Category Archives: National News

From Community Catalyst…

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Dear Partners,

The growth of surprise out-of-network medical bills has risen to be a top health care concern for many people in the U.S. Surprise medical bills can happen to anyone, no matter what kind of health insurance they have. When patients inadvertently use providers that are not in their health plan’s network, they are directly billed by these providers the difference between what their health plan agrees to pay and what the provider charges. Such a practice is known as surprise balance billing and it can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars, leaving patients with little recourse and potentially devastating medical debt.

It is important to devise policies that will put a check on the growing monopoly power of providers as well as protect consumers. Ending surprise medical bills is a policy solution that has the potential to do both. Toward that end, our new report, “Ending Surprise Balance Billing: Steps To Protect Patients and Reduce Excessive Health Care Costs” lays out what we see as the essential elements of federal and state policy solutions to the surprise-out-of-network bill problem, and that addresses both consumer protection and monopoly power.

We hope our recommendations are valuable to you and other stakeholders with a shared interest in taking practical steps to end surprise medical bills and working to lower health care costs overall.

Please do not hesitate to contact Quynh Chi Nguyen, Policy Analyst, at with any questions or feedback.

Michael Miller
Strategic Policy Director, Community Catalyst

Family Voices National Team news- Developmental Disabilities Month

From our bi- monthly National team Newsletter


(ACL Bulletin, 3/1/19)

March 1 marks the first day of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. All month, ACL will be sharing blogs and resources through our listserv and Facebook and Twitter pages. We hope you will join us in celebrating the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the community!

To help you get involved, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Association of University Centers on Disabilities and National Disabilities Rights Network have partnered on a social media campaign that highlights the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in their communities.

The campaign has developed a social media guide with content you can post throughout the month. The guide includes four themed weeks and will be updated with additional content each Monday. There are no set guidelines for posting – feel free to share whatever you want, whenever you want, and remember to use #DDAwareness19!

If you have resources or materials that you think should be included, please email Jessica Misilo at Examples of resources include videos, toolkits, news articles, photos, personal stories, and promising practices.

New this year, the campaign will be highlighting artwork created by people with disabilities. NACDD will be showcasing the artwork on its Facebook page and art by Gary Murrel is featured in the DD Awareness Month banner above.

Government Shutdown Updates

Hello Family Voices Families,

As some of you might know, there has been a partial government shutdown since Dec 22nd.  Luckily, the Department of Health and Human Services (which supports the States medicaid offices) is not affected and the programs funded by the department are not at risk. On the other hand, WIC which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, is being affected by the shutdown.
WIC Agencies are expected to have adequate funding on hand currently to last through the month of January. Food and Nutrition Service has communicated to WIC agencies that they plan to undertake measures on January 3 to identify & provide additional funding, including: allocating all remaining carryover funds and preliminary recoveries to State agencies, working with State agencies to make their FY 2018 Nutrition Services and Administration (NSA) spend forward funds available for FY 2019 obligations, and asking State agencies to identify additional unspent FY 2018 funds that may be available for recovery and reallocation as FY 2019 grant funds.

Remember, WIC is up and running!!

We will post any information that we receive.  Thank you!