California To Become First State Offering Health Care To All Undocumented Residents

California Poised to Extend Health Care to All Undocumented Immigrants -  The New York TimesSource: The Sacramento Bee, by Mathew Miranda

California will become the first state to remove immigration status as a barrier to health care, making all low-income undocumented residents eligible for state-subsidized insurance regardless of age.

Gov. Gavin Newsom late Sunday announced a budget deal he struck with the Legislature included a new Medi-Cal expansion that would cover more undocumented adults.

The program’s launch, starting no later than Jan. 1, 2024, is expected to provide full coverage for approximately 700,000 undocumented residents ages 26-49 and lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade.

“This historic investment speaks to California’s commitment to health care as a human right,” said Sen. María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles.

The state already allows many undocumented residents to join Medi-Cal. In 2015, California began allowing undocumented children to join Medi-Cal. Four years later, eligibility broadened to those younger than 26. And in May, the state started covering people aged 50 and over.

The Medi-Cal expansion is expected to cost $2.6 billion annually.

Californians generally are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage based on their income. The income cap for a family of four this year is $36,156.

California also opens Medi-Cal eligibility to people with certain medical conditions. It’s available to people who are pregnant, blind, disabled, under age 21, living in a nursing home or are a recently settled refugee.

Opening up Medi-Cal to all undocumented Californians has been a goal for health and immigration advocates for years. “This budget investment reflects California’s values of inclusion and fairness and should be a model for the rest of the nation,” said Sarah Dar, director of Health and Public Benefits Policy at the California Immigrant Policy Center. “All Californians, regardless of their age or where they were born, should have access to basic necessities like food and fair, steady wages.”

Undocumented residents remain the largest group of uninsured in California, according to a recent analysis from the the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

A disparity and “historic wrong” that will be fixed with the expansion, said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles.

“This is a game changer,” said Santiago. “It’s one of the most important pieces of legislation that’s gonna go through this house because the ability to give health care means the ability to live life without pain.”

After Months Of Warnings, CMS Hands Out Its First Fines To Hospitals Failing On Price Transparency

CMS issues first price transparency fines to 2 Georgia hospitalsSource: Fierce Healthcare, by Dave Muoio

Eighteen months after its final rule on price transparency went into effect, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued its first penalties to a pair of Georgia hospitals that did not update their websites or reply to the agency’s warning letters.

 

Northside Hospital Atlanta and Northside Hospital Cherokee have been issued civil monetary penalties of roughly $880,000 and $214,000, respectively, according to letters published on CMS’ Hospital Price Transparency website. Both hospitals are part of the same health system.

The agency calculated the penalties based on the hospitals’ size and how long their websites were non-compliant (up to $300 per day). The hospitals may submit a request for a hearing to have their penalties appealed.

“CMS expects hospitals to comply with the Hospital Price Transparency regulations that require providing clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide,” Director of Medicare Meena Seshamani, M.D., said in an email statement provided to Fierce Healthcare. “This enforcement action affirms the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making health care pricing information accessible to people across the country and we are committed to ensuring that consumers have the information they need to make fully informed decisions regarding their healthcare.”

Since Jan. 1, 2021, CMS has required hospitals to post a comprehensive machine-readable list of their services and prices as well as a patient-friendly tool to help shop for 300 common services.

Hospitals that are not compliant with the requirements receive warning letters from CMS requesting they submit a corrective action plan to amend their websites.

 

The agency began delivering those letters in April, saying at the time it was hesitant to issue civil monetary penalties due to the harm that publicly naming noncompliant hospitals could bring to those organizations.

In the warning letters, CMS said it had conducted reviews of their websites, requested corrective action plans and delivered warning notices to both hospitals last fall. CMS issued warning to the hospitals in April and May, according to the letters, which neither hospital responded to.

CMS has issued a total 352 warning letters to hospitals as of this month, according to a CMS spokesperson. Among these, 171 received case closure notices after addressing the agency’s citations while 157 remain non-compliant, the spokesperson said.

Industry-wide compliance with the federal transparency requirements has been spotty to date. Only 14.3% of hospitals were compliant with both major components of the mandate one year after it went into effect, according to a review by PatientRightsAdvocate.org.

 

A study published in JAMA earlier this week corroborated low compliance as of the six to nine months after the rule went into effect, noting that hospitals in low-concentration healthcare markets, urban hospitals and those with lower per patient-day revenue were more likely to be in compliance.

Hospitals and health systems say their adherence struggles are the result of the high cost and complexity of implementation. They’ve also pointed to the final rule’s language, which they say is vague and difficult to interpret.

“Many organizations are not investing beyond the bare minimum requirements, and they don’t plan to do more until there is further clarity around the regulations and the expectations going forward,” KLAS Research wrote in an April report polling 66 hospital revenue cycle leaders on price transparency compliance.

FDA Grants Emergency Authorization For First COVID-19 Breathalyzer Test

FDA grants emergency authorization for first COVID breath test | KHQA

Source: USA Today, by Jeanine Santucci

Americans will be able to find out if they have COVID-19 with a breathalyzer test, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

The FDA granted an emergency use authorization to a test produced by InspectIR Systems that collects a breath sample and analyzes for chemical compounds associated with the coronavirus, the first of its kind to be authorized for use.

In a study of 2,409 people, the test correctly identified a positive COVID infection in 91.2% of cases and correctly identified negative samples 99.3% of the time, the FDA said in a release. A similar result was seen in a follow-up study focused on the contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus.

According to InspectIR, the test is performed by exhaling into a tube in a similar manner to blowing up a balloon and produces results within three minutes.

The FDA said the testing instrument is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, and that breath tests can be performed in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other testing sites.

“Today’s authorization is yet another example of the rapid innovation occurring with diagnostic tests for COVID-19,” said Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The FDA continues to support the development of novel COVID-19 tests with the goal of advancing technologies that can help address the current pandemic and better position the U.S. for the next public health emergency.”

The FDA said a positive result yielded through the InspectIR COVID-19 breathalyzer should be confirmed with a molecular test.

CMS Releases First Ever Hospital Compare Star Ratings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced star ratings on “Hospital Compare,” the agency’s public information website. The comparison site covers topics like the following:

  • How well nurses and doctors communicate with patients.
  • How responsive hospital staff are to patient needs.
  • How clean and quiet hospital environments are.
  • How well patients are prepared for post-­hospital settings.

Last Updated 06/29/2022

Arch Apple Financial Services | Individual & Family Health Plans, Affordable Care California, Group Medical Insurance, California Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace, Medicare Supplements, HMO & PPO Health Care Plans, Long Term Care & Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Employee Benefits, Affordable Care Act Assistance, Health Benefits Exchange, Buy Health Insurance, Health Care Reform Plans, Insurance Agency, Westminster, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Santa Ana, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Long Beach, Orange, Tustin Foothills, Seal Beach, Anaheim, Newport Beach, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Brea, La Habra, Orange County CA

12312 Pentagon Street - Garden Grove, CA 92841-3327 - Tel: 714.638.0853 - 800.731.2590
Email:
Jay@ArchApple.com
Copyright @ 2015 - Website Design and Search Engine Optimization by Blitz Mogul