HHS Issues $100+ Million Grant Announcment for Hospitals, Others: Community Transformation

The purpose of this grant is to create healthier communities by a) building capacity to implement broad evidence and practice-based policy, environmental, programmatic and infrastructure changes; and b) supporting implementation of such interventions in five strategic areas : 1) changes in weight, 2) changes in proper nutrition, 3) changes in physical activity, 4) changes in tobacco use prevalence, and 5) changes in emotional well being and overall mental health.  Up to 75 grants will be awarded.  The Administration will seek another $800 million for this program over the next five years.

An executive summary of the grant is posted to our website front page.  Click here.  Letters of Intent are due by June 6.  Our 40-member grant writing team is prepared to help you apply.  Call Gwen Mathews, our partner who heads that team, for more information at 202-266-2600.


Rough Sledding for ACOs

HHS says it is hearing all the complaints about its month-old draft ACOs regulations.  Because the draft regs are issued, HHS can’t comment much more than that – until after it issues the final regs — but HHS officials are strongly encouraging comments.  And those comments are coming.  All the large clinics that participated in phase one of the Physician Group Practice demo at HHS — thought to be first in line to start an ACO — have said they are NOT planning to under the conditions of the draft regs. The American Medical Group Association slammed the regs in a letter you can read here.


Medicaid Cuts By State

The Kaiser Foundation is out with a new report that shows the state-by-state impact of the Medicaid block grant program in the House GOP budget that passed last month.  Click here to review the 20-page report.  Among other changes, projected federal spending on Medicaid for the 10-year period 2012 to 2021 would fall by $1.4 trillion, a 34 percent decline. By 2021, states would receive $243 billion less annually in federal Medicaid money than they would under current law, a 44 percent reduction.


Medicare Trust Fund Loses Longevity

The good news, according to the report issued friday, is that the Medicare trust fund should be good until 2016.  The bad news is that it is 5 years less than what was projected in last year’s report.  Economists says its because of the struggling economy.  The 273-page report, click here, is loaded with good information.


Tort Reform Bill Passes House Committee

By a vote of 30 to 20, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a significant medical malpractice reform bill.  Among its provisions:  Ensures plaintiffs can recover full economic losses, but limits non-economic damages to $250,000. It establishes a fair share rule that apportions damages based on a defendant’s degree of fault. It establishes a sliding scale for attorney contingency fees to ensure patients can access legal representation without forfeiting an exorbitant share of the damages they are awarded to trial lawyers.  The bill will likely pass the full House but run into major roadblocks in the Senate. Click here for more information.


Most Conservative House GOP Members Pushing Huge Cuts for Debt Ceiling Vote

The House’s most conservative wing – the Republican Study Committee — is circulating a sign-on letter to other House members urging House leadership to support significant changes as a condition of a vote to increase the federal debt ceiling.   A copy of the RSC Letter and graphic summary on the federal debt are attached here.


Virtually All Women Covered Under Health Reform Law

According to a Commonwealth Fund report issues last week, the Affordable Care Act will provide coverage to “nearly all uninsured women.” A survey found that in 2010, 27 million women ages 19-64 were uninsured for all or part of 2010. Click here to review the study.


New HHS Study on Uninsured Underscores Payment Issues

On average, uninsured families can only afford to pay in full for about 12% of the admissions to hospital (hospitalizations) they might experience. Even uninsured families with incomes above 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can afford to pay in full for only 37% of their hospitalizations.  Hospitalizations for which the uninsured cannot pay in full account for 95% of the total amount hospitals bill the uninsured. Even among the uninsured with incomes above 400% FPL, hospitalizations for which the patient would not be able to pay in full account for 64% of the total amount hospitals bill the uninsured. Click here to see the study.

Please don’t hesitate to call us for more information.

Paul Lee
Senior Partner
Strategic Health Care