Blogs

Policy Update 3/29/22

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Managed Care Bill Moves to House SB 1337, which would direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to transition to a third-party managed care system advanced off the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon.The bill directs OHCA to enter into contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs), accountable care organizations (ACOs), or provider-led net organizations that will assume financial risk, operational accountability, and statewide or regional responsibility for the delivery of capitated care. It requires OHCA to issue requests for proposals no later than January 1, 2023 for Medicaid services as well as with dental benefits managers. It requires the proposed ...
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Policy Update 3/22/22

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Oklahoma's Congressional Delegation Meets with Health Center Leaders Leaders from Oklahoma community health centers met last week with members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation and their staff. Senator Lankford, Congressman Hern, and Congressman Mullin joined virtual meetings to discuss health center funding, 340B, telehealth, and more. Senator Lankford published a press release last week detailing his conversation with Oklahoma community health center leadership, writing, “Oklahoma’s community health centers remain a vital part of our health care system, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state. Throughout the pandemic they stood strong ...
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Policy Update 3/14/22

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Congress Passes, President Signs 2022 Budget Bill Last week, the House and Senate passed the FY22 Omnibus spending bill, which was signed by President Biden on Friday. The bill funds the federal government through the rest of the current fiscal year and contains a 3.7% ($65 million) increase in health center spending, consisting of: A $25 million increase for school-based health centers, for a total of $30 million; A $20 million increase for Ending the HIV Epidemic, for a total of $122 million; and $5 million to establish a new program for Advanced Cancer Screenings in Underserved Communities. The bill also includes an extension of telehealth flexibilities ...
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Policy Update 3/7/22

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President Biden Highlights Health Centers During State of the Union President Biden gave his State of the Union last week, and in the speech, the President announced a push to address behavioral health issues , previewed a new COVID strategy, and emphasized his commitment to lower drug prices. With the March 11, 2022 deadline to pass the FY22 budget quickly approaching, momentum to pass an omnibus bill rather than another continuing resolution is building. The Biden Administration requested $32.5 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine aid and to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is bipartisan support for supplemental funding for Ukraine; ...
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Policy Update 2/28/22

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Apply to FCC Healthcare Connect Fund by April 1 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Healthcare Connect Fund provides a 65% discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health centers and health centers in eligible consortiums. In past years, a lack of funding led to across-the-board reductions in how much eligible providers received under this fund. However, the FCC recently changed the rules to ensure that rural CHCs will always receive the full amount of funding for which they are qualified. Click here to learn more. Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2022. Contact OKPCA at learn@okpca.org with questions. ...
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Policy Update 2/23/22

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President Biden & Officials Praise Health Centers at NACHC P&I Conference “When the story of this pandemic is written,” President Joe Biden told attendees at the NACHC Policy & Issues Forum last week, “you’re going to stand out among its heroes.” Biden noted that the personal touch many patients experience at health centers had been a great help in getting Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. “That person by person, patient by patient, community by community commitment has added up to nearly 20 million shots in arms in thousands of community health centers all across America,” the President said. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra delivered opening ...
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Policy Update 2/14/22

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CMS Vaccine Mandate - Phase Two Compliance Rules Start 2/14 Health centers in Oklahoma are expected to comply with “Phase Two” of the CMS vaccine mandate starting Monday, February 14. Under Phase Two (which runs through March 15 for these states), health centers will not be subject to enforcement action as long as: Their policies and procedures have been developed and implemented. At least 90% of staff/contractors/board members have received at least one dose of vaccine or have requested an exemption or delay. A plan for 100% of staff/contractors/board members to have either completed their vaccine series or be approved for an exemption/delay within 30 ...
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Policy Update 1/24/22

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Surprise Billing Overview The No Surprises Act became effective 1/1/2022, requiring FQHCs to provide "good faith estimates" to self-pay and uninsured patients and to comply with other parts of the law. OKPCA hosted a webinar with Cori Loomis with Christensen Law Group to provide an overview of key provider-oriented requirements in the No Surprises Act. Click here to view the slides or watch the recording here. A “toolkit” is also available that addresses new requirement for CHCs to provide uninsured patients with Good Faith Estimates (GFE) of their out-of-pocket charges, effective January 1. The GFE toolkit contains: A summary of the requirements and ...
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Policy Update 1/20/2022

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Supreme Court Allows CMS Vaccine Mandate to Take Effect On Friday, 1/14/2022, the Supreme Court upheld the CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (CMS IFR) and struck down the OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS (OSHA ETS). The Court has lifted the preliminary injunctions and all states and territories (besides Texas) must comply with the CMS COVID-19 staff vaccination requirement. All health centers are currently expected to be in compliance with Phase One, detailed in the CMS guidance for FQHCs . The Supreme Court’s decisions on 1/13/2022 technically only applies while the lawsuits about the mandates work their ...
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Policy Update 1/10/21

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Supreme Court Hears Vaccine Mandate Cases On Friday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two sets of challenges to federal vaccine mandates. The CMS Omnibus COVID - 19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (CMS IFR) and the OSHA COVID - 19 Vaccination and Testing ETS cases were fast-tracked by the Supreme Court as lower courts continue to hear challenges to their legality. Spectators noted the justices seemed skeptical of the OSHA requirement but more receptive to the CMS health care worker case. Read more. Medicare Tele-Behavioral Health Services The National Association of Community Health Centers has received clarification ...
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Policy Update 12/16/21

