The Grant Advisors work hard to keep track of the federal budget and the 26 grant making agencies which distribute billions of grants each year in annual competitions. The Grant Advisors have been watching events on the Hill even as Congress has been pre-occupied with the mid-term elections.
New initiative to improve patient outcomes: HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell unveils the $840 million Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative () to support 150,000 clinicians in the next five years. With a combination of incentives, tools and information, the initiative, funded through the Affordable Care Act, will encourage doctors to team with their peers and others to move from volume-driven systems to value-based, patient-centered and coordinated health care services. Successful applicants will demonstrate the ability to achieve progress toward measurable goals, such as improving clinical outcomes, reducing unnecessary testing, achieving cost savings and avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations. Applicants can include group practices, health care systems and medical provider associations.
Proposed strategies include:
- Giving doctors better access to patient information, such as information on prescription drug use to help patients take their medications properly.
- Expanding the number of ways patients are able communicate with the team of clinicians taking care of them.
- Improving the coordination of patient care by primary care providers, specialists and the broader medical community.
- Using electronic health records on a daily basis to examine data on quality and efficiency.
“The administration is partnering with clinicians to find better ways to deliver care, pay providers and distribute information to improve the quality of care we receive and spend our nation’s dollars more wisely,” says Burwell. “We all have a stake in achieving these goals and delivering for patients, providers and taxpayers alike.”
Leaders call for better for-profit oversight: Attorneys General from around the country express support for the Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Improvement Act (S 2204; HR 4391), which would improve coordination between federal agencies that oversee the for-profit college industry. In a letter to congressional supporters of the measure, 14 attorneys general say the financial collapse of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which has left 70,000 students in the lurch, makes clear that better oversight of the for-profit higher education industry is needed to prevent future collapses that could put tens of thousands of students and millions of federal dollars in jeopardy. Through the establishment of an interagency oversight committee, the legislation would improve enforcement of federal laws and regulations while increasing accountability of for-profit colleges to students and taxpayers.
Individuals with Disabilities
Schools receive guidance on handling bullying situations: As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month in October, the Office for Civil Rights (ED) issues guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated—including against America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities. The guidance is issues in the form of a letter to educators detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.
Health care enrollment program recognized: The October White House Affordable Care Act Champions for Change event recognized leaders who are sharing the importance of obtaining and keeping health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The leaders of the Out2Enroll initiative were among those recognized. The program continues to help LGBT Americans learn about their new choices for obtaining quality, affordable health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Every month, the White House recognizes Champions for Change who are hard at work in their own communities to make a difference in people’s lives.
Mayors continue push: As part of a nationwide Day of Action around increasing the federal minimum wage, the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Oct. 10 urged Congress to raise the wage to $10.10 and mobilized existing support from mayors across the country who favor the increase. More than 70 mayors recently signed The USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force letter in support of raising the federal minimum wage, following passage of the USCM Resolution in Support of Raising the Federal Minimum Wage at its annual June meeting in Dallas. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would increase earnings for nearly 28 million workers across the country and help address the growing inequality gap that is leaving middle and working class families behind, says USCM President and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Listening sessions focus on improving school environments: The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education announces additional locations for its first-ever School Environment Listening Tour. The WHIAIANE will hear from schools and communities on ways to better meet the unique educational and culturally-related academic needs of Native American students. The listening sessions are focusing on school environment issues — bullying, student discipline and offensive imagery and symbolism. The effort is gathering feedback during the tour and will consider how it can inform future action to ensure Native American students receive a high quality education.