Oct, 11, 2021

State Health Updates

  • Alaska – Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum is featured in the first episode of a new podcast launched by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s office dedicated to reaching Alaskans with state government news. Entitled “FirstHand,” the podcast features familiar state voices, including commissioners and subject matter experts in Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s administration. Crum leads the department that was and is at the center of the state’s fight against COVID-19, and shares in-depth how Alaska has fared against the disease.
  • Arizona
    • The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System launched a new, web-based, opioid service locator to help Arizonans who are looking for services to treat opioid use disorder, including where to find Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.
    • AHCCCS is holding an online public hearing on Tuesday, October 12,2:00-3:00 p.m. to gather community and provider input regarding the development of bridge housing on the Arizona State Hospital (ASH) grounds for persons with behavioral health needs who are transitioning from homelessness. In 2019, $3 million was allocated from the Housing Trust Fund for the development of bridge housing on the ASH campus. The state has allocated an additional $3 million, $1 million for additional capital costs and $2 million for two years of operations, bringing total project funding to $6 million.
  • California
    • Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 65, the California Momnibus Act, designed to improve maternal and infant outcomes—particularly for families of color. The bill will improve research and data collection on racial and socio-economic factors that contribute to higher rates of maternal and infant mortality in communities of color.
    • Governor Newsom also signed legislation that allows consumers who purchase plans on the state’s marketplace to claim parents as dependents, effective January 1, 2023. California is the only state with such a law in place.
  • Illinois – To help increase capacity and facilitate faster access to COVID-19 testing in schools across the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has partnered with the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Midwest COVID-19 Testing Coordination Center (MCC) to provide testing to all public and private schools that are now seeking to establish a testing program. The partnership will add testing capacity, expedite the testing onboarding process, and tap into additional federal funding under the HHS “Operation Expanded Testing” program.
  • Kansas – The state submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to amend its “KanCare” section 1115(a) demonstration to add twelve months of continuous eligibility coverage for parents and other caretaker relatives using Modified Adjusted Gross Income. The federal public comment period will be open from October 7, 2021 through November 6, 2021. 
  • New York – NY State of Health, New York’s official health insurance Marketplace, announced Danielle Holahan has been named Executive Director. This appointment follows the retirement of NY State of Health Executive Director and NYS Medicaid Director, Donna Frescatore. A health policy expert with over 25 years of state and federal experience, Danielle joined the Marketplace team in April 2011 during its early planning stages and has played a lead role in its development and operation and has overseen its tremendous growth. Congratulations Danielle!
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19: seventy percent of North Carolinians age 18 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released a request for proposals for the procurement of Texas STAR Health, the state’s Medicaid managed care program for children and young adults in foster care. Responses are due by December 6, with awards anticipated June 2022. HHSC will award one, six-year contract beginning August 2022, with up to three two-year renewals.
  • Wisconsin
    • Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced the hiring of Dr. Michelle Robinson as the Director of the newly formed Office of Health Equity. The Office of Health Equity and its team is attached to the Office of the Secretary and will lead work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the department while also coordinating the development and implementation of policies and programs to address root causes of health inequities.
    • DHS announced the relaunch of the Testing Pilot Program, now referred to as the Community Testing Support Program, to support entities across Wisconsin in offering local, convenient COVID-19 testing. The program will provide approved applicants with free testing supplies and courier services through contracted vendors, as well as reimbursement for specimen collection.