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Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health

May 13, 2015 Comments off

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Millions of previously uninsured Americans have gained access to health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace plans. The provider networks of the Marketplace plans determine where enrollees can seek medical care. Many of these individuals have received their care for years from safety-net providers, such as community health centers and family planning clinics. Recognizing the important role these providers play in promoting continuity of care as people transition from being uninsured and relying on safety net clinics to private insurance, and to meet the increased demand for medical care in underserved communities, Congress established general requirements to assure that these providers have the opportunity to participate in the health plans that are offered through the Marketplaces. These safety net clinics and hospitals are referred to as Essential Community Providers (ECPs), and the ACA specifically requires that Qualified Health Plans available through the federal or state insurance Marketplaces have a “sufficient number and geographic distribution of ECPs, where available, to ensure reasonable and timely access to a broad range of such providers for low-income, medically underserved individuals in the plan’s service area.”1 Because both the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and state regulators can have the authority to decide how to implement the broad ECP standard, there is considerable variation across the country in both the categories of providers included as ECPs as well as the standards required for inclusion in plan networks. This brief reviews the definition of ECP, examines the federal and state rules that govern the extent to which plans must include these providers in their networks, identifies the variation from state to state, and discusses the particular importance of these rules and providers for women’s access to care.

Good fortune, dire poverty, and inequality in Baltimore: An American story

May 13, 2015 Comments off

Good fortune, dire poverty, and inequality in Baltimore: An American story
Source: Brookings Institution

The unrest in Baltimore has fostered nationwide discussion about the root causes of the tensions in the city’s poor neighborhoods that led to an outbreak of riots and mass protests. While criminal justice policy and police-community relationships are arguably at the core of the present debate, the economic and social context in which those actions took shape matters greatly too. Yet media coverage has obscured a few key facts about economic and social conditions in Baltimore and other major American cities. The charts below situate the distress affecting neighborhoods like Freddie Gray’s Sandtown-Winchester against the backdrop of wider dynamics in Baltimore City and its metropolitan area, and in comparison to other cities and regions around the country.

New Study Examines Human Services for Low-Income and At-Risk LGBT Populations

May 8, 2015 Comments off

New Study Examines Human Services for Low-Income and At-Risk LGBT Populations
Source: Williams Institute (UCLA School of Law) and Mathematica

Despite social and legal progress for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, much about low-income and at-risk LGBT individuals and their participation in federal human service programs remains unknown. In fact, data suggest LGBT people may be disproportionately at risk of poor outcomes related to economic security and social well-being, compared to the general population.

To address this knowledge gap, Mathematica, in partnership with the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, conducted an assessment for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation. The project aims to help identify the current knowledge base and priorities for future research and, ultimately, strengthen services for low-income and at-risk LGBT people.

A report and related issue brief look at LGBT populations’ characteristics and interactions with human services and identify data gaps. The project focused on (1) income support and self-sufficiency programs for low-income families, (2) child welfare programs, and (3) programs for youth—especially services funded by ACF (assistance for runaway and homeless youth, and sexual health education for adolescents). Three additional briefs delve into recommendations for future research in these key

State of the World’s Mothers: The Urban Disadvantage

May 6, 2015 Comments off

State of the World’s Mothers: The Urban Disadvantage
Source: Save the Children

The findings are clear. One of the worst places in the world to be a mother is in an urban slum. The 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers report delves into a comparison of the health disparities between wealthy and poor women and children living in cities around the world. In 2015 more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Unfortunately, a growing proportion of child deaths are occurring within these cities in urban slums.

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Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as WIC, provides nutritious foods, counseling on healthy eating, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals to more than 8 million low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk.

Infants and very young children can face lifelong cognitive and health consequences if they don’t get adequate nourishment. WIC aims to ensure that pregnant women get the foods they need to deliver healthy babies and that those babies are well-nourished as they grow into toddlers.

An extensive body of research over the last few decades shows that WIC works. WIC participation contributes to healthier births, more nutritious diets, improved infant feeding practices, less anemia, and more preventive health care.

Harnessing Immigrant Small Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth

April 28, 2015 Comments off

Harnessing Immigrant Small Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

Immigrant-owned small businesses generate $776 billion in business activity and sustain 4.7 million employees—14 percent of all workers employed by U.S. small business owners. While 13 percent of the U.S. population was born outside the United States, 18 percent of small business owners are foreign-born. But there are few specific policies at the national or local levels supporting the potential of immigrant small entrepreneurs to reduce poverty and spur economic growth.

This report identifies challenges for small immigrant entrepreneurs and promising practices to better support them in three case study sites: Miami, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

President Obama’s November 2014 executive action granting deferred deportation and work permits to millions of unauthorized immigrants offers a unique opportunity to expand the power of immigrant small entrepreneurship to boost local economic growth. But to realize this potential, immigrants need better access to finance, culturally relevant business training, and a path to permanent legalization.

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

People in prison are more likely to have struggled with hunger and poverty before entering prison. This puts them at high risk for returning to conditions of hunger and poverty after prison.

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