Nebraska's Child Welfare System not tapping into federal funds

"There is a lot of positive activity right now at DHHS to improve the Federal claiming process, including claiming retroactively to benefit the entire state," said consultant, John Stephen, Managing Partner with the Stephen Group.

Group seeks transformational change to child welfare system

"Reimagining the way child welfare practice and financing is handled here in the state," John Stephen said.

Rural challenges at heart of forum on Nebraska's new child welfare law

“The goal here is to develop a practice and finance model, that’s really the objective,” said John Stephen of the Stephen Group. That means, Stephen said, finding out what needs more funding and what processes need to change.

Let's talk about it: Stephen Group holds community forum on child welfare legislation

"In this state the legislature was very wise to say ‘this isn’t just about the department that runs child welfare, this is about the community, this is about every single state agency that has any connection to children’s wellbeing,' which is so exciting, including tribal nations and those with lived experience," Stephen said.

‘You’re behind the curve’: Consultant questions Texas CPS’ lack of improvement

The Stephen Group issued a report with more than 150 recommendations in 2014.

“Why are you not giving FPSS (Family Preservation Support Services) to the community-based care system, prevention should be at the community level, not at the state office,” Stephen said. “That’s never happened to my knowledge. You’re behind the curve.”

Lawmakers consider moving Texas CPS to community-based-care model

On Monday consultant John Stephen was invited to address the committee about a report he wrote for the state eight years ago. He says Texas has too many kids spending too long a time in foster care adding, “Those kids are languishing in your system where the time spent in foster care in this state is so much higher in other states.”

He says, don't take the low bid. “Consider the children ahead of the cost.”

Long-planned changes to Texas foster care system have ‘sputtered,’ senators say

“The most important thing is to have one entity that’s truly accountable for these children, to make sure they get what they need,” Stephen testified.

State of Nebraska again seeks bids for child welfare case management in Omaha metro area

State officials are trying again to bid out the job of overseeing the care of abused and neglected children in the Omaha area.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a request for proposals Wednesday seeking providers interested in the case management contract now held by the Omaha-based PromiseShip.

The state is offering a five-year contract with the option of two single-year extensions.

Of Benefit to All

Soon, Arkansas lawmakers will convene in a special legislative session that provides a tremendous opportunity to institute real reform in the state's Medicaid program. One critical issue up for debate will be whether Arkansas continues as one of the few states that does not use Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to help deliver cost containment, quality assurance, accountability and predictable costs for the state Medicaid program.

This is critical because more than 830,000 Arkansans depend on Medicaid, and state taxpayers spend over $5 billion annually to provide this health care. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia use MCOs to manage some or all of their Medicaid programs, and it is a proven model that works.

The Stephen Group, an independent and well-respected health-care consulting firm, was commissioned in 2015 to provide an assessment of the state Department of Human Services' management of the Medicaid program. These experts validated that the state has excess utilization of many high-cost services such as ER visits and nursing homes, and has failed to implement proven practices to help manage costs.

Health Task Force Meeting Could Bring Clarity on Managed Care in State (Erika Gee Commentary)

Members of The Stephen Group, presenting its findings in October to the Health Care Reform Legislative Task Force. (Brian Chilson/Arkansas Times)
Members of The Stephen Group, presenting its findings in October to the Health Care Reform Legislative Task Force. (Brian Chilson/Arkansas Times)

Tuesday's primary results might constitute a positive sign for Gov. Asa Hutchinson's version of Medicaid expansion, dubbed "Arkansas Works." Specifically, eight House and Senate races were targeted by opponents of the private option and the outcomes of those primaries were considered by many as a possible mandate on Arkansas Works.

Arkansas health reform report to include ‘out of the box’ ideas

John Stephen of The Stephen Group told the Health Reform Legislative Task Force that the report will come in three volumes: an assessment of the state’s current health care offerings; a set of recommendations regarding Medicaid and the private option; and a set of ideas and initiatives such as potentially changing the state’s "any willing provider law."

It's time to move to home/community-based care and away from institutions

The Stephen Group, the consultant chosen to review Arkansas's health care system for the task force, presented the legislative panel on Wednesday with detailed information on behavioral health, developmental disability (DD) services and much more. It's in advance of an eventual set of recommendations that the group is scheduled to present in October.

Most Medicaid Dollars Unaffected By Cost Reforms

John Stephen with The Stephen Group told the Heath Reform Legislative Task Force that Arkansas is spending $3 billion of the $4 billion it dedicates to traditional Medicaid on those populations. That does not include Arkansans served by the private option, the program that uses Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance.

Austin-American Statesman

"[T]he Department of Family and Protective Services hired a consulting group — The Stephen Group — to conduct a top to bottom review of Child Protective Services. The result was a remarkably informative 475-report filled with details on how the agency operates, what's not working and how to fix it."

San Antonio Express-News

"[A] consulting group, The Stephen Group, reviewed CPS exit interviews from an entire year as part of an overall agency review. That report was remarkably insightful"

Rhode Island Governor seeks renewal of landmark Global Medicaid Waiver. Governor calls Waiver “an important and powerful tool” to control healthcare costs.

Rhode Island’s Secretary of Health and Human Services explains that the Global Waiver “has been hugely beneficial to the state.”

Please see Renewal of ‘global waiver’ sought on Page A11 of Friday, January 25, 2013 issue of The Providence Journal:

Study shows that Medicaid reform is working in Rhode Island: