State Health Updates
- Governor Doug Ducey announced $7 million to expand available rental assistance and help keep people in their homes. The funding comes from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, established in March through a bipartisan state budget agreement that added $50 million for Arizona’s COVID-19 response.
- AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program, received federal approval from CMS to increase Arizona hospital reimbursement rates by more than 30 percent to help stabilize health care providers. The Hospital Enhanced Access Leading to Health Improvements Initiative (HEALTHII) will result in a net increase in payments to eligible Arizona hospitals of approximately $800 million in the first year of implementation, a more than 30 percent effective rate increase over current reimbursement rates.
- California – Governor Gavin Newsom announced that a West Sacramento hotel will now provide permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, through a Homekey award as part of the seventh and final round of funding. The final round of funding totals $129.6 million awarded to nine jurisdictions for 17 projects totaling 982 units. To date, more than $835.6 million has been awarded to 48 jurisdictions for 93 projects totaling 6,055 units.
- Colorado – The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing announced the distribution of nearly $600,000 in advanced payments to primary care providers known to have experienced revenue loss as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The advanced payments were made possible through donations of $1.925 million from a unique partnership with the Colorado Health Foundation, Caring for Colorado Foundation, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Rocky Mountain Health Foundation and Rose Community Foundation. The state is able to draw down federal matching funds bringing the total funds to $3.63 million. A second round of payments is planned prior to the end of the public health emergency in January.
- Nebraska – Governor Pete Ricketts announced additional financial assistance for long-term care (LTC) facilities as they serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus pandemic. Nebraska is allocating another $15 million to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities cover additional costs they’ve incurred during the pandemic. The state is applying to the federal government to match these funds with $25 million, to provide a total of $40 million of new financial assistance for LTC facilities in Nebraska.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched an online portal for primary care providers to request reimbursement for COVID-19 related costs for individuals without insurance. Primary care providers can receive $150 for each in-person or telehealth visit of eligible COVID-19-related care for uninsured individuals living in North Carolina. NCDHHS is reimbursing providers on a first-come, first-served basis for up to $7.8 million in total support. Funds are available through December 30, 2020, or until they’ve been spent.
- Pennsylvania – Governor Tom Wolf announced that nearly $20 million is now available to assist Pennsylvanians currently experiencing homelessness. Under a new grant program called ESG-CV Code Blue, applicants may apply for funding for emergency shelter and temporary emergency shelter to expand shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The program will prioritize the use of these funds to assist homeless providers and communities prepare for, prevent the spread of and respond to COVID-19 through the use of emergency shelter and temporary emergency shelter components.
- Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – Delaware Governor John Carney, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that their states will be working together on asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Together, they identified priority populations for asymptomatic testing, outlined key strategies for testing in those populations and developed an approach to financing the benefits and necessity of testing. These populations include, but are not limited to, skilled nursing and assisted living populations, other congregate settings, immunocompromised individuals, workers with high-exposure risk, people experiencing homelessness, and asymptomatic people with known exposure.
Other State Updates
- Georgia – CMS announced its approval of the state’s Section 1332 waiver for a reinsurance program beginning plan year 2022 and transitions the state’s individual market from the federally-facilitated exchange to a private sector platform called the Georgia Access Model beginning in Plan Year 2023. We have updated our map of Section 1332 waiver activity to reflect this development.
- Nebraska – Governor Pete Ricketts announced the appointment of Kevin Bagley as the new Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
- Oregon – The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is estimating that thousands of Oregonians may be newly eligible for help paying for health insurance and reminding residents to visit OregonHealthCare.gov to check if they qualify for financial help.
- Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging hosted the 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) Forum. This year’s forum focused on racial disparities and inequalities in early detection, diagnosis and treatment. It opened with messages from Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Aging Robert Torres, both of whom emphasized the need to address the higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias in ethnic communities.
- Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam signed Senate Bill 5038 and House Bill 5043, which establish a statewide mental health awareness response and community understanding services alert system. This measure promotes a behavioral health response to individuals in crisis, including by limiting the role of law enforcement, and is named after Marcus-David Peters, who was killed by a police officer while experiencing a behavioral health crisis in 2018.
- Washington – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, the state-based exchange, announced that since November 1, over 182,000 Washingtonians have signed up for 2021 coverage, including about 2,400 new customers. Among the new customers, 30 percent have selected new Cascade Care plans. These plans offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs.