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AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan activates emergency preparedness teams to assist members during Hurricane Sandy
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AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan, a member of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, has activated its emergency preparedness teams to ensure continuity of services to assist members during Hurricane Sandy. Emergency preparedness teams will remain in effect until further notice. Members who need to evacuate their homes due to flooding or other storm-related reasons should make sure they take their AMHP member ID cards and a government-issued photo ID with them. More

MHPA's Joe Moser braves Hurricane Sandy, speaks at NAMD on measuring access to care in Medicaid managed care
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Despite the closing of just about everything in the Washington, D.C., area, MHPA Director of Government Affairs Joe Moser spoke Oct. 29 at the National Association of Medicaid Directors Conference panel titled "Access to Care in Medicaid: Balancing National Goals and State Capacity," along with Tom Betlach, Arizona's Medicaid director, and Heather Foster from the National Association of Community Health Centers. View Moser's presentation on measuring access to care in Medicaid managed care. More

MHPA holds another successful annual meeting
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For the first time in eight years, MHPA's annual meeting was at full capacity. The support of our meeting attendees and sponsors, especially our Chairman's sponsor (Amerihealth Mercy) and Presidential sponsors (Watson and WellPoint), made the success of this year's meeting possible. We hope you found our insightful keynote speakers and sessions geared to our health plan members useful and informative. Visit for downloadable PDFs of select conference presentations.

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CEOs urge Congress to reduce federal deficit
The Associated Press via Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Chief executives from more than 80 major U.S. companies are pressing Congress to reduce the federal deficit by raising taxes and cutting spending. They warned in a statement that the uncertainty spawned by the deficit, which has topped $1 trillion for four consecutive years, is dampening businesses' hiring and investment and stifling the fragile economic recovery. The CEOs said the solution required a combination of higher taxes and reduced government spending, including cutting entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. They also sought federal investment in infrastructure and math and science education. More

Medicaid spending growth drops as enrollment slows
Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a sign of the improving national economy, Medicaid spending growth this year slowed to 2 percent as enrollment in the state-federal health insurance program for the poor also slowed for the third consecutive year, according to a report. In 2011, Medicaid spending soared by nearly 10 percent, which helped put the entitlement program in the crosshairs of politicians looking to lower the federal deficit and ease pressure on state budgets. The increase this year is the smallest since 2006, said the report, based on a 50-state survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) More

Study: GOP plan would cut Medicaid by $1.7 trillion
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The House Republican plan to repeal President Barack Obama's health law and turn Medicaid into a block grant program would save the federal government $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022, a 38-percent spending reduction, according to a report by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation. It also would result in 31 million to 38 million fewer people getting Medicaid coverage in 2022, according to the report. The entitlement program, jointly financed by state and federal governments, now provides health coverage to about 62 million poor people, about half of whom are children. More

As fiscal cliff looms, Medicare, Medicaid face uncertain futures
NPR via Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
No matter who wins the election Nov. 6, official Washington will have to deal with something called the "fiscal cliff" before the end of the year. What's coming is a perfect storm of expiring tax cuts, scheduled budget cuts and various other spending changes scheduled to take place Jan. 1 unless Congress and President Barack Obama (who, no matter what, will still be president until next Jan. 20) agree on a way to avert them. As two of the largest spending items in the federal budget, the Medicare and Medicaid health programs are expected to play a role in how the deal gets done. More

Report: Health law's costs continuing to grow
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The most expensive part of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law keeps getting more expensive. The cost of providing subsidies to help people buy insurance could continue to rise, straining the federal budget more than expected, the conservative American Action Forum said in a recently published paper. The think tank, led by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, compared CBO's initial estimates for the Affordable Care Act to CBO's most recent analysis, issued this summer after the Supreme Court upheld the law. More

Debate brings attention to states' Medicaid plans
POLITICO    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pushed for Medicaid block grants that significantly would cut program spending and provide states with the ultimate flexibility to design the healthcare program without Washington meddling. But the two examples of state Medicaid programs he cited as success stories during the last presidential debate Oct. 22 don't quite fit the mold of traditional block grants — at least not the kind that Republicans have been clamoring for. More

