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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the Family First Act, surprise medical billing, federal agencies implementing automated services, and recommendations for improved utilization of SDOH data.

1. Year-end spending bill includes hundreds of millions for Family First Act 

The federal spending bill, introduced earlier this week and expected to be approved by Congress soon, included funding and incentives for states to begin implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act. According to The Chronicle of Social Change, the funding can be used by states to support implementation, guarantees funding to replace previously existing waivers, and provides more time for services to be designated as ‘well-supported.’ 

2. Study: Cost from out-of-network billing at in-network hospitals top $40B 

Surprise medical billing continues to be a major topic of discussion.  Fierce Healthcare reports a new study estimated the savings from requiring these out-of-network providers to accept in-network rates would be approximately $40 billion annually.

3. FedRAMP steps toward automatic authorization 

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has drafted guidance to help put system security plans into machine-readable language. According to GCN, machine-readable language includes formats that allow tools to speak the same language, is one step closer on the path toward automation, and is expected to reduce paperwork, redundancy, and implementation costs.

4. USAID looks to tech, automation for HR service delivery 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is using technology to streamline human resources services for its employees worldwide. According to FCW, the agency was understaffed and turned to technology to free employees to focus on more high-value tasks.

5. How HHS can use social data for better healthcare   

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) co-hosted a roundtable on how to better use data on social determinants of health with the Center for Open Data Enterprise. According to FedScoop, the report on the roundtable and recommendations was released earlier this week. The report calls for a national data strategy, improving open source assessment tools, adopting data standards, improving data-gathering capabilities, and creating state-level strategy toolkits.