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Vaccine Mandate Still On Hold in 14 States On Wednesday, December 15, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals partially upheld and partially reversed an injunction issued on November 30 by the Western District Court of Louisiana. The November decision issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (IRF) in 40 states and was separate from a Missouri decision that affects 10 states. The opinion by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the injunction in the 14 states that brought the lawsuit in the Louisiana, which includes Oklahoma. Though the vaccine mandate is no longer on hold ...
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Policy Update 12/7/21

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CMS Vaccine Mandate Blocked During Injunctions On November 30, 2021 , the Western District Court of Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (IRF). Currently, all CMS facilities across the nation are required to cease all implementation and enforcement of the IFR until further orders from a Court. Health centers can still move forward with staff COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Key points of the Western District Court of Louisiana's decision: The Court relied heavily on the BTS Holdings, LLC vs. OSHA court decision , which resulted in a nationwide preliminary ...
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Policy Update 11/29/21

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House Passes Build Back Better Act On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along mostly party lines to pass the Build Back Better Act, the $1.75 trillion "soft infrastructure" package containing funding for paid leave, child tax credits, insulin caps, and Medicare hearing coverage. The bill will now go to the Senate, which is expected to amend the legislation. That will require the House to take up and pass the bill again before sending it to President Biden. The timeline to finish the legislation may be pushed to the end of this year as more immediate issues fill up the legislative schedule, such as the December 3, 2021 deadline to fund the government ...
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Policy Update 11/22/21

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House Passes Build Back Better Act On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along mostly party lines to pass the Build Back Better Act, the $1.75 trillion "soft infrastructure" package containing funding for paid leave, child tax credits, insulin caps, and Medicare hearing coverage. The bill will now go to the Senate, which is expected to amend the legislation. That will require the House to take up and pass the bill again before sending it to President Biden. The timeline to finish the legislation may be pushed to the end of this year as more immediate issues fill up the legislative schedule, such as the December 3, 2021 deadline to fund the government ...
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Policy Update 11/15/21

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Legislators Reconvene for Special Session Oklahoma legislators headed back to the Capitol today to approve new maps for Oklahoma's five congressional districts, 48 state Senate districts and 101 House districts. The process , usually held during regular session, was delayed due to a late release of census data. Read more. Reminder: Oklahoma Pricing Transparency Requirement As of November 1, health centers and other health care providers in Oklahoma are required by HB 1006 to post information about their prices on their website, In order to help health centers comply, OKPCA has produced a Price Transparency Worksheet. The worksheet includes a template ...
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Policy Update 11/8/21

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Vaccine Mandate Rules Published The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an emergency regulation last week requiring COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also issued emergency guidance for federal workers, federal contractors, and anyone employed by a company with 100 or more employees. Resources are available to help health centers comply with the CMS rule: FAQs published by CMS on Thursday A summary of the interim final rule Federal Vaccine Mandate Toolkit by Colleen Meiman, National Policy Advisor for State & Regional Associations of Community Health ...
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Policy Update 11/1/21

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Draft Infrastructure Bill Includes Health Center Funding Last week, President Biden outlined his framework for the BBB Act, hoping to persuade progressives to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before the October 31, 2021 deadline. The $1.75 trillion framework announced by President Biden contains $135B for an expansion of the ACA premium tax credits through 2025 to help close the Medicaid coverage gap; $35B for an expansion of Medicare to cover hearing benefits; and $150B for Medicaid home health care. Later in the day, a version of the bill was posted on the House Rules page, which included: $1 billion for health center capital $3.37 billion ...
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Policy Update 10/25/21

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Funding for Health Centers in Appropriations and Reconciliation Bills Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its remaining FY22 appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education Bill , ahead of the December 3, 2021 deadline to fund the government. The Labor-HHS spending bill includes $1.8 billion for health centers—an increase of $110 million from FY21. Within that funding is a $50 million increase for the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative and a $60 million for School-Based Health Centers. The school-based health center funding is further broken down with $30 million for 330 grantees and $30 million for ...
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Policy Update 10/15/21

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New Requirement to Provide Good Faith Estimates to Uninsured Patients Starting January 2022, health centers must provide uninsured patients with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of the total out-of-pocket costs they will incur for care within 1 to 3 days of the patient scheduling the care or requesting the GFE. View a preliminary analysis of these new regulatory requirements. The document will be expanded later this month. The requirement was established by an Interim Final Rule (IFR ) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implementing the “No Surprises Act” enacted in December 2020. Toolkit on Federal Vaccine Mandates Colleen Meiman, National ...
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Policy Update 10/8/21

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OKPCA Takes DC OKPCA leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to take part in the State Chamber Fly-In. Pictured below, attendees met with members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation and business leaders from across the state. Legislators Join Policy Panel at OKPCA Conference Last week, OKPCA conference attendees heard from a slate of panelists on what's ahead for the Oklahoma Legislature. Sen John Haste, Sen. Carri Hicks, Rep. Marcus McEntire, and Rep. Cyndi Munson spoke on their successes during the First Session of Oklahoma's 58th Legislature and their predictions for the upcoming Second Session and special session. Rep. McEntire, Chairman ...
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