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MR Update #04-24: CMS Forums and Pilot Projects, HCSIS Update, Federal Issues, CoolCap, Seminars/Conferences
July 28, 2004

CMS Forums
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are conducting a review of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Waiver program that serves individuals with mental retardation. The Consolidated Waiver pays for residential services, which include child residential services, community residential rehabilitation services, community homes, family living homes, residential home, and community habilitation unlicensed homes.

The forums are scheduled for the following times and locations for provider agencies planning to participated. Registration must be done by contacting Rebecca Roberts at EITA_RegistrationsRR@tiu11.org.

  • August 18 at 10:00 a.m. –11:30 a.m. at Dauphin County Case Management in Harrisburg
  • August 19 at 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Kiva Auditorium, Temple University in Philadelphia
  • August 20 at 1:30 p.m. –3:00 p.m. at Delaware County Intermediate Unit in Morton

PCPA is compiling a list of members participating to ensure that provider members are involved in this process. Please share your intentions of attending with Linda Drummond.

CMS Pilot Projects
CMS has announced $25 million to fund pilot projects to identify “best practices” for long-term care providers to determine if a job seeker has any kind of criminal history or other disqualifying background. The pilots will give employers valuable tools to help determine if an applicant is the best person for the job. Long-term care providers will include nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, long-term care hospitals, ICFs/MR, and other entities providing long-term care. CMS is working in cooperating with the Justice Department to implement this program.

CMS Policy for Medicaid/Medicare
CMS has reaffirmed its policy that low-income Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for the $600 credit when they enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card will not have this credit counted as an asset or resource for purposes of Medicaid eligibility. Persons applying for Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing, and home heating assistance will not be affected by their Medicare prescription card credit. This policy was effective as of June 1. For additional information access www.cms.hhs.gov/states/letters.

HCSIS

  • The MCI clearance into HCSIS will be unavailable the weekend of July 31 - August 1, as MCI Release 2.1.3 will be going live. Only MCI clearance will be affected, all other HCSIS functionality will be available during the weekend.
  • In preparation for a new HCSIS security initiative, all HCSIS administrators are asked to review user accounts to add the phone number and email ID if not already entered. Refer any questions to Mike Toth at mtoth@state.pa.us or 717-787-8841.

Federal Issues

  • US Senator Baucus (MT), Senate Finance Committee member, contacted the administrator of CMS regarding concerns over CMS’ current Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT) enforcement initiative to curb states’ use of certain financial arrangements regarding the source of the state share of Medicaid spending. Currently, when a state seeks a Medicaid State Plan Amendment, CMS asks specific questions regarding the IGT policies and negotiates a transition period to cure a state’s inappropriate use of IGTs. Senator Baucus’ concerns were if CMS policy is being applied to all states and does CMS have legal authority to conduct this initiative in the absence of legislation, regulations, or written policy guidance to the states.
  • US Senators Rockefeller (WV) and Smith (OR) introduced the State Fiscal Relief Act (S.2671) to extend the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage and provide federal fiscal relief to the states. If passed it would provide $4.8 billion over 15 months in relief for Medicaid, as well as reimbursing states for the $1.2 billion in net costs from the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act.
  • US Representatives King (NY) and Brown (OH) introduced (H.R. 4961) a $6 billion bill to provide a 15-month increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage.

CoolCap
New research shows that the CoolCap, a special cooling device worn on a baby’s head, can save its life or reverse brain damage. The culmination of more than 20 years of research provide the first evidence in humans that brain damage at birth can be reversed at least for some babies. This head-cooling treatment can reduce brain damage in newborn babies that experience an episode of interruption of blood flow and oxygen supply before delivery. For additional information go to www.med.umich.edu/opm/newspage/2004/coolingcap.htm.

Seminars/Conferences

  • August 8-10: “Developing and Implementing Quality Initiatives to Improve Performance and Enhance Inclusion” at Doubletree Hotel, Philadelphia, PA. For details and registration contact NASDDDS at 703-683-4202, www.nasddds.org, or www.qualitymall.org.
  • September through October at various dates and locations across state: “Collective Advocacy Workshops” for persons with disabilities, family members and members of disability organizations. For details contact George Taylor at 800-684-3695 or taylor.taylor@verizon.net.
  • September 18-20: “Building Unity for a Valued Direct Care Workforce” at Holiday Inn on the Hill, Washington, DC. For details contact the Direct Care Alliance at 718-402-7766 or info@directcarealliance.org.
  • September 28-29: “2nd Annual Real Choices for Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities Living in Your Community” at Grand Summit, Bartlett, NH. For details contact Institute on Disability at University of New Hampshire, 800-238-2048 or www.realchoicenh.org.
  • October 5-8: “Focus on the Future,” PCPA Annual Conference at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA. For details contact PCPA at 717-657-7078 or access the Conference Section of the web site.

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