Your Source for Health Reform

Topic: HHS



The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the cabinet-level federal agency responsible for health-related programs. Medicare and Medicaid the nation’s two largest public health programs as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, are managed by HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS.


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Can Your Small Business Use the SHOP?

This October 2014 flier from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services summarizes the basic qualifications for a small business to be eligible to participate in the Small Business Health Options Program. A guide for calculating the number of full-time equivalent employees, with an example, is also provided.

Provider Health Communication Best Practices

Read this best-practice quick guide from the Department of Health and Human services to implement health provider communications that take into account patient demographics, culture, language, communication capacity, and understanding.

Culturally Competent Patient Care

This course from the Department of Health and Human Services outlines steps to engage with patients of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in a respectful manner. Physicians and physician assistants can receive up to nine continuing medical education credits and nurse practitioners can receive up to nine contact hours after completing the course.

5 Steps to Stay Covered

Once you have health coverage through the marketplace, it is important to review your plan and your health care needs in order to decide whether you need to change your plan for 2015. This CMS handout is full of tips to help you decide by December 15, 2014, whether you need to change your coverage, and to make sure you get the right coverage at the best price.

Health Insurance Marketplace: Continuing Education

This June 2014 self-study guide from HHS is designed to help health professionals become more knowledgeable about enrollment options that meet their patients’ needs and refer patients to appropriate resources. It is aimed at physicians, registered nurses, social workers, and others who accept health insurance. The course is designated for up to 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits.

Data Matching and Immigration Status Update

This mid-September 2014 CMS update reports that the federal Marketplace has begun sending notices to consumers who have an income-related data matching issue. Those who do not respond by September 30, 2014 may see the costs of their coverage change. (more…)

HHS’ ACA Mental Health Services Awards

The July 2014 HHS announcement of $54.6 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support 221 health centers nationwide to establish or expand behavioral health services. Health centers will use these new funds for efforts such as hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employing integrated models of primary care. Nine Illinois awardees received a total of $2.25 million. (more…)

Marketplace Application and Citizenship

This fact sheet from CMS answers the citizenship questions that will be asked on the Marketplace application, including the differences between types of citizenship, how to verify your citizenship status, and the immigration documents that are required for the application.

Marketplace Enrollment Reports – 2014

The sixth HHS report on national and state-level Marketplace enrollment results show that over 8 million people selected a plan on the Marketplace; 28% were young adults age 18-34. This report covers the entire open enrollment period, Oct. 1 through March 31, including additional enrollment activity reported through April 19. Here is a breakout of the numbers on Illinois enrollments – and see a data visualization of them by Crain’s Chicago Business. (more…)

Immunization and the ACA

Preventive care can improve health outcomes. This HHS fact sheet details expanding coverage of immunization and immunization recommendations for adults and children.

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