With the interim now in full swing, committees are meeting to scope their work plans for the next 6-7 months. It can be a busy time that will shape the scope of the 2020 legislative session. If you wonder how things can move so quickly in the legislature, it is in part a result of all of the work that happens at the committee level during this time of year. It’s part of what we’re watching in Utah health care in June, 2019.
1. It’s official: Per capita rate cap proposed
A proposal from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to increase the federal share of the costs associated with expanding the state’s Medicaid program has been officially filed with CMS. The new Per Capita Cap Plan includes a set of provisions not present in the Bridge Plan, including an enrollment cap, a self-sufficiency requirement, and 12-month continuous eligibility.
Should this new proposal be denied, there are a number of alternative plans that could still be proposed, including the Fallback Plan and the Full Expansion Plan, prior to the July 1, 2020 deadline.
2. Legislative health care priorities this interim
Utah’s Health and Human Services Interim Committee recently held its first meeting since session adjourned. The committee laid out its areas of focus for the interim and discussed priorities related to implementation oversight, including new medical cannabis laws and Medicaid expansion.
The committee plans to meet every month (except July) leading up to December. Future topics of discussion include substance abuse, cost of health care, health impacts of nicotine products, and the state’s aging population.
3. Opioid Fatality Review Committee findings
The Utah Department of Health’s Opioid Fatality Review Committee (OFRC) announced its initial findings last week. For each individual case review, the committee collected a police report, vital records, and a Medical Examiner’s report and searched a public database for the individual’s civil and criminal history.
The committee’s review of 58 opioid overdose deaths that occurred in 2017 informed 50+ recommendations published across three reports: One report on hot spots for opioid overdose, one on overdoses in people recently released from institutions, and one on people prescribed a combination of an opioid and gabapentin.
4. Video: Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost
“We’re also looking at this ever-omnipresent issue of the cost of health care that continues to balloon, that continues to blow up our national expenditures. By a long way, we spend the most on health care as a measure of GDP than any industrialized nation in the world, and we have worse health outcomes. We shouldn’t be spending more to have less good health than any of the rest of the industrialized world.”
5. An update on Christensen et al. v. Miner et al.
The Utah Legislature passed a joint resolution this year approving a settlement agreement in Christensen et al. v. Miner et al. and appropriated $7.3 million in the budget to follow through on it. State defendants in the case recently presented an update on implementation of the settlement to Utah’s Health and Human Services Interim Committee.
The parties agreed that the state would move about 300 interested individuals from intermediate care facilities to home- and community-based settings over six years, among a list of other agreements in the settlement. The goal for this year is to transition 49 interested people out of ICFs — the defendants reported that 37 people were moved to the community, four were slated move by the end of May, and eight others were in transition.