The Broadest Impact: 2018-19 New York State Managed Care Budget Highlights
April 17, 2018
This, the last of our posts on the 2018-19 New York State Health Budget (the “Enacted Budget”), focuses on an area of healthcare that has perhaps the broadest impact of the sector as a whole — managed care. A prior post in the series (here) discussed the central role that hospitals have traditionally played in healthcare reform efforts, but even they have less influence (at least, as a matter of policy) than managed care, which controls the funding that fuels virtually every other part of the healthcare system. For purposes of this article, “managed care” really means Medicaid managed care in all its various guises, since that is the funding most directly controlled by the State – while the various forms of Medicare managed care (Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, etc.) and commercial managed care are important, and even critical, to the healthcare system in New York, they are generally not a focus of State budgeting (at least directly). So this post will focus on the various forms of Medicaid managed care, including managed long term care (MLTC) that provide long term care services, fiscal intermediaries for consumer-directed consumer assistance, mainstream managed care plans that provide acute and primary care services, health homes that coordinate care for people with chronic illnesses, and others. Note that one species of Medicaid managed care, Development Disabilities Individual Support and Care Coordination Organizations, are not addressed in this post, but were addressed in a prior one (here).
Just a quick word before examining the key provisions impacting managed care: this series has not pretended to be a comprehensive analysis of all the healthcare provisions in the 2018-19 New York State Health Budget. It has merely provided a survey of the highlights of certain key areas in the healthcare space. Inevitably, some areas have not been directly addressed; particular ones that come to mind include primary care, professional practice, life science research and others. In part, this was due to the lack of significant reforms in those areas; however, it was also true that the sectors we did address often included references to those other sectors. Nowhere is this truer than in regard to managed care, which, as noted, touches on every other area of healthcare. Key provisions in the managed care space are summarized below.
Managed Long Term Care & Fiscal Intermediaries
Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) Eligibility. Since 2012, adults have been eligible for MLTC enrollment if they require community-based care for more than 120 days. The Enacted Budget provides that, effective April 1, such individuals are only eligible if that 120 days is a continuous, not aggregate, period.
Changing MLTC Plans. Effective October 1, 2018, the Enacted Budget allows MLTC enrollees to switch plans without cause anytime within 90 days of notification or the effective date of enrollment (whichever is later), but thereafter, the Department of Health (DOH) is authorized to prohibit changing plans more than once every 12 months, except for good cause. “Good cause” includes poor quality of care, lack of access to covered services, and lack of access to providers “experienced in dealing with the enrollee’s care needs,” and may include other categories identified by the Commissioner of Health.
Nursing Home Resident Eligibility. Effective April 1, 2018, the Enacted Budget provides that individuals who are permanently placed in a nursing home for a consecutive period of three months or more will not be eligible for MLTC, but instead will receive services on a fee-for-service basis. In a side letter, DOH has promised to provide guidance highlighting information about an individual’s rights as a nursing home resident, nursing home and MLTC plan responsibilities, and supports for individuals who wish to return to the community.
Plan Mergers. Effective April 1, 2018, surviving plans in a plan merger, acquisition or similar arrangement must submit a report to DOH within 12 months providing information about the enrollees transferred, a summary of which DOH will make available to the public.
Licensed Home Care Services Agency (LHCSA) Contracting. As discussed in a prior post (here), beginning October 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Health may limit the number of LHCSAs with which an MLTC plan may contract, according to a formula tied to region, number of enrollees and timing (before or after October 1, 2019), with some exceptions. In a side letter, DOH has indicated that it will issue guidance to assist both MLTC programs and LHCSAs in minimizing the disruption of care for Medicaid members and the impacted workforce from this initiative.
