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House Speaker says Senate will act 'sooner rather than later' on 'doc fix'
The Hill
House Speaker John Boehner is keeping quiet about whether he expects the Senate to pass the House's bipartisan Medicare bill before this week's deadline. Minutes before the House overwhelmingly voted to pass the bipartisan measure, Boehner told reporters that he expects the Senate to take up the legislation "sooner rather than later." But he declined to say when that vote could take place.
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Ohio senator seeks to bolster spending for 'medically complex' children
The Hill
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has introduced an amendment to the Republican budget that would boost Medicaid funding for "medically complex" children. The Ohio Republican's amendment would create a deficit neutral fund that would focus on increasing integrated and coordinated care for children on Medicaid who have multiple, serious, rare or chronic illnesses.
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White House backs SGR bill as Senate finance Democrats, beneficiary advocates hold out
Inside Health Policy (Subscription required)
Increasing pressure on Senate Democrats to back bipartisan House SGR legislation, the White House on March 25 threw its support behind the bill to replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula.
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Buzz: Senate alternative to Florida Medicaid expansion heads to floor
Tampa Bay Times
A third panel approved the Senate's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion and now the measure is headed to a floor vote. But things got dicey Wednesday when the Senate Appropriations Committee discussed Senate Bill 7044.
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Governor undaunted by difficult prospects for Insure Tennessee
The Associated Press via The Baltimore Sun
Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that he is willing to risk a second defeat of his Insure Tennessee proposal to highlight the need for improving health standards in the state. The Republican governor told reporters after a prayer breakfast at Lipscomb University that the more often lawmakers take up his plan, the more chances his administration has to quell concerns about the proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans by drawing down $2.8 billion in federal Medicaid funds.
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Is Arkansas' 'private option' Medicaid expansion a solution for other
red states?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Kaiser Health News
In late 2012, a small group of Arkansas Republicans met within the marbled halls of the Capitol and set a politically hazardous course. Their destination was a place few conservative lawmakers wanted even to think about. How could they transform the Affordable Care Act, a law they detested, into a tonic for their unhealthy and poverty-stricken state, and still honor their conservative principles? The result would be Arkansas' "private option" Medicaid expansion, an innovative — and untested — program that has extended health coverage to more than 233,000 poor Arkansans.
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Advocates press North Carolina legislature, governor to expand Medicaid
The Associated Press via WNCN-TV
Linda Dunn works as a house cleaner and as a nursing home aide so she can care for her 44-year-old daughter, who suffers from mental illness, diabetes and other ailments. Her 73-year-old husband has a job driving people to medical appointments. And they say it's time for North Carolina lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory to reverse course and accept federal funds to expand Medicaid health insurance coverage to about 500,000 people like them. Dunn, 68, and her family can't afford doctors and say it's time the state stepped in to help.
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Members of House Finance Committee reverse course on New Hampshire Medicaid cuts
Concord Monitor
After voting last week to eliminate coverage for "optional" Medicaid services — not mandated by the federal government but still critical for many residents living with injury or disabilities — New Hampshire state representatives reversed course yesterday afternoon, opting to maintain funding after all. State representatives from the House Finance Committee have been meeting for the last week to review Gov. Maggie Hassan's budget proposal and put together their own state funding plan.
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Ohio Medicaid letter drops 4,200 providers in error
The Columbus Dispatch
The Ohio Department of Medicaid said it erred last week when it sent letters to about 4,200 doctors, homecare workers and other Medicaid providers notifying them that they were being kicked out of the Medicaid program. A coding mistake made on Wednesday during a routine system update led to the improper notifications, said Ohio Medicaid spokesman Sam Rossi.
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Arkansas Senate approves Medicaid plan termination notices
The Associated Press via The Baltimore Sun
Thousands of people enrolled in Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion would receive notices that their coverage is ending — even though lawmakers haven't decided the program's future — under a proposal approved Monday by the Senate. The bill approved by the Senate on a 21-7 vote requires the state to send notifications to people enrolling or renewing their coverage in the state's "private option" that the program is ending Dec. 31, 2016. The proposal heads back to the House for a final vote.
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Kansas Senate passes mental health drug compromise
Kansas Health Institute
Legislators of all political stripes came together this week as the Kansas Senate passed a compromise bill regarding regulation of mental health drugs dispensed under Medicaid. Mental health advocates had balked at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's earlier bid to repeal a law barring the state from imposing any restrictions on psychotropic medications under Medicaid. A bill to do so failed to clear the Senate in February.

