May, 04, 2021

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • California – Covered California (the state-based marketplace), the Department of Health Care Services and CalPERS announced complementary efforts to ensure that everyone covered by the programs gets vaccines to prevent COVID-19 as they become available while addressing preventive care gaps caused by patients not getting needed services. The agencies will pay specific attention to racial and ethnic disparities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition, Covered California will require its 11 health insurance companies to reach pre-pandemic levels of childhood immunizations and colorectal cancer screenings by the end of 2021 and to exceed those numbers by the end of 2022.
  • Kansas – Governor Laura Kelly encouraged Kansas medical and behavioral health providers to apply for the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Qualifying providers have the opportunity to apply for federal funding between April 29 and May 6. The program is designed to help providers cover costs associated with delivering connected care services to patients.
  • Pennsylvania  
    • Pennie, the state-based marketplace, and The YMCA will kick off their Health Equity Tour event on May 1st. This kick-off event will include COVID-19 vaccines available by appointment. The free, in-person event will also be an opportunity to learn about Pennie as well as the YMCA’s evidence-based chronic disease management programs as well as other educational services including COVID-19, dental health, senior health, lung health and more.
    • The Wolf administration outlined the impacts of COVID-19 on people living with substance use disorders and highlighted projects and collaborations made possible through the opioid disaster declaration’s creation of the Opioid Command Center.
    • Governor Tom Wolf talked about how the state and its partners are using various means to reach people not able to leave home to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Also, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam amended an order to ensure vaccine providers are working with local Area Agencies on Aging and other groups to reach those who are not able to leave their homes.
  • West Virginia – Governor Jim Justice announced West Virginia plans to use a portion of the state’s first allocation of CARES Act dollars to offer a $100 savings bond to each person from 16 to 35 years old who decides to get their vaccine. The incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16 to 35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive a $100 savings bond.

Other State Updates

  • Alaska – The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Assistance launched a new Virtual Call Center (VCC) earlier this month. The VCC streamlines the application and eligibility process and makes access easier for Alaskans statewide who need assistance with Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for needy families, Heating Assistance, Senior Benefits, General Relief Assistance and other assistance programs.
  • Arizona – AHCCCS is asking members, their families, and registered providers to submit questions about various evidence-based practices that support health outcomes. The agency is seeking questions related to assertive community treatment, permanent supportive housing, supported employment, and consumer operated services and will host a series of hour-long sessions hosted by subject matter experts to hear answers to the questions.
  • Maine – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will establish the Office of Population Health Equity (OPHE) within the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in order to identify and address health disparities in communities throughout Maine. The OPHE will focus on data-driven interventions to advance health equity for a number of populations, including but not limited to racial and ethnic populations, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and other groups for which disparate health outcomes are present in Maine.
  • Nevada – Governor Steve Sisolak introduced legislation to establish a Public Health Resource Office in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Division of Public and Behavioral Health. The office will be charged with identifying opportunities for improved coordination, state infrastructure needs, federal funding opportunities, and improve public health delivery systems throughout the State.
  • New Mexico – The Human Services Department is accepting nominations for the Primary Care Council until Friday, May 14, 2021. The Council will develop a five-year strategic plan to determine how primary care investment could increase access to primary care, improve the quality of primary care services, lower the cost of primary care delivery, address the shortage of primary care providers and reduce overall health care costs.
  • New York – NY State of Health, the state-based marketplace, announced its 2021 Spring Training materials for assisters. The materials cover information on the American Rescue Plan and changes to the state’s Essential Plan.
  • Virginia
    • Governor Ralph Northam’s administration, in partnership with the Virginia Council on Women, unveiled a statewide Maternal Health Strategic Plan to guide the Commonwealth in its ongoing work to eliminate the racial disparities in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate by 2025. The statewide Maternal Health Strategic Plan outlines six specific strategies and 21 recommendations to achieve the Governor’s goal and address the racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. The strategies focus on improvements in six areas, including insurance coverage, health care setting, criminal justice and child welfare response, community-based services, contraception, and data collection.
    • The State Corporation Commission is reminding Virginians they can enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage through August 15 and that may now qualify for financial help available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The state highlighted provisions under ARP including tax relief reconciliation relief. As a reminder, SHVS also published template language for state-based marketplaces to adapt and use in consumer-facing communications.