November 1, 2019
H ere is the latest we are following around Washington - including congratulating our own home team, the World Series Winning Washington Nationals!
Child and Family Well-Being
CMS Provides Additional Details on Electronic Visit Verification Requirement
Late last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released updated information regarding the plan for a more streamlined and outcomes-based approach to certify Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) systems. Under the Cures Act, signed into law in December of 2016, states are eligible to receive 90% of Federal Financial Participation (FFP) to design, develop, and implement EVV systems. Focusing on outcomes ensures that states' investment in information technology produces the desired outcomes for the Medicaid program. Outcomes-based certification will be implemented incrementally across the entire Medicaid System, with EVV systems being the first.

CMS Publishes Substance Use Disorder Data Book
The Department of Health and Human Services released the first Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Data Book, as required by the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT ACT). The report focuses on data collected in calendar year 2017 and reports on the number of Medicaid beneficiaries, age 12 and older, with a substance use-disorder and the services they received.  2017 data showed that almost 4.1 million or nearly 8 percent were treated for a SUD, with one million of those specifically opioid related. Reports will be updated annually until 2024.

ACF Releases Memo on the Intersection of Domestic Violence, Mental Health, and Substance Use
In a memo released this week, the Administration for Children and Families highlights a lack of collaboration and partnership between Domestic Violence, Mental Health and Substance Use services. The memo provides information to State Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment directors regarding domestic violence and its long lasting effects on resources, potential partnerships and trainings. In addition, the memo also provides information to State Family Violence Prevention Services Act administrators on how mental health and substance abuse can relate to domestic violence. Overall, the memo calls for the creation of programs that would address the intersection of these issues and treat them together. 

OFA Issues Program Instructions to State Child Welfare and Public Assistance Agencies
On October 24, the ACF Office of Family Assistance (OFA) issued Program Instructions (PI) to state agencies administering child welfare and public assistance programs. The PI, titled “Children in Foster Homes and Children in Families Receiving Payments in Excess of the Poverty Income Level from a State Program Funded Under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act” instructs state agencies to submit caseload data on the number of children who, in the month of October 2019, were: (1) living in foster homes supported by public funds; or (2) receiving payments in excess of the poverty income level from a state TANF program. The Department of Health and Human Services will transmit the data to the Department of Education, where it will be used as part of a formula to determine allocations for fiscal year 2020 (school year 2020-2021) grants to local educational agencies (LEAs).

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Comment Period Open for ACF-204 Annual Maintenance of Effort Report
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is requesting a three-year extension of the ACF-204 Annual Maintenance of Effort Report. The report is used to collect descriptive program characteristics information on the programs operated by States and Territories in association with their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.  Interested parties should submit comments by November 29.
Government Accountability Office Says USDA Not Authorized to Issue Early Payment of SNAP Benefits
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued an opinion to Congress stating that USDA was not authorized to issue early SNAP benefits for the month of February during last year’s government shutdown. In the letter, GAO cites limited authority for USDA to issue benefits for any month that begins 30 days after the continuing resolution expired. Since the continuing resolution expired December 21, 2018, GAO concludes that USDA was authorized to issue benefits for January, but not February. The opinion raises further questions about the impact and available responses to protect critical benefits during future potential government shutdowns.

FNS Seeks Public Comments on Standard Utility Allowances and Self-Employment Income
On October 25, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) posted a notice in the Federal Register inviting public comments on the proposed revision of a currently approved information collection. The information collection deals with the state agency reporting burden associated with the state agency options in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Establishing and reviewing standard utility allowances (SUAs) and establishing methodology for offsetting cost of producing self-employment income. The deadline for submitting comments is December 24.

Upcoming Events
American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo
"Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health, " is the theme for the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo, the largest and most influential annual gathering of public health professionals. Nearly 13,000 attendees join each year to present, learn and find inspiration. APHA brings together people and organizations who make a difference from the global level to the local level.

November 2-6 | Philadelphia, PA
APHSA Webinar: Unlocking Success in Human Services - There Really is a Secret Sauce
Join us with Change & Innovation Agency (C!A) and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare as they take a deeper dive into the secret sauce that Idaho (and others) adopted that led to massive improvements in capacity for both child welfare and benefit programs. They will outline the four most critical components of leading large-scale change initiatives that radically impact performance. Leave with a proven blueprint that will help you, too, radically improve your human services operation and outcomes.

Thursday, November 7, 2:00-3:00 PM EST
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Annual Research Conference
"Rising to the Challenge: Engaging Diverse Perspectives on Issues and Evidence," is the theme for the APPAM Conference, a multi-disciplinary research conference attracting the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. Conversations will reach across disciplinary, methodological and ideological divides and take place across 300+ educational programs in a variety of formats, including panels, roundtables, poster presentations, super sessions and special events.

November 7-9 | Denver, CO
APHSA Webinar: Data Sharing in Human Services to End Homelessness Challenges and Solutions
Housing is a key factor for anyone to live healthy and there are a number of solutions that bring human services and housing data together to help all of us get there. Join us along with the Corporation for Supportive Housing to learn about best practices and examples from the field that bring these data together to help families reach their potential.

Thursday, November 14, 3:00-4:00 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 , which provides a view of human services programs from a client perspective, revealing just how much the experience can vary state to state. Join us to discuss this analysis; w e 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.