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New York governor's Medicaid changes at Washington's Mercy
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Depending on who is doing the talking these days, New York State is either a national model of how to curb Medicaid spending, or the nation’s prime example of Medicaid abuse. Now billions of dollars in state revenue may ride on which image prevails, as presidential politics puts a new spotlight on the joint federal and state spending program for care of the disabled, the elderly and the poor. No state spends more Medicaid money than New York — $54 billion a year. But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, persuaded healthcare providers and major health worker unions to live within a strict Medicaid spending limit last year, and to accept an ambitious Medicaid redesign that promises better health outcomes at a lower cost. More

Vermont pushes state employees to use CHIP program for their children
Vermont Public Radio via Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The administration of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is encouraging state employees with children to consider dropping their children from their parents' healthcare plan and instead enrolling them in Dr. Dinosaur, Vermont's version of the state-federal health insurance program for low-income children. The administration says the change could save state employees a lot of money — and it could reduce the state's healthcare costs by millions of dollars. Several weeks ago, 2,100 state employees with children who meet certain income thresholds received a memo from the Shumlin administration outlining how this option would lead to savings both for the employee and for the state. More

Medicaid expansion pushed by Mississippi policy center
WLBT-TV via WLOX-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's a much debated decision in Mississippi; whether to expand the state's Medicaid program or leave it alone. That was the topic of discussion as part of the recent Mississippi Economic Policy Center's annual conference. "It's a huge public health and economic opportunity for our state," said center director Ed Sivak. He highlighted a report from the Institutions of Higher Learning that showed expanding the program would cost the state much less than previously estimated. More

GOP legislators vow to block Tennessee Medicaid expansion
Knoxville News Sentinel    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is undecided, at last report, about whether to take advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and block Medicaid expansion that initially was required under the Affordable Care Act. Two Republican lawmakers say they're moving ahead with plans to block the expansion, contrary to the position pushed by Tennessee hospitals. More

GOP budget plan would cut federal Medicaid spending in Kansas by 36 percent
Kaiser Health Institute    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If policies proposed by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, were put in place, among the results would be deep cuts in federal Medicaid spending in Kansas and other states, according to a new report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Nationwide, federal Medicaid spending would drop $1.7 trillion between 2013 and 2022, according to the analysis. Of that, $932 billion would come from repealing the Affordable Care Act. More

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Pennsylvania families will get chance to rejoin Medicaid
The Associated Press via Lebanon Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than 100,000 Pennsylvania households who were booted from Medicaid amid a state effort to purge the program of waste will get a chance to have their medical benefits reinstated, advocates announced. Lawyers said they have reached a settlement with the Department of Public Welfare to resolve claims that eligible families improperly were purged from the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. "We are happy to say that both sides have reached an agreement that benefits working families and people with disabilities," Richard Weishaupt, an attorney for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, said in a statement. More

Candidates talk Medicaid In Washington state governor's race
NPR via Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Medicaid — and how to expand the program — has become an issue in the competitive governor's race in Washington State. In Washington State, Chris Gregoire, the current Democratic governor, chose to continue with plans for expansion. But Gregoire is not seeking re-election, and whoever is elected governor this fall could change that course. The issue is playing out in an extremely tight race pitting Democrat Jay Inslee, an eight-term congressman from Seattle, against Republican Rob McKenna, the attorney general. More

Keeping You Healthy video for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 'Gift for Life' mammography outreach program
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Keystone Mercy Health Plan's "Gift for Life," an aggressive mammography outreach and event scheduling program, provides mammography screenings for their members in their own neighborhoods. Through partnerships with mobile mammography vans and local providers, Keystone Mercy arranged accessible locations throughout their five-county service area to engage members who have not had screenings in the past two years. Learn more about this best practice, which was nominated for both the Center for Best Practices 2012 Outreach award and Innovation award, from Veronica Medina, director of the Rapid Response and Outreach Program for Keystone Mercy Health Plan. More

New call for submissions: Diabetes Care Best Practices Compendium
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Medicaid Health Plans of America is calling for case studies from our member organizations that will help to highlight real-world examples of best practices related diabetes prevention and treatment. We invite member and partner organizations to submit information to be included in the MHPA Diabetes Care Best Practices Compendium, to be published in January 2013. More

