Opportunities to Promote Children’s Behavioral Health: Health Care Reform and Beyond: Workshop Summary 


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law in 2010, has several provisions that could greatly improve the behavioral health of children and adolescents in the United States. It requires that many insurance plans cover mental health and substance use disorder services, rehabilitative services to help support people with behavioral health challenges, and preventive services like behavioral assessments for children and depression screening for adults. These and other provisions provide an opportunity to confront the many behavioral health challenges facing youth in America.

To explore how the ACA and other aspects of health care reform can support innovations to improve children’s behavioral health and sustain those innovations over time, the Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health held a workshop on April 1-2, 2015. The workshop explicitly addressed the behavioral health needs of all children, including those with special health needs. It also took a two-generation approach, looking at the programs and services that support not only children but also parents and families. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions of this workshop.

Source: The National Academies Press

Available at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21795/opportunities-to-promote-childrens-behavioral-health-health-care-reform-and

Child Health USA 2014


Child Health USA 2014 is the latest in the series of annual reports on the health status and service needs of America’s infants, children, and adolescents. Key findings are outlined in each section.

There were approximately 74 million children under 18 years of age living in the United States in 2013, representing 23.3 percent of the population.

Indicators of child health and well-being are essential for identifying priority areas for the development and assessment of health interventions.

The availability of and access to health care services is important for ensuring the health and well-being of U.S. children. Without these services, children are at risk of poor health outcomes.

Areas of special significance to children’s health from Medical Home to the Affordable Care Act.

Source: Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/index.html

Understanding the Interaction Between EPSDT and Federal Health Information Privacy and Confidentiality Laws


This paper examines the federal and state law underpinnings of access to patient health records across health care providers and settings of care for Medicaid-enrolled children, who are entitled to Early and Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT).  This analysis sets forth the relevant laws of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and 42 C.F.R. Part 2, that affect the relationships of the health care professionals, minor children, and legal guardians as well as the relationships among health care, educational, and social services providers.  Finally, this paper provides examples of information exchange and management issues that may occur in the treatment of Medicaid-enrolled children.

Source: Health Information & the Law, the George Washington University’s Hirsch Law and Policy Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Available at: http://www.healthinfolaw.org/article/understanding-interaction-between-epsdt-and-federal-health-information-privacy-and-confide-0

Ten Ways Your Head Start Program Can Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities


Head Start programs play an important role in making sure families learn how to find and apply for affordable health insurance. Access to affordable health insurance is vital to ensuring that children are healthy and ready to learn. Likewise, healthy parents and families are better able to support their children’s school readiness and meet their own goals. Ten Ways Your Head Start Program Can Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities offer strategies Head Start leaders and partners can use when planning outreach efforts.

Source: Office of Head Start

Available: http://hsicc.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/j/134E58EFED9DF739/2ABD24CF6E74000C0F8C96E86323F7F9

Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN)

Applications Due: 8/12/2013

This announcement solicits applications to develop a Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN) to provide support for the delivery of maternal and early childhood services, including (but not limited to) home visiting services provided under the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV), which was authorized by section 2951 of the Affordable Care Act.  MIECHV seeks to identify families with children ages 0 to 5 years and pregnant women who reside in at-risk communities and provide comprehensive services to improve outcomes for these families. The purpose of the HV CoIIN is to facilitate the delivery and accelerate the improvement of home visiting and other early childhood services, both globally and as provided by MIECHV grantees, so as to obtain good results faster for low-income and other at-risk families served.  More specifically, in partnership with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems (DHVECS), the successful applicant will plan and implement a HV CoIIN to facilitate the dissemination of methods and tools on continuous quality improvement (CQI) to up to forty (40) home visiting local implementing agency (LIA) pilot teams in partnership with other early childhood service agencies that operate within up to 12 MIECHV grantee states. Ultimately, the purpose of the HV CoIIN is to produce faster and more consistent health and development results benefiting families served by MIECHV program agencies and other early childhood service agencies in at-risk communities across the country.  Concrete examples of the contemplated results are parental smoking cessation, reduction of adult depression or child developmental delays or child maltreatment, and attaining family economic self-sufficiency.

Source: Grants.gov

Available at: http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=5QnwRkDJ22KdKTp16Bx20qNzzLdGp19vn8zMjsmv4vQxl7ttDTBd!1811195850?oppId=237573&mode=VIEW

HHS awards $32 million in grants to sign up children for health coverage


Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced nearly $32 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants were awarded to 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 22 states; two grantees are multistate organizations.

“Today’s grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We are drawing from successful children’s health coverage outreach and enrollment efforts to help promote enrollment this fall in Medicaid and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.”

Efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, combined with robust outreach activities, have helped reduce the number of uninsured children.  Since 2008, 1.7 million children have gained coverage and the rate of uninsured children has dropped to 6.6 percent in 2012.

Grants were made in five focus areas:

  • Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and retention activities (9 awards);
  • Reducing health coverage disparities by reaching out to subgroups of children that are less likely to have health coverage (8 awards);
  • Streamlining enrollment for individuals participating in other public benefit programs such as nutritional or other assistance programs (3 awards);
  • Improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities (13 awards); and
  • Training communities to help families understand the new application and enrollment system and to deliver effective assistance to families with children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (8 awards).

These awards are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.

The grants will build on the Secretary’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful.

Grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million. For a list of grantees, please visit: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-Sheets/2013-Fact-Sheets-Items/2013-07-02.html

Learn more at http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/07/20130702b.html

New Opportunities for Integrating and Improving Health Care for Women, Children, and Their Families


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives states new tools and funding to integrate public and private delivery of health care services. Many states are already integrating services for low-income women and children to improve outcomes and reduce costs. For example, many state Medicaid agencies and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, public health agencies, provider groups, private insurers, children’s hospitals, and family organizations are partnering to share resources including technical assistance, coordinated care, and quality improvement efforts. This issue brief highlights the efforts of Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Vermont to integrate health care services for low-income women and children, especially through state Title V maternal and child health programs.

Source: The Commonwealth Fund

Available at: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Issue%20Brief/2012/Feb/1580_VanLandeghem_new_opportunities_integrating_hlt_care_02.pdf

Health Reform to Require Insurers to Use Plain Language in Describing Health Plan Benefits, Coverage


People in the market for health insurance will soon have clear, understandable and straightforward information on what health plans will cover, what limitations or conditions will apply, and what they will pay for services thanks to the Affordable Care Act – the health reform law – according to final regulations published today.

The marketing materials that insurers use can sometimes make it difficult for consumers to understand exactly what they are buying.  The new rules, published jointly by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, require health insurers and group health plans to provide concise and comprehensible information about health plan benefits and coverage to the millions of Americans with private health coverage.  The new rules will also make it easier for people and employers to directly compare one plan to another.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/02/20120209a.html

HHS to give states more flexibility to implement health reform


The Department of Health and Human Services today released a bulletin outlining proposed policies that will give states more flexibility and freedom to implement the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance.  To achieve this goal, the law ensures that health insurance plans offered in the individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), offer a comprehensive package of items and services, known as “essential health benefits.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/12/20111216c.html

Health Law Survives Test in Court of Appeals


A federal appeals court in Washington upheld the Obama administration’s health care law on Tuesday in a decision written by a prominent conservative jurist.

The decision came as the Supreme Court is about to consider whether to take up challenges to the Affordable Care Act, a milestone legislative initiative of the administration.

Of four appellate court rulings on the health care law so far, this is the third to deal with the law on the merits, and the second that upholds it.

Source: The New York Times

Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/health/policy/appeals-court-upholds-health-care-law.html?_r=1&ref=health