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.
Pathways to Coverage for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment for Adults in Medicaid Expansion and Non- Expansion States
The Pathways to Coverage for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment for Adults toolkit provides an overview for states of various coverage pathways for individuals, including those who are uninsured, in need of COVID-19 testing and treatment. The toolkit provides varying pathways for Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states.
A toolkit of messages for Medicaid agency staff to outreach to new consumers and current enrollees in light of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, April 29 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar, State Strategies to Support Medicaid/CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment in Response to COVID-19. Many states are experiencing an increase in the volume of Medicaid applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health reviewed strategies states can use to manage and process an increased number of Medicaid applications, and the federal authorities that permit states to do so. Communications experts from GMMB reviewed strategies for messaging to new and existing enrollees.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues, state Medicaid and Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies are rapidly pursuing multiple financing strategies to support their responses. CHIP Health Services Initiatives (HSIs) can provide additional financial support to states and local communities serving low-income children. This issue brief provides an overview of CHIP HSIs and identifies ways that states can leverage them as part of their targeted response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress, providers across the continuum of care are experiencing significant changes in utilization resulting in declining revenue and jeopardizing access to care. The federal government has acknowledged the financial challenges facing providers through supplemental funding included in the three federal stimulus bills enacted to date. In addition, several states have submitted Section 1115 waivers requesting CMS approval to establish “disaster relief funds,” paid for with Medicaid dollars, to further assist providers. While it will take some time for waiver requests to be reviewed and for the new federal funds to be released, more immediately available tools can help ensure payments continue flowing to providers despite substantial utilization changes. This Q&A provides a moment-in-time update in response to questions SHVS has received regarding the April 9 Targeted Options for Increasing Medicaid Payments to Providers During COVID-19 Crisis Webinar and corresponding Toolkit.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is moving rapidly to help states and health care providers respond to mounting needs for new sources of funding and flexibility. Congress has passed three COVID-19 stimulus bills, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance outlining new flexibilities available to states and providers, and is working to approve additional requests from states, to award funds appropriated by Congress, and to issue more guidance about such funding. This Q&A provides a moment-in-time update in response to questions SHVS has received about the federal government’s response.