Ensuring Access to LTSS During COVID-19: Exploring a State Resource Guide Produced by Manatt Health and The SCAN Foundation
On Friday, July 10, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health presented key findings from a new COVID-19 state resource guide, funded by The SCAN Foundation. People who use long-term services and supports (LTSS), including individuals dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people with complex care needs receiving care in nursing homes and other congregate care settings, in particular. In the resource guide, Manatt Health identifies federal and state Medicaid flexibilities available to state officials and other stakeholders and how those flexibilities are being deployed during COVID-19 to help ensure access to LTSS. The webinar provided examples of how states are ensuring continued access to LTSS by expanding the types of settings in which services can be delivered, bolstering pay and other supports for LTSS providers, and addressing barriers to care created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analyzing the Fiscal Impact of COVID-19, the Economic Downturn, and Recent Policy Changes: 50-State Databook
As states and Medicaid programs face significant fiscal uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Databook provides projected changes in federal and state Medicaid and CHIP expenditures during calendar years 2020 and 2021 across all fifty states and the District of Columbia for a given scenario and policy response. Taken together, the Databook provides estimates that span across a range of plausible scenarios reflecting increased enrollment and per enrollee spending growth and changes to the duration of the federal Public Health Emergency.
On April 30, 2020, New Hampshire received approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to require its managed care organizations (MCOs) to make a directed payment to six types of essential Medicaid providers in order to help them keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous states across the country share New Hampshire’s interest in directing MCOs to use some of their capitation funds to support providers facing sharp declines in utilization due to COVID-19. This regulatory analysis provides an overview of New Hampshire’s directed payment and the documents used in the New Hampshire approval.
On Friday, June 12, State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and Georgetown reviewed the current telehealth policy landscape and considerations for states as they design their post-apex telehealth policies. This webinar included a question and answer session during which webinar participants posed their questions to the experts on the line.
On Thursday, June 4, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health presented key results from a financial model examining the Medicaid fiscal implications of the interaction between the COVID-19 pandemic, the emerging economic downturn, and recent policy changes. States and Medicaid programs are entering a time of substantial fiscal uncertainty as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while also preparing for a potentially severe recession that is expected to lead to significant budget shortfalls and surges in Medicaid enrollment. During the webinar, Manatt discussed key considerations for states as they develop their own internal forecasts and plan for the challenging times ahead.
On Thursday, May 21, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar that reviewed potential information technology (IT) investments in responding to COVID-19 and strategies for states to support these investments. As states face the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, IT is an essential tool to support access to health coverage and the safe and effective evaluation, testing, and treatment of patients nationwide. The webinar outlined strategies states can employ to secure current and potential IT investments that enable ongoing Medicaid program operations and advance health information exchange.
Strategies for Supporting and Strengthening Medicaid Information Technology During the COVID-19 Crisis
As states face the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, information technology (IT) is an essential tool to support access to health coverage and the safe and effective evaluation, testing, and treatment of patients nationwide. Under the current statutory and regulatory framework, state Medicaid agencies are authorized to receive federal funding for Medicaid IT and associated activities, and much of it at an enhanced federal matching level. This issue brief outlines potential IT investments in responding to COVID-19 and strategies for states to support these investments, as well as secure current and future IT investments that enable Medicaid program operations. The issue brief also highlights the Medicaid authorities and the provisions that may allow states more expeditious access and flexible use of these funds.
On Thursday, May 14, State Health and Value Strategies, in partnership with technical experts from Manatt Health, Levitis Strategies, GMMB, and the Urban Institute, hosted a webinar for states to help address the rapidly-evolving changes to the coverage environment. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, it has become clear that rising unemployment will substantially reduce employer sponsored health insurance. During the webinar, speakers discussed the models that have been published of where individuals are expected to gain coverage over the next 18 months, the impact on the Medicaid, individual, and employer-sponsored insurance markets, the role of special enrollment periods, and coordination with unemployment agencies. The webinar also highlighted communications opportunities and strategies for states to support enrollment.
On Thursday, May 7, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar that reported on how states are tracking the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations and provided a framework for states to examine their COVID-19 response efforts to yield better outcomes for such populations. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, it has become increasingly clear that vulnerable populations are disproportionately impacted. Unsurprisingly, these disparately affected groups are the same ones that have long experienced stark health disparities, such as communities of color, low income populations, and those that reside in congregate living facilities (nursing homes, jails, shelters, etc.). During the webinar, technical experts from Health Equity Solutions and SHADAC shared findings from recent SHVS publications.
On Friday, May 1 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms summarized recent federal legislation related to COVID-19 and distilled key takeaways from recent federal guidance. Topics included: a review of the recently passed stimulus bill, “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act;” a deep dive of recently released guidance on the disbursement of CARES Act funding including the Provider Relief and Coronavirus Relief Funds; and Medicaid strategies for providers and considerations for states.