Federal and State News & Info

March 23, 2024

Good morning,

It was a busy week so this morning I am catching up on important work including information sharing on topics of import to NYS Council members:

1)  Time Change for upcoming press conference highlighting need for OMIG Audit Reform:  On Wednesday, 3/27 the NYS Council and our partners are hosting a press conference to push for the inclusion of meaningful OMIG Audit Reform language (ideally the language from our bills, S5329D/A6813B) in the final enacted budget.  WE HAVE MOVED THE TIME FOR THE PRESS CONFERENCE TO 1:30 PM.  We will be meeting in the Capitol on the 3rd floor at the Million Dollar staircase.  Senator Harckham and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (bill sponsors) and other lawmakers who support this effort will speak alongside advocates and (hopefully) providers.  Please join us!

2)  Last night the Senate passed a $1.2T spending package (avoiding a partial federal government shutdown) that will now go to President Biden’s desk where he is expected to sign it.  That’s the good news.  However it will only last for 6 months since the next federal fiscal year begins October 1.  The legislation includes appropriations for agencies covered under the Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch and State-Foreign Operations bills.  Apparently seventy percent of the funding in this package is for national defense, including investments that strengthen military readiness,  provide pay and benefit increases for our service members and support for US allies.  

Other highlights include $385 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, $153 million for Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training programs, an $18 million increase in funding for the 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and a $5 million increase for the Primary and Behavioral Care Integration (PHBCI) grant program. 

A summary of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Fiscal bill is linked, and the full text is here:  https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20240318/WDI39597.PDF?mkt_tok=NzczLU1KRi0zNzkAAAGSBiIA0SJE8kZ7hV1qSC_7lUXk093BQx9VFZDrrFR5loZ2avOprxbhD5mj_-UYQuJpYSGHuXI3EFSJ7bQP0mK6Jm4kpYzQ3wOgqbS6u7tb-U4

3)  Following is the latest from Change Healthcare via an article in Becker’s.  The NYS Council stands ready to assist any member agency that is facing a payroll or related crisis as the result of the continued outage.  If you need us we are here!  (518) 461-8200 

Change Healthcare said March 22 it plans to restore its biggest clearinghouse platforms over the weekend and start processing $14 billion in claims.

The UnitedHealth Group subsidiary said it brought the Assurance claims preparation system back online March 18 and intends to reinstate Relay Exchange, its largest clearinghouse, during the weekend of March 23.

The company has been dealing with IT outages since a Feb. 21 ransomware attack leading to widespread reimbursement and pharmacy disruptions for hospitals and health systems across the country.

Change said more than $14 billion in claims have been set up for processing through Assurance as of March 22. Health systems have been losing tens of millions of dollars a day from the Change outage.

4)  OASAS will present upcoming changes to reporting requirements for all treatment providers at 2 p.m. on March 25, 2024.  Changes will include those specific to Comprehensive Outpatient Programs transitioning to single Program Reporting Units (PRUs), as well as PAS form changes impacting all OASAS treatment programs. If you haven’t already registered, please do so as soon as possible. 

OASAS recognizes that there are many challenges that may prevent providers from attending the live session and we will provide a recording of the presentation with associated materials.  Additionally, we will make resources available to work with providers who may need more in-depth follow-up.   

Use the link below to sign up:  https://meetny.webex.com/weblink/register/rcbbc83a7f68dd90cdf0a82e12c0774c3