Mar, 25, 2022

State Health Updates

  • Alaska – Governor Dunleavy’s Executive Order 121, to divide the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) into two smaller departments, was enacted into law and takes effect July 1. DHSS, which is currently the state’s largest department, will be divided into a Department of Health and a Department of Family and Community Services. Governor Dunleavy noted that “reorganization will create an environment for innovation and greater responsiveness.”
  • Colorado – The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing announced it has entered into two value-based contracts with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation for its Entresto drug therapy used to treat heart failure and Zolgensma drug therapy used to treat spinal muscular atrophy. These new contracts hold the drug manufacturer financially accountable to the clinical outcomes demonstrated in clinical trials and will help deliver savings to state and federal budgets as well as taxpayers in the form of manufacturer refunds when drug therapies do not meet the defined clinical health outcomes for Medicaid members who are taking them. 
  • Illinois – Governor Pritzker announced the 2022 State of Illinois Overdose Action Plan, a comprehensive, equity-centric outline for combatting the opioid epidemic. Additionally, the Governor named David T. Jones as the state’s Associate Secretary for Behavioral Health at the Illinois Department of Human Services, to be known as the Chief Behavioral Health Officer.
  • Iowa – The Iowa Departments of Public Health and Human Services released the final change package and functional organizational chart, bringing them one step closer to becoming a single agency. The documents will serve as the roadmap to bring together both agencies under a single leadership structure, with the goal of strengthening coordination amongst existing services and providing more comprehensive services to all Iowans. 
  • Nevada – Governor Steve Sisolak announced plans to host the first-ever Healthcare Provider Summit on April 19, a daylong forum with community partners, stakeholders and state agencies focused on ways to bridge gaps in care and provide the best possible service to Nevadans.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a coordinated action plan to address the urgent crisis of children with complex behavioral health needs who come into the care of child welfare services. The action plan represents the work of a multi-sector team of stakeholders that is working to transform the way that the child welfare, behavioral health and other systems that support children and families work together.
  • Virginia – The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services announced information and resources for partners in preparing for the end of the public health emergency in the March edition of their Partner Points newsletter. The newsletter included a toolkit to guide stakeholders and advocates as they assist Medicaid members with the end of the public health emergency. 
  • Washington
    • The Washington State Health Care Authority released the findings from the 2021 Healthy Youth Survey (HYS), a statewide survey of young people focused on their health behaviors. Data suggest mental health concerns remain with some signs of improved health behaviors, including a decrease in substance use. The findings underscore the importance of a continued focus on efforts in schools, families, and communities to support healthy youth development.
    • Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, announced that she will be stepping down from guiding the state’s health insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, an organization she has served for nearly 10 years. The move will be effective as of June and the Exchange Board will be appointing an interim CEO in the coming weeks. We wish Pam well in her upcoming retirement!
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released its findings from a series of listening sessions and an online survey conducted in January 2022, which sought input from substance use service providers, family and friends of people with a substance use disorder and people living with a substance use disorder. DHS will use the feedback as it finalizes its plans to invest funds received through national settlements with opioid distributors and manufacturers.