KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

CMS Raises Questions About N.H. Medicaid Reimbursement; Other Medicaid News

The federal agency requests state data and analysis about cuts in payments to hospitals in recent years.

Modern Healthcare: CMS Queries N.H. On Medicaid Rate Cuts
The CMS requested that the New Hampshire health department provide detailed information about reductions in Medicaid reimbursement rates in recent years. In a May 23 letter, CMS Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann asked the state's Department of Health and Human Services to submit specific data and analysis about Medicaid rate and payment reimbursements within 30 days (Lee, 6/4).

The Union Leader (New Hampshire): State HHS Commissioner Says Federal Claims About Data Are Wrong
The commissioner of state Health and Human Services Department has reacted angrily to allegations from the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid that the department is not providing data on residents' access to services. In a letter to commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asserted that the New Hampshire department has not furnished data to refute charges that access has been greatly diminished (Siefer, 6/4).

Meanwhile, other outlets reported on Medicaid news in California and Georgia:

California Healthline: State Health Officials Intrigued By New Medi-Cal Data
Last week, the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline, released a survey of the attitudes and concerns of Medi-Cal beneficiaries. It has been a relatively long time since a similar survey was completed in 2000, so state health care officials were extremely pleased to get updated information, (Len Finocchio, director of the Department of Health Care Services) said. ... One of the main general findings in the current survey is that beneficiaries are pretty happy with Medi-Cal. According to survey results, about 90 percent of the Medi-Cal insured have a positive view of the program and 78 percent said the program covers the care people need (Gorn, 6/5).

Contra Costa Times/McClatchy Newspapers: Challenges, Opportunities Lie Ahead For Medi-Cal As It Readies For Major Expansion
As California's Medi-Cal program readies for an influx of 2 million to 3 million people when national health reforms kick in, major challenges lie ahead, including finding enough specialists who will see participants. The state's existing 7.5 million Medi-Cal recipients already have difficulty accessing specialists, according to a study by the California HealthCare Foundation. And adults on Medi-Cal are twice as likely to visit the emergency room as people with other coverage, the study reveals. This may be an indication of greater difficulty in seeing primary care doctors (Kleffman, 6/4).

Georgia Health News: New Plan For Medicaid Is Weeks Away
The state's Medicaid agency Monday announced an updated timeline for its decision on how the health program will be restructured. A press release said the state's decision about the new model for Medicaid and PeachCare will come this summer, as experts had anticipated. And the Department of Community Health said it is projecting that it will begin the vendor procurement process with a Request for Proposals sometime this fall (Miller, 6/4).

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