On Tuesday, March 16, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the second of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The legislation is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. This second webinar, with experts from Manatt Health, reviewed key Medicaid provisions and state/local relief funding included in the COVID-19 relief package. Presenters also discussed considerations for state policymakers as they look to implement the American Rescue Plan, and how some proposals that did not end up in the final legislation could foreshadow future policy priorities.
On Friday, March 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the first of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The bill is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The first webinar explored changes to private insurance, including Marketplaces. Tax expert Jason Levitis and Joel Ario from Manatt Health explored the premium tax credit changes and COBRA subsidy and outlined decision points for state policymakers and consumers.
On Wednesday, February 24, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on analyzing health disparities in Medicaid managed care. Health disparities are a key indicator of health equity and understanding health care disparities is a critical component of informing systems changes to improve health care outcomes. Stratifying performance data by race, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation can inform targeted interventions to reduce health care disparities; yet many states lack complete and reliable data to do so. During the webinar, experts from Bailit Health discussed how states can use performance rates and disparities analyses from Medicaid managed care programs in other states to determine where disparities are likely to exist in their own state and develop interventions.
On Thursday, January 21 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health discussed the sub-regulatory guidance and the implications for states, in light of the recent public health emergency renewal by Secretary Azar. The webinar reviewed the expectations laid out in the guidance related to timelines, consumer communications, and fair hearing processes for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for those who have had their coverage continuously maintained as a condition of receiving the temporary 6.2 percent FMAP increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additionally, presenters discussed the expected processes and timelines for terminating, or making permanent where allowable, temporary federal flexibilities that were obtained.
In the waning days of 2020, Congress enacted a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and government funding bill. Included in the measure is the “No Surprises Act,” which contains new protections for consumers from surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers. State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Manatt Health, and tax expert Jason Levitis reviewed the provisions of this legislation and their implications for states. The webinar reviewed the No Surprises Act and provided an overview of the next steps for implementing the federal balance billing protections and what the law will mean for state-level protections. Additionally, presenters discussed a number of other key health care provisions, including state and locality funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing as well as policy changes to the Provider Relief Fund, and the impact of additional unemployment compensation and relief payments on eligibility for financial assistance for health coverage.
On Tuesday, December 15 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on how states can support children and youth with special health care needs during COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant health and economic hardships for many children and families. Children who receive health services in school settings to support their education are losing access to those services. In addition, a pre-COVID-19 shortage of home health providers has worsened due to the pandemic, placing a significant burden on families who rely on home health services. The result can lead to gaps in care and caregiver burnout, putting children and youth with special health care needs at risk of regression and long-term negative health outcomes. Recognizing these risks, states and the federal government have broadly expanded telehealth coverage, established continuous coverage requirements and eased regulatory requirements for delivery of services. The webinar, produced by Manatt Health with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Family Voices, and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, explored strategies for state Medicaid agencies to enforce coverage requirements and make permanent the temporary regulatory flexibilities that have expanded access to services during the pandemic.
State Health and Value Strategies hosted a two-part webinar series on screening Medicaid members for social risk factors. State Medicaid agencies are increasingly recognizing the impact that non-medical factors, such as social risk factors, have on health. Social risk factors are adverse social conditions which create barriers to health for individuals, such as food insecurity and homelessness. The first webinar reviewed key terms, screening tools, and design decisions for states interested in screening Medicaid managed care members for social risk factors. The second webinar, explored adopting a measure to assess social risk factor screening rates.
On Friday, October 30, State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and GMMB reviewed the trajectory of 2020 Medicaid enrollment growth to date and provide effective strategies related to communication with members and coordination across state Medicaid agencies and Marketplaces to support coverage access and retention in this dynamic environment.
On Monday, September 28, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the Buying Value suite of resources to support state use of performance measures as they assess and improve value with managed care plans and accountable provider entities. Buying Value consists of two free Excel-based tools. The Buying Value Measure Selection Tool assists states, employers, consumer organizations and providers in creating and maintaining aligned quality measure sets. The Buying Value Benchmark Repository is a database of non-HEDIS measures in use by state purchasers and regional health improvement collaboratives, and associated performance data for benchmarking purposes.
On Thursday, September 17, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar that will discuss the federal government’s response to the financial challenges facing providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in utilization that threaten the financial stability of providers. Most of the Provider Relief Fund has been distributed, yet providers are still experiencing lost revenue and increased costs related to COVID-19. Medicaid payment strategies—especially for providers serving high numbers of Medicaid patients—remain a critical tool for states to support providers as new COVID-19 hotspots emerge and utilization patterns change. During the webinar, experts from Manatt Health reviewed examples of specific strategies states implemented between April and August 2020 to increase payments to providers in financial distress as a result of decreased health care utilization.