State Health Updates
- Arkansas – The Department of Human Services announced it will award mini grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) to engage Medicaid enrollees in preparation for the end of the public health emergency. The mini grants will support CBOs’ outreach and engagement efforts and assistance with the renewal process.
- California – The Department of Health Care Services is partnering with Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) to expand access to prescription drugs under Medi-Cal Rx, the Medi-Cal pharmacy program. Medi-Cal members will now be able to fill their prescriptions at one of Costco’s 122 pharmacy locations across the state.
- Colorado – The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing is hosting a webinar on preparing for the end of the public health emergency. The webinar is geared toward community partners such as advocacy organizations, providers, and community organizations who may provide other assistance, such as housing or social services, to Health First Colorado or CHP+ members. The webinar will provide an overview of communication resources for partners to assist members in preparing for and taking part in the renewal process.
- Minnesota – The Health Economics Program of the Minnesota Department of Health has released an issue brief on patterns of healthcare spending, utilization, and prices in Minnesota between 2016 and 2020. Analyzing data from the Minnesota All Payer Claims Database, the report finds that healthcare spending by privately insured Minnesotans grew by 19% from 2016 to 2019 driven largely by an increase in healthcare prices. From 2019 to 2020, healthcare spending fell 4.2%, as COVID-19 disrupted healthcare delivery and reduced healthcare utilization.
- New York – Governor Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to create the state’s first-ever Master Plan for Aging. The executive order directs the Commissioner of the State Department of Health and the Director of the State Office for the Aging to head a Master Plan for Aging Council, which will gather input from relevant stakeholders to draft guidance for building healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults.
- Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys celebrated the signing into law of Senate Bill 225 by Governor Wolf, which will reform the prior authorization process in Pennsylvania and give the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) authority over external reviews of benefit determinations under the Affordable Care Act. The new authority was, until signing of the legislation, deferred to the federal government. Regaining authority over the external review process will allow PID to assist consumers by promptly responding to appeals of prior authorization denials and understanding the scope of any given insurer’s adverse benefit determinations.
- South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is implementing a one-time supplemental payment to qualified in-home, case management or adult day services providers delivering services to people with Medicaid who need long-term services and supports. The one-time supplemental payments are supported through funds made available by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to enhance, expand, and strengthen home- and community-based services (HCBS). As a reminder, SHVS published an issue brief on the ARP’s HCBS enhanced federal medical assistance percentage provision.
- South Dakota – Voters approved a ballot measure to amend the state’s constitution to implement Medicaid expansion. The measure, which passed with 56% support, is estimated to provide coverage to an additional 42,500 adults.
- Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services awarded $12 million through the ARP HCBS enhanced funding provision to 43 organizations that will focus on improving HCBS services for people who are elderly or have disabilities. The awarded projects reach both urban and rural areas of the state and use creative ways to make a positive impact on the direct care workforce through activities like technology to address workforce shortages; incentive recruitment and retention strategies; and innovative and targeted marketing.