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By mid-2011, providers and hospitals that adopt electronic health records systems and can demonstrate "meaningful use" of those systems will be eligible to receive bonus payments from the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released regulations outlining what constitutes "meaningful use".
Accountable Care Organizations may be broadly defined as an organized group of providers that are both clinically and financially responsible for all the health care that their patients may need. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes provisions that promote the establishment of Accountable Care Organizations within the Medicare program beginning in 2012.
Preexisting conditions were previously used as cause for exclusion from private insurance coverage on the individual insurance market in the United States. Congress changed this with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which offers a two-phase solution for these patients: a temporary insurance plan for uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions from 2010-2014, and a prohibition against denying coverage for such individuals after 2014.
Last April, the Maryland legislature created the Maryland Medical Home Program. The program's objectives are to provide incentives for the provision of high quality primary care and expand access to primary care across the state. In early 2011, practices will begin enrolling in the program, which aims to ?elevate the role of the primary care provider? in the state?s health care system and engender overall improvements in patient health.
A series of bills signed into law in Colorado last spring focused on improving consumer access to health care information. The complete set of bills was introduced to enact state-level reforms to improve access to care in advance of federal reform. A subset of these bills, which is the focus of this report, focused on making health care information more transparent, requiring health plan information be made accessible to all Coloradans, and the simplification of insurance forms.
In Round 15, we reported on a Virginia law that became the first to restrict the provisions of the new federal health reform law. The Virginia law was part of a national state-led movement to challenge the Obama administration?s federal health reforms. As of October 2010, lawmakers in 40 states had proposed measures to restrict or undo the federal reforms, and several current lawsuits are now testing the federal law's provisions, with a suit filed by Virginia's attorney general leading the way.
In March, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell signed four bills into law (three of them identical), the text of which defended the state's citizens' right to opt out of the health insurance mandate that became federal law earlier this year. The laws were part of an organized move by conservatives to challenge the constitutionality of the federal health reform recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. The controversial law takes effect in July of this year.
Employer-based wellness incentive programs have existed in the U.S. for a number of years, but scope of potential incentive programs were expanded by the recent U.S. health reform legislation. Legislators and employers hope that the use of such incentive plans will improve employee health and reduce the overall cost of providing insurance.
Last year, New York was one of several states to enact a law requiring surveillance or screening of body mass index for all children enrolled in school. The measuring and monitoring of BMI is viewed as one approach to begin reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity, which places children at risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. States have begun to require BMI surveillance and reporting in schools as a facile means of assembling data on all children.
Among the health reforms undertaken by Oregon has been the adoption of a preferred drug list, the development of which has been informed by the state's Drug Effectiveness Review Project. DERP has grown beyond its initial mandate and is now a partnership of 11 state Medicaid agencies and a Canadian drug agency. The partnership's objective and in-depth reviews on drug effectiveness and safety have been used by state agencies to inform drug policy decisions and rein in Medicaid drug spending.