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Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Vox: Uninsured Rates By City
Census data show that Miami had the highest uninsured rate in 2013. The three cities with the most uninsured (Miami, Houston, Dallas) are in states opting out of Medicaid expansion.
The Hill: Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against ACA Employer Mandate Delay
7th Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that the plaintiffs, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, did not have standing to sue the White House for delaying the employer mandate. Also: Pol$
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Employer Sponsored Insurance

KFF: Report: Private Exchanges and Employer Sponsored Insurance
Report discussed multiple types of private exchanges and their potential to shape the future of employer sponsored insurance. Private exchanges are distinct from the marketplaces created by the ACA.
Inside Health Policy: Employers Fighting ACA 30-Hour Workweek Rules
Some employers disagree with the employer mandate which requires providing health coverage to workers who work 30-hour weeks. The provision goes into effect in 2015 and groups are gearing up to fight.
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Doctors

WSJ: Hospitals Experiment With Methods To Encourage Physicians to Follow Care Guidelines
Hospitals are experimenting with computer systems that encourage doctors to follow American Heart Association and other expert care guidelines as a way to reduce costs and standardize care.
CMS: CMS Seeking Nominations for Hospital Outpatient Payment Advisory Panel
CMS is seeking nominations for new members to serve on its Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP, the Panel). Specifically, the Panel advises the Secretary of the Department of Health of Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of CMS on the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) groups and their relative payments weights as a component of the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS), and supervision of the hospital outpatient services. The Panel meets up to three times annually to advise on the proposed and final rules updating the OPPS each year. Comprised of 19 members representing hospitals, systems and providers, the Panel is seeking to fill four vacancies beginning September 30, 2014. Nominations should be submitted within 60 days of formal publication in the Federal Register which leaves the deadline on or around November 22, 2014.
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Prescription Drugs

WSJ: FDA Approves New Experimental Ebola Drug
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA had approved its drug TKM-Ebola for patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola infections.
FDA: Report Addresses Standardizing Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies
In a notice, the FDA announces the availability of a report that looks at "findings concerning strategies to standardize risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS), where appropriate, with the goal of reducing the burden of implementing REMS on practitioners, patients, and others in various health care settings." The report is expected to be posted here, with comments due in 60 days.
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Medicaid – General

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Report: Health Care Utilization Before and After Medicaid Expansion in Wisconsin
Once insured by BadgerCare, childless adults utilized 93% more preventive visits, 124% more inpatient visits, and 39% more outpatient visits compared to adults on Wisconsin's Medicaid waiting list.
NASHP: Report: State Efforts to Improve Care Delivery and EPSDT for Children
This policy brief is intended to share tools, resources and strategies to states working to improve care delivery and access to data on Early & Periodic Screening benefit for children in Medicaid.
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Health Information Technology (HIT)

CMS: FAQ: Meaningful Use Measure for Summary of Care Transmissions
CMS explains that eligible professionals and hospitals can count transitions of care or referrals for the Stage 2 summary of care measure if they electronically create and send the summary via certified EHR technology to a "third party organization that plays a role in determining the next provider of care and ultimately delivers the summary of care document." The FAQ elaborates on circumstances in which such transmissions may be counted.
AP: Government Healthcare.gov Hackers Had Mixed Reviews
Earlier this year, hackers found critical vulnerabilities in the healthcare.gov site but also acknowledged its stronger security features. This mixed review is the focus of a new HHS-OIG report.
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Health Insurance Exchanges

KFF: Report: Private Exchanges and Employer Sponsored Insurance
Report discussed multiple types of private exchanges and their potential to shape the future of employer sponsored insurance. Private exchanges are distinct from the marketplaces created by the ACA.
NYT: Healthcare.gov Overhaul Planned for Next Open Enrollment Period
The Obama administration is overhauling healthcare.gov to simplify the application process. 70% of consumers will use a shorter, simpler online application form to buy health insurance in November.
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Hospitals

CMS: FAQ: Meaningful Use Measure for Summary of Care Transmissions
CMS explains that eligible professionals and hospitals can count transitions of care or referrals for the Stage 2 summary of care measure if they electronically create and send the summary via certified EHR technology to a "third party organization that plays a role in determining the next provider of care and ultimately delivers the summary of care document." The FAQ elaborates on circumstances in which such transmissions may be counted.
NPR: Some Hospital Emergency Rooms Offering Appointments
Hospitals around the country are competing for newly-insured patients and one way to bring more patients through the door is to reduce ED waiting times by offering appointments.
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Quality

Health Affairs: Analysis: Medicare Advantage Star Ratings Disproportionately Impacts Pans Covering Low-Income Beneficiaries
Analysis of Star Ratings from 2011-2014 and individual measure scores for Medicare Advantage plans revealed low-income beneficiaries are adversely affected by the Star Ratings System.
Washington Post: Wonkblog Notes ACA Efforts at Improving Quality and Reducing Quality are Mixed
One year after health insurance exchanges launched and Medicaid expanded, its unclear if the ACA has met its goal of improving access and quality while reducing health care costs.
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Legal

Modern Healthcare: HHS Indicates HIPAA Allows Patient Data To Be Shared With Same-Sex Spouses
New HHS interpretation states that providers can share patient data with same-sex spouses without violating HIPAA. Clarification comes as guidance the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in US v. Windsor.
The Hill: Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against ACA Employer Mandate Delay
7th Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that the plaintiffs, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, did not have standing to sue the White House for delaying the employer mandate. Also: Pol$
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Delivery Reform

NASHP: Report: State Efforts to Improve Care Delivery and EPSDT for Children
This policy brief is intended to share tools, resources and strategies to states working to improve care delivery and access to data on Early & Periodic Screening benefit for children in Medicaid.
NGA: Report: Policies for States Utilizing Physician Assistants to Support Provider Workforce
An NGA report looks at how physician assistants are supporting health care delivery and state policies that may prevent states from getting the most value from the physician assistant workforce.
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Prevention

CDC: Analysis: Ebola Outbreak Could Reach 1.4 Million But Can Also Be Controlled
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) created a modeling tool called EbolaReponse to inform the strategies created to address the epidemic.  Per the projections, for the outbreak to end, approximately 70% of the individuals with Ebola must be in medical facilities, Ebola treatment units, or settings with reduced risks for disease transmission including safe burial. Every 30 day delay in reaching the 70% containment point is associated with a tripling of the number of individuals infected by the virus. At the current rate, if public health interventions are not scaled up, the number of cases is projected to double every 20 days. Without additional interventions beyond those in place in August, cases in Siera Leone and Liberia could reach 1.4 million by late January 2015. Resources are being invested, however, and the model indicates that it is possible to stop the outbreak.  Once enough cases are isolated, CDC Director Frieden states that the number of cases can decline almost as quickly as they increased. Also: Press Release, NYT ($), USA, WP, Reuters
KFF: Report: HPV Vaccine Access and Utilization
Fact sheet discusses HPV and related cervical, throat, and anal cancers, utilization of the HPV vaccines among both males and females, and insurance coverage and access to the vaccine.
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