State Health Updates
- California – The Newsom Administration announced the state has set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and established a vaccine equity metric–which seeks to increase vaccinations in those communities–as a prelude to adjusting the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which governs the conditions under which California’s economy can safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial goal of the vaccine equity metric is to deliver a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state as measured by the Healthy Places Index.
- Colorado – As part of Governor Jared Polis’ Vaccines for All plan, Colorado is allocating vaccines to community-based organizations across the state to host a total of 26 vaccination clinics between Friday, March 5 and Thursday, March 11, 2021. These clinics will focus on vaccinating underserved Coloradans and span a variety of diverse communities.
- Connecticut – Access Health CT, the state-based marketplace, announced it will host two educational sessions called “Healthy Chats” on March 9 and March 10 (Spanish only) to help Connecticut residents learn about plan options, financial help, low-cost and free coverage and tips to stay covered during the Special Enrollment Period that runs until March 15, 2021.
- Kansas – Governor Laura Kelly announced that the Community Care Network of Kansas has been allocated Coronavirus Relief Funds to help its federally funded Community Health Centers increase access to care through telehealth. Eighteen of the Community Care Network’s health centers benefitted from $3 million in state-allocated CRF dollars, purchasing over 44,000 devices to be distributed to patients and enhance the value of telehealth. These devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, pulse oximeters, thermometers, and scales, are in the process of being distributed.
- Louisiana – The Department of Health is reminding residents that if they qualify for Medicaid’s transportation services, they can use this service to get a ride to an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Governor Larry Hogan and Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead announced the release of the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force Operations Plan to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for hard-to-reach and underserved communities. The plan provides a detailed framework for the creation of community vaccination sites. The framework begins with the community proposal submission process and encompasses assessment, resource allocation, and operational support. The process is guided by a flexible and data-driven methodology, and is grounded in cultural awareness, community and private partnerships, and a robust communications plan.
- Maryland officials expanded text-based outreach to book vaccine appointments for eligible Prince George’s County residents at the Six Flags America mass vaccination site. To help ensure vaccine equity, the state has committed to set aside at least 500 Six Flags appointments for county residents, in addition to what county residents are able to book online and through the state’s call center.
- Massachusetts – The Baker-Polito Administration announced a new $4.7 million initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine equity in the 20 communities most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The initiative will support and coordinate with local leaders and community- and faith-based organizations to strengthen existing efforts in these cities and towns. (uopeople.edu) The administration also announced 11 high-efficiency regional vaccination collaboratives involving local health officials and other regional partners.
- Minnesota – Governor Tim Walz signed into law legislation that authorizes qualified dentists to administer coronavirus vaccinations, increasing the number of eligible COVID-19 vaccinators throughout Minnesota.
- New Jersey – The New Jersey Department of Health announced the launch of a new long-term care webpage, providing a user-friendly portal to identify the reopening status of facilities in the state, information on current outbreaks, frequently asked questions, and resources for residents, families, and staff.
- New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced three new short-term mass vaccination sites that will utilize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an expansion of New York’s roll-out of the new vaccine. He also announced 12 community-based pop-up vaccination sites are coming online this week at public housing developments, churches, community centers, schools and fire stations. These sites are expected to vaccinate more than 4,000 people throughout the week.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 public schools to protect students, teachers and staff from COVID-19. Tests will be available at no cost to all local education agencies and charter schools to test students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms and to screen staff.
- Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that Wisconsinites can now call a toll-free hotline to receive personal assistance with their vaccine-related questions. The new call center is equipped to help people find vaccine locations, answer medical questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, and assist with registration, including but not limited to providers using the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine registry.
Other State Updates
- New Jersey
- Governor Phil Murphy announced members to the New Jersey Health Care Affordability Advisory Group. The committee is comprised of members across hospitals, providers, employers, consumer advocates, and policy leaders. The Advisory Group’s objective is to advise the Health Care Affordability Interagency Workgroup on the development and implementation of health care cost growth benchmarks.
- Governor Phil Murphy released the 2020 year-end statistics on overdose deaths for New Jersey and acknowledged that the data shows the loss of 3,046 New Jerseyans to suspected overdose deaths, closely comparable to 3,021 suspected overdose deaths in 2019. Additionally, Governor Murphy approached the legislature to move a bill package on overdose prevention and recovery resilience and pledged his commitment to working alongside legislative leaders and key advocates.
- North Carolina – NCDHHS began mailing enrollment packets statewide and launched new resources for enrollees as it prepares for NC Medicaid Managed Care Open Enrollment which begins on March 15, 2021. Enrollees can now call the NC Medicaid Enrollment Call Center to learn more about NC Medicaid Managed Care and can download a free enrollment mobile app.
- Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam announced the launch of a new initiative from the Department of Health, called PA Project Firstline. PA Project Firstline, developed in partnership with CDC, is an innovative project designed to promote foundational knowledge on infection prevention and control for all types of frontline healthcare workers.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services released the latest issue of the Positive Approaches Journal, which aims to provide the most recent research and resources for people with mental health and behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities. This edition focuses on the importance of social connectedness and outlines ways of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism in forming healthy and long-lasting relationships.