Dec, 15, 2020

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • Alaska – The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is making $2.8 million of federal CARES Act funding available to health care organizations that can offer crisis stabilization services and a safe location to individuals at high risk of transmitting COVID-19 in their communities.
  • Arkansas – The Arkansas Department of Health through its Office of Health Equity and its Be Well Arkansas program announced the winners of its “Cancel COVID on College Campuses” video contest. The contest challenged students across the state to produce compelling videos that would promote ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 in higher education settings.
  • California  
    • Covered California, the state-based exchange, announced its partnership with top medical groups and physicians’ associations and their members to reach Californians with important messages promoting COVID-19 safety, including urging Californians to stay home, wear a mask and get insured. Covered California began mailing its members masks two weeks ago, and over 1.5 million will have been delivered by the end of this week. Covered California is also sending masks to more than 50,000 doctors on the front lines, and asking them to wear their Covered California masks, so the message of being covered reaches their patients.
    • Governor Gavin Newsom announced the statewide launch of CA Notify, a new digital tool that will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Californians can opt-in to receive COVID-19 notifications informing them if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
  • Maryland – Governor Larry Hogan announced the commitment of more than $94 million in new investments across Maryland to help people with prediabetes and diabetes prevent or manage their disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment includes more than $6.6 million by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in four Maryland communities as part of a multi-year initiative to combat social and health disparities for people who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Minnesota – The Department of Human Services announced that a new Medicaid benefit has helped more than 1,700 Minnesotans secure housing during the pandemic. Minnesota is the first state to offer Housing Stabilization Services as part of its basic Medicaid program. The services are available to people with disabilities and older adults who are most likely to experience homelessness.
  • New Jersey – In preparation for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines to New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 207, which automatically enrolls residents who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine into the state’s existing vaccine registry. The executive order changes inclusion into the New Jersey Immunization Information System from an opt-in to an opt-out program for residents who elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That group of residents will be automatically enrolled into the system, and will then be permitted to opt-out of the registry 30 days after the public health emergency expires.
  • New Mexico – The New Mexico Human Services Department appropriated $5 million during the second special session of the New Mexico Legislature last month to support and supplement emergency feeding operations at food banks across the state.
  • New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and a coalition of groups issued a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for a fair and equitable federal vaccination program to ensure Black, Hispanic, Asian, and low-income communities receive timely access to the vaccine.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority published new crisis care principles that center on health equity to help the state’s health care system manage public health crises—such as the recent surge of COVID-19 cases—that threaten to overwhelm hospitals dealing with scarce resources.
  • Wisconsin – Using funding from the CARES Act, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is offering eligible retailers across the state the opportunity to obtain free equipment that allows them to process FoodShare purchases wirelessly. Use of this equipment will increase FoodShare members’ access to alternative grocery shopping options, such as curbside pickup and payment. FoodShare has been a crucial lifeline to safe and nutritious food for almost 700,000 Wisconsinites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other State Updates

  • Arkansas – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously to restore a 2015 Arkansas state law that ensured that pharmacy benefit managers could not pay less than the wholesale cost of a drug to community pharmacies.
  • Louisiana – The Department of Health is seeking input on a Request for Proposals they plan to release in Spring 2021 that would provide Medicaid managed care services to its more than 1.6 million beneficiaries. 
  • Pennsylvania – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that four more hospitals have agreed to participate in the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model, which is aimed at ensuring the financial viability of hospitals in rural areas across Pennsylvania, and the latest step in transforming health care delivery in the commonwealth. In partnership with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations, other state agencies, and payers, the model is an alternative payment model that transitions hospitals from a fee-for-service model to a global budget payment.
  • West Virginia – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources was awarded over $4.2 million in grant funds by Governor Jim Justice from the U.S. Department of Justice to expand the West Virginia QLA Early Intervention Program. This grant will allow the state to create a comprehensive approach to effectively divert people with substance use disorder out of local jails and prisons, and move them into treatment services.
  • Wisconsin­ – The Wisconsin DHS launched the “Be an InFLUencer” education and awareness campaign to help promote flu vaccination within Wisconsin’s communities of color. This campaign includes social media on several platforms as well as broadcast and digital radio ads, including ads in Spanish.