Targeted Options for Increasing Medicaid Payments to Providers During COVID-19 Crisis
Anne Karl, Jocelyn Guyer and Avi Herring, Manatt Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in utilization that threaten the financial stability of providers and may jeopardize access to care during and after the national emergency. With elective cases generally cancelled, hospitals have sharply lower utilization and revenue. Between March and August 2020, a combination of lost revenue related to fewer elective procedures and emergency department/outpatient encounters, and higher costs related to COVID-19 has put many hospitals in a precarious financial position. In addition, many other providers that rely on face-to-face visits have seen large utilization declines due to social distancing requirements, with outpatient visits falling 60 percent in April 2020. As of July 2020, outpatient visits remain 10 percent below the pre-COVID-19 baseline, even after accounting for the increased use of telemedicine. Most of the Provider Relief Fund dollars have been distributed, yet providers are still experiencing lost revenue and increased costs related to COVID-19. Under any scenario, 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. This toolkit has been updated as of August 26, 2020 to reflect more recent federal guidance and examples of specific strategies states implemented between April and August 2020.
SHVS also hosted a companion webinar, the slide deck for which has been updated as of August 26, 2020.
To maximize efforts to maintain coverage, state Medicaid agencies and Marketplaces can now leverage digital channels as part of their overall outreach and communications efforts. Rapidly evolving changes in consumer media consumption habits as well as shifts in digital channels, and the ability to leverage data sources, enables granular audience targeting and efficient use of resources. These can be incorporated into an overall integrated outreach and education campaign to maximize renewals and coverage retention.
Individual-level data on race and ethnicity collected within the Medicaid program and in other state agencies is greatly influenced by federal guidance. This expert perspective summarizes the proposed revisions to the federal standards for collecting race and ethnicity that are currently out for comment, and provides considerations for states interested in submitting comments.
The unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement represents the largest nationwide coverage transition since the Affordable Care Act, with significant health equity implications. Given the intense focus on coverage transitions during the unwinding, some states have initiated plans to publish a data dashboard to monitor progress. To date, three states—Iowa, Minnesota and Utah—have a public data dashboard. SHADAC will update this expert perspective as additional dashboards go live.