Our Blog

(March 19, 2020)

By Stacie Weeks, Principal, Medicaid Policy and Marie Zimmerman, Vice President, Medicaid Transformation and Financing, and Jennifer Ryan, Executive Vice President

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to unfold, maximizing limited resources will be critical, especially for state Medicaid programs. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has the opportunity to utilize its emergency powers to the maximum extent possible to help state Medicaid programs in this time of crisis....

(February 20, 2020)

By Marie Zimmerman, Vice President, Medicaid Transformation and Financing, Jennifer Ryan, Executive Vice President, Stacie Weeks, Principal, Medicaid Policy, and Julia Smith, Associate Director, Medicaid Policy

On January 30, 2020, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a long-anticipated letter to state Medicaid directors outlining a new Section 1115 waiver—the Healthy Adult Opportunity (HAO) waiver. This waiver, according to CMS, will allow states to “provide cost-effective coverage using flexible benefit designs,” but such a design will involve a block grant or per-capita cap on their Medicaid programs. There are many considerations states will need to weigh before deciding to enter into such a financing arrangement with the federal government. While the HOA waiver appears to give states additional flexibility to manage their programs as they see fit, the real purpose of the HOA waiver is to shift the balance of financial responsibility for the Medicaid program to the states. The flexibility is secondary....

(February 3, 2020)

By Hilary Haycock, President

This week marks a significant anniversary for me personally, and for Harbage Consulting. February 3rd is the fifth anniversary of Peter Harbage’s death, making February 4th the fifth anniversary of my tenure as President of this amazing organization.
We have come a long way in that time, and I am so proud of what Harbage Consulting has become over the past five years. It is an amazing honor and gift to lead an incredible team working hard every day to improve access to quality health care for those who need it most....

(December 5, 2019)

By Hilary Haycock, MPP, President, Tanya Schwartz, MPP, MSW, Principal and Senior Director, Medicaid Policy and Carri Ziegler, Vice President of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs

This week, California became the first state to launch a statewide effort – “ACEs Aware” – designed to systematically address the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress on health. ACEs are stressful or traumatic events experienced before age 18 that relate to ten categories of adversities across three domains: physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; and household dysfunction (e.g. a parent with a mental health condition or substance use disorder, absence due to separation or divorce, or intimate partner violence). ...

(November 27, 2019)

By Trish Violett, Junior Policy Consultant and Megan Thomas, Director, Quality Initiatives

Over the past four years, the 52 hospitals and health systems participating in the California Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) program have been working to improve care delivery and maximize health care value through a “pay-for-performance” model. The PRIME hospitals are using evidence-based quality improvement methods to achieve designated goals and outcomes on select clinical projects and associated performance metrics....

(November 1, 2019)

By Lucy Pagel, Senior Policy Consultant and Jennifer Ryan, Executive Vice President

This week, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal initiative (CalAIM). The initiative provides a roadmap for how the state proposes to continue to evolve its Medicaid program (Medi-Cal), and specifically its managed care delivery system, over the next decade....

At the intersection of health care policy, politics and communications.