Jul, 06, 2021

State Health Updates

  • Illinois
    • The Pritzker administration announced increased rates of pay for eligible in-home care providers. Made possible by funding from Governor Pritzker’s FY 21 and 22 budgets, the Illinois Department on Aging and Department of Human Services will issue $54 million in bonus payments for services rendered by eligible providers between January 1 and March 31, 2021, to make up for the rate increase that was frozen until April 1.
    • Governor JB Pritzker announced $94.3 million will be awarded in the state’s inaugural round of Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives funding. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services will administer the awards to eight innovative partnerships across the state with the goal of reorienting healthcare in Illinois to reduce healthcare inequities, improve health outcomes, address social determinants of health, and remedy persistent difficulties for underserved communities to access quality healthcare.
  • Louisiana – Louisiana marked five years since expanding Medicaid coverage to its low-income residents. As of July 1, 2021, more than 638,000 Louisiana residents are enrolled in Medicaid expansion. Governor Edwards noted positive health benefits Louisiana residents have had over the past five years, including: an average of 72 percent of adults enrolled have visited a doctor’s office during each year of Medicaid expansion, more than 105,000 women have been screened for breast cancer, over 63,000 adults have received colon cancer screenings, and about 100,000 adults have been diagnosed and provided an opportunity for treatment for either diabetes or hypertension.
  • Massachusetts – The Baker-Polito Administration announced additional vaccination opportunities for Massachusetts residents via the Vax Bus, a rolling mobile vaccination unit that will increase access to the vaccines across the state. Two buses will provide local community-based vaccination clinics as they travel across the state from June 26 through July 15.
  • Missouri – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services published the Missouri Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review: 2018 Annual Report on behalf of the state’s Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review board. The annual report contains data including the timing of maternal deaths and factors that contributed to these deaths, such as substance use disorder and mental health conditions. The report also reflects the disparities that exist in the state and among certain populations, including Black and publicly-insured communities.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation allowing hospitals to construct housing and provide wrap-around services for individuals who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.
  • New York – NY State of Health, the state-based marketplace, and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced that certified enrollment assistors will be on site at select farmers’ markets statewide to educate New Yorkers about new and enhanced federal financial assistance that is now available to current enrollees and new enrollees.
  • North Carolina  
    • Beginning July 1, nearly 1.6 million Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina began receiving their Medicaid services in a new way through the launch of NC Medicaid Managed Care health plans. Features of the state’s program include establishing a payment structure that rewards better health outcomes, integrating physical and behavioral health, and investing in non-medical interventions aimed at reducing costs and improving the health of Medicaid beneficiaries.
    • Healthier Together, a public-private partnership between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and NC Counts Coalition, awarded $500,000 in grants to support community groups that will help North Carolina achieve its goal of delivering equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Healthier Together grants fund activities such as conducting vaccine outreach and education efforts, helping people schedule appointments, arranging transportation, coordinating local vaccine events at trusted and accessible locations, and ensuring that people get to second-dose appointments.
  • Oklahoma – Medicaid expansion benefits began on July 1, 2021, following a ballot initiative passed last year. The Oklahoma Health Authority is tracking enrollment on a dashboard, reporting that 126,014 individuals have been approved for expansion benefits to date.
  • Oregon – The Division of Financial Regulation announced that Oregonians can see and comment on the state’s preliminary rate decisions for 2022 individual and small employer health insurance plans. For the individual market, six companies were issued preliminary decisions with average rate changes ranging from a 1.0 percent decrease to a 4.9 percent increase. The preliminary decisions will go through continued review and discussion during a series of virtual public hearings on July 6 and 7.
  • Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Department of Health announced that it is expanding support and funding to establish four new Health Equity Zones (HEZs). Like the 11 existing HEZs, the four new HEZs will annually receive $150,000 in core funding and support to ensure that these communities ground their work in public health principles and best practices, so that measurable outcomes are reached and evaluated.
  • Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam announced that more than 750,000 adult Medicaid members will have access to comprehensive dental services under a benefit that began on July 1, 2021. Adult members currently eligible for full Medicaid benefits will have more services and provider choices under the initiative approved in the new state budget. The new benefit covers up to three regular cleanings annually as well as preventive care, X-rays, fillings, dentures, oral surgeries and other oral health services.
  • West Virginia – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Pacify, a health technology company that provides 24/7 infant feeding support to new and expecting parents, announced the first Diversity in Lactation Consulting scholarship winner. The winner received $1,000 to cover the cost of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners exam required to become an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  The scholarship is designed to improve diversity among lactation consultants.