext.

Apply Now for ASAHP's Scholarship of Excellence

The purpose of the scholarship program is to recognize outstanding students in the allied health professions who are achieving excellence in their academic programs and have significant potential to assume future leadership roles in the allied health professions. The selected student will receive a $1,000 scholarship. This year's deadline is Friday, June 7, 2019.

More info: http://www.asahp.org/scholarship

Promoting Health And Cost Control In States

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) created Promoting Health and Cost Control in States (PHACCS), an initiative that pinpoints the most promising evidence-based policies to provide state leaders with policy recommendations to best promote healthy lifestyles and control costs. A new report is the first publication of the PHACCS initiative.

The report can be obtained at  https://www.tfah.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-PHACCS-Report_FINAL.pdf.

Status And Trends In The Education Of Racial And Ethnic Groups

A report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) profiles current conditions and recent trends in the education of students by racial and ethnic group. It summarizes data on topics such as demographics; pre-primary, elementary, and secondary participation; student achievement; student behaviors; and persistence in education, post-secondary education, and outcomes of education.

The report can be obtained at https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2019/2019038.pdf.