Apr, 22, 2022

State Health Updates

  • California – The California Department of Public Health unveiled new Spanish- and English-language WhatsApp chatbot tools to offer reliable information about COVID-19 to Californians, especially those in the Latino community. When using this service, Spanish- and English-speakers will receive up-to-date information about the safety of vaccines, how to book vaccination appointments, and how to obtain digital records of vaccinations.
  • Kansas – Governor Laura Kelly signed into law a bill that allows advanced practice registered nurses to practice independently in an effort to increase access to care, particularly in rural areas of the state.
  • Kentucky – Governor Andy Beshear signed into law SB276 which requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to conduct an annual review of all medications, services, and forms of treatment for enrollees with a diagnosis of sickle cell disease that are eligible for coverage under the state’s medical assistance program.
  • Minnesota – The Minnesota Department of Health released new data showing mixed news regarding health insurance coverage in Minnesota during 2021. While actions taken by state officials helped drop the state’s uninsured rate to the lowest level ever measured, racial disparities in coverage worsened.
  • Nebraska
    • The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  announced it will soon launch a new benefit application, the iServe Nebraska Portal, that will provide a modern and easy-to-use system for Nebraskans to apply for DHHS benefits and services. The new portal is a single online application for Nebraskans to apply for Medicaid and Economic Assistance benefits. Those applying for benefits will only need to enter their basic information once to understand what benefits they qualify for and apply for them.
    • DHHS also released a request for proposals for Nebraska Heritage Health, the state’s managed care program, on April 15. DHHS will award statewide contracts to two or three Medicaid MCOs to serve approximately 342,000 individuals. MCOs will provide integrated physical health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and dental services. Implementation is set to begin July 1, 2023.
  • Rhode Island – The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner, in collaboration with health care leaders from across the state, announced the signing of a compact to accelerate the adoption of advanced value-based payment (VBP) models in Rhode Island and made available 2020 performance data against the state’s health care cost growth target.
  • Vermont – The Agency of Human Services is soliciting input on experiences with mobile crisis services through a survey. The survey is seeking feedback on how the Agency should allocate federal funds for mobile crisis intervention services. 
  • Washington – Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation that now aligns state law and the federal No Surprises Act (NSA) and addresses coverage of treatment for emergency conditions. In addition, the Department of Insurance developed a webpage that includes links to consumer notices and other information for residents. As a reminder, SHVS has a  webpage that compiles SHVS resources for states on implementation of the NSA.
  • Massachusetts and Michigan – Both states received approval to expand Medicaid coverage for pregnant enrollees and will extend the period during which enrollees are eligible for postpartum care services from 60 days to 12 months as of April 1. For more information on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) state option to extend postpartum coverage, see this SHVS issue brief.