Efforts To Increase Medi-Cal Rates Continue, Despite SCOTUS Ruling

California providers will continue efforts to increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, despite this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting lawsuits against state Medicaid agencies over low rates, theSacramento Business Journal reports. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/1). Read more here.

Senate Passes VA Suicide Prevention Bill, Sends to Obama To Sign

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 99-0 to pass a bill (HR 203) aimed at reducing suicide among veterans, the AP/Washington Timesreports. About 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the AP/Times (Daly, AP/Washington Times, 2/3). Background The Clay Hunt Act, named for a veteran who committed suicide, passed in the House last session. However, Read More »

Public Comment Requested on Criteria for Community Clinics

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is seeking public comment on the draft criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. These clinics will focus on improving outcomes by increasing access to community-based behavioral health care, expanding the availability and array of services, and improving the quality of care delivered to people with mental Read More »

Rural hospitals closing at alarming rate

In the past year alone, more rural hospitals closed than in the prior 15 years combined. This is a staggering fact, which is under reported by national media. When a rural hospital closes, the community often also loses affiliated rural health clinics, local ambulance service, mental health services, long-term care, rural surgery, rehab, home health Read More »

House Approves Bipartisan Budget Deal That Includes ‘Doc Fix’

The House on Thursday voted 332-94 to approve a bipartisan budget deal that includes a short-term Medicare “doc fix”. The budget deal — negotiated by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — would increase discretionary spending by $63 billion. The increase would be divided evenly between Read More »

Covered California, Other State Exchanges Begin Enrollment

On Tuesday, state health insurance exchanges — including Covered California — opened for enrollment. Background Covered California — developed under the Affordable Care Act — primarily serves individuals and small businesses. Supporters hope that the exchange will function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia, allowing users to choose among various health plans through an Read More »

IRS sets penalties for patients who skip reform coverage

The Internal Revenue Service has finalized penalties for individuals who do not obtain health insurance under healthcare reform. Under the final rules, the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining essential coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is based on the greater of either a flat dollar amount or a percentage of household Read More »

Much of ACA already in Place

The eyes of the entire nation will soon be on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which takes full effect Jan. 1 with the requirement that nearly all Americans obtain health insurance or else pay a penalty on their taxes. But many people probably don’t know that much of the new law has actually been in Read More »