Postpartum health care coverage for low-income women expands

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Money for the expanded federal program, announced by Vice President Kamala Harris, comes from the $1.9 trillion stimulus fund. Employee costs for health insurance screening, Medicare data issues, an HHS health IT task force, and more are also making health industry news.

Los Angeles Times: VP Harris: US expands postpartum health program for low-income people

Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday announced the expansion of a federal program that provides medical coverage for low-income women for up to a year after giving birth. The federal government, using money from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed last year, announced access to the program for three additional states — Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico — as well as Washington, DC The number of jurisdictions offering the benefit is 15, including California. The program provides health benefits — including pelvic exams, vaccinations and screenings — through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to eligible families. Previously, mothers were only covered for two months after giving birth. Administration officials would not say what the expansion will cost. (Bierman, 6/16)

In other health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare news –

USA Today: Employees oppose health insurance checks costing some workers

Like many large employers, Yale University has given its clerical, food service and maintenance workers a choice: undergo a routine health checkup or pay a weekly fee of $25. But the workers alleged in a federal lawsuit that the university’s employee welfare program participating or paying violated two federal laws. In a preliminary settlement approved by the U.S. District Court in Connecticut on Tuesday, the university agreed to pay nearly $1.3 million to workers and attorneys and will not assess the $25 weekly fee for four years, or until federal law or regulations change to permit such program. . Lawyers will have 45 days to notify approximately 6,300 eligible workers and their spouses of the terms of the settlement. A hearing to approve the final settlement is scheduled for November 22. (Alltucker, 5/16)

KHN: States extend Medicaid to new mothers – even if they reject broader expansion

Until last year, Georgia’s Medicaid coverage for low-income new moms was 60 days. That meant many women’s Medicaid benefits expired before they could be referred to other medical providers for help with serious health issues, said Dr. Keila Brown, OB -GYN in Atlanta. “If they needed other postpartum issues tracked, it was kind of hard to get them into that limited time frame,” said Brown, who works at Family Health Centers of Georgia, a group of health centers community. (Whitehead, 6/17)

Axios: Medicare has a data problem

The racial and ethnic data that Medicare collects on its beneficiaries is less accurate for groups such as American Indians, Asian-Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics, which limits the program’s ability to assess disparities in health, according to a federal audit. Inaccuracies can undermine efforts to address inequalities and measure results. The pandemic has highlighted stark disparities among Medicare beneficiaries, with blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans accounting for disproportionately high rates of cases and hospitalizations. (Bettelheim, 6/16)

And more from the healthcare industry –

Modern Healthcare: Working Group to Review Standards for ONC Certified Technologies

The Health IT Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services has convened a task force to assess whether to maintain or phase out its existing standards for health IT products. While it’s important to introduce updated standards, “we also need to look back and talk about pruning as well,” said Micky Tripathi, head of the national information technology coordinator’s office on the HHS Health, during a meeting of the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee Thursday. The adopted standards working group will be part of HITAC, which advises ONC. (Kim Cohen, 6/16)

Billings Gazette: Contractor reports ‘significant deficiencies’ at state-run healthcare facilities

State-run health facilities overall have “significant shortcomings”, according to the initial report of a contractor hired to help fix them. Alvarez & Marsal was awarded a $2.2 million contract in April to stabilize and manage health care facilities run by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. On Wednesday, DPHHS Director Adam Meier presented the organization’s findings through May to a draft legislative budget committee. Three veterans’ homes and the Montana Chemical Dependency Center in Butte were each listed under the “challenges exist” designation, while mental health care facilities in Boulder, Lewistown and most hospital-related facilities d State of Montana were all found to have “significant deficiencies. (Larson, 6/15)

Modern healthcare: UnitedHealth clinician buying spree puts pressure on negotiations with major hospitals

Jimmy Mayor doesn’t know what his next appointment will cost at OU Health in Oklahoma City. The mayor, 59, depends on disability insurance for his income after working as a commercial loan officer for 20 years. He is one of many UnitedHealthcare policyholders who are expected to lose network access at Oklahoma’s only academic medical center. “I just wish these two could come to an agreement and think about the patients,” said the mayor, who is receiving treatment for HIV, a brain tumor and a sleep disorder at the nonprofit OU. Health. (Tepper, 6/16)

Carolina Public Press: Why NC’s small mountain town supports the nation’s largest hospital system

A small mountain town takes the country’s largest hospital system to court. Brevard officials say after years of community complaints and declining medical care, they saw no other option. “Someone has to be first,” said Brevard town attorney Mack McKeller. On June 3, attorneys in Greensboro and Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit on behalf of the City of Brevard alleging a scheme by HCA Healthcare to monopolize medical services in seven western North Carolina counties. North – a scheme that the lawsuit says led to inflated prices, lower quality of care and loss of services. (Harris, 6/17)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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