Apr, 05, 2021

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • Massachusetts – The Baker-Polito Administration announced details for a new mobile vaccination effort made possible by a recently-launched partnership with FEMA that is bringing 6,000 additional daily doses to Massachusetts. The administration also announced the awarding of a $4.7 million grant to support local public health efforts in the 20 most disproportionately impacted communities in the Commonwealth, and highlighted new outreach efforts in these communities.
  • Minnesota – Governor Tim Walz signed legislation into law that increases the reimbursement rate for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the Medicare rate.
  • Nebraska – The Department of Health and Human Services issued a provider bulletin to inform providers about updated rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration and to update Federally Qualified Health Center and Rural Health Clinic providers on the procedure for billing for administering a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Washington – The state released new findings that reveal just how successful a partnership between Serve Washington, the state’s service commission, the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Schultz Family Foundation was to help make the AmeriCorps program more accessible to its members and, in turn, help address food insecurity for Washington families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since November 2020, AmeriCorps members in the Washington COVID-19 Response Corps collectively provided more than 23.8 million pounds of food to Washingtonians and served them more than 4.7 million meals.
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced $6.2 million in grants has been awarded to one hundred organizations to promote health equity across the state. The investment aims to increase vaccinations by supporting organizations to serve as trusted messengers within their communities, build vaccine confidence, and reduce barriers that hinder vaccine access for communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
  • New Jersey and Washington – These states extended their special enrollment periods until the end of the year and August 15, respectively.
  • New York and Oregon – These states are reminding residents of the availability of more affordable health insurance plans as part of the American Rescue Plan and announce new tools and communications to help them take advantage of savings. NY State of Health system changes were made starting March 31 and consumers will receive a notice and email from NY State of Health no later than April 5 letting them know the increase in amount of tax credits they will receive, and the action needed to claim them. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace announced their tool, available at www.OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop, has been updated to correctly calculate additional savings now available to people shopping through the marketplace as a result of the American Rescue Plan.

Other State Updates

  • Alabama – The Alabama Department of Public Health is seeking a local lead agency to develop a coalition or engage a current coalition to promote health system changes to address tobacco prevention and cessation within the Black community. The selected local lead agency will collaborate with ADPH to develop a 5-year strategic plan to improve health equity among this population.
  • Arizona – AHCCCS is seeking waiver and expenditure authority from CMS on two waiver demonstration projects. The AHCCCS Housing and Health Opportunities demonstration seeks to enhance and expand housing services and interventions for AHCCCS members who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Targeted Investments Program 2.0 waiver demonstration request will continue the Targeted Investments Program through 2026 and will sustain the integration efforts of current participants and expand integration opportunities to new providers. AHCCCS is accepting public comments through May 3, 2021.
  • Delaware – Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik presented the state’s first Benchmark Trend Report which summarizes the health care spending and quality data collected for calendar year 2019. The first spending benchmark went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, and was set at 3.8 percent, with the target expected to decrease gradually to 3 percent over the following three years. For 2019, the report found overall health care spending in Delaware totaled $8.2 billion vs. $7.6 billion for 2018. The per-capita cost increased from $7,814 in 2018 to $8,424 in 2019, or 7.8 percent — more than twice as high as the 3.8 percent target. 
  • Nebraska – The Department of Health and Human Services officially submitted a Medicaid state plan amendment request to CMS to offer medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorders.
  • New Jersey
    • Governor Phil Murphy highlighted his $20 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal for Phase 1 of the Cover All Kids campaign. This initiative will improve accessibility and remove barriers to cover nearly 90,000 uninsured children in the state. The first phase will remove barriers and support connections to coverage for nearly 53,000 children through FY2022 by eliminating the 90-day waiting period for coverage to children newly enrolling into the Children Health’s Insurance Program (CHIP); removing premiums families would pay for their children enrolled in CHIP; and developing targeted outreach efforts to boost enrollment for currently eligible children who are unenrolled.
    • The Department of Banking and Insurance published a report of a study conducted by Oliver Wyman focused on New Jersey’s provision of additional financial relief for consumers through state‐sponsored premium subsidies that are in addition to and coordinate with the premium and cost‐sharing subsidies currently provided under the ACA.
  • Oregon – The  Oregon Health Authority along with the Oregon Health Leadership Council announced that 40 organizations have signed a compact to adopt “value-based payments” which reward health care quality rather than health care quantity. This initiative extends the quality improvement and cost-growth containment goals established through Oregon’s coordinated care model from public programs to the private sector. The agreement targets moving to 70 percent of payments following advanced value-based payment methods over five years and supports the work of the cost growth target program, which is beginning implementation this year.
  • Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation authorizing the development of the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program. The bill also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to convene a work group to develop recommendations for developing a state-based subsidy program to increase affordability of health plans to individuals and to increase enrollment in the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange. As a reminder, SHVS tracks state Section 1332 waiver activity via our map.