But a compromise bill that allows some regulations like prior authorization, subject to approval from a new advisory committee made up of mental health providers garnered support. The new bill passed its initial Senate vote verbally Monday and passed its final Senate vote 40-0 Tuesday.

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FDA approves labeling safety changes for hepatits C drugs
Inside Health Policy (Subscription required)
FDA approved labeling changes for the Hepatitis C drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi that update the warnings and precautions, adverse reactions and drug interactions sections. The changes follow serious and life-threatening cases of symptomatic Bradycardia and after one case of fatal cardiac arrest was reported when amiodarone was coadministered with either Harvoni or with Sovaldi in combination with another direct acting antiviral drug.
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April 1 Webinar Wednesday: 'Medication Monitoring & Pharmacogenetic Testing (PGT): Helping Clinicians to Individualize Safer Opioid Management'
Millennium Health
Opioid side effects and the effect of poly pharmacy have been highlighted recently in the media. Clearly, there are challenges to safely treating chronic pain in the midst of the national crisis of prescription drug abuse. This case-based webinar will highlight clinical and research experiences of integrating UDT & PGT to help improve care for the treatment of chronic pain and common co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression.
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Did you miss Webinar Wednesday: 'AAAHC Health Plan Accreditation with a Spotlight on Chronic Disease Management' by AAAHC?
MHPA
Download the presentation here.

For copies of other past webinars, visit here.

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Pay for success, social impact bonds: Request for proposals
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative released a request for proposals from asthma-related service providers to develop asthma social impact bond/pay for success projects. GHHI and its partner Calvert Foundation will provide technical assistance to five selected service providers in the catchment areas of the previously selected healthcare organizations:
  • Baystate Health (Springfield, MA)
  • Le Bonheur Children's Hospital (Memphis, TN)
  • Monroe Plan for Medical Care (Buffalo/Rochester, NY)
  • Spectrum Health (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • University of Utah Health Plans (Salt Lake, UT)
Please review the RFP; proposals are due April 8.

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Medicaid Managed Care Congress: May 20-22 in Baltimore
Medicaid Managed Care Congress
At the Medicaid Managed Care Congress, government officials, health plan executives and other key players of the healthcare ecosystem come together to hear new case studies from industry peers and expert insights from state and federal regulatory bodies. This event will discuss the successes and challenges of implementation of major ACA provisions, delivery reform and payment reform and states pursuing better value. Use code XP2026MHPAB for a 15-percent discount.
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MHPA's Legislative Fly-In | May 11 | Washington, DC
MHPA
Join us for MHPA's Legislative Fly-In, scheduled May 11 and 12 at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, to educate lawmakers on our industry and its key issues.

Click here for reservation information.

For details, please contact Nikida Levy via email or by phone at 202-857-5720.

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Job opportunity: Clinical director, Homecare & Managed Care
First Quality
First Quality, a leading manufacturer of disposable home healthcare products, is seeking a clinical director for our Homecare & Managed Care Business. This candidate will provide leadership and have a focus on clinical education, utilization management protocols and programs and operational program development within homecare and managed care markets.
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Job opportunity: Physician contract negotiator | Chicago
Aetna
Negotiates, re-negotiates and executes physician and/or provider contracts in accordance with company standards in order to maintain and enhance provider networks while meeting and exceeding accessibility, quality and financial goals. Medicaid and Medicare contracting experience strongly preferred. Enter Requisition #22158.
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MHPA's Industry NewsBrief
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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