Friday, April 21, 2017

Community Safety Net Clinics “Beyond ClinicNET”

Please Join Us via ZOOM Conference
Wednesday, April 26 @ 1:00-2:00pm
We need your input to pursue the next big steps in organizing a collective voice for CSNCs & the people we serve.  It’s time to select a partner to facilitate our refinement of shared Purpose, Outcomes & Process and develop a funding proposal.  Your engagement and commitment is essential so please prioritize participation!
Telephone: 1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 455 302 8278
Questions?  Contact Jessica Dunbar at JDUNBAR@RMYCLINICS.ORG or
Kraig Burleson at                                   

What's next at the national level with health care reform?

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition shared these thoughts earlier today:

"It’s been about a month since Congressional leaders withdrew the American Health Care Act and we’ve not seen an alternative emerge…yet. However, speculation about possible Congressional activity as early as next week is flying. Here are links to a few recent articles on likely next steps in Washington:
Locally, we appreciated seeing Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar weigh in with Colorado’s Congressional delegation today about how federal policy uncertainty could lead to significant increases in insurance costs and further destabilize the market. See the Commissioner’s comments here and read about it in this story from today’s Denver Post.

Commissioner Salazar’s letter comes in response to a couple of key developments last week. On April 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final Market Stabilization rule designed to “help lower premiums and stabilize individual and small group markets and increase choices for Americans.” You can read the CMS press release, which includes details about the rule, here or read the rule itself here. Also last week, the administration’s threat of withholding Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments included in the Affordable Care Act as a way to force negotiations over a repeal and replace bill came to a head. These stories from Vox and Bloomberg help to explain the CSR payments and how politically charged this debate over a seemingly small element of the broader health policy framework has become.

These two developments are closely connected in that they relate to stability of the private market and affordability of coverage available there. Perhaps more importantly, the controversy over these measures illustrates just how difficult it is to make effective piecemeal changes to health care.

Reactions these developments have been interesting to see. To get a sense of the opinions on both the Market Stabilization Rule and the importance of the CSR payments to both insurers and consumers, you can read comments from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Families USA, a national consumer advocacy group and see what two former Senate Majority Leaders, Bill Frist and Tom Daschle had to say here. This analysis from the Health Affairs blog and coverage in Modern Healthcare was also helpful."

Want to get active on these issues? Engage in the Protect Our Care Colorado coalition (managed by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative)!

State legislative session continues and budget stalemate!

Thanks to a contract with Frontline Public Affairs, community safety net clinic directors are receiving periodic email updates on the activities in the current 2017 State of Colorado Legislative SessionClick here to view a 2017 bill tracker specifically for community safety net clinics. Tuesday's update from Frontline:

"BUDGET STALEMATE: Two media articles are now reporting what we have known for the last week: The legislature is stuck in a budget stalemate with Senate Republicans asking the House Democrats to move budget bills forward and the House Democrats waiting for the Senate to act on SB267. In the meantime, funding for rural (and other) hospitals, transportation, and K-12 education, along with the use of Marijuana Tax Cash Funds all hang in the balance.  See today’s Denver Post and Colorado Politics coverage of the issue. One article mentions the possibility of a special session if agreement cannot be reached...

INTERIM COMMITTEES: Any member of the Legislature can request a 2017 interim committee; such committees meet during the “interim” between sessions and can recommend bills for the upcoming (2018) session. With the split chambers of our Colorado legislature, these committees are evenly split between the two parties. Legislation that is approved through an interim committee generally has a better chance of passage and any legislator who decides to sponsor an interim committee bill will not have that bill count toward the 5 total bills each legislator can introduce in their chamber. This year, there are requests for 15 interim committees. Take a look at the list of possible topics – there is something for everyone! The Legislative Council will meet to discuss these on April 28 and is expected to decide on a limited number of committees. Last year they approved only 3 of 7 requested. We will keep you posted as to which committees are approved and please let us know if you are interested in any particular requests."

Latest from the State/HCPF

There continues to be challenges related to the new claims payment system, the Colorado interChange, for processing payments for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Medicaid provider and consumer advocates, including me, are actively engaging HCPF on these issues.        

Click here for the latest Colorado Children's Healthcare Access Program (CCHAP) Practice Manager Newsletter, including helpful tips and known issues with the new Medicaid systems! (The information in the CCHAP newsletters are applicable to all practices, not just pediatric practices!)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Community Safety Net Clinics reconvene virtually April 26, 1-2 pm

Thank you to those clinics that participated in the facilitated strategy session on March 20th! Click here to review the presentation and notes. We will reconvene virtually on April 26, 1-2 pm via Zoom. More info to come! Stay tuned!

What's next at the national level with health care?

Congress is currently in recess but that doesn't mean efforts relative to national health care reform aren't still happening! Although we don't know what will happen next its still a great time to reach out to our elected officials and let them know what you think. Click here to visit the Protect our Care Campaign where you can find ways to engage including events, speaking points, contact info, etc.

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition recently shared these thoughts on the efforts in DC:

'Meanwhile, here is some of what is being said and written about next steps with health reform:
Senate Rs Leave Health Care to the House – On March 28, both Senators Mitch McConnell and John Thune made comments indicating that the Senate would not take up health care reform until the House Republicans came to agreement on a bill that worked for them. Read coverage of these comments from The Hill. Despite this, Senator Mike Lee of Utah published a blog post on Monday in the conservative outlet The Daily Signal calling for continued focus on health reform, saying in part: “If we want to get this policy right—and we owe it to the country to try—then it would be a dereliction of duty to give up on health care reform after just over two weeks of trying.”

Pelosi / Schumer Send Letter to Trump – On March 30, Democrat leaders from the House and Senate sent a joint letter to President Trump urging a focus on enforcing and fixing the Affordable Care Act. Read the letter here.

Wonks Weigh In – A number of health policy experts and pundits have weighed in over the last week about possible next steps and bi-partisan paths forward. They include:
·      Harris Meyer for Vital Signs, Modern Health Care’s blog (March 27),
·      Sara Collins and David Blumenthal for To The Point, The Commonwealth Fund’s blog (March 31),
·      Julie Rovner for Kaiser Health News (April 4),
·      Billy Wynne for Health Affairs Blog (April 4)"

State Legislative Sessions continues and they are in the thick of budgeting!

Thanks to a contract with Frontline Public Affairs, community safety net clinic directors are receiving periodic email updates on the activities in the current 2017 State of Colorado Legislative SessionClick here to view a 2017 bill tracker specifically for community safety net clinics.

Click here to view the latest greatest update on the status of the state 17/18 budget (long bill) from Frontline Public Affairs.