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Free webinar by MHPA partner LexisNexis: 'Why Identity Management Matters to Medicaid' | 1 p.m. EST Nov. 8
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As a Medicaid Plan you should not just be addressing the "what" of identity management — the technical side — but, more important, the question of "who?" How do we know who the person on the other end is who they say they are and what risks they may pose for the environments and systems they are attempting to enter? More

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Bloomberg BNA webinar: 'Medicaid Managed Care: Industry Trends and the Inclusion and Exclusion of Benefits and Services' by MHPA
CEO Thomas Johnson | 1-2:30 p.m. EST Nov. 8

Bloomberg BNA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Because of budget constraints and a movement toward emphasizing better care coordination, states are increasingly interested in beginning new Medicaid managed care programs and/or expanding programs already in place. This program will address current and projected Medicaid managed care trends, provide an understanding of carve-outs, with a special focus on pharmacy benefits, discuss trends related to pharmacy carve-outs and provide insight as to what can be expected regarding Medicaid managed care benefits and services in the future. Attendees who currently work with Medicaid health plans or expect to in the future will benefit from learning industry insights into Medicaid managed care growth and expansion, treatment of various benefits and services in state contracts and industry expectations for carve-ins and carve-outs moving forward. To receive a 20 percent discount off registration and receive CLE credit for attending, choose the "Live Webinar" option and use promo code LGAUEBR2. More

Take action for World Diabetes Day: Attend MHPA's free webinar by Novo Nordisk on diabetes trends to 2025 and resources for policymakers, patients | noon EST Nov. 14
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In an effort to help confront the epidemic of diabetes, Novo Nordisk commissioned and funded "United States' Diabetes Crisis: Today and Future Trends," the first study to provide detailed diabetes prevalence and cost forecasts individually for all 50 states out to the year 2025. The study not only provides insight into how the growing diabetes epidemic geographically will spread in the U.S., but also highlights how this demographic shift might affect local economies. This webinar will provide an overview of the study from lead researcher Dr. Bill Rowley and will introduce the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Barometer, an interactive tool and comprehensive resource that highlights important research about the current state of diabetes in the United States. Participants also will learn how to use the interactive map portion of the website to benchmark and compare diabetes prevalence and cost forecasts to 2025 for all 50 states. More

Free webinar: 'Exchange Health Plan Management Functions: URAC Accreditation & Quality Measures for Health Insurance Exchanges' | 2 p.m. EST Nov. 14
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This complimentary webinar in which URAC will present an overview of its accreditation process and quality measures as they relate to qualified health plans that participate on Health Insurance Exchanges, will be held at 2 p.m. EST Nov. 14. For more information and to register, click here.

Free webinar: 'Medication Adherence & Identifying Nonadherent Patients' by Merck | 1 p.m. EST Nov. 27
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Merck cordially invites you to a medical education program for healthcare professionals only. Merck is sponsoring this program, and the speaker is presenting on behalf of Merck. The program is a non-CME event. The information presented in this program will be consistent with FDA guidelines. The format is an interactive live webcast titled A Profile of the Concept of Medication Adherence and Strategies to Identify Nonadherent Patients Learning Objectives:
  • Define medication nonadherence and understand its prevalence among patients with chronic disease
  • Recognize the drivers of nonadherence and understand the importance of appropriate communication
  • Use the 10 Tenets model of medication adherence and the Adherence Estimator screening tool
Click here for more information or register here for the live webcast.

Health Insurance Exchanges Summit; MHPA's Thomas Johnson guest speaker | Nov. 29-30 | Las Vegas
Healthcare Education Associates    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Join Healthcare Education Associates Nov. 29-30 at the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel for the Health Insurance Exchanges Summit. This health insurance exchanges conference will deliver real, actionable takeaways for effective exchange implementation. MHPA members are eligible for a 15 percent registration discount. Mention Priority Code HMP122 during registration to enjoy this offer. More

Insights webinar: 'Reduce Outsourcing Risk' | 11 a.m. EST Dec. 20
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Details here.

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