Fiscal Intermediary Advertising. The Enacted Budget includes provisions that limit the advertising practices of fiscal intermediaries under the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). CDPAP provides chronically ill and/or physically disabled Medicaid enrollees receiving home care services with more flexibility and freedom of choice to obtain such services. Fiscal intermediaries help consumers facilitate their role as employers by: providing wage and benefit processing for consumer directed personal assistants; processing income tax and other required wage withholdings; complying with workers’ compensation, disability and unemployment requirements; maintaining personnel records; ensuring health status of assistants prior to service delivery; maintaining records of service authorizations or reauthorizations; and monitoring the consumer’s/designated representative’s ability to fulfill the consumer’s responsibilities under the program (in this regard, they are not truly managed care, although there are some similarities). The Enacted Budget prohibits false or misleading advertisements by fiscal intermediaries. Furthermore, fiscal intermediaries are now required to submit proposed advertisements to DOH for review prior to distribution, and are not permitted to disseminate advisements without DOH approval. The DOH is required to render its decision on proposed advertisements within 30 days. In the event DOH has determined the fiscal intermediary has disseminated a false or misleading advertisement, or if an advertisement has been distributed without DOH approval, the fiscal intermediary has 30 days to discontinue use and/or remove such advertisement. If DOH determines a fiscal intermediary has distributed two or more advertisements that are false or misleading or not previously approved by DOH, the entity will be prohibited from providing fiscal intermediary services and its authorization will be revoked, suspended or limited. Additionally, DOH will maintain a list of these entities and will make this list available to local departments of social service, health maintenance organizations, accountable care organizations and performing provider systems. These limitations apply to marketing contracts entered into after April 1, 2018.
Fiscal Intermediary Reporting. The Enacted Budget allows the Commissioner of Health to require fiscal intermediaries to provide additional information regarding the direct care and administrative costs of personal assistance services. DOH may determine the type and amount of information that will be required, as well as the regularity and design of the reports. These cost reports must be certified by the owner, administrator, chief administrative officer or public official responsible for the operation of the provider. The DOH must provide at least 90 days’ notice of this report deadline. If DOH determines the cost report is not complete or inaccurate, it must notify the provider in writing and specify the correction needed or information required. The provider will have 30 days to respond to DOH’s request for supplementary information. In the event a provider cannot meet this filing deadline, DOH may provide an additional 30 day extension if the provider sends written notice prior to the report due date which details acceptable reasons beyond their control which justify their failure to meet the filing deadline.
Mainstream Managed Care and Health Homes
Quarterly Meetings on Medicaid Managed Care Rates. In a side letter, the Executive has committed to providing quarterly updates to the Legislature regarding Medicaid managed care rates, including the actuarial memorandum which, pursuant to statute, is provided to managed care organizations 30 days in advance of submission to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is intended to increase the transparency of Medicaid managed care rates.
Separate Rate Cells or Risk Adjustments for Specific Populations.In a side letter, DOH has committed to exploring separate rate cells or risk adjustments for the nursing home, high cost/high need home and personal care, and Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) populations. DOH will re-engage CMS regarding this reimbursement methodology with the assistance of health care industry stakeholders impacted by these changes (e.g. advocates, providers and managed care organizations). This will hopefully lead to a fairer rate structure for plans serving higher-risk patients.
Health Homes Targets. The Enacted Budget requires the Commissioner of Health to establish reasonable targets for health home participation by enrollees of special needs plans and other high risk enrollees of managed care plans to encourage plans and health homes to work collaboratively to achieve such targets. The DOH was also empowered to assess penalties for failure to meet such participation targets where they believe such failure is due to absence of good faith and reasonable efforts.
Health Home Criminal History Checks. The Enacted Budget requires criminal history checks for employees and subcontractors of health homes and any entity that provides community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities or to individuals under 21 years old.
Health Home Reporting. Similar to fiscal intermediaries (above) and LHCSAs (here), the Enacted Budget allows the Commissioner of Health to require health homes to report on the costs incurred to deliver health care services to Medicaid beneficiaries.
So that concludes our series on the 2018-19 New York State Healthcare Budget. If you have any questions or would like additional information on any of the above referenced issues, or any of the other items covered (or not covered) in the series, please do not hesitate to contact Farrell Fritz’s Regulatory & Government Relations Practice Group at 518.313.1450 or NYSRGR@FarrellFritz.com.