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In Case You Missed It – AMCHP Call on Debt Limit Impact and August Action Alert
On August 8, AMCHP convened a national teleconference for all members to discuss the potential impact of the recent agreement on deficit reduction on future Title V MCH Block Grant and public health funding. A recording of the call will be posted to the AMCHP website soon.  

Congress is currently on recess until September 5, which offers a prime opportunity for MCH advocates to reach elected officials at home with the message of why sustained funding for Title V and other MCH programs is critical. See our Action Alert for August Advocacy here for more details on steps you can take now. 

Developing Voluntary Quality Measures for Medicaid Eligible Adults
On August 9-10, the Subcommittee of National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality met to develop a consensus on a core set of health quality measures for Medicaid-eligible adults. The Affordable Care Act calls for creation of a set of voluntary quality measures for adults enrolled in Medicaid similar to the process set up for voluntary pediatric quality measures created under CHIPRA.  

The subcommittee voted and recommended a core set of 24 quality measures to the full Advisory Committee. One quality measure on HIV/AIDs received a split vote. This core set includes the following perinatal measures: antenatal steroids among patients at risk of preterm delivery and postpartum care rate. Unfortunately, the other perinatal measure on elective delivery between 37 and 39 weeks gestation did not receive enough votes to move forward. The subcommittee will be issuing a report in the upcoming months detailing the proceedings from this meeting, which AMCHP will share when available. 

Guidance Issued to Implement ACA Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Provision
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a State Medicaid Director’s letter providing information to assist states as they work to reduce tobacco utilization. The letter includes guidance on implementation of a provision included in the Affordable Care Act which provides for Medicaid coverage of comprehensive tobacco cessation services for pregnant women, including both counseling and pharmacotherapy, without cost sharing. This letter also provides guidance on “tobacco telephone quitline” activities, which may be provided to Medicaid beneficiaries as an allowable Medicaid administrative cost expenditure.

The specific recommendations for pregnant women include:  

  • Person to person psychosocial interventions that exceed minimal advice to quit
  • Tobacco-dependence interventions to pregnant smokers at the first prenatal visit as well as throughout the course of pregnancy. 

Funding Released for New Community Health Centers
On August 9, HHS announced awards of $28.8 million to 67 community health center programs. HRSA received 810 applications for this funding. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, will help to establish new health service delivery sites to care for an additional 286,000 patients. These grants will support new access points which are new full-time service delivery sites that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services. Eligible applicants included public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations who meet health center funding requirements. Current HRSA grantees could apply as well as organizations applying for the first time. To view the list of new access point grantees, visit here.