Monday Briefing: Trump Aims to Slash Agency Budgets

To get your week started off right, catch up with our Monday briefing. This week, we’ll clue you into President Trump’s budget proposal and the confirmation of Seema Verma as the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Keep reading to get a recap on our most popular stories from last week. In particular, be sure to check out our series on Pre-Claim Review—we heard from voices on the ground dealing with the program in Illinois.

Trump’s Budget Plan Slashes Services, Boosts Military Spending


President Trump released his proposed budget last week, detailing steep spending cuts to several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While the president’s budget is merely a proposal—Congress is charged with affirming the federal budget—it paints a clear picture of Trump’s intentions to rein in federal spending by cutting services, many of which include supports to seniors.

Seema Verma Confirmed as Administrator of CMS

Last week, Seema Verma was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Medicare and Medicaid programs. She is the founder and president of healthcare consulting company SVC Inc. and is considered a protogé of Vice President Mike Pence. Vera previously worked in Indiana and helped design the Healthy Indiana Plan while Pence was governor of the state. The plan is an insurance program for low-income Indiana residents. Indiana is ranked 41st across the country in overall health, according to America’s Health Rankings.


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Kindred CEO: Massive Home Health Opportunity Demands ‘Blue Collar’ Approach—Home health and hospice are the most promising growth sectors in health care, but there are relatively few companies with the “blue-collar” mentality needed to seize that opportunity, Kindred Healthcare (YSE: KND) CEO Benjamin Breier recently said.

Voices of Pre-Claim: Lessons Learned the Hard Way (Part 1)—Home health providers in Illinois now sound a little different when discussing PCR, compared to the early days of the demonstration project. With affirmation rates rising and administrative processes running more smoothly, some agency leaders sound circumspect about the program and more confident in their ability to meet its requirements.

States Where Home Health Utilization Grew Most in 2015—Utilization of home health services as a whole remained flat and even saw a bit of decline from 2014 to 2015, but there were a number of states that saw growth during that year, according to data released by Healthcare Market Resources. The top states with the highest home health utilization growth in 2015 were North Dakota and Minnesota, both of which saw growth of more than 8%.

Written by Amy Baxter

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