Jan 6 Health Update
We're still sifting through all the changes on the horizon in 2023 but wanted to pass along this news:
MassHealth Continuous Coverage Unwinding Will Begin April 1, 2023
We knew the day was coming when the MassHealth continuous coverage protection would end and now we know when -April 1, 2023. This starts the 12-month unwinding period and we will all need to be at the top of our game to make sure that people eligible for MassHealth don't lose coverage and that those who no longer qualify for MassHealth but do qualify for coverage from the Health Connector make that transition successfully.
The Omnibus appropriation act that was signed on Dec 29, 2022 delinked continuous coverage from the duration of the COVID 19 Public Health Emergency and set an end date of March 31, 2023. Yesterday, CMS released an informational bulletin with the basic information about the continuous coverage, enhanced federal funding, and new reporting and accountability provisions for state Medicaid programs. Read the Jan 5, 2022 CMS Informational Bulletin for more detail.
Note, the public health emergency has not yet ended. As the CMS bulletin notes, some of the Maintenance of Effort statutory provisions were conditions of enhanced matching funds and those funds will be available to states (in declining amounts) until Dec 31, 2023. Similarly, other policies put in place during the COVID 19 public health emergency with an end date tied to its duration were NOT changed by the Omnibus appropriations act.
Meanwhile, MassHealth members are still protected from loss of coverage. Please let us know of any clients or patients who have been involuntarily terminated. We are particularly interested in people who are terminated after they have completed a renewal form or reported a change. Please email Vicky or Kate if you have examples of this: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Behavioral Health Road Map Initiatives Effective Jan 2023
· The Behavioral Health Help Line (BHHL) is available 24/7, 365 days per year and is available for all residents of Massachusetts. Call or text 833-773-2445 or visit the website to chat online. A set of FAQs about this new service is here.
· New Behavioral Health Providers covered by MassHealth
o Community Behavioral Health Center Services, 130 CMR 448
o Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers, 130 CMR 462
o Expanded scope of services for Psychologists, 130 CMR 411
o These regulations were published in the Dec 23, 2022 Massachusetts Register along with update rate regulations-should be posted on MassHealth website soon
Final Fair Hearing Regulations permanently changing time to appeal from 30 to 60 days and incorporating terms of DeFazio-Hirvi settlement
· The effective date of the amendment to 130 CMR 610 is Dec 23, 2022 however, the temporary 120 day appeal period in place during the COVID-19 emergency still governs at least until Mar 31, 2023. See the Aug 2022 El Ops Memo 22-10.
Welcome to Mary Beckman, Acting EOHHS Secretary
Governor-elect Maura Healey has named Mary Beckman as acting secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, as she takes more time to permanently fill one of the most consequential roles in her Cabinet.
Beckman, who most recently served as chief of the Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau in the attorney general’s office, will ultimately serve as senior advisor to the health and human services secretary.
Read the full Jan 3 Boston Globe story here.
Farewell to Luis Gutierrez who retired from public service Jan 3, 2023 after 7 years as Executive Director of the Health Connector