November 15, 2019
We are experiencing an arctic blast in DC, along with much of you around the country. Stay warm while you keep informed with the latest updates we are following around Washington.
Legislative Updates
Second Continuing Resolution Expected Next Week to Avoid Government Shutdown
House and Senate appropriators are expected to pass a second Continuing Resolution next week to continue government operations, as leaders near a compromise on a full year spending package for the current fiscal year. Federal agencies are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution set to expire on November 21. The new Continuing Resolution is expected to extend prior year funding levels through December 20 while appropriators work through remaining negotiations. Key points of contention to resolve in negotiations remain differences in proposed spending level increases for the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education. 
Child and Family Well-Being
CMS Scheduled to Release Proposed Rule on Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation
On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) detailed a proposed rule that will ensure that state supplemental payments and financing arrangements for their Medicaid programs are transparent and adhere to federal regulations. According to CMS, the rule would crack down on proscribed financing arrangements by requiring states to report provider-level information on Medicaid supplemental payments. The rule is in response to recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for CMS to enhance oversight. The proposed rule is scheduled to be posted in the Federal Register next Monday and will be open for a 60-day comment period.

CMS Approves DC Waiver of Medicaid IMD Rule
In a follow-up to our summary last week, here are more details on the DC waiver.
Washington, DC has become the first Medicaid program to be approved for a demonstration that would essentially waive the longstanding and controversial “institute of mental disease” (IMD) exclusion. The IMD exclusion is found in section 1905(a)(B) of the Social Security Act, and bars certain types of facilities - those that primarily address behavioral health needs with over 16 beds - from receiving Medicaid funding. The rule was intended to curb mass institutionalism of individuals with behavioral and mental health conditions, but in recent years has resulted in complications for state Medicaid directors to administer substance abuse treatments. In the past, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed for waiver of the IMD rule for substance abuse treatment, but with very limited time frames. Washington DC’s waiver allows for more community-based substance abuse and mental health supports. Vermont and Indiana have similar waivers pending decision at CMS, with many more states expected to follow. 

Adoption Excellence Awardees Announced at HHS Event
On Tuesday, APHSA attended the 2019 Adoption Excellence Awards, hosted by the Children’s Bureau at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The awards recognize individuals, families, and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in making contributions to providing permanency for children in foster care. Among this year’s winners was the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, Child Welfare Division.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
FNS Issues Guidance on School Meals During Unanticipated Closures
On November 5, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) issued guidance on child nutrition program flexibilities available during unanticipated school closures. The guidance encourages school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and/or Summer Food Service Program to use available flexibilities to help ensure children do not experience a lapse in food security when extreme weather or other events force schools and child care facilities to close.
Final Rule with Request for Comments Issued for TEFAP
The Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) published the Final Rule with requests for comments for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The rule implements several provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, including a requirement that TEFAP State Plans describe a plan of operations for projects to harvest, process, package, or transport donated commodities for use by TEFAP emergency feeding organizations (EFOs). The rule also codifies the requirement for agencies to amend State Plans to describe a plan that provides EFOs or eligible recipient agencies an opportunity to provide input on their commodity preferences and needs.  Comments are due by December 3.

ACF Requests Caseload Data on Foster Children and TANF Payments
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) requests caseload data for October 2019 on the number of foster children supported with public funds and the number of children in families receiving TANF payments in excess of the poverty income level under the 2019 HHS Poverty Guidelines. The data will be used as part of a formula to allocate FY 2020 U.S. Department of Education, Title I, Part A of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funds. Data provided to ACF must include the name of the local education agency (LEA) (or county, if not available by LEA) and reporting code shown on the list. Form ACF-4125 must be submitted by December 31 by regular mail or e-mail. Failure to provide data will result in the loss of Title I funds.
Upcoming Events
Webinar: Deep Dive Into HUD’s Family Unification Program NOFA
Join the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) for a webinar filled with practical advice as they provide an extensive overview of HUD’s October 23, 2019 NOFA issuance for the Family Unification Program (FUP). During this webinar, experts will drill down on details including priorities, scoring, populations, and key changes from the last FUP NOFA issued in 2018. CSH, CLPHA and local agencies will offer important considerations and tips for creating and optimizing viable partnerships and additional resources.
Thursday, November 21, 12:00-1:00 PM EST
APHSA Webinar: A Human-Centered Approach to Online Benefits Applications
Code for America will present on their recent analysis of every online benefits application for Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, WIC, and LIHEAP, providing a view of human services applications from a client perspective. Join us to discuss this analysis; we will also hear from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on how they already refined their application experience to meet rising expectations and changing needs throughout the state.

Thursday November 21, 2:00-3:00 PM EST
APHSA Career Center - Post Your Open Positions Today

APHSA serves as a clearinghouse for job opportunities throughout the health and human services (H/HS) field. Employers reach a wide audience of candidates looking for careers in H/HS and job seekers will find a bevy of opportunities throughout the country.