Advocacy E-News January 3, 2017
January 3, 2017
NEW JERSEY FALSELY CLAIMED $95 MILLION IN MEDICAID PAYMENT
The state of New Jersey has falsely claimed at least $94.8 million in Medicaid reimbursement over the last four years, according to a new report from the HHS’ Office of Inspector General. The OIG found that the New Jersey Department of Human Services didn’t comply with federal and state requirements regarding reimbursement for its Medicaid Partial Care Services Program. The program provides outpatient clinical services to Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness as a way to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
CARRIE FISHER PUT PEN AND VOICE IN SERVICE OF ‘BIPOLAR PRIDE’
In her long, openhearted life, the actress and author Carrie Fisher brought the subject of bipolar disorder into the popular culture with such humor and hard-boiled detail that her death on Tuesday triggered a wave of affection on social media and elsewhere, from both fans and fellow bipolar travelers, whose emotional language she knew and enriched.
KITTY DUKAKIS, A BENEFICIARY OF ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY, EMERGES AS ITS EVANGELIST
When Michael Dukakis lost the presidential election in 1988, his wife, Kitty, felt as if she had been squashed in a compactor, all the air forced out of her. Her even-keeled husband went back to work as governor of Massachusetts; she started binge drinking. Her drinking masked a long-smoldering depression that eventually led her to receive electroconvulsive therapy, also known as electroshock therapy or ECT. Now, 15 years later, the Dukakises have emerged as the nation’s most prominent evangelists for electroconvulsive therapy.
THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE HAS SOME BAD NEWS FOR OBAMACARE REPEALER
The Congressional Budget Office has stepped into the Obamacare repeal fight, issuing a fierce warning to Republicans in the form of a sternly worded blog post. CBO is the government’s nonpartisan scorekeeper. The CBO says it won’t let ACA opponents count especially skimpy coverage as health insurance. They argue that health insurance needs to provide “financial protection against high medical costs” for CBO to count the people who buy it as covered.
This is important, because in principle you could provide insurance coverage to everyone while spending practically nothing if you were willing to make the insurance totally worthless.
NEW JERSEY RECEIVES OVER $45 MILLION IN FEDERAL GRANTS TO COMBAT HOMELESSNESS
As reported by The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addictions Agencies, on December 20, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced almost $2 billion in grants to states for programs to prevent and end homelessness. The grants are part of HUD’s Continuum of Care initiative, which encourages state and local organizations , many of whom serve individuals with a mental illness to establish “Continuums of Care” to serve the individuals and families who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.
HOSPITALS IN SAFETY NET BRACE FOR HEALTH CARE LAW’S REPEAL
Under the health law, hospitals that served a large number of poor and uninsured patients agreed to a series of funding cuts in exchange for getting far more patients with insurance coverage. Temple has lost about $11 million so far in these federal funds, known as disproportionate share payments. But like other hospitals in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the law, it has made up that revenue in part through the Medicaid expansion.
Since the election, hospitals have been among the loudest voices against wholesale repeal of the health law. They have predicted widespread layoffs, cuts in outpatient care and services for the mentally ill, and even hospital closings.
THE QUIET WAR ON MEDICAID
Without an intense focus on the widespread benefits of Medicaid and its efficiency, it will be too easy to market the false notion that Medicaid is a bloated, wasteful program and that such financing caps are means simply to give states more flexibility while “slowing growth.” Medicaid’s actual spending per beneficiary has, on average, grown about 3 percentage points less each year than it has for those with private health insurance.