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May 17, 2011 News Headlines

HANYS Testifies on New York’s Health Insurance Exchange

On Monday, in testimony at a public forum sponsored by the Governor’s Office, Department of Health, and State Insurance Department, HANYS urged policymakers to decide if the state will create Health Insurance Exchanges, and, if so, to quickly pass legislation to establish them.

The Affordable Care Act directs states to establish by 2014 an American Health Benefits Exchange for individuals and a Small Business Health Options Program Exchange for small business to enable comparison-shopping for affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage. If New York fails to make sufficient progress toward establishing its Exchanges by January 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will establish the requisite Exchanges on New York’s behalf. 

In its testimony, HANYS reminded policymakers and regulators that several deadlines are looming and urged the state to focus on passing legislation to establish Exchanges and identify the governing entity in that legislation—which may be a nonprofit organization, public authority, or new or existing state agency. HHS will make Planning and Establishment Grants available to the states once they have chosen the governance structure for their Exchanges. 

HANYS offered preliminary thoughts on the purchasing model for New York’s Exchanges, but noted that this and other policy questions related to the Exchanges can be decided in the future through additional legislation or rulemaking activity.

HANYS emphasized that there is stakeholder consensus that a public authority is the preferred governing model for the Exchanges because these entities are able to quickly react to changing market conditions while maintaining accountability and transparency to consumers. Contact: Danielle Drayer

Governor Makes Appointments to New Public Health and Health Planning Council

Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced his appointments to the new Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC), which could clear the way for PHHPC to begin considering projects next month.

The 12 appointments must still be confirmed by the State Senate, but Senate committees are expected to consider the nominations in the coming week. Tentative dates are already set for the first PHHPC meetings in New York City to begin moving the backlog of health care establishment and construction projects pending since the end of last year:

  • June 2: organizational meeting to consider by-laws and the committee structure;
  • June 9: meetings of any newly formed committees; and
  • June 16: full PHHPC meeting.

PHHPC was created to streamline the health planning functions at the Department of Health (DOH) by consolidating the State Hospital Review and Planning Council into the Public Health Council. Existing members of the Public Health Council will be carried forward to complete the membership of the new 25-member PHHPC.

Under the law, PHHPC is required to include members who reflect the diversity of the state and various health care stakeholders.  Additional information about PHHPC is available on the DOH Web site.  Contact: Karen Roach

CMS Innovation Center Announces New Pioneer ACO Model

Today, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced the Pioneer ACO Model, a program to test improvements in financial and clinical performance in more mature Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).   It is designed for groups of providers already on the pathway to providing coordinated care across settings for patients. The official Federal Register program notice will be published on May 20.

The new Pioneer ACO Model is different from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicare Shared Savings Program for Accountable Care Organizations program recently described in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule.  HANYS provided members more detail.

The Innovation Center is requesting interested parties submit a non-binding letter of intent to participate in the Pioneer ACO Model program by June 10. Applications for participation are due July 18. These materials, as well as background material on the program, are available on the Pioneer ACO Model section of the Innovation Center Web site.  For more information regarding the Medicare Shared Savings Program, visit the ACO section of the HANYS Health Care Reform Navigator Web site.  Contact: Susan Van Meter


Melissa Feck Leads Human Resources at HANYS

Melissa Feck, S.P.H.R., has joined HANYS as Vice President, Human Resources, where she is responsible for all of the Association’s human resource functions. Ms. Feck brings to the position many years of experience as a human resources and training leader in a variety of settings. Previously, she was Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Services at CAP COM Federal Credit Union, where she was part of the senior management team responsible for key activities including workforce planning, organizational development, strategic planning, Web management, marketing, facilities, charitable giving, and internal and external communications. The organization received Capital District Business Review’s Great Places to Work Award from 2004 to 2009.  Before that, she served in manager roles in human resources, training, and marketing at CAP COM. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York at Albany in 1993. She received her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification in 2007.