A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality


Public Hearing on MassHealth and Citizen Documentation Rules

From our colleagues at Mass. Law Reform Institute: You have an opportunity to tell MassHealth how to improve new rules for US citizens to verify citizenship and identity on October 20, 2006 at 10 a.m. Conference Room 3, 21st Floor, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA. Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. October 27, 2006. Mail comments to EOHHS, Office of Medicaid, One Ashburton Place, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02109 or E-Mail comments to masshealthpublicnotice@state.ma.us Click here for a copy of the proposed rules & notice of hearing (go to MassHealth regulations and other... Read more »

New Report on MassHealth Federal Waiver

The always excellent Mass. Medicaid Policy Institute (disclosure -- I'm a member of their board of directors) has released a brand new report on details of the federal 1115 waiver approved by the feds last July. The waiver is an essential part of the financing structure for the new health reform program. Here's the MMPI announcement: This issue brief looks at the terms and conditions of the MassHealth waiver that will run through FY 2008, as it was approved this past July. The July waiver approval incorporates the provisions of the health reform law, which enacted some of the changes... Read more »

MassHealth and Commonwealth Care Enrollment Outreach Grants

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has issued a Request for Responses (RFR) to solicit grant proposals from qualified community and consumer-focused public and private nonprofit organizations for activities directed at reaching and enrolling potentially eligible Massachusetts residents in MassHealth and Commonwealth Care. Details of this notification can be found on the Comm-PASS website at www.comm-pass.com. The document details are: Title: MassHealth and Commonwealth Care Enrollment Outreach Grants RFR; Document Number: EHS081506001;... Read more »

A Focus on Outreach by the Connector

The Outreach Subcommittee of the Connector Board held its second meeting on Friday, September 1, 2006. The committee reviewed the goals that members had established at their inaugural meeting a few weeks ago, including the idea of partnering with sports institutions to promote the upcoming Commonwealth Care products. A recommendation was made to emphasize soccer, which is a predominant sport in Hispanic communities. Read more »

How Many Uninsured in Massachusetts?

The question we are asked most often by the press and the public, "How many uninsured people are there in Massachusetts?" It's a simple question, but there's no simple answer. Counting the uninsured is tricky. This CBO study goes into some of the difficulties - do you mean uninsured all year, part of the year, or at a specific point in time? Survey methodologies make a difference - for example, a phone survey misses some very poor people without phones. Today and yesterday we got an example of the complexity. Read more »

New State Survey Shows Big Drop in MA Uninsured

A new state survey released today shows that the number of MA uninsured dropped from 460,000 in 2004 to 372,000 in 2006, a 19% decrease, giving the state a six percent uninsurance rate, among the nation's best. Click here for the state press release. Read more »

Personal Responsibility and Health Care

Two compelling articles in this week's New England Journal of Medicine on personal responsibility and health care. The topic is West Virginia's new Medicaid requirement that low income Medicaid clients sign "member responsibility and rights" agreements. Clients who don't uphold their end -- taking medications, keeping medical appointments, and avoiding unnecessary ER visits -- will have some of their benefits reduced or eliminated. In the first article, Drs. Gene Bishop and Amy Brodkey explore the WV plan and the ethical dilemmas it creates for physicians: Read more »

RealBenefits Wins First-Ever MacArthur Award to Non-Profits

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today awarded RealBenefits (a technology company started by HCFA’s partner, Community Catalyst) one of its first-ever MacArthur awards recognizing small non-profit organizations with a proven track record of creativity and effectiveness. The Foundation is awarding $500,000 to RealBenefits for its ability to change "social services as usual." Read more »

Back-to-School 2006 Campaign Launches

Back-to-School, a national outreach initiative in late summer and early fall launches this week to help uninsured families whose children may be eligible for public health insurance. The MA campaign is coordinated by the Covering Kids and Families Initiative at HCFA in partnership with Watch Your Mouth, a public awareness campaign for children’s oral health. The partnership promotes the message that healthy children are more successful in school. Back-to-School is crucial because over 54,000 Massachusetts children remain uninsured; every child in the Commonwealth is eligible for some form... Read more »

MassHealth and the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act

The Mass. Medicaid Policy Institute has released a timely and useful new fact sheet, "MassHealth and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005: New Proof-of-Citizenship and Asset Rules." You can obtain it by clicking here. The DRA contains a number of provisions designed to reduce federal Medicaid spending; the two covered by this fact sheet are among the earliest to take effect and have the most direct implications for MassHealth members. The fact sheet describes the provisions and the potential effects. The provisions are new, so we don't know yet the actual effects. MMPI poses key questions at... Read more »


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