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February 2013 St@teside

State Interest Group Policy Meeting Held at the National Health Policy Conference

In conjunction with AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference (NHPC), the State Health Research and Policy Interest Group held a breakfast session on “The Role of the Safety Net Under the Affordable Care Act.” The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is dramatically changing the insurance coverage landscape within states. States are expanding their commercial markets via health insurance exchanges (either state-run or federally facilitated), and are making decisions about whether or not to expand their Medicaid programs to childless adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Despite these varying increases in state populations with insurance coverage, safety net providers, particularly federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), will continue to play an important role in care delivery. However, in order to provide care in the context of the ACA, many FQHCs will need to transform.
More than 85 individuals attended the session, which focused on the population who will continue to be served by FQHCs (including those with new insurance coverage—either private or public—and the residually uninsured). Panelists provided an overview of transformations being undertaken by FQHCs, using examples of how Maryland’s FQHCs have been working to change their business practices so they can operate in an environment that will require them to bill for services. They also discussed how FQHCs are reforming how they deliver care and becoming patient-centered medical homes in Iowa.
The panel was moderated by Interest Group Executive Committee Chair Scott Leitz (assistant commissioner for health care administration, Minnesota Department of Human Services). Panel members included Matt Buettgens (mathematician and senior research associate, Urban Institute), Marshall H. Chin (Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Healthcare Ethics, Department of Medicine University of Chicago), Mark Luckner (executive director, Maryland Community Health Resources Commission), and Theodore J. Boesen, Jr. (executive director, Iowa Primary Care Association). 
Presentation slides are currently available on the State Health Research and Policy Interest Group website, along with a